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The Mandate

April 9, 2020

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Throughout this unfolding pandemic (it’s day 25 in the Lyle household!) we have been keenly attuned to various advice, guidelines, and orders. Who can and should leave their homes? When, and for what reason? We have heard of these guidelines being flouted (spring breakers, anyone?) but I have to say that I am both pleased with and proud of the response by most people. While we are still in for a long haul, our efforts to flatten the curve seem to be working. This is no time to let up, of course, but it is encouraging.

These guidelines and orders and particular to our time. It may be a while, but someday they will be lifted. Today, however, is Maundy Thursday. On this night, the night before his death, Jesus knelt at his friends’ feet to wash them. He broke bread and gave wine, showing us that this is how much he loves us, and that in this meal we would be able to find his promises for us. The name of the day, however, comes not from the foot washing or from the meal. “Maundy” comes from mandate, Jesus’ new commandment that we love one another as he loves us.

(And no, it’s not Monday Thursday, and tomorrow is not Tuesday Friday, whatever the various denizens of the Lyle compound may say.)

Unlike temporary restrictions and even longstanding civic laws, Jesus’ mandate is unending and entirely binding upon those who follow him. In these strange days, one of the primary ways we love one another is to stay physically separated. This is hard on Maundy Thursday, when the gifts are so tactile. Feet washed. Bread broken and wine poured. But we follow Jesus’ commandment. We stay apart. But remember, we may be isolated but we are not alone. The love Jesus commands us to share is the love with which he loves us, and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As we enter the Triduum, the Great Three Days at the center of our faith and life, let this promise sustain you. Jesus loves you. Love one another.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

“Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment: To love one another as he had loved them. By your Holy Spirit write this commandment in our hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Lutheran Book of Worship, p. 20)

The image is Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Madox Brown, 1852-1856 (public domain).

From → COVID-19, Lent/Easter

2 Comments
  1. Ruth Ann Reko permalink

    Thanks, Pr. Lyle, for posting on a new spot without the offensive or jarring ads at the bottom.

    • You’re welcome, Ruth. The ads were a function of using a free site, and I had no input into what they were. Earlier this week I upgraded to a paid site. $50 well spent. Thanks for reading!

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