Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday: cleansing, humility, supper


Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you
(Jn 13:1-15) .

Today we remember that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then ate bread and drank wine for the last time. We remember the Last Supper day after day all year round: we only focus on foot-washing only once a year, and rarely is it re-created. Perhaps we should precede every celebration of the Eucharist with foot-washing or a modern equivalent; a little induced humility to dispel superiority and confront our pride.

After all, we all need to wash our feet, so having someone perform for us a necessary act without expectation of payment is a manifestation of humility and service. And we all need to eat, but the bread and the wine are privileges. Only if we are humble can we dine with Him; only when everything else fades into oblivion can we feed on Him.

There’s a bit of fuss at the moment about the precise day of the Last Supper: apparently, it was yesterday, not today. It is typical that we get bound in technical minutiae and forget the commemoration. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th and Easter Day is determined by the lunar cycle, the solar cycle, the division of each year into 365 days and a 1,700 year old Church ruling. Does it matter?

We must focus on humility, feeding on Him, and praying as he did in the garden of Gethsemane, with grief and tears of anguish, that our hour will come, that the cup of suffering may pass and that all believers may be one. Without our hour and in the absence of our cup, we will never be one. Supper’s ready.

36 Comments:

Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

I am no theologian – indeed, never studied theology – but these are a hard set of inviations to contemplate much less request:

‘We must focus on humility, feeding on Him, and praying as he did in the garden of Gethsemane, with grief and tears of anguish, that our hour will come, that the cup of suffering may pass and that all believers may be one. Without our hour and in the absence of our cup, we will never be one’.

‘[T]hat our hour will come’?

Aye.

And I wonder how I will react in that hour. Will I play the coward or be the man that God intended me to be?

21 April 2011 at 10:32  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

The archbishop was on radio 4 this morning talking about the same thing. He came across rather well it has to be said.

21 April 2011 at 10:40  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"Maundy Thursday: cleansing..." Thank you for the link to Dr Williams's Thought for the Day, which could otherwise have been missed, a timely and worthy exhortation, without bombast. He will be used to the scorn, mockery and bombast that it may attract.

As to the divisions of time we call "Wednesday" and "Thursday", is it not rather that the good professor has with skill and diligence been able to demonstrate that the gospel writers are in agreement about Easter Week, the Passover, and telling the calendar day from sunset to sunset or sunrise to sunrise; and that he has reason to propose that the Last Supper was on April 1, 33 A.D. Julian Calendar: "...the apparent timing discrepancies (Nisan 15 or 14) between the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke versus John are rooted in the use of different calendars" (the older Jewish calendar or a lunar calendar)-- unless I've got this back to front. Either way, there is much to be said for not allowing this to become a distraction just now.

21 April 2011 at 10:50  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It is interesting that Jesus washed feet, and Pilate washed hands.

I suppose the cultural significance of feet in 1st Century Judea is lost on modern Westerners.....

21 April 2011 at 11:14  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

"Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th and Easter Day is determined by the lunar cycle, the solar cycle, the division of each year into 365 days and a 1,700 year old Church ruling. Does it matter?"

If Christians cant get to the truth of these basic details why perpetuate the myth? Furthermore why should anyone believe in any thing else they hold as factual.

As far as I am concerned this is just another reason to challenge belief in something that can't be proven.

21 April 2011 at 11:32  
Anonymous Hereward said...

Dreadnough: we also do not know exactly when Henry V was born, but the fact of his birth is unaffected by that.

21 April 2011 at 11:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

to challenge belief in something that can't be proven.


Please deliver PROOF of Membrane Theory, Charm, Singularities, - oh and for good measure PROVE the Theory of Evolution showing all intermediate stages.

21 April 2011 at 12:49  
Anonymous srizals said...

The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution.
http://www.harunyahya.com/en.m_categorie_76.php

A must read for atheists. Care to read Dreadnaught?

21 April 2011 at 12:56  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

There are differing notions of proof, truth, and belief being used here so the arguments are pretty much useless as they stand.

21 April 2011 at 13:18  
Anonymous MrJ said...

If 13:18 is a restatement of 12:49 the case is proved and the sport spoilt.

21 April 2011 at 13:32  
Blogger D. Singh said...

MrJ

Outstanding!

21 April 2011 at 13:39  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

So Messrs H&V you want me to prove that something doesn't exist when you have no proof that it exists in the first place.

Now that hardly makes any sense at all - but that's (all)religion for you. I suppose I should be grateful that these days that unlike dear Cranmer, I will not face the Rack and the Flames for my non-belief in the spirit world.

21 April 2011 at 14:17  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught: are you saying that Henry V didn’t exist?

Voyager has asked of you to prove the Theory of Evolution showing all intermediate stages.

21 April 2011 at 14:31  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught on the latter:

Could you begin, please, with: the Laws of Causality; move onto incorporating Time, Chance and Matter and then advise us on how the Second Law of Thermodynamics operates on the result?

21 April 2011 at 14:36  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

MrJ, Dreadnaught's talk of proof is probably just sloppy language on a colloquial medium. Asking for or expecting a mathematical type proof for a scientific theory is a form of cetegory error.

The theory of evolution by natural selection is arguably a scientific theory. That is, it explains and nominally predicts observable things in the real world, and has some falsifiable elements.

As such, the notion of truth has a special position or meaning in the world of science whixh is quite different to truth in religion. We know this intuitively I think. Religious truth is about certainty which is not truth in the common sense way.

Talking of proof for that theory is a sloppy way of saying that it has an overwhelming set of evidence which supports it. To that extent it is true. At some point it may be falsified completely but it seems very unlikely. However, to say one 'believes' in it is not the same sort of thing as saying one believes in a religion.

Belief in the religious sense has special consequences. It is not inherently conditional in the way scientific belief is to most people. In fact, it is so different that we really ought to have different words for them.

If one mixes up religious 'belief' wirh common sense 'beluef' then it is bewildering to those without the mutually-exclusive certainties of the various religions.

21 April 2011 at 15:41  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Asking for proof is 'sloppy language;? - I beg to differ.

Before this spins off, I remind my detractors that it was HG who posed the question do dates matter? Obviously not to himself because he is happy to accept whatever the religious machine churns out and adapt that 'truth' to suit his/its own ends.

I asked is it right to maintain 25th December as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and treat it as a FACT to be instilled in the minds of children and 'believers'

Surely, given that god in his omnipotence and creator of everything could have least have done, said, wrote something as simple as recording for certain, the date of the birth on his only begotten son. Nothing to do with the theory of evolution, Henry V or speculation on the validity of advanced nano technology.

I would however, love the opportunity to prove to you that if you were drowning at sea you would prefer that I threw you a Life-raft rather than a bible.

21 April 2011 at 16:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I would however, love the opportunity to prove to you that if you were drowning at sea you would prefer that I threw you a Life-raft rather than a bible."
Well - in this case - you'll have neither the opportunity nor the proof. I'd prefer the Bible to any more time in your world, thank you very much!

21 April 2011 at 16:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Asking for or expecting a mathematical type proof for a scientific theory is a form of cetegory error.

Funny, since I was told if you can't measure it, it's not Science.....but Lord Kelvin expressed it: In physical science, the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.


Anything else is Metaphysics like some much in modern Physics

21 April 2011 at 16:52  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I'm not sure what all that spangly quoting is trying to say in this context. A mathematical proof is based on deductive reasoning. Scientific theories are based on inference and empirical data. It's a category error to mix the two up.

21 April 2011 at 17:35  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

srizals: "The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution.
http://www.harunyahya.com/en.m_categorie_76.php

A must read for atheists. Care to read Dreadnaught?"

Mr Yahya's articles and books are like the Muslim equivalent of the science and explanations in the Watchtower magazines. The last one I went through in fine detail was so full of mistakes and holes that I gave up about a 1/3 of the way through.

21 April 2011 at 17:47  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Good link Mr D - far too much information to digest (if that is the correct term) but a casual glance reveals lots of accumulated academic text that is always 'trumped' with the ultimate in un scientific statements such as

"In one verse of the Qu'ran, Allah states:

It is He Who originated creation and then regenerates it. That is very easy for Him. His is the most exalted designation in the heavens and the Earth. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat ar-Rum, 27)


So very scientific - not.

As I said before - all this skill and still can't be bothered to fix the date of the birth of his only son - ok, I'll let off the Muslims as this wouldn't really bother them - (sarc)

21 April 2011 at 18:20  
Anonymous Hexe said...

Had Judas not betrayed Jesus, then Jesus would not have been able to die and be resurrected and Christianity as we know it today would not exist.

So, Christians should be venerating Judas, not hating him... or at least ponder why a betrayal by a traitor was needed as a catalyst for the saviour to save them, and why it could not be done without Judas committing the infamous sin which would later on be used as a justification for Jew-hating and Jew-killing throughout the centuries.

True, you can say it would have happen another way, but, had Judas not sold Jesus, what would have been God's plan B for saving mankind?

21 April 2011 at 18:49  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Dreadnaught 21 April 16:24 "...is it right to maintain 25th December as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth..."

If none other is willing to respond to this direct and reasonable question may I dare to step in, but subject to any better answer that may come from angels or other sources.

A book with the title "The Time of Christ, a Chronology of the Incarnation" was published in 1986 which made a detailed study of the relevant calendrical data of that time, that is, not by reference to the well known papal fixing of the date for celebrating the Christmas Festival centuries later. In 1999 an edition was published with the title "When was Anno Domini? Dating the Millennium". The author was Ormond Edwards.

These now seem to be out of print. The first had a thorough scholarly bibliography. The second was in a more popular format but fully referenced.

His careful account concludes that the nativity as described in the Luke Gospel was indeed 25th December.

21 April 2011 at 19:38  
Anonymous len said...

Dreadnaught 21 April 16:24 "...is it right to maintain 25th December as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth"..

Strictly speaking...No.

Jesus Christ was NOT born on December 25.
But December 25th can be traced back to Genesis
and a man named Nimrod. Nimrod was the founder
of a great false religious system that began in
ancient Babylon that has always opposed the truths
of God.

Pagan customs were 'Christianised'by the |Roman Emperor Constantine and adopted into the Universal Church......Catholicism.

21 April 2011 at 20:17  
Blogger English Viking said...

Christ cannot have been born in Winter-time, as the shepherds were in the fields, minding the sheep. This would not be the case in Winter, as the sheep would have been sheltered then.

It doesn't matter to me when He was born, just that He was.

And He was.

21 April 2011 at 21:27  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

MrJ my old mate said 21 April 2011 19:38

Sorry, old boy..This is one of those very rare times I disagree.

I agree with Len and English Viking..I don't think it could have been said better or actually more concise that EV stated..Short but to the point.

Old Ernsty, my boy.

21 April 2011 at 22:38  
Anonymous MrJ said...

English Viking 21:27 "... He was."

No dispute here about that.

21 April 2011 at 23:37  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Thank you Len, I can live with that response,

22 April 2011 at 00:12  
Anonymous len said...

There are indications that the Date of Jesus Birth was September 11, 3 B.C.E.this was was Tishri One on the Jewish calendar. To Jewish people this would have been a very profound occasion indeed. Tishri One is none other than the Jewish New Year’s day (Rosh ha-Shanah, or as the Bible calls it, The Day of Trumpets ― Leviticus 23:23–26).
..............
Much confusion was caused when the Christian Church moved(or was pulled) away from its Jewish roots and new dates and times set.This all leads back to the Council of Nicea when Christianity was Constantine -ised. Did all the church go up to Nicea to become the established religious power? Not at all. The true pilgrim church went underground,

Christianity in its True form has always remained, running a parallel course to State ordained religion ,persecuted but remaining true to Christ.

22 April 2011 at 09:23  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

How do these assertion sit in relation to the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christians - is their version of events any less ambiguous?

22 April 2011 at 12:02  
Anonymous len said...

I don`t know much about Eastern Orthodox Christians belief systems but Orthodoxy argues that the Holy Scriptures (as interpreted and defined by church teaching in the first seven ecumenical councils) along with Holy Tradition are of equal value and importance.
So Eastern Orthodoxy seems(to me) like a 'watered down Catholicism'.

The Bible warns us that a little leaven will contaminate the whole, also that the Holy Spirit will lead all Christians (genuinely seeking the right path) into all Truth.

22 April 2011 at 16:07  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Happy Easter Mr Len

22 April 2011 at 20:00  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Dreadnaught 22 April 12:02:

len has said "I don`t know much about Eastern Orthodox Christians".

From some points of view (history, theology, liturgy, church calendar, church government) and regardless of denominational affiliations there is more to it than "watered down Catholicism".

Anyone looking for more information could do worse than the Wikipedia article "Eastern Orthodox Church".

To quote one sentence: "The goal of Orthodox Christians from baptism is to continually draw themselves nearer to God throughout their lives. This process is called theosis, or deification, and is a spiritual pilgrimage in which each person strives to both become more holy and more "Christ Like" within Jesus Christ."

23 April 2011 at 00:04  
Anonymous len said...

Happy Easter Dreadnaught.

'To strive to be Christlike' is an impossibility. there is only one Christ and we are not Him.

That is why we must be born again,and receive a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.

Man works from the outside trying to improve himself(this is religion)

God works from the inside removing the old dead spirit and replacing it with the Spirit of Christ.

This is why religions and cults are pointless even the apostle Paul,(a Pharisee) proclaimed religion as so much dung compared to receiving Christ by the Spirit.

23 April 2011 at 08:41  
Blogger D. Singh said...

DanJO

21 April 15.41

'Asking for or expecting a mathematical type proof for a scientific theory is a form of cetegory error.'

E=MC2

26 April 2011 at 09:18  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Oh dear. Or should I write "1=2" about your interpretation?

26 April 2011 at 18:18  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older