Thursday, April 2, 2015

Before I was Methodist...Some Maundy Thursday Thoughts

Before all my non-Methodist friends stop reading because they think I'm about to get all "my-religion-is-better-than-your-religion" on them...let me just say, I'm not. Press on, dear friend. There might be a gem hidden in these early morning, caffeine-deprived ramblings.

Today is Maundy Thursday. If you had told me that pre-Jeff Walton in my life, I would have been like, "Throw me some beads! Let's get this party started!" And if you had asked me about Lent or the Lenten season, I would have likely wondered why celebrating the hot mess in your dryer was essential to walking with Jesus to the cross. But whatever, man! Now, I'm no theologian or expert on Methodism - or anything for that matter - but I have come to understand these important events on a basic level and have truly come to appreciate this season of celebration.

Post-Jeff Walton me has come to understand that Lent is not about "giving up" chocolate or candy or other things in our lives...but about sacrificing the thing(s) that are preventing us from focusing our hearts on Jesus Christ. It's about cleaning out the clutter to prepare our hearts for celebrating the greatest gift of all time...the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. A death that was unnecessary for His own sins, but oh-so-necessary for the sins of the world. Yours. Mine. Your annoying neighbor's. The co-worker who talks too much. THE. SINS. OF. THE. WORLD. Soak that in for a minute.

Today - Maundy Thursday - is a celebration of "lasts," if you will. The Last Supper. Jesus' final time of fellowship with His closest friends before his terrifying and unimaginable walk to the cross. I am a sentimental gal and also one who is fiercely and deeply loyal to my closest friends. I cannot imagine the heartache Jesus felt as He shared this final meal with his dear friends...but I can imagine the JOY that He felt knowing that His sacrifice would save those friends from an eternity in hell. That His death would give them LIFE EVERLASTING. Can you imagine? What greater gift can you give a friend or family member -- or even your annoying neighbor or that talkative co-worker?

Our family is entering into a season of "lasts" as we begin preparing to move - last days of school, last meetings with J-Crew youth group, last Sunday School classes, last mission trips...the list gets long quickly. It's sad to think about (and I'm trying not to!), and I get a little wistful. But I know God has good things in store for us with this new adventure...things greater than we can imagine or comprehend...

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, 
and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29: 11-13

His promises are true, and I am clinging to them in the moments of sadness that often wash over me.

What can we learn from Maundy Thursday and these lasts with Jesus and His friends?

1) Jesus gave us the example by which we now celebrate Holy Communion with the Last Supper. We break bread in fellowship with other believers after His example. His body...broken for the sins of many. His blood...shed for all mankind.

2) We are also given a beautiful example of humility in service as we see Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Jesus' example of humble servanthood should be our model daily - in our homes and in our communities. What a beautiful picture of putting others before self!  

So, nix those beads, my friends, as we celebrate Maundy Thursday today! Instead, enjoy sweet fellowship with friends around your table and maybe engage in a random act of kindness today. Humble yourself in service as an act of thanksgiving for the sacrifice He's made so that YOU can live!

Happy Easter, peeps!

(See what I did there? Go get yourself - or at least your kids - some chicken-shaped colored marshmallows while you're at it!)

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