|The Sacristy during Lent|
Today is Holy Thursday. Some call it Maundy Thursday in reference to Jesus' washing of his disciples feet. It is one of the most beautiful Liturgies in the church year. We begin the celebration of Jesus' last supper by remembering his unheard of act: kneeling down to wash his disciples feet. He did this to burn into their memories the idea that we are here to serve others, not to be served. To love each other unconditionally.
There are some who are upset when the priest washes the feet of women during this Liturgy. They believe that because Jesus had only male disciples, only males should be used during this service. I believe that is a VERY short sited view of what Jesus was doing. Yes, he was preparing his disciples for life without him. But, he was also showing great love to them. He wanted them to go out into ALL the world and preach the gospel. He charged them to do so with love. By censuring who can have their feet washed we are limiting the message Jesus was presenting.
I hope as we enter the Triduum this evening, the Three Days, that we can peel off the shell of this world we live in and immerse ourselves, our hearts, our minds and our actions in the love of Jesus. That we can better understand the sacrifice he made for us so that we can go out and live that sacrificial love in this world and with all we meet. No matter who they are.
What Jesus can do to us and for us is so well said in this passage from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. If you've never read the story, this passage is told by Eustace,who was a terribly rotten boy who was turned into a dragon by his greed and meanness. Aslan, the Lion, helps him out of his skin.
Then the lion said, 'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of the claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. ... 'Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off--just as I thought I'd done it mself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt--and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me--I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on--and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again.
May we be washed clean of all that dragon skin this Easter. It won't be easy, will it?