Summary: A sermon for Maundy Thursday
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Two middle-aged couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"
"Outstanding," Fred replied. "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques, such as visualization, association and so on. It was great. I haven't had a problem since."
"Sounds like something I could use. What was the name of the clinic?"
Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn't remember.
Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?"
"You mean a rose?"
"Yes, that's it!"
He turned to his wife, "Hey Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?"
In Psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. In the Bible, the Greek word to remember is Aletheia. Aletheia literally means to “not forget.” And in the King James Version, and many other translations of the Bible, the word Aletheia is also translated as “truth.”
So truth, in the Bible, literally means to not forget. To know the truth means to remember.
So when we hear in the Gospel of John that the truth will set us free; what we are being asked to do is remember that God does all that needs to be done to bring about our salvation, to deliver us from sin and evil, and to restore and renew a right relationship with him.
We are set free because God came down and became weak like us. He then died, and rose again from the dead. And because sin had no eternal power over Christ, sin now has no lasting power over us. We are free because Christ set has set us free.
And the good news is that there is nothing in heaven or earth that can take away this freedom because there is absolutely nothing in all of creation that will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This weekend we remember our Lords death. That is why we are gathered here, tonight. To remember. On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday we recount the events of his death in almost morbid detail.
We remember that on the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus did something remarkable and performed the duty of a slave by washing the feet of his disciples and asking them to do likewise.
We remember His last meal with those He loved. We remember His betrayal, not only by Judas, but by His close friends as well. We remember the cruel remarks made by the soldiers as they spit upon Him. We remember the weight of the beam upon His shoulders, the pain of the nails tearing into His flesh, the agony of crucifixion, and the intense loneliness of hanging on a cross high above the garbage dump of Jerusalem.
We remember Jesus who died a horrible death and then was hastily placed in a tomb.
Tonight we remember and recall God’s saving activity in our world. We remember His call for us to be one. We remember that we are His church – his body- called to live in peace and unity.
We remember his longing to heal our wounds and bring us wholeness of life – of body, mind, and spirit. We remember His desire to restore to us our lost innocence by taking upon Himself the pain of innocent suffering, taking upon Himself the agony of those who have fallen victim of failed human love.
And in remembering, we make that love of His our own. We remember that He will be with us again. We remember that He is with us always, right now in breaking of the bread, and in the drinking of the wine.
Jesus said: This is my body. This is my blood. I am here with you, among you, within you – in body and in blood. As we remember tonight, may we be strengthened; may we be healed; may we be restores to innocence; may we live in love. Amen.
Let us pray: O God, you love was embodied in Jesus Christ, who washed his disciples feet on the night of his betrayal. Wash us from the stain of sin, so that, in hours of danger, we may not fail, but follow you Son through every trial, and praise Him always as Lord and Christ, to whom be glory now and forever. Amen.