COVID-19 and Holy Thursday
Well it has finally happened. I have been spammed in the comment section of my blog by the Viagra people. I’m not really sure how to feel about that. On one level I think I’m glad because it kind of means I have enough readers for these spammers to take the time to pester me. On another level I fear I am being sent some kind of sad message by the Viagra gods. So should this spam make me feel accomplished or humbled?
Mixed emotions I guess.
Anyways, It all seriousness, the ramifications of this COVID-19 crisis leave me with mixed emotions too when it comes to the work I used to do. On one level I am glad to not be having to figure out how to run a shelter in the midst of this. I am also glad to not physically need to be there, especially since my immune system is compromised.
But on another level I feel really bad to not be there doing whatever I could think of to make everyone feel safe. I really am glad to know that Gateway is in very good hands and is doing some wonderful things for those with no homes during this time, but I’m sad to not be a part of it.
All I can really do right now is be on the sidelines offering encouragement and support to different shelter staff. I guess that’s my role at the moment.
When it comes to Holy Thursday, I feel as though the events of today also leave me with mixed emotions. This day is also known as Maundy Thursday; Maundy coming from the Latin mandátum meaning commandment. It is the first word in today’s gospel urging;
Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
So on this day I feel so unsure of how to feel. On one level I feel very sad and angry to know about the horrible way that Jesus is allowing Himself to be betrayed and then brutally murdered. It’s so awful to think about it.
On another level I feel really thankful and glad for what Jesus is up to on this day. He is the King of kings but yet is willing to wash feet and then set that as an example for us to do for each other. In fact, He is not only willing, but sees this as necessary.
He also implements the sharing of the bread and the wine with each other so as to remember that He is always with us. So many of us feel completely alone during this COVID-19 mess, but Jesus is saying to each of us, “You will never be alone”.
Such comfort even tough I often feel alone.
He is also saying that He will lay down his life for His friends because He loves them/us so much.
He loves me? Why on earth would he love me so much? I’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve that.
But Jesus loves me this I know.
And today He is issuing the commandment to love each other as much as He loves me. And He would like us to show a glimpse of that by washing each other‘s feet and sharing in the bread and wine.
So even though I don’t know how to feel today, I will do what He asks. Due to this virus We can’t all be together as a church family, but our family of 3 will try and figure out how to wash each other‘s feet tonight and share in the bread and wine.
It seems the least that we can do in order to try in some small way to both acknowledge that we know that we are loved and also to reaffirm our desire to love each other as much as He loves us.
Even if it means dying for it.
And yes, that makes me feel scared and sad and mad and overjoyed all at the same time.
Maybe that’s what Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday, is all about.
(based on today’s Gospel reading of John 13: 1-17, 31b-35)
How on earth am I supposed to feel today? I admittedly feel a lot of things.
Yes, more than anything I feel grateful that you love me.
You love me!
On one level I feel like that can’t possibly be true and another level I feel overwhelmed by the certainty of it.
And so I pray for strength and wisdom and courage on this day to show my love to the world in the best way I know how.
Thank you for being with me every step of the way and for giving me an example of how to love.
Give me the strength to love others in the same way that you love the whole world.
No matter how hard that is.