I’d like to start by naming how tremendously difficult Maundy Thursday is this year. Maundy Thursday, a day all about community and communion, and yet we don’t really get to do either. There’s a certain amount of grief that we all bear, and it’s important that we hold these emotions.
But fortunately, Jesus helps us out tonight. In our readings today, we are reminded that love doesn’t look like believing the right thing or participating in the right rituals. It looks like doing things for others. Jesus shows us tonight by being radical. He shows us love by washing the disciples’ feet, and tomorrow he shows us by laying down his life.
I think that’s the timely reminder for this year’s Holy Week: our call isn’t to believe the right thing or participate in the right ritual. And we certainly aren’t failing because we meet virtually. Today and every day, our call is to radically love our neighbors. And with what’s going on in the world right now, that’s exactly what we’re doing by staying home: practicing radical love toward our neighbors.
It might seem counterproductive — love usually looks like action. There are little things we do every day that show the world what love looks like. And there may be actions that we can take to love our neighbors in the middle of this pandemic. As long as we’re being safe, those are wonderful ways to mirror God’s love for the world, to be a sign of hope in the midst of despair.
But for us, for tonight, loving our neighbors looks like exactly like this. It looks like each of us, in our homes and maybe even in our pajamas, gathered together around a virtual table, once again retelling the story of God’s sure victory over death. And friends, I am certain that Christ is present with us, right here and now.
We may not be able to wash each other’s feet. We can’t share Holy Communion, and there’s no altar to strip. It’s a bit of a mundane Thursday. But we are absolutely performing acts of radical love on this holy night. And when we love our neighbors, when God’s love for humanity is on full display, we can believe that resurrection is right around the corner.
Thank you for staying home. Thank you for showing me your acts of love. And thanks be to God for new life which is about to start springing up all around us. Amen.