It is a hard night. A night on which Jesus was betrayed. A night on which he told the disciples one of them would betray him. A night on which Peter would deny him three times.
It begins with a little comfort – supper among friends. But even here, the discomfort sneaks in. Jesus passes bread and wine around and speaks of his suffering to come, his imminent death. He speaks of betrayal and denial. All of what he says will come to pass. At the table, he speaks the truth, though the disciples cannot quite believe it.
Jesus is alone. Among his friends, he alone knows what must happen. How hard it will be. What it will cost him.
It must have broken his heart. And yet, he is resolved. Determined. Purposeful.
For he knows how desperately the human heart needs forgiveness. How incapable it is of saving itself. How far we are able to fall and how fragile our efforts at reconciliation.
And so, in the midst of all that was taking place, he gave commandments: this do in remembrance of me; love one another that your joy may be full; serve each other, as I have served you. For if his friends would abide these commandments, they would draw close to him, they would be his church.
So it is with you and I – through all the centuries that separate us from the night on which he gave these commandments (Maundy comes from the Old English for Commandment) – when we abide by his instructions, when we live our lives in The Way, Jesus draws close to us (and us to him).
So friends. Remember. Love. Serve.
In Jesus’ name.