Today is Maundy Thursday. I hope this Thursday is the maundiest Thursday you have ever had. And if you know what maundy means, you know that sentence is nonsense. But joyful nonsense.
If you are not familiar with Maundy Thursday, let me explain. Pull up a chair, but don’t get too close, cause I’m about to drop knowledge bombs on you.
Maundy Thursday celebrates Jesus giving us his final commandment. Maundy is short for the Latin word mandatum, which means command. Jesus and the disciples had just shared the Last Supper, which as a Methodist I believe consisted of Welch’s Grape Juice and tortillas, and while Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet he gave them the New Commandment. I’m not sure about the tortilla part. But last Sunday when we took communion at Boone First United Methodist Church the bread that was served really tasted like a tortilla. I’m not complaining, but I have to tell somebody.
But what was this New Commandment? Was it go on social media and badmouth your neighbor? Kick people while they are down? Pile on the oppressed? Ban books? Sit in judgment of others? Tell others how to live their life?
I mean those would have been all great commandments and easy enough to follow. But the New Commandment was:
I am giving you a new commandment, that you [f]love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.
This version of the verse is from the Amplified version of The Bible and it has a footnote next to the word “love’ that I think is great and so I wanted to share it:
The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
It isn’t necessarily an emotional love for one another. It is the type of love that is an action (not that kind of action perverts) but showing love in your actions and deeds that benefit another person. Without getting a benefit out of it in some way.
What is more, a word that is missing from this commandment is “deserve”. It isn’t a command to love those who deserve it, (which is kind of a weird concept when you think about it, there are people that are deserving of love and others that you somehow have decided are not worthy of love, but I digress) it is a command to love everybody and as Clint Eastwood says in UNFORGIVEN in what couldn’t be a more different context, “Deserves got nothing to do with it.”
But I don’t think you should cut off the scripture there. The next thing Jesus said is kind of a bomb too.
By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
It is through how you love others that others will know that you are a Christian. Now Jesus wouldn’t have ever used the phrase “Christian” and so let me change that word to “Christ Follower”.
How you love (serve) others is how they will know your are a follower of Christ.
Not by wearing a cross necklace. Not by reposting something on Facebook about seeing how many “real” Christians they can get to repost the same thing. Not by slapping a bumper sticker on the back of your car for the local Christian music radio station.
But by how you treat others. All others. Even that annoying person at work that talks way too loud on the phone. Sometimes headphones are for watching Netflix at work. Sometimes they are for not having to hear that loud person too cubicles over… but that seems like an oddly specific example.
I was going to close this section on Maundy Thursday with a quote. Like most quotes it is a misattribution and so it is impossible to know who originally said it. But it goes a little something like this:
Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.
It is often attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, but he probably never said it.
If you Google this quote the first several hits are articles written by people that I am sure more learned than me, that absolutely hate this quote. I mean absolutely HATE this quote. They’ve written full articles about false dichotomies and neglecting personal evangelism. And this makes me think that whomever wrote or spoke these words was on to something.
I almost forgot to extend an invitation to you, if you are looking for a Maundy Thursday Worship Service. We aren’t having a service at our church this year. The Boone Ministerial Alliance has decided to combine forces. Therefore, the Maundy Thursday service you will find me at is at the First Presbyterian Church. That is the church straight across Greene Street from the Ericson Public Library. It starts at 6:30. Anyways, show up if you want.
But where will the Good Friday service be…
Maybe you thought I hung the moon
Maybe you thought we were Johnny and June
Maybe we thought it was just us two
Maybe we spoke too soon
We never lie and we don’t tell tales
We bite our tongues and our fingernails
We fall in love and we don’t fall out
Maybe we speak too soon
Maybe we hurt who we love the most
Maybe it’s all we can stand
Maybe we walk through the world as ghosts
Break my own heart before you can
Thursdays are for flowers, but sometimes adorable (as Jen would say) grasshoppers sneak in. So this week I asked ChatGPT to write me a poem about grasshoppers. This is what it wrote:
Amidst the golden fields of green,
There hops a creature seldom seen,
With legs so long and wings so bright,
It’s the grasshopper, taking flight.
With nimble feet and agile grace,
It leaps and bounds from place to place,
A master of the summer breeze,
Its song a symphony to please.
In emerald hues, it blends with ease,
Into the grasses and the trees,
A fleeting glimpse of fleeting joy,
As it flits and flies, without a toy.
With every hop, it takes a chance,
To dance and sing and seek romance,
A lover of the sunny days,
Its carefree ways, forever ablaze.
So if you see a grasshopper near,
Take a moment, lend an ear,
For in its song, there lies a tale,
Of life and love, of joy and gale.
Perhaps the most beautiful words penned by artificial intelligence about our green friends.
Here is a collection of flowertography pictures I took on October 4, 2022:
Raise a hand if you are getting pumped for flowertography season! There is already green things protruding out of my dirt. It is exciting times in these parts!