Last evening, and for the second consecutive year, my church observed Maundy Thursday in commemoration of the Last Supper and the Maundy (Washing of the Feet). And, for the second consecutive year, I struggled to hold my feelings in check. The confluence of emotions, the melancholy associated with grave loss, mixed with immense gratitude and a euphoric sense of triumph, is not only difficult to describe, but also to process. That said, today, Good Friday, I find myself nearly as troubled as I was a night ago.
For many people, it’s just another Friday. Many are thankful to be off work or out of school, but not particularly concerned – if at all – with the significance of the holiday many observe. For many, the significance of Good Friday is the highly coveted 3-day weekend. Many will cook out, go fishing or water skiing, play a round or two of golf, or break out the 4-wheelers. Others will gather with friends and party late into night – starting early, of course. Some, given the extra day, will take a road trip, maybe visit friends or family. If it sounds like I’m ‘going all holier-than-thou on you’, please don’t misconstrue. My intent is not to guilt anyone. After all, I have partaken in many of the same, aforementioned activities in years past.
But, having really gotten to know my Lord and Savior in recent years, immersed myself in The Bible, and participated in rituals and celebrations commemorating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I have come to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of and for that which He did for me [us] nearly two millennia ago. Thus, while I condemn no one who misses this point, it disturbs me nonetheless. In particular, I was saddened by those who took to Twitter and other social media outlets today to once again, and without respite, disparage one another in the most revolting ways.
As I uploaded an image of Christ upon the cross with a somber reminder of His loving sacrifice, I couldn’t help but notice what was ‘trending’ at the time. Even as I was writing this, #CruzSexScandal was fending off #GoodFriday as the most ‘tweeted’ topic. Yes, that’s right, more than half-a-million ‘tweets’ wherein people were engaged in the most acrimonious of ‘debates’ over a likely spurious tabloid article indicting a reputable U.S. Senator. I don’t care who you are, what you believe, who you intend to vote for, nor why. What I do care about, is the utter disregard for civility and the fact so many, on a day on which Jesus of Nazareth lay down His life, a day after commanding His Disciples, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34),” millions are doing anything but.
Have we no decency? On this day, just under 2,000 years ago, a sinless human being – whether you recognize Him as God’s only begotten son, or not – was mocked, brutalized, and crucified, for no other reason than He loved and forgave all sinners, all God’s creation. In the “ninth hour (Matthew 27:46)” Jesus would breath His final breath. Would you do that for anyone? Would you endure such barbarism in place of a child, your child? Who, in your life, do you love enough that you would sacrifice your life so they may be spared? Well, Jesus did it for everyone, even those who nailed Him to that cross. He loved and forgave, calling to The Almighty “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
When Jesus knelt before His Disciples and washed their feet, He was setting an example for not only them, but all of us to follow. It was an example of humility and service. He called us to be servants, and He demonstrated, Himself, for all to witness. He called us to love one another and, again, He demonstrated, Himself, for all to witness. Do we not owe Him obedience in following His lead?
Of course, I must leave that to you to decide for yourself, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)