My sixth sermon: Embarrassing Love

April 17, 2014
Maundy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-14
• (Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19)
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Grace Lutheran Church, Lincoln

photo 2

Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  We hear Peter’s question in this story and realize that he was pretty uncomfortable with what was happening — and he’s probably not the only one.  The disciples are all settled in for this Passover meal together — or pre-Passover meal, depending on which Gospel-writer you ask (more on that later) — when Jesus suddenly gets up from the table and does this thing absolutely none of them expects.  He kneels before each of them in turn with a basin of water and a towel and gently washes their feet.  For the society of the time, this is a scandalously out-of-place thing for Jesus to be doing — performing the work of a lowly slave.  And the disciples are kind of embarrassed by it.  Maybe some of you have experienced something like this for yourselves, if you’ve ever been to a church with a tradition of washing adults’ feet as well as children’s feet on Maundy Thursday.  It is a little uncomfortable.  It’s not what we come to church expecting to do, and it’s certainly not what the disciples expected from Jesus.  He is their Lord and Teacher, the long-awaited Messiah — he shouldn’t be on his knees washing their feet!  If anything, they should be washing his!  This is not at all how it’s supposed to go in Peter’s mind, and he is having none of it.  He declares, “You will never wash my feet.”   Continue reading