12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13: 12-14 and 34-35
Throughout March we continue within the season of Lent, a time when we are called to return to God. On Sundays our Hebrew Bible scripture readings include those of covenants or promises made with the people of God, our Psalms respond to those readings as well as being primarily psalms of Lament during this season, our second readings are new testament epistle readings that remind us of the cross of Christ, and then our gospel readings prepare us for Holy Week and the path to the cross. In this season of returning to God then it is natural to turn that focus directly to the cross.
Our midweek Lenten worship services provide a space for such focus with a meditative and participatory worship acknowledging that we indeed live our lives beneath the cross of Jesus, that is beneath God’s love and grace that reaches to us even from Calvary. Together we explore what it is to abide at the foot of the cross as we confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness.
Throughout our weekly service in addition to listening and exploring scripture we also explore images from our weekly gathering hymn, ELW 338, Beneath the Cross of Jesus. The third verse from this hymn, includes the phrase: “I take, O cross, your shadow for my abiding place.” Our Lenten invitation is indeed to take the cross as our abiding place.
I look forward to exploring and experiencing what it to stand “beneath the cross of Jesus” as we continue this worship series at 7 pm Wednesdays: March 7th at St. John, March 14th at Salem, and March 21st at St. John. I also invite you to join me from 6 to 6:40 pm prior to our Wednesday services (come and go as you are able) to nourish your soul with time to dwell in scripture, prayer, and conversation. And, as always, please reach out for conversation at any time.
It is in that abiding place that we then hear Jesus’ words to us that we hear in worship on Maundy Thursday (John 13: 12-14 and 34-35 printed above). These words of Jesus humble us and convict us.
As we ponder these words together at the foot of the cross, let us rest there in grace and love eternal, and let us move forward living our faith as we love one another even as we proclaim the joy of Easter!
It’s no joke – Easter is on April 1st this year! I look forward to joyfully worshipping with you on Easter morning: 6:30 am St. John Easter Sunrise Service and 8:30 am Salem Easter Morning Worship Service.
Yours in Christ,