Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

22 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:22-25) 
Today is Maundy Thursday. I've always heard it called Holy Thursday, but Maundy Thursday is a pretty good name for today. I always thought that Maundy Thursday was to remember the last supper, but it's a lot more than that. Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum which means mandate or commandment. Maundy is also the name of the ceremony of washing the feet of poor persons or inferiors, performed as a religious rite on Maundy Thursday in commemoration of Christ's washing the disciples' feet at the last supper. 

If today is named for a mandate or commandment, what is that particular commandment? The command isn't to wash each other's feet, that would be very symbolic but eventually get kind of silly. The commandment isn't to remember Jesus either, as Christians that's what we're all about. No, the commandment, the Great Commandment, was given to us from Jesus himself as a commandment. Although it looks like it, Jesus last commandment not in the 10 commandments, all Christians can remember them, mostly because we've broke them all (many before breakfast) and have been forgiven for it. And Jesus last Commandment is not exactly like the "greatest commandments in the Law" that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 22:36-40. Those are for everyone. This great commandment, this mandatum is for us, the Christian:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
This commandment was given only to the 12, the first real Christians, therefore it was by extension given to us their spiritual children. Jesus is commanding us Christians to love each other and to be known for that love. Other religions are known for something, the Jews are known for the law, the Muslims are known for their Jihad, Christians must be known for their love for each other. 

This isn't the old love thy neighbor command from Leviticus 19:18, this is different. We're not talking about a warm handshake and maybe a hug over a cup of Folgers after Sunday School and before worship service, but a real abiding love, a love to the very end. He commanded us to love each other as he loved us:
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
That's some serious love, this is the love that a husband shows his wife, to die for her if needed. I'm told that the church does better when times are hard, and looking at the middle east, North Korea, and Africa times are hard over there, church persecution is rampant. Christians are being tortured and killed for their faith, while here in "civilization" we're just starting to feel Satan's control on society. Open air preachers are being harassed, preachers in Canada are being imprisoned for uttering the words "homosexuality" and "sin" in the same sentence. It's just a matter of time before the political correctness storm troopers begin kicking in our doors looking for anyone who dare display public intolerance by reading the bible. Until that time things are still good for us, and that makes it a little tougher to follow Jesus' last commandment. 

Shared adversity brings people together, ask any combat veteran. Conversely easy living makes relationships tougher, ask any church board meeting veteran. We forget charity for all when the crib that Dear Departed Great Uncle Tobias made for the church nursery back in '06 was discovered to have been painted with lead based paint and had to be removed by the well meaning new parish member... but it's Great Uncle Tobias! How dare you remove Great Uncle Tobias legacy without >>>MY<<< permission!!! As silly as it seems these are the things that tear apart a congregation. We let pride, God's most hated sin, get in the way of our love for each other and cause us to say some incredibly strange things. We want to risk the health and safety of our babies and grandchildren just to preserve the fading memory of Great Uncle Tobias who's been gone longer than 75% of the present congregation has been members? 

What should we do with Great Uncle Tobias Crib? Should the money for the spring picnic come out of the women's fellowship fund or the youth ministry fund? And what about Lana DeBronski? She never brings snacks on her assigned night at bible study. It's Not That Important. None of it is. The worst part is that if your church is pulling apart it's probably because of something minor like these examples. Your salvation IS important enough to get worked up about, so why aren't you getting upset when the new pastor wants to introduce something that will put the salvation of his sheep at risk: "Christian yoga", contemplative prayer, kingdom doctrine, using The Message bible perVersion... that's the kind of thing to get angry about. Not the everlasting doctrinal nightmare of Folgers VS Maxwell House.

1 John 3:23,  1 Thessalonians 4:9,  1 Peter 1:22, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Galatians 6:2, 2 Peter 1:7 - this is where our mandate comes from, not from bylaws or constitutions or committee meeting minutes. The command of Jesus to love each other unto death is our mandate. We should be ready to endure hardships, encounter dangers, practice self-denial, and give up up our lives for each other, to let the world know We Are Christians by our love, and harder yet, to lay aside our pride and just love each other.

Heavenly father, as the end times draw closer we, Your son's bride, need Your help and love more than ever. As Your word is being fulfilled with every new headline we are filled with excitement and fear, but also with confusion. We beg you to reach out and touch our hearts and help us see each other as You see us, let Your love fill us so that the darkening world can see our light and maybe a few will join us as you rise us up to join You. In Jesus name we beg You...

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