By Stony Paths: Thursday

Maundy Thursday's Script

Welcome to ‘By Stony Paths, following the way of the Cross. Using scripture, symbols and time for reflection as we journey with Jesus through Holy Week. 

 

Today is Maundy Thursday, the reading is John 13.2-17 Where at the last supper Jesus washes his disciples feet.

The symbols you are invited to use with today’s meditation are the stone and a small towel and a small bowl of water

If you don’t already have them with you, I suggest you pause this and find them for yourself. 

 

I invite you now to settle down, sit comfortably in a space where you can relax and be attentive to this time of prayerful meditation. 

Let yourself stop, perhaps close your eyes and become still and more relaxed. 

Take time to be aware of God’s welcoming you to be present as you come to be with Christ today.

As you settle, become aware of how you are feeling about coming to this time today. Your hopes, your concerns. Notice your desire to be with Jesus. 

Tell God, simply openly, and ask for God’s grace to help you in this time.

 

Reflection

As you hold your stone, In your mind’s eye, let yourself be present in this scene. 

The last supper, disciples with Jesus sharing a meal together. Sense the mood, hear the voices, smell, and taste the food. Notice how it is for you to be there, present to Jesus. 

Watch as Jesus gets up, takes off his outer robe, ties a towel around himself, pours water in a basin and starts washing the disciples feet. 

Notice Peter’s contrary reactions. 

First with the towel in your hand, dry and unused. ‘You will never wash my feet’. He is resistant – dry – will not let Jesus serve him. 

Then with your fingers in the bowl of water ‘Not just my feet, my hands, my head’. Everything now.

Can you recognise these contrary reaction in yourself? The tension between no-nothing and yes – everything in your relationship with Jesus. 

Hold the towel as you ponder your resistances?

Feel the water as you ponder your attraction. 

talk to Jesus about what has emerged for you… 

let him wash your feet. How is that?

Then Jesus speaks to everyone: I have set you an example… do as I have done – wash one another’s feet.

With your fingers in the water, ponder, is there someone or some service, perhaps that I am resisting, that I am called to serve?

Holding your stone in your hands cupped together, ask for Jesus’ help to respond to his call to service

 

O Lord hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee. 

 

Lord’s Prayer

 

Tomorrow is Good Friday. There are three meditations that can be used in different ways. 

If you plan on holding the three hours of the cross from midday to three pm, you could listen to one at the beginning of each hour. Using the space between for your own reflection. You might find it helpful to note down any significant experiences, thoughts, prayers and other responses. 

Alternatively, you could listen to them all in closer succession – perhaps taking a little time between them to physically move for a few minutes before continuing.

You could spread them out over the day in a shape that suits you.

The three readings take us from Jesus before Pilate, through his crucifixion, his response to his mother Mary and the others watching, to his death and burial. 

 

This is an emotional journey and so I would suggest giving yourself some extra space afterwards to enable you to gently process the impact it has on you. 

 

The first gospel reading will be John 19.1-19 Jesus before Pilate and the crowd and then crucified. 

The symbol that I suggest you find to go alongside your stone is a cross that you can hold.

 

The psalm that can be read before listening to the podcast is Psalm 69

 

May God bless your Holy Week journey.

 

Reflections on Jesus washing the Disciple's Feet

The paradox of being human in relationship to God is that we live with attraction and avoidance. This is exemplified wonderfully by Peter in this passage. The german artist Sieger Koder in his wonderful depiction of this scene has Peter’s hands revealing this paradoxical, contradictory reality of what it is to be human. One saying stop, the other pulling Jesus closer. We both can’t have God coming too close, and can’t get enough. 

We long for God to be real for us, and yet when we find him coming close, we baulk and find every excuse under the sun to put our attention elsewhere. Speaking for myself the avoidance comes from a sense of embarrassment and shame that I am not what I think I should be or want to be, which I have projected onto God (with the aid of the experience of all sorts of judgmental seniors in my life), yet Jesus still wants to wash my feet. On the other hand, I also no a deep longing for God’s intimacy. 

I find there is a pivot point between these two contrary movements, which is where I find I need to stop and be discerning rather than compulsive. Jesus challenges Peter’s compulsion – asking him to look at things from another perspective – asking what his deeper desire is. To live in the comfort of his own compulsions or to live in close relationship with Jesus. Its a no brainer for Peter (though he does go overboard in his response). Jesus, as he does so often, by asking a pertinent question in the face of compulsion enables a discerning choice to be made. May we continue to be challenged and questioned by Jesus, so that we can be discerning in our responses to his desire for closeness with us, rather than compulsive. 

 

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