Maundy Thursday

MAUNDY THURSDAY
The Last Supper
 
SENTENCE:
We are to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to us, and we to the world.Galatians 6: 14 (adapted)
 
READINGS:
 
1st Reading – Exodus 12: 1-14
 
Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19
 
2nd Reading – 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
 
Gospel Reading – St John 13: 1-17, 31-35
 
Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.
 
Tonight, would have marked my 19th year in a row, without miss, celebrating Maundy Thursday at Te Wairua Tapu.  Meeting at 7.30pm with likeminded people to remember the last supper Jesus spent with his disciples. The amazing thing is that those who have attended every year, the numbers were always 12 or 13.  We might have got an extra one or maybe one less but the attendance has always hovered around the 12/13. But not tonight. Tonight, is different, very different as the core group of our faith community is unable to gather physically to celebrate Maundy Thursday.
 
Whether it was divinely directed or bad marketing on my part over the years, those numbers tell you a story. History, especially one in which you live out, gives an insight into the character and values that a community of faith hold onto such as having a vision, being consistent, staying focused and on track, commitment, sacrifice, servanthood, reverence, humility and the list goes on.
 
You can wish for whatever you want or even command something into existence but when it comes to God, the outcome of prayer is never what we desire but what we need. God always gives us what we need to develop one’s faith. The lesson I have learnt is that some, if not most of the time, ‘it is what it is’. You can’t make grass grow, it’s already there, you watch it grow. When it needs water, you water it. In some way, the same principle applies to faith. You teach, you nurture but it is God that ultimately feeds and grows one’s faith not you or me.
 
Jesus loved his disciples to the end. He loved them so much that he spent his last night sharing in a meal and humbling himself to cleanse their feet. Why would they ever think anything was going to change? For them, Jesus wasn’t going anywhere? They were all special, even though Peter didn’t appreciate Jesus washing his feet, they were all feeling pretty good about themselves. Complacency, biggest blind spot even with faith! Stay awake and keep watch. As we all discover, at the end of the meal and the very next morning, they all fall away from Jesus and in their own space they desert him. How could they totally understand the journey Jesus was on cause their faith had not fully matured. Jesus knew he would have to leave and left them with this final act of unconditional love. The significance of this sacramental memorial is to remind us that no matter how strong we think our faith is or what we believe, there is always an element of mystery that surrounds the last supper and you realise, like disciples, your faith and my faith has not yet fully matured. As we look towards Good Friday and the pain and suffering Jesus encounters, we will never know what he experienced but when we look around the world and see the suffering of all humanity and all of creation you get a better idea of why God cries and why Jesus must walk to the cross at Calvary. Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Lord Jesus, we thank you for surrendering your life for our sins and the sins of the world.

Archdeacon Kaio Karipa
 
COLLECT:
Gracious and eternal God, in the sacrament you have given us a memorial of the passion of your Son Jesus Christ; grant that we who receive the sacred mysteries may grow up into him in all things until we come to your eternal joy; through our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen
 
Archdeacon Kaio Malcolm Karipa
Sydney Maori Anglican Fellowship
 

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