You are here9th April 2020

9th April 2020

By Alison Hudson - Posted on 09 April 2020


Maundy Thursday

John 13: 2b-10

During supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”



This morning, I along with hundreds of other people would have been at Lichfield Cathedral for the annual Maundy Thursday service of the blessing of oils for the year ahead and the reaffirmation of vows for those in ordained ministry. The Ordinal, which contains the promises that a newly ordained person makes before God and before his church starts with the sentence “Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent”.

The image of Jesus we hold before us this day, of Him rolling up his sleeves, tying an towel around his waist and getting down on his knees to perform the humblest of tasks, is a reminder of the type of ministry that not just priests, but all of God’s people are called to live out.

This year much has changed about the way we ‘do church’, remote and socially distanced, yet still reaching out to one another in our hearts and in our prayers. Everything was about to change for the disciples and Jesus’ gives them a tangible demonstration of what servant heartedness looks like, one they will take into the new world they will find themselves in following His crucifixion and resurrection.

Peter struggled initially with being on the receiving end of having his feet washed, until Jesus explained the purpose. And so we get this lovely image of Jesus, our servant King, offering himself in humility, whilst Peter must agree to receive. The act of giving and receiving has a mutuality about it that epitomises so much of what is going on in our communities around us at this time. In the midst of adversity, hardship and sickness, we are reaching out to one another and, importantly, we are receiving from one another. One cannot exist without the other. This day may we both give and receive as we live out our Christian faith in this very different way in the life of the world. Amen