Tonight we remember the last meal shared by Jesus and his disciples, commonly held to be a Passover meal, a meal that establishes in Jewish minds their identity as a liberation people, and that theme of liberation is one that played strongly throughout the life, teaching and preaching of Jesus.
The liberation offered by Jesus is a “liberation not set solely in the future or some eternity but one that happens in our flesh and bones, here and now.”
The justice and liberation of Jesus is entirely practical. Against the backdrop of Roman imperialism and colonisation, Jesus ministered to people who were disadvantaged and excluded from dominant religious practices.
As Jesus proclaims the bread of life in John chapter 6, he provides physical bread: a manifestation of inclusion and freedom.
As we continue or journey with Common Grace, begun in Lent, tonight we hear Dr Janice McRandal explain that, Jesus makes no distinction between our physical or spiritual hunger. He satisfies all our needs.
The invitation extends to us today: come and be satisfied; and come and take part in bringing liberation to the here and now.
Tonight we celebrate Christ’s two fold giving of himself:
To the forces of darkness, he gave himself to die on the cross for the life of the world. He is the paschal victim, whose blood, just as in the exodus from Egypt, acts as a sign of his people’s liberation both bodily and spiritually.
To his friends, to his disciples, to us, he gives himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation, which we proclaim in the Eucharist, until he comes again...
If we truly belong to Christ, we must follow his example of self giving and service – symbolised in John’s gospel by the washing of feet –
And we must be willing and ready to say with Christ, about our own selves: “This is my body which is given up for you.”
The whole purpose of tonight’s liturgy is to enable us to make this self giving in the pursuit of justice and liberation for all creation the real motivation for our lives...
Fellow servants of our Lord Jesus Christ: On the night before his death, Jesus set an example for his disciples by washing their feet, an act of humble service.
He taught that strength and growth in the life of the Reign of God, which is characterised by these virtues of peace, justice, liberation and love, come not by power, authority, or even miracle, but by such lowly service.
We all need to remember his example, but none stand in more need of this reminder than those whom the Lord has called through the people of God, to the ordained ministry...
Therefore, I invite you who share in the royal priesthood of Christ, to come forward, that I may recall whose servant I am by following the example of my Master.
But come remembering his admonition that what will be done for you is also to be done by you to others, for “a servant is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Foot washing follows.