St. John’s Lutheran Church
6 April 2023 + Maundy Thursday
John 13.1-17, 31b-35
Rev. Josh Evans
This sermon begins with a story. It’s a story about saying goodbye.
Tonight, we remember the story of the last meal that Jesus shared with his friends. They were probably sad, and maybe a little afraid. They didn’t know when, or even if, they would see each other again.
This story is about saying goodbye. It’s sad to say goodbye, but when we’re saying goodbye to someone we love, like the disciples loved Jesus, or like the different characters in this book loved their friend Old Turtle, they can also remember all the good memories they shared and all the things they learned from each other.
This story is called Always Remember…
In the end, at their very last meal together, the disciples remembered.
Tonight, on this Holy Week, in these Three Days, at this meal, we too remember:
Jesus the teacher, who patiently taught, in parables and dialogue, about the upside-down, inside-out kin-dom of God, where the first are last and the last are first.
Jesus the good friend, who ate in the company of sinners and tax collectors, who befriended the marginalized and the lonely and accompanied the outcast.
Jesus who ate and drank and reclined at table with friend and stranger alike, laughing and crying and telling stories together.
Jesus who walked on water and calmed the sea, whose journeys took him to places unknown, confronting demons and drawing near to those whom others were afraid to encounter.
Jesus who sought out lost coins and sheep and siblings, searching high and low until he found them, to carry them safely back home.
Jesus who told the mourners at Lazarus’s tomb to unbind him and let him go, who indiscriminately freed his people from all that held them bound in shame or oppression.
Jesus the host, who stooped down in loving humility to wash the feet of his disciples, who broke bread and poured wine and bid his disciples to eat and drink.
Jesus the lover, who commanded his disciples to love one another just as he had loved them, whose love would go even to the cross, laying down his life for his friends.
We remember and do not forget.
We tell the story to our children, and our children tell it to their children, and to generations to come.
We remember, so that this story will not be forgotten.
Once upon a time, there was Jesus.
He was a wonderful teacher and friend.
He explored the unknown and discovered great things.
He showed kindness and strength.
And he made the world a better place.
When Jesus died, it was only the beginning. Because there was still more to the story.
We remember and do not forget: This is a story of God’s enduring, loving faithfulness – tale as old as time.
This story is revealed this night in bread and cup and a new commandment to love. This story is revealed in these days in the garden, on the cross, and in the tomb.
This story still isn’t over.
We remember in order to live the story.
To embody the love made known to us this night, in this Jesus, our teacher, our lover, our friend.
We remember so that all might know and experience the love that is for the life of the world.