John 13: 1-37
Our Gospel reading contains within it two deeply symbolic movements.
The first is the one that we have gathered to commemorate this evening, and which we will live out with each other in a few moments time.
In this moment Jesus takes a towel, and ties it around his waist, and kneels at the feet of his disciples and in washing their feet, he serves them.
In this movement, this most simple and demeaning of acts, Jesus gives us a glimpse of the deep truth we will find in these coming days.
The second movement is more hidden, it is shifty, so much so that the Gospel writer reminds us that is was night. This is the movement of Judas leaving to collect his money and betray Jesus. It is that movement which sets in train all those other movements which will draw us to the silence and stillness of the foot of the cross.
These are two movements which show us two ways to live, two ways to be.
In Judas we see the human path. This is the Will to Power. The desire to save our own bacon, to curry favour, to enrich ourselves with thirty pieces of silver. This is the path of human nature and desire. It is the path which Judas takes willingly or not, but which he takes nonetheless. And it is the path that is most often trodden through the centuries by humanity, and which we all have, whether we have cared to admit it or not, have strayed ourselves from time to time.
This is the path in which we draw things to ourselves first and then worry about the consequences later.
But in Jesus God shows us another path.
This path, this movement is of Will to Love. It is this which gives away first, which serves first, which loves first.
On this night Jesus offers us a choice.
Do we follow the Will to Power, do we save ourselves, do we think of our own needs first, and then work out what to do next, or do we follow the Will to Love?
In the first is security and safety, but no life.
In the second is risk and danger and love stronger than death.
In one we feed our sense of self.
And in the other we find that
love so amazing, so divine, [it]
demands by soul, my life, my all.