Lent ends today, and what begins is the first of the Three Days liturgy that constitutes the bridge between Lent and the Resurrection: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil of Easter. Together they lead us into the core of Christian faith, beginning with a focus on repentance and the servanthood of Jesus.
Because Lent has been a time of repentance and deepening faith through increased prayer, giving, and fasting, the Gathering includes Confession of Sin and Forgiveness, the Word includes the readings and sermon plus foot-washing and intercessory prayer, and following the Meal, the worship space is stripped of the trappings that can be taken away.
The most important statement of this day is the incomprehensible love of God in Christ Jesus. Today the journey into the heart of our faith begins with a bald and uncompromising look at ourselves. In contrast with the example Jesus sets for us (disrobing, kneeling, washing, insisting on his servanthood) we see our own inability to let this happen.
“You will never wash my feet” is an attempt to stay away, keep a distance, insist on my lack of need, assert my strength to carry on without the Great Servant who is the rabbi and shepherd, who stays silent before his accusers and leaves us with his body and blood. The stark look at ourselves, which has been undertaken throughout Lent in prayer and almsgiving and self-denial of all kinds, on this day comes to a head. When we look at ourselves as Peter, with pride splayed out for all to observe, we find ourselves, then, grateful that along with Peter, Christ Jesus teaches us to let our feet be washed.