“And 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.’ For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’” –John 13:3-11

One by one, Jesus knelt on the floor in front of each disciple. One by one, the water of his love washed over the feet of each disciple. No one was left out. Judas. Peter. The ones who said nothing. All were washed. All were loved.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus offers his life in bread, wine, and washing. By his example and command we are to receive the feet, the life of another, into our hands, and wash. We are to place our feet, our life, into the hands of another, and be washed. This is the way of love, the way of Christ. It is a choice not just for today, but for every moment of our lives, not just in worship but in the communities of our daily lives. At its center, Maundy Thursday is about making a choice – to love or not to love.

Jesus made the choice to love. Not just some of them, but all of them. That is the choice before us. We can’t choose to love only those we like, those we deem deserving, those for whom we have good feelings, those who look, think, or act like us. It is absolute. It is all or nothing. If we do not love all, we love none. Love, for Jesus, is not about feelings and emotions but about a choice. In Jesus’ teaching, if you have feet, you get washed, regardless of where those feet have been or where they are going. That is the example and commandment he sets before his disciples and us.

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” –John 13:34-35