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The Power of Love

We are nearing the end of Holy Week.  As we move through the scripture narratives, things will get worse before they get better.  But spending time reflecting on and sitting with the events of the week no matter how uncomfortable they are is so important because I believe it makes for a much richer, authentic celebration of Easter. 

Let’s look a little closer at what happened on the day we now call Maundy Thursday. 

This was the day that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and shared a last meal with them during Passover.  It is when the sacrament of Holy Communion began. “Do this in remembrance of me,” Jesus instructed as he lifted and passed the bread and the cup. 

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word for command or order.  It comes from the gospel of John 13:34, “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.”

Jesus is talking directly to the disciples at the Passover meal.  Notice Jesus says, “a new commandment.”  This is different from the Great Commandment that Jesus gave earlier to love God and love neighbor as you love yourself.  He is telling the disciples that they have to love one another; those who they are gathered with around that table.  If the disciples were not able to  love one another how effective would they actually be in teaching and leading the Church forward to share the love of God with others?

In the summer of 2014 I was given an opportunity to be the program manager of Jensen Woods camp in Timewell, IL. 

Prior to 2014 my camping ministry experience included: 

  1. Dropping off and picking up our son for many consecutive years of church camp

  2. Volunteering for one week as a chaplain in 2013.  Yet they hired me anyway. 

This had to be a calling from God because I was not equipped. 

So I prayed, listened, researched, had lots of conversations with lots of people who knew way more about camp than I did, and prayed some more. 

Where I specifically felt God calling me that summer was to love the staff. 

Yes, there were lots of camp things to do as well, payroll to submit, schedules to make, phone calls to make, problems to solve. 

But specifically I felt called to pour love into my staff. 

I did this in several different ways throughout the summer:  I had a large welcome basket of goodies in each staff bunk room waiting for them on check in day, I made it a priority each week to check in one on one with each of the staff and to pray with them, I left them encouraging notes and treats to find on their beds, I made them a big homemade treat to share in our Friday staff meeting, and spent time doing devotions and praying with them all on Sundays before campers arrived. 

At the end of our summer I wanted to do one more thing for them. I wanted to prepare and serve a last supper for all of us to share together as a way to say, “Well done, good and faithful servants.  I love you.”  We ended that meal with Holy Communion and the next day everyone packed up, said goodbye, and headed back home. 

Let us never underestimate the power of love. 

Jesus was God’s love walking around with skin on, breathing, teaching, healing, serving, washing feet, and dying on the cross.

As followers of Jesus we are called, no, commanded to love one another. 

When we love others the way Jesus has loved us, our love is transformed into something powerful; life changing; life giving; holy.

Let us never underestimate the power of love. 

Pastor Becky

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