Is love enough?
News of the war in the Ukraine shatters us, especially when we hear of war crimes against civilians. We have made it through the pandemic (mostly?). Inflation can bring too many of us our knees, particularly at the gas pump. Medical advances are great, but there’s still cancer.
This is our world this Holy Week 2022.
Specifically, this is the world we can feel distraught over or helpless in.
What, then, can we do?
Love is not an answer. It’s the answer. No matter what is going on in the world around us or in our lives, we can love one another.
Naysayers and practical-minded people have already scoffed. But keep reading.
In one sense, I get it. (We all get it.) This love won’t seem to be enough.
And maybe, all alone, it isn’t enough.
But it is a start.
And it isn’t all alone.
The image of one candle in the wind can depress even the optimistic because here’s the sober truth: 100,000 candles in that same wind can extinguish in less than two seconds.
Here’s more truth. Winds cease. Candles can be relit. We can always move indoors.
Love finds ways.
Still, I get it. We all get it. Love, really? We are tempted to find other solutions to the problems of this complicated, confusing and sometimes crushing life because love is too soft, too squishy. We wonder if love has any accountability on a profit and loss sheet. Is it measurable? Tangible?
These questions linger in the minds of the disciples who gather with Jesus four days after their leader fulfills ancient prophecy by triumphantly entering through the East side of Jerusalem on a donkey for the upcoming Passover celebration. It’s the night Christians observe as Maundy Thursday. The twelve gather in an upper room for dinner. Here they will learn of the new command to love.
Before this command is given, however, Jesus does a radical act of humility—and love. He washes the disciple’s feet. The 2022 lectionary text that describes this night is found in John 13:1-17.
It is important to note that animal dung in the streets in those days is the norm, not the exception. Shoes of the day are sandals. So, foot washing? Yes, it’s dirty, smelly job.
It is important to consider (or reconsider) all the chaos, confusion, conflict, and unrest swirling in this upper room. The betrayal by Judas. The denial by Peter. The crowds who will be shouting for him to be crucified. The religious and political leaders deriding Jesus right up to his death. All of this is coming. Jesus knows this and responds to this with a loving act, the foot washing.
To the crumbling, crushing world then and now, Jesus makes it clear. Love one another. Love guides us through whatever we experience in this world.
Join a Maundy Thursday service. Experience this fresh and anew.
Jesus’ act is the simplest, most humble, least practical, and most ordinary act of love and kindness imaginable. He does it to teach his disciples then (and to us today) that what really matters in this crazy life is love.
So yes, love is enough. It’s the response to give. It’s the response to live.