Holy Week Meditations Maundy Thursday

Meditation on cup & bread, love & service

In the poor man who knocks at my door, in my ailing mother, the young man who seeks my advice, the Lord Himself is present: therefore let us wash His feet. — CS Lewis

Maundy Thursday’s Text — John 13:1-17, 31-35
13Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then 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. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus 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.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Meditations on Bread, Cup and Service

Serving with Hands and Feet
 
Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love. — Mother Teresa 

It is hard to feel bad about yourself when you are doing something good for someone else. There are a lot of ways to lift your self-esteem, but making a positive difference in another’s life has got to be my best leadership guidance. Serving others and working to add value to them will lift your spirits in a way that nothing else will. Trust me on this one. — John C. Maxwell

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. — Dalai Lama

What people see you do may not be remembered; what they hear you say may be forgotten; but how they feel your intervention in their times of need will forever be remembered. ― Israelmore Ayivor
 
You never know when a helping hand will change another person’s entire life. — Zig Ziglar
 
Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way. — Swami Vivekananda
 
The happiest people I’ve ever met, regardless of their profession, their social standing, or their economic status, are people that are fully engaged in the world around them. The most fulfilled people are the ones who get up every morning and stand for something larger than themselves. They are the people who care about others, who will extend a helping hand to someone in need or will speak up about an injustice when they see it. — Wilma Mankiller
 
We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes. The highest test of the civilization of any race is in its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. — Booker T. Washington
 
There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers. — Rosalynn Carter

Bread as Sacred Element

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. ― Mahatma Gandhi

When I hold a piece of bread, I look at it, and sometimes I smile at it. The piece of bread is an ambassador of the cosmos offering nourishment and support. Looking deeply into the piece of bread, I see the sunshine, the clouds, the great earth. Without the sunshine, no wheat can grow. Without the clouds, there is no rain for the wheat to grow. Without the great earth, nothing can grow. That is why the piece of bread that I hold in my hand is a wonder of life. — Thich Nhat Hahn

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. ― Mother Teresa

Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one. – Nikoli Berdyaev

Even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope. — Martin Luther King, Jr

Jesus has made Himself the Bread of Life to give us life. Night and day, He is there. If you really want to grow in love, come back to the Eucharist, come back to that Adoration. — Mother Teresa

In biblical times, bread (“lechem”) was such an important element of the diet that sometimes the word was synonymous with food in general.* Indeed, the prophet Ezekiel imagines God’s meting out punishment by breaking the “staff of bread.”* Its importance helps explain why special grain offerings featuring cakes (unleavened) were offered as sacrifices in the Temple. Remnants of bread’s importance survive in that the blessing for bread retains its primacy in the hierarchy of food blessings and that full grace after meals (birkat ha-mazon) is not required unless bread has been eaten. — David Arnow

Bread is vital to Christians. It symbolizes the living presence of Jesus, reminds us of our need for divine and human nourishment, and reminds us of our obligation to alleviate the world’s hungers. — Mary Boys

Cup & Fruit of Vine as Sacred Element

We bear fruit not by squeezing it out of ourselves but because we are extensions of the vine, pruned by the gardener-God who wants us to be fruitful and to be drawn into the unity of the Father and Son. God’s love, presence, and pruning are gifts. But we do choose the abiding place of our soul. If we want to bear Jesus’ fruit, then we choose to abide in him, which we will learn in John 15:9 means to abide in his love. — Meda Stamper

This supernatural bread and this consecrated chalice are for the health and salvation of mankind. — Cyprian

In that first ‘fusion’ with Jesus (holy communion), it was my Heavenly Mother again who accompanied me to the altar for it was she herself who placed her Jesus into my soul. — Therese of Lisieux

Have a great love for Jesus in his divine Sacrament of Love; that is the divine oasis of the desert. It is the heavenly manna of the traveller. It is the Holy Ark. It is the life and Paradise of love on earth. — Peter Julian Eymard

Recognize in this bread what hung on the cross, and in this chalice what flowed from His side… whatever was in many and varied ways announced beforehand in the sacrifices of the Old Testament pertains to this one sacrifice which is revealed in the New Testament. — Saint Augustine

When we have been to Holy Communion, the balm of love envelops the soul as the flower envelops the bee. — John Vianney

I hunger for the bread of God, the flesh of Jesus Christ …; I long to drink of his blood, the gift of unending love. — Ignatius of Antioch
If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude. — Angela of Foligno

If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice. — Saint John Chrysostom

Daily Advent Devotional: Day 18 – Wed, Dec 16

Joy may also come from practicing kindness and/or serving others. This approach to life feeds a sense of purpose and optimism. Kindness can happen in simple, daily interactions: recognize the dignity of another person and choose compassion and courtesy in your exchanges. Likewise, you can serve others informally by being a good neighbor and caring for others with acts of thoughtfulness, or more formally by volunteering for a cause in which you believe. Such outreach can be as modest as making a meal or checking in with people by phone. It may take a more committed path as a dedicated volunteer who supports others, and should be done with balance and boundaries.
            As a spiritual practice, this is an empowering approach to life. It identifies your competencies and capabilities, and reminds you that you have choices. It affirms your value and purpose as a human being and helps to acknowledge others, also.  
            Being kind and being of service enlarge personal perspectives. They alter the understanding of others’ circumstances, thus allowing you to recognize your own blessings. They cultivate appreciation for your own individual agency and the ability to be helpful to others. With kindness and service, through small acts or major forms of participation, you may renew your internal sense of fulfillment and joy. — Rev Gail

… for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. — Psalm 63:7

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them … — Psalm 5:11

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. ― Mark Twain

The joy that isn’t shared dies young. — Anne Sexton

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… It’s your responsibility to love it, or change it. – Chuck Palahniuk

When you can stop and ask yourself, “How can I help,” or, “How can I be of service,” you create a new internal dialogue that leads to alternative and expanded ways of thinking and responding. … You have something to offer, a gift brought into this world to share with others. It could be your ability to listen, give a great hug, advocate for those in need, build something, or be there for someone In being able to share this gift, you build a greater sense of connection and belonging, something you can relate to as a basic need. Joy is often a side effect of what can happen when you are in the service of something greater than yourself. — Rachelle Williams

Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means that you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back. — Anne Lamott

SPRING SCHEDULE for Youth & Families with Jackson Community Church

APRIL

  • Fri, April 27 — 5:30-7:30pm • Friday Fun Night

    Spring Fling with Pizza & Games at JCC. RSVP by email if planning to attend or call/text Rev Gail (978.273.0308)
  • Sat, April 28 — 9am-Noon • Spring Cleaning at JCC

    Come prepared to work inside (or outside if you don’t mind the rain). We’re organizing closets, cleaning windows and hard-to-reach areas, touching up spots inside and outside the church, changing light bulbs, and sprucing up the church grounds. Wear old clothes, sensible shoes, and bring work gloves. We’ll add more info about any tools or equipment you should bring from home, such as buckets or rakes or brooms.
  • Sun, April 29 – 10:30am Worship includes traditional Sunday School. Parents may attend worship and children will have interactive lesson during portion  of service.

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This Week: Tue, April 3 – Sun, April 8

Highlights: community events include Wed’s Feast of the Valley and Fri’s Stage Adventure with the grammar school. Church events include Wednesday’s Tune Up fitness with Laurie McAleer and two Thursday yoga classes. Youth environmental summit takes place Saturday. Sunday resumes 8am outdoor ‘gazebo’ interfaith gathering and 9am family activity based on walking the Road to Emmaus.

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