Wednesday in Holy Week (Year A)

See Holy Week - a Singing the Faith introduction

A new commandment I give unto you:
that you love one another as I have loved you,
that you love one another as I have loved you.
By this the world shall know that you are my disciples,
if you have love one for another.
By this the world shall know that you are my disciples,
if you have love one for another.

(StF 242)

The talking is over, the action begins. With it approaches the inevitable personal humiliation and the laying down of life spoken about in yesterdays’ readings. In a context we will recognise as The Last Supper, the emphasis here is not on the final meal that Jesus shares with his disciples. Instead, John describes his betrayal by Judas and Jesus’ re-statement that this very act, leading to his death, is the way towards the glorification of God by “the Son of Man” (a figure of glory in other biblical passages, including the book of Daniel). Despite the insults and abuse that Jesus anticipates, he – like Isaiah’s servant figure – is acting upon careful listening to God’s expectations and intentions.

Like St Paul’s “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us, if we choose to respond positively to Jesus’ example, will need to demonstrate great perseverance. Followers of Jesus are in it for the long haul. The great anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman was one person who embodied that perseverance inspired by a belief in transformative possibility. She said:

“He set the North Star in the heavens;
He gave me the strength in my limbs;
He meant I should be free.”

Isaiah 50: 4-9a
Psalm 70
Hebrews 12: 1-3
John 13: 21-32

Suggested hymns

Come, wounded Healer (StF 271)
Give me the wings of faith to rise within the veil (StF 747)
Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart (StF 520)
God, how can we forgive (StF 613)
Have faith in God, my heart (StF 466)
He came to earth in poverty (StF 246)
I’ve had questions without answers (StF 632)
Listen for God who speaks within our hearts (website only)
May the mind of Christ my Saviour (StF 504)
Meekness and majesty (StF 362)
Open, Lord, my inward ear (StF 450)
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want (StF 480)