A very holy Thursday.
On my Facebook status for today, I wrote:
"Beauty comes from pain.
Joy comes from hard times.
Victory comes from struggle.
Flowers come from rain.
May the meaning of Maundy Thursday bring you inspiration and enlightenment."
I thought I might expand on that a little bit here today with all of you.
In the Christian church, today is Holy Thursday. But I really prefer it by its other name...the name I've learned a lot about since I joined my current church more than ten years ago. But a name I really didn't appreciate until then.
Today is also called Maundy Thursday, which I think really gives a much clearer insight into the day's meaning and power.
"Maundy" refers to the fact that Jesus washed His disciples feet, and served them bread and wine, in the midst of knowing that He was about to suffer and die. It was a night that the disciples didn't understand, but a night when Jesus absolutely understood everything...and, because of that two-sided understanding, it is poignant and tragic and tear-inducing.
When you think about it, this day--when we commemorate Jesus preparation for His suffering and death--really doesn't seem very holy at first glance. And when it first happened, it certainly didn't seem holy. It seemed ugly and sad and depressing and final.
It's only holy in retrospect. In hindsight. In reflection.
Sorta like the way I have learned from different experiences in my own life...
I appreciate my Mother and my Father so much more because I went through the fearful times of seeing Mom lying in ICU suffering from a near-fatal brain aneuryism and seeing Dad suffer the after-effects of radiation for near-fatal neck cancer.
I know how special and precious my marriage is because I've experienced the disappointment and failing of another.
I treasure times of conversation and laughter and silliness and contentment with friends when it's been a while since I've seen them last.
I treasure the openness and honesty and friendliness of a relationship with a daughter because I know that there are moments which could have turned it in the exact opposite direction.
I understand the sweetness of victory and success because I know how hard it took to get there.
I relish in the beauty and brilliance of my flowers, realizing that it's the heavy rains from the days before that have made them so beautiful and brilliant.
Only when we see the journey that got us to where we are can we truly appreciate what we have. When we fail to appreciate the harshness and the sadness and the disappointments and the grief and the struggles and the hard lessons...we don't treasure where those things have taken us.
We don't do it be because we are nihilistic or enjoy suffering, but because we know it is necessary.
Life is not all roses and happiness and bubbles and laughter...
but, when we see the thorns and the sadness and the burst bubbles and the tears that happened along the way, we can enjoy the wonderful, good things so much, much more!
And that's why Maundy Thursday is meaningful to me.
Only in seeing how much Jesus loved us...so much so that He didn't shirk from what He knew He had to do, or come up with an excuse to find another plan...only in experiencing the heartbreak and the pain and the uncomfortableness of it all...can we really know the meaning of this Holy Week.
Don't jump ahead to Easter Sunday already.
First get caught up in how much Jesus loves you...even if it's painful to think about.
And think about your own journey, and what has brought you to where you are today.