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  • Writer's pictureFr. Daniel S.J. Scheid SCP

Maundy Thursday Sermon 2024

Fr. Daniel S.J. Scheid, SCP

Maundy Thursday – March 28, 2024

All Saints’ Episcopal Church, San Francisco

“What brings you to Flint?”

Kate and I have friends in Flint – Jan Worth and Ted Nelson. The story they tell is that they met in Tonga, in the Peace Corps, lost track of each other after their posting ended, and reconnected decades later.

 

Ted flew from Los Angeles to Flint, to marry his long-lost-love Jan. Moving from the City of the Angels to Flint, Michigan, isn’t anybody’s idea of upward mobility. So when Ted got off the plane, the agent at the gate asked, “What brings you to Flint, Mister Nelson?”

 

Without missing a beat, Ted said, “Love!”

 

Moving from the heavenly realm, the City of Angels, to this less-than-perfect planet isn’t anybody’s idea of upward mobility, either.

 

Nazareth was the Flint of biblical Palestine – a rough and tumble town where nobody good, it was commonly thought, came from, or went to.

 

“What brings you to Earth, God?” we inquisitive gate agents ask.

 

And, without missing a beat, Jesus says, “Love!”

To the outsider – and even to the most faithful, like you diehards here tonight – the extent of God’s love for us seems downright incomprehensible; nearly as inconceivable as someone moving from Los Angeles to Flint.

 

How is it possible that God, the creator of the universe, the source of all being, the utterly transcendent holy one – how is it possible that God is all of this; and … and, at the same time, loves his creation collectively and you and me and everybody else individually? It’s hard to fathom.

 

And yet, God does. The Trinity of Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; in the perfect Unity of Being, loves us so much as to become one of us in the Incarnation of the Son, known to history as Jesus of Nazareth.

 

This same Jesus did many things while he walked among us two millennia ago.

 

Tonight, we remember two.

 

While at supper he gave himself to us fully in the Sacred Mystery of the Holy Eucharist – his very body and blood present in common elements of bread and wine. It was a sacrifice that happened just once, and yet we repeat it every time we gather at this altar to retell the tale.

 

God loves us so much, desires us so fully, as to be fully present whenever priest and people call on him to be.

 

And, while at supper, this same Jesus, God the Son, the incarnate and ineffable mystery, stooped as a servant to wash the feet of his friends and followers. God washing feet! How is this possible?

 

And yet it is. The fully-human one, still fully-divine – with his own suffering and death on the near-horizon, mind you – this Jesus of Nowheresville, God the Son, invites and incorporates us into himself.

 

Why? Because he loves us.

 

Now go, Jesus tells us, and do the same.

 

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