This evening marks a beautiful night: the night Christ gave us a new commandment: that we love one another. The night he stripped off his outer garment, knelt and washed his friends’ feet, telling them they must do likewise, serving one another. The night he took bread and wine and said, “This is my body, broken for you. This is my blood: the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.”
This evening we mark a terrifying night: the night Christ was betrayed.
Just as Christ knew Peter would deny him, Christ knew Judas would betray him. But he washed those feet anyway. And when Judas laid the kiss of betrayal on his master’s cheek, the master still called him “friend.”
After a night of torture, Christ would die on the cross praying for his enemies just as he had instructed us to do: “Father forgive them; they know not what they do.”
The more negative and spiteful speech I notice in myself and in the culture around me, the more the song “Brother” by The Brilliance keeps running through my head. I must love enemies (whoever I perceive them to be) because only God is good, and I am every bit as frail as the one who’s hurting me. I must look for the brother in my enemy, and my speech, even when I’m led to challenge others, must be motivated by a loving desire for their good. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
May we love our enemies as our brothers. May we love our neighbors as ourselves. When this seems impossible, may we remember the words the angel spoke to the virgin-mother, the woman who stood by Christ at his cross: with God all things are possible. (Do I fail so frequently because, for all my holy words, I really don’t believe that yet? Am I still trying to do this on my own?)
May our speech reflect the new commandment, the one Christ gave the night he was betrayed: Love one another.
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