At the beginning of Lent, we gathered together downstairs in the fellowship hall for worship and for a meal.
Little did we know at that time that that very meal that we would share in would be one of our last meals together this Lent.
That evening I also showed a movie clip from movie Son of God.
The scene was of Jesus eating a meal with his disciples just before his death on the cross.
Jesus lifted up a load of bread and he said take and eat of this bread in remembrance of me.
Then he took the cup.
He lifted it up and said take and drink of this cup in remembrance of me.
Jesus shared in one last meal with his disciples.
After that he was betrayed, sentenced to death, and then hung on the cross.
Then we waited.
We all waited.
Lent is a time of waiting.
We wait to hear good news.
We wait to hear on Easter Sunday the good news that Jesus rose from the dead and that Jesus is alive.
Waiting is hard.
I find that I am often not a very patient person.
I want to rush things and immediately get to the good stuff of life.
In my faith life I am no different.
During Lent I often find myself counting down the days until Easter.
I want to rush through Lent to get to the good stuff of Easter.
But we first most go through Lent to get to Easter.
We cannot skit Lent.
We cannot begin Lent with Ash Wednesday and then the next morning have Easter.
We need these forty days to pray, to fast, to return to God and to God’s ways.
We need this time to wait with our Lord.
Today on this Maundy Thursday we continue to wait.
Today is not Easter.
We are not celebrating the joy of the resurrection today.
No, today we wait with our Lord in quiet anticipation of our Lord’s victory over the evil powers of this world and over even death itself.
Today is an important day in the life of the church.
We cannot skip Maundy Thursday.
We need to remember Jesus’ call for us to reach out to our neighbors and to serve our neighbors.
We need to remember how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.
We need to remember how on this day our Lord gathered with his disciples for one last meal.
We need to remember how at that meal he gave himself to us.
We need to remember that on this day we gather still to celebrate the Last Supper in bread and wine.
This is also why we gather on Sunday mornings for Holy Communion.
It is because of this day.
And now we cannot safely gather to eat and to drink of our Lord’s body and blood in Holy Communion.
But we will gather again.
Now we stay home. We wait.
But we do not wait without hope.
With hope we wait with our Lord in trust and in faith that one day we will gather again to eat and to drink and to worship the one who gives himself for us.
Several weeks ago, I spoke about the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich who lived during the Middle Ages.
One of her best-known lines is this: “All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”
Julian lived through a great plague and at one point almost died herself of illness. But through it all Julian continued praying and believing in God.
Her faith gave her purpose, meaning, and vision.
She saw God being present to her.
God was with and for her and she saw that God was with and for all people.
In the same way we continue to look to God for hope.
We wait with Jesus knowing that when we pass through this period of Lent both the Lent of the church year and the wilderness we find ourselves in with this pandemic that we will be able to say once again, “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Julian was able to say that not because life was perfect but because of her great faith in God’s healing and restoring work in the world.
Tonight, we believe in the gift of salvation.
The gift of God’s healing, restorative work in the world and in our lives.
Jesus enters into our suffering and our pain.
Jesus enters into our worries and our anxieties with great love and he transmutes it into peace so that we can say this evening that in Christ all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.