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Plymouth United Church of Christ
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Eau Claire, WI 54703
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“This is What Love Looks Like: A Parable in Three Acts”
Sermon, Year A, Maundy Thursday, April 17, 2014
Plymouth United Church of Christ, Eau Claire, WI
© Rev. David J. Huber
Focus Scripture: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

During Lent this year, our Wednesday night and noon Soupo and Scripture time together we looked at some of Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. Also called the Realm of God, the Commonwealth of God, the Egalitarian Community of God, whatever we might like to call it. We looked at these parables that Jesus offered to us to show us what that world was/is like. What God’s intent is for us. I found them to be quite good discussions with a lot of good comments and good conversation. Those of you that were here, I hope you also found them enlightening and helpful and that you learned about what it is, this Realm of God. God’s topsy-turvy way of doing things. Turning things on their end, flipping them upside down from what we might often think of how things ought to be.

This Kingdom, this Realm, that Jesus talked about is where a man sells all that he has just to possess a single wonderful pearl.

Where a shepherd leaves ninety-nine sheep to go search for one. Or a woman spends great energy searching for a single lost coin.

Where seeds are sown in extravagance.

Where a debt of even 150,000 years’ worth of labor is forgiven and a slave is set free.

Where workers in a field receive enough wages to survive for a day, whether they started early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Where the king rides a donkey into the capital city through a back door, and not in triumph, but to become a victim.

We have a parable in tonight’s Gospel lesson. It is a parable of action, not a parable of words that Jesus spoke. Rather, Jesus is doing this parable, showing us, “This is what the Realm looks like.” Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. He washes his disciples’ feet. This is an intimate, physical act. And in doing so he’s setting up another parable. The realm of God is like this: A king stoops down to the floor to wash a subjects’ feet and to dry them with his own robe.

We also in this reading have another parable within the parable. The realm is like this: A king who knows a certain will betray him, stoops down to the floor and washes his feet and dries them with his own robe and as he rises up he takes that man’s hand and invites him to the table saying, “You need to eat. Come and eat.” And he feeds him the bread and wine, feeding him his body and his blood.

That’s what Jesus is talking about! That’s what it looks like. “Love one another as I have loved you.” No distinction of rank or social status. Not even any distinction of what is in a person’s heart. A simple commandment: Love one another. Unconditionally. Love one another as I have loved you.

As you continue your journey through this evening’s readings, and those of tomorrow if you come to the Good Friday worship, and hear Jesus’ story think of it as a parable that says “This is what love looks like.”


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Plymouth United Church of Christ
2010 Moholt Drive
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 54703

Webpastor: Pastor David