Begin by standing unannounced on a chair
I know that energy equals mass times the square of the speed of light -because my physics teacher did just this - he stood on a chair and told us so.
You do not forget a thing like that.
What has struck me about this passage this year is how Jesus continued teaching. We are told that he knew that his hour had come and that he loved his friends. I have not been at a farewell supper with quite this poignancy but I think I might anticipate a more sombre tone. And then during supper Jesus did this - like any good lesson he begins by grabbing the disciples attention, not by jumping on a chair, but by getting up from the table, taking off his robe and wrapping a towel around himself.What a shock, what is he doing they would say? And then he pours water into a basin and begins to wash their feet. I do not need to tell you about how menial a task this is, how only the most lowly of the servants would do this, nor how dusty the roads were - you know all these things and the disciples knew them all too. But now they are focussed on the questions.
Energy equals mass times the square of the speed of light : Jesus the Messiah, the man we call the Son of God is washing my feet - but what could this really mean?
“Do you know what I have done to you?” Jesus asks as he brings them to the threshold of a new understanding. Jesus knows that in a few hours he will be betrayed, will be arrested, that he will walk the path to death, and he absolutely does not stop for knowing all this he is still teaching, still growing his disciples, still taking time to show them what it means.
“I give you a new commandment that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
Jesus spells it out - look over all the things you have seen me do, all the things we have done together, look too at the thing that I am about to do- this is what it is about - change your lives, stop seeking advantage, preferment, an edge over your neighbour, a better place at table, and as I have loved you show love for one another. Here is the great lesson, remember in the time to come that I who you call Lord and teacher washed your feet, and told you to love one another.
You don’t forget a thing like that.