Today is Maundy Thursday.
That's one that gives the kids giggle fits. "Monday-Thursday"?
Nope. Actually, it has to do with one of the most significant of Jesus' acts, but one which today is missed by many who claim to be practitioners of the Christian faith(s).
Christians like to cite John 3:16 as the cornerstone of why we should Believe. You can even get golf balls, Christian golf balls - or perhaps they are Gospel Balls - with John 3:16 imprinted upon them. One can only presume that swatting such balls will get you on God's foursome.
But without John 13:34-35, which cites Christ's New Commandment, does John 3:16 have any real substance? Without at least a good faith attempt on the part of the faithful to comply with Christ's commandment, does a simple belief in him do the trick? Does a simple belief in John 3:16 carry an implicit acknowledgment of that New Commandment - and more importantly, an acceptance of Christ's charge to his disciples? If it is implicit, is it perhaps too subtle for many people? Christ was pretty direct when he laid the commandment on, but the focus is always on John 3:16 - those golf balls, again - rather than John 13:34-35.
BTW ... you won't find John 13:34-35 on any golf balls.
Maundy Thursday has to do with that New Commandment, which Christ symbolized by the washing of his disciples' feet. "Maundy" is derived from the Latin for "command" or "commandment". Peter initially refused to have Christ wash his feet, but was told, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Why?
Some churches actually do have a foot-washing service, but generally, Maundy Thursday and the ritual foot-washing as a symbolic display of acceptance of the New Commandment are not observed by most churches, at least in this country. Why? Too much focus on getting out to the golf course after the Easter service and swatting a few of those John 3:16 balls?
Well ... we're moving now to The Main Event. Sunday morning is supposed to be party cloudy and reasonably warm, so the Sunrise Service should be very nice indeed.