On one of those brilliant blue-sky days in early December, I stopped by to see my sister on my way back home. This would be our final conversation, as she unexpectedly died a few days later. I have often revisited that day and gone over every word that was said. I remember her insistent generosity of giving me large bags of baby clothes, even though I was neither pregnant, nor thought I might ever be. All the while holding her five-month-old daughter and keeping an eye on her active toddler. Her multi-tasking was impressive.
Over cups of tea in her kitchen, we talked about her recent reconciliation with my father. They had experienced a really hard season, but just days earlier my father had sent her flowers for Thanksgiving. This gesture was greeted by my sister’s grace and certain steely determination, “I’ll do anything to make sure my kids have a good relationship with him.”
Finally, I said goodbye and headed out the door. After backing down the driveway, I had turned my car around at the end of the cull de sac. As I passed her house, I saw her and the children outside on the driveway waving away to me as if I was setting sail on the Queen Mary for a transatlantic holiday. It struck me as so special that she came back outside to say goodbye again. To this day, I can still see them there.
On Maundy Thursday, we find Jesus gathering his disciples for the Passover Meal, and he begins by washing their feet in demonstration of humility. Jesus knew he had only a little more time left, and yet he chose to sit down and break bread with all of his disciples. Those who loved him, those who would deny him and even the one who would betray him sat around that table. Jesus gave his followers a mandate (hence the name, Maundy Thursday) to love one another with both words and actions (John 13:34). He modeled abundant love for others that was intentional, sacrificial, and generous.
Lord, help me to follow Jesus’ mandate to love generously and sacrificially. Help me to take no opportunity for granted that you give me in this life.