Maundy Thursday – A Call to Shared Ministry, Kevin Lowry

2 Apr


12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13: 12-15)

In John’s passage describing the Passover feast of the Last Supper he reminds us that ministry happens when we strip off our outer garments, fall to our knees, and wash the feet of those in our community (even the people who have betrayed us). It is also the moment when Jesus of Nazareth calls us all to share in the ministry of unconditional love and acceptance.

Today, Maundy (Holy) Thursday begins the Easter Triduum [Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Great Sabbath (or Holy Saturday)]. Maundy Thursday is unique because we are not celebrating a miracle, on this beginning of the Easter holiday we celebrate service to others and our shared ministry. This is the celebration to honor Jesus’ service and ministry to humanity and the gifts that we all bring to the welcome table.

As we reflect on our call to service and ministry, I wonder what a shared campus ministry model looks like.  How do we empower and equip our students to wash each other’s feet?  For me ministry is defined as building, nurturing and empowering communities of just and rightful action. Giving birth to and supporting communities that are rooted in inclusion, equity, security, support, empowerment and fellowship. Serving as a Sherpa, guide or mentor.

As we look into the future of campus ministry and as the religious landscape continues to evolve on college and university campuses we as campus ministers can find ways to create opportunities for shared ministry in our campus communities.

Shared ministry lives out the affirmation that all people are called to ministry. As members of a faith community, we are invited to serve together in a spirit of mutuality as partners. Working cooperatively, we strive to discover, develop, utilize, and support the gifts of each person and, as responsible stewards, to participate in the ongoing creative and restoring activity in our communities and the world. We minister as partners. Partners produce an overspill of energy that is greater than the sum of the parts.

Like Jesus, we are called to mission–to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. Like the Buddha we are called to help awaken people to deeper, more authentic possibilities. We are to be at work in the world making present the realm of justice, peace, and wholeness. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we are called to peacefully stand up in the face of hate and injustice and to build a beloved community where all people can live freely and achieve their dreams.

On this Holy Thursday we celebrate the humble ministry of Jesus of Nazerath and re-commit ourselves to the shared ministry of his legacy of unconditional love, acceptance, and justice. We celebrate the gifts we both receive and give at the communion of the welcome table.


“From you I receive…
To you I give ….
Together we share…
And from this we live”
(Rabbi Nathan Segal, #402 Singing The Living Tradition, UUA)



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