“Little children, I am with you only for a little longer and where I am going, you cannot come.” The darkness closes in and the candles burn brighter in the upper room. Quiet hymns of praise, mark the changing of the story and the crucifixion marches on – marches on to the garden to the place of new beginnings and the voice of Jesus cries out, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but your be done.”
Alone for a little while and what will we do? How often don’t we feel so alone, so afraid of the night sounds and we wonder if we’ll see tomorrow. But Jesus gives us an important commandment that calls upon a sacrifice – a sacrifice of love. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
While in the Upper Room that dark and gloomy night, “Jesus got up from the table took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around. Him.” Then, to show how to love Jesus began to teach the disciples that just as he has washed the feet of the disciples, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set an example. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receive me and whoever received me receives him who sent me. All this is to tell us that in the absence of our Savior, for a little while, we will be alone, but Jesus will send to us an advocate, Spirit God that will sustain us through the darkest hours and in the meantime, we must love one another, as God has loved us.
While shadows grow darker and the flames of the candle grow dim, one of us will betray our Lord, one of us will deny that we know Jesus many times, many of us will flee from the loud cries of crucifixion, and won’t be present to hear the hammer strike the head of the nail and the cry of our Savior shout out, “Father, why have you forsaken me!” The hour is coming when we must stand alone and where will we be standing? Perhaps we’ll gather in the home of a friend, lock the doors and hope no one saw us with the Lord. Maybe we’ll stand in the shadows of the night, just peaking a little to see for ourselves if Jesus was right when he said to us, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three day after being killed, he will rise again.”Or will we be at the foot of the cross to hear him say, “It is finished.” Where will you be?