My Commandment: Love Each Other

As I reflected upon the lectionary reading for Maundy Thursday, 2013, I was struck by something in the text I hadn't quite picked up on before:  Jesus not only broke tradition by washing their feet (a teacher serving his students), but he included Judas, whom gospel writer John tells us Jesus knew would betray him.  He could have sent him away sooner.  But no, he shared a meal with Judas.  And he washed his feet.  I was struck by this model of humble service, even for those who were not among the faithful. 

Then on Maundy Thursday, I was struck by another model of humble service as I read a news story about newly consecrated Pope Francis I breaking with tradition and washing the feet of prisoner.  Female prisoners, at that.  And even a Serbian Muslim female prisoner.

About that time, this hymn started to formulate in the back of my mind.

My Commandment: Love Each Other
John 13:1-35

He knelt before his friends that day,
E’en the one who would betray.
As he served, they heard him say,
“My commandment: Love each other.”

“What is this love you call us to?
What must we say? What shall we do.”
‘Midst their doubts, his voice broke through,
“My commandment: Love each other.”

“Who’s my neighbour? One like me?
And the foreigner I see?”
Once again, his calm decree,
“My commandment:  Love each other.”

They did not comprehend this plea
Was in his call, “Come follow me!”
The servant spoke on bended knee,
“My commandment: Love each other.”

Today, we still don’t understand.
We feel our service should be grand.
We miss the ease of his command,
“My commandment:  Love each other.”

Kneeling down to wash my feet,
Looking up, our eyes to meet,
He gives my task, again repeats,
“My commandment:  Love each other.”

Copyright © 2013 by Rachel Frey. All rights reserved.


  1. Rachel, this is beautiful! I didn't know about your blog before, and when I clicked the subscribe to post comments link, it opened a new tab with programming gobbledygook--can you tell whether I'm subscribed now?

  2. Never mind--now there is a subscribe by email link that wasn't there before.