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A Maundy Thursday sermon for Oldie readers

Blog | By Rev Steve Morris | Apr 09, 2020

Jesus washes Peter's Feet by Ford Madox Brown (Tate Britain)

We are near the ye of the storm - both in our own times and in terms of Holy Week. The following is from A E Whitham a Methodist born in the late-Victorian period. It is achingly beautiful, I think.

'I was dreaming that I was treading the streets of the Holy City, pottering about like a tourist. In my wandering I came upon the museum of that city of our dream. I went in, and a courteous attendant conducted me round.

'There was some old armour there, much bruised with battle. Many things were conspicuous by their absence. I saw nothing of Alexander’s, nor of Napoleon’s. There was no Pope’s ring, nor even the ink-bottle that Luther is said to have thrown at the devil, nor Wesley’s seal and keys.

'I saw a widow’s mite and the feather of a little bird. I saw some swaddling clothes, a hammer, and three nails, and a few thorns. I saw a bit of a fishing-net and the broken oar of a boat. I saw a sponge that had once been dipped in vinegar, and a small piece of silver. But I cannot enumerate all I saw, nor describe all I felt.

'Whilst I was turning over a common drinking cup, which had a very honourable place, I whispered to the attendant, “Have you not got a towel and basin among your collection?”

'“No,” he said, “not here; you see they are in constant use.”

'Then I knew I was in Heaven, in the Holy City, and amid the redeemed society.

'"Knowing that He came from God and came from God…Jesus took a towel and basin."'

The Rev Steve Morris is author of a new book, Our Precious Lives: why telling and hearing stories can save the church