Maundy Thursday: The New Commandment

Maundy Thursday: The New Commandment

John 13:34-35

“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 have love for one another.”
 -John 13:34-35

Jesus calls out the importance of love to his disciples, the importance of loving one another. Love is the only way, the only path to grow with, the mark of a disciple as beloved, the keeper of the fellowship of disciples. Love is central to Jesus’ mission. 

Even as he knows the pending betrayal by Judas and Peter’s denial of him, Jesus demonstrates love by washing their feet like a slave does.

Jesus is focused in his teachings on the centrality of loving one another, so that love will not be broken by troubles and doubts among the disciples.

Jesus glorifies God as the highest, the one source of the new commandment to love and act as one beloved community. The parallel verse to this new commandment is in John 15:12-14, laying down one’s life for the love of friends, and for all friends to do the same. It lifts up the heroic act, giving one’s life for others. Love is the formation of community, and love becomes eternal. 

Jesus’ pronouncement in John 10:10 is made real. 

History of Mission

United Methodist Women’s history of mission is like Jesus’ love. Peace and love is manifested as flesh and blood of the new commandment. Much of United Methodist Women’s mission is a response to the call to love one another. 

The Asia Pacific region is a hub of this mission. Women of Vietman and Laos, the poorest in the region, get opportunities to know and embrace the new commandment every year. 


Nguyen, a young mother, came to a United Methodist Women-supported workshop with a heavy burden. But she changed after attending the workshop. She lives in the ravines of the mountain and had to walk many kilometers to hitch a ride to the city. After she arrived, she was quiet for two days, intently listening to what was happening around her. On the third day, she told her story. She had been sick for months and suffered from persistent abdominal pain. After sharing love, good food, laughter and faith, after making new friends and finding courage, Nguyen came back for the second part of the whorkshop. We found the root of her problem: The source of water running through the ravines is not clean and is not treated. Jesus’ love heals, hope heals, and Nguyen’s courage to tell her story healed her.

Many women shared their water stories. Water shared is life shared, and bringing water into the center of women’s agendas is akin to the new commandment. Indeed, being in Lent, being present, is a gift of love and sacrifice, and finally a path to healing, to love and to life. 

I am deeply indebted to the love I receive from United Methodist Women, as my life is touched by the people I serve, love and embrace. I sometimes have a fear of failure, of not being able to carry out the expected tasks of a missionary. But through love and by loving women, youth and children who need comfort, through deep faith and love in Christ in the midst of suffering, Lent gives me a gift of hope! 

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, help us to rest in your words of love, and loving our neighbors who are suffering, be with us in search of the true meaning of life you offered and find us to be faithful in helping build communities of love, nurture and care. In your name we pray, Amen.

Emma Cantor is a United Methodist Women Regional Missionary with women, children and youth, assigned to the East Asia/Pacific region to facilitate gender training and leadership development.

Posted or updated: 4/7/2020 12:00:00 AM

Give Thanks. Give Now.

Lent and Easter 2020

February 26: Ash Wednesday
March 1: First Sunday in Lent
March 8: Second Sunday in Lent
March 15: Third Sunday in Lent
March 22: Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 29: Fifth Sunday in Lent
April 5: Palm Sunday
April 9: Maundy Thursday
April 10: Good Friday
April 12: Easter Sunday