March 26, 2014
We are continuing with our Passion Week timeline, and now we are reading about the washing of the disciples feet after the Last Supper and Jesus’ prayer for unity. Tonight’s Bible citations are all from the gospel of John. This gospel author omits writing about the communion of the bread/body and wine/blood which was recorded in the earlier gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and a reason for John’s emphasis on service to others is given in the first hymn we are singing Wednesday night. The third stanza of Hymn 108 reads:
And as we rise, the symbols disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here,
Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.
According to The One Volume Bible Commentary by J. R. Dummelow, p. 803, the gospel of John, chapter 17, is “Christ’s great intercession for Himself, for the Apostles, and for the World. . . .The veil is drawn back for a moment from the inner sanctuary of His mind, and we are enabled to contemplate with awe and reverence the nature of that close communion which He habitually maintained with His heavenly Father.”
Mary Baker Eddy wrote about intercessory prayer in No and Yes (p. 38), and that text appears at the end of this Wednesday’s readings. It is certainly worth contemplating, especially when thinking about the value of silent prayer in churches. (Church Manual, page 42, “Prayer in Church. Sect. 5 The prayers in Christian Science churches shall be offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively.”) I’ve included a May 2011 Christian Science Journal article which discusses this Manual Bylaw as church “we time” and not “me time.”