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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    From the desk of Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez: Holy Week

    March 22, 2024 / By UNY Communications / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Editor's note: The following email was sent to United Methodists of Upper New York on behalf of Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez on Friday, March 22, 2024. 

    “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you.” John 13:34

    Dear siblings in Christ, 

    Starting on Sunday, next week, United Methodists of Upper New York, alongside Christians worldwide, will gather in varied ways to observe Holy Week—a time to witness our faith as Christians and to celebrate the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

    In John 13, the Bible considers Jesus’ last supper with his closest disciples. Unlike the other gospels, John does not mention the sharing of bread and wine. Many Bible scholars comment that John most likely did not include the Lord's Supper in his account of this gathering because the audience to which his writings were directed, the Gentiles, did not understand the importance of the Passover meal and its significance in the faith experience of the Jews. For John, there was something more critical to memorialize about that gathering for non-Jewish audiences. 

    As we celebrate Holy Week this year, I invite us to intentionally reflect on Jesus's act of humility and service as depicted in John 13 and its implications for our lives today: washing his disciples' feet. 

    Throughout his ministry, Jesus expressed his love for his disciples in many ways (vs.1), but on that night, He did so radically. Washing a person's feet was reserved for the lowest-ranking servants in Jesus' time. No one expected Jesus to wash his guests’ feet. Jesus humbly gave up his place as a teacher and all the benefits and privileges that came with the title and humbly gave himself to serve and care for His disciples' needs and holistic well-being. 

    That’s how God still loves us today – in scandalous, often unexpected, and radical ways. This is also how God expects us to love one another. When Jesus finished washing his disciples' feet, he said to them: “…if I, the Lord, and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another's feet. I have set an example for you so that you do the same as I have done with you.”

    Loving God is much more than singing songs, praying, or going to church every week (or on special occasions). It involves more than participating in rituals and following religious rules to the letter. As Jesus modeled for us when he washed his disciples' feet, loving God involves dedicating ourselves to serving others, seeking their well-being, just as God seeks ours. It requires being willing to do what others would not do for us. It means stepping out of our places of comfort and privilege to reach out to people suffering and find ways to impact them positively. To be a voice for the voiceless. Justice seekers for the oppressed. Loving, Jesus’ way, means giving a hand to those who have fallen, encouraging and comforting those who are discouraged, and helping in whatever ways we can to those who are going through difficult times. 

    This Holy Week, and every day, may our faithful response to God’s love be how we love and respond to the needs of our neighbors, knowing that when, and only when, we live this way, people will know that we are disciples of Jesus, the Risen Christ. 

    May our lives be blessed abundantly as we embrace and practice Jesus’ way of living and loving. 

    In Christ, 

    Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez
    The United Methodist Church
    Serving United Methodists of Upper New York

    TAGGED / Communications / Episcopal Office / Bishop Burgos / Districts / Missional Excellence

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."