Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday
An odd sounding word - maundy - appears in an equally odd sounding day of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday.  When I was younger I wondered why we celebrated Monday Thursday, two days of the week in one. And then I thought maundy meant sad, because of the sorrowful nature of the Passion and because I thought the Mama's and Papa's sang a sad song called Maundy Monday. (I know, I know. The song is Monday, Monday).

Actually, maundy comes from the Latin word for mandate. So, we have Mandate Thursday.  Why? On Thursday of Holy Week, Jesus eats The Last Supper, instituting Holy Communion. He says, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:18-20). Do this is an imperative, a command, or mandate.

After eating, Jesus washes the disciples' feet. In doing so, Jesus  gave His disciples the new commandment (mandate).  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

We are called (commanded, mandated) to love by way of the cross and to remember the cross.  The disruptive words (eat my body, drink my blood) and the distressing (think of Peter) and humbling washing of feet display the mysteries of the kingdom of God that we should contemplate today.

Holy God, you put all power and authority into the hands of Christ— Christ, who washes our feet in humble service and was broken for our sins. Teach us to love one another as Christ has loved us, so that everyone will know that we are his disciples; through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray.

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