Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper

Many of you have heard of Maundy Thursday and perhaps many are like, what in the world is that”.  To be honest, I only heard of it 4 to 5 years ago. Having spent most of my adult life in predominately African American churches, the commemoration of Maundy is new. Maundy is observed with Liturgy and Contemplative prayer and worship in certain churches. Maundy Thursday is observed during Holy Week on the Thursday before Easter. Also referred to as “Holy Thursday” or “Great Thursday” in many Christian denominations, Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when we Christians worship our resurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus’ betrayal.

The name “Maundy Thursday” is derived from the Latin word mandatum meaning “commandment.” The primary commandment of Jesus’ message is found in the story of the Last Supper when Jesus humbles himself to wash the feet of his apostles prior to the traditional Passover meal, or Seder.

Jesus then commands them to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

In observance of this commandment, the act of feet-washing is often performed as part of Maundy Thursday church services. Tonight my church will observe Maundy Thursday following The Sedar dinner. Could you imagine being in the Upper Room as Jesus gives this commandment and also tells them that one around this table will betray him? Then Jesus handed the portrayer a piece of bread! I probably would have smashed the bread in his face. Maybe broke a toe or two, as I washed my betrayers feet, but I digress. Possibly many would sit confused like the disciples did and reaffirm “Not me Jesus”! In spite of it all, Jesus endured the cross for all. I love celebrating the Resurrection. I do miss the soulful Gospel and expressive services offered in many African American churches. Sometimes I want to hear the congregation talk back! Hear someone say out loud, “You better Preach” or “Say It”. I want to hear “Worthy is the Lamb Slain”. Some of you will know exactly what I mean. I enjoy all the meaningful services leading up to Resurrection Sunday. To sit in AWE  and marvel at the Savior I serve.

Listening for that small still voice…not overshadowed by my noise.

He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:41–44)

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2)