Tag Archives: Maundy Thursday

Three Days Until Easter:

With Easter so near we can almost taste the chocolate, many of us have gone from weeks of reflection on our relationship with God through Christ to lists of to-dos for special family meals, and to-buys for Easter baskets for our kids.  Those with little girls may be out buying that perfect Easter dress and with little boys maybe getting little dress shirts and ties.  As with other special days of celebration we like to make a fuss.

With our kids a little older now, we don’t really do much with baskets or egg hunts any more.  We aren’t hosting a family event, so the panic clean-up is not under way.  The biggest sign that we are only 3 days away from Easter morning was last night when my husband arrived home with a huge box of bacon.  For years he has helped to organize the sunrise breakfast at our church and, for many of us, bacon plays a central role in the event.  At this point, the decisions about worship have all been made, the anthems planned and as practised as they are going to get.  

It is time to let go and let ourselves be swept away in the story and the emotional roller-coaster of this four-day period.  We will rise from the Passover meal with Christ on Thursday night feeling at the same time so close to him and confused by what he has said will happen.  Afraid that he will be leaving us, worried that we might deny him.  We will be horrified by the treatment he takes and the cries for his crucifixion, we will feel immense guilt as we see him hanging there on the cross, an innocent man.   Our sense of loss and grief will overtake us as we hear the words, “It is finished.”  This will be followed by a lost day in which regular life continues but feels like it shouldn’t.  And then there will be Sunday.

On Sunday morning we will rise to go back into our churches which were last seen in a moment of deep grief and pain, and be lifted up on the amazing wave of the news, “He lives!”  Let yourself feel it all this Easter weekend, and remember it throughout the rest of the year, for this is why we are Christians!

Whose Feet Have You Washed? Whose Bread Have You Shared?

Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is here.  This is the night on which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and instituted the Eucharist or communion which we still celebrate to this day.  It is also the night on which he was betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane.

“And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table,took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ 8Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.” (John 13:2 b- 10)

Other than when we are babies and later possibly under nursing care, we don’t often have someone bathe us.  One of the early signs of separation from a parent is when a young child starts to want to wash on their own or even want privacy in the bath.  In Jesus’ day, people’s feet got dirty every time they left the house.  Servants would wash people’s feet when they entered the house.  Jesus took this servant role in the story above and it embarrassed the disciples who were lower on the social hierarchy than Jesus.  In the absence of servants it should have been one of them washing Jesus’ feet.  When Simon Peter hears that he must be washed clean in order to share with Jesus he asks for even more.  

Several years ago my Bible study group were involved in planning the service for Maundy Thursday.  We usually have a pot luck dinner on that evening prior to the service.  We were very interested in the foot washing part of the story and decided we wanted to include this in some way.  People were too uncomfortable with the idea of actually doing foot washing and we ended up setting up two hand washing stations.  People came forward and one of us dipped their hands in a bowl of warm water, and the other had a soft towel and dried their hands.  I was at one of the stations doing the hand drying and I have to say that it was a most amazing experience of intimacy with members of my church family and one I will never forget!

” While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ 27Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’” (Matthew 26:26-29)

Tonight as we reenact this meal shared by Christ and his disciples I pray that we are granted that sense of intimacy as we allow him to wash us clean once again.

Today’s readings were found through a web-based Bible search tool with the New Revised Standard Version.  http://bible.oremus.org/