13 April 2006

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday .... the night Jesus had his Last Supper with the disciples.

It ‘s a funny name. I’ve always wondered why it was called that. So I looked it up ... on the internet (where all the information is true). I double, triple and quadruple-checked my information, because I wanted to be sure. Maundy is an Old English word that comes from the Latin “mandatum.” The whole phrase was mandatum novum do vobis, “a new command I give to you, love one another as I have loved you.” So the day has been named for our new commandment. I like that.

It came to pass that we had a gathering from our church here at our house for Maundy Thursday this evening. So there needed to be something, you know, church-y and Jesus-y, since it's that sort of day. So I looked that up too to see what sorts of things are done on Maundy Thursday. (The LightChildren say you can find anything on the internet ... except love.) Foot washing is popular on Maundy Thursday and so is communion ... both symbolically re-enacting the last (easier) acts of Jesus. It would be snide to comment here that we don't have too many symbolic crucifixions. Well ... we do have the Stations of the cross. But not too many people are anxious to symbolically re-enact the night in Gethsemane, either ... I count myself among them. Sweating blood (even symbolically) is not high on my wish list. And when we're forced at the end of our ropes into doing those things, we're usually alone in a night of despair. Hmmm ...

In any case, we love foot washings and communion. So we had those for our Maundy Thursday service. Symbolically exposing our sin and grubby feet to each other and having it washed away. Wee fun. But in the long run, I prefer the more modern versions of foot washing. Giving people rides to church. Doing their laundry. Being patient with them long past my point of no return. Cleaning bathrooms. Extending grace in all the ways I can of and then asking God to give me creativity to think of other ways too. Because symbolism is great ... but really Jesus told us to love one another. Not symbolically, but in real life. And I think I like that better. I think I like Maundy Thursday after all.


Blogger Mike Croghan said...

Good stuff, Sonja. I just (sort of) came back from symbolically re-enacting the night in Gethsemane - Holy Comforter's Maundy Thursday Garden of Gethsemane vigil. Folks bring lots of plants, vines, clay pots, candles, and a burbling fountain into the CHC chapel, and make it seem like a garden, and we sign up for shifts throughout the night to "watch and pray". I took 11:30 PM to midnight. I didn't sweat blood - even symbolically - but it is a good atmosphere for re-reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus' last night and putting myself (symbolically) there with him in his anguish - and knowing that I'd be right there with the disciples, sawing logs. It's humbling.

4/14/2006 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

It was hard to do the foot washing thing. I liked the way we did it, since no one was actually "scrubbing" feet it didn't feel as intrusive as I feared it might. But even still... it was hard to stand there with everyone looking at me. I much preferred to be the foot washer than to be the foot washee.

4/14/2006 09:50:00 AM  

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