Today, the Thursday before Easter has been traditionally called by Christians Maundy Thursday. It is a day which the Church remembers and reflects on the significance of the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
Here are a couple of questions and answers that might help you to understand it better.
The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word for “command,” and refers to Jesus’ commandment to the disciples to “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
What its focus?
Maundy Thursday especially commemorates the Last Supper, which Christians consider the institution of the Lord’s supper or communion. It is described in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22. At the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus breaks bread, saying, “This is my body,” and pours wine, saying, “This is my blood.” He then asks the disciples to “Do this in remembrance of me.” And so we will.
What’s with the foot-washing?
Maundy Thursday is also associated with foot-washing. This is because Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, an act described in the Gospel of John, chapter 13, as Jesus teaching them to be servants. Jesus is teaching by His words and example on that first Maundy Thursday that Christian discipleship is characterised by loving and serving others. Many churches in normal times include foot washing in their Maundy Thursday services to remind them of this. Some denominations even count foot washing as a sacrament and “celebrate” it regularly as they do with baptism and communion.
Maundy Thursday and Self Reflection
Maundy Thursday was the “night Jesus was betrayed”. There is a dark side to this night that provokes difficult questions. Jesus was betrayed by a friend’s kiss, his disciples couldn’t stay awake and support Him in prayer and eventually ran off and deserted him, the next day one of his closest friends would deny even knowing him. Its because of this “dark side” that Christians on Maundy Thursday often spend time reflecting seriously on the quality of their discipleship and whether they have been guilty of betraying, abandoning, or denying Jesus through their words or actions.
What Will We Be Doing On Maundy Thursday?
Obviously the COVID restrictions mean that this year we won’t be meeting face to face, and some of you may be relieved to know that means we won’t be able to do foot washing either. Our plan is to have a simple gathering. We will meet via ZOOM at 7:30pm, reread the story of Jesus final evening before his crucifixion and then share the Lord’s Supper. Obviously, you will need to have bread and wine ready in order to take part.