Maundy Thursday services start unlike any others with the rhythm of the drums underscoring the disciples gathering with Jesus. As servant first, Jesus washes their feet, and then celebrates the Last Supper, instituting the Holy Eucharist.
It is wonderful to break bread and wine and share a meal with other Christian friends, just as Jesus did almost 2000 years ago.
However, the mood turns somber as Luke’s Gospel is read (17:1) and Jesus says, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you.” We know that Jesus’ crucifixion is only hours away but His concerns are still with us (17:15), “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” Then He gives us a new commandment (13:34), “…that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Amazingly, we finally know that Jesus willingly gave up His life and bear the burden of our sins so we may spend eternity in His presence.
For a short time, the joy of being together is replaced with the darkness and sadness as the disciples realize that Jesus will die the next day and that they will desert him.
The service ends with the stripping of the altar cloths symbolizing how Jesus was stripped of his clothes, humiliated, ridiculed, and reduced to human nothingness. We close in complete darkness as we go out into the world to await Jesus’ crucifixion.
How can we humans be so stupid as to continue to crucify our Lord and Savior?
I pray that Holy Week 2011 is a blessing in your life.
Please consider joining me for Maundy Thursday services at 7:30PM on April 21 at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 4715 Harding Road, Nashville, TN. Nursery care is available; call 615-385-2150. Please come sit with me; I’ll have my nametag on.
Blessings, my friend,