Reflections on Lent | Maundy Thursday | John 13.34 |    

by | Apr 14, 2022

“Good Friday, we know. And Easter most certainly. But what is Maundy Thursday? Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter, believed to be the day when Jesus celebrated his final Passover with His disciples. Most notably, that Passover meal was when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in an extraordinary display of humility. He then commanded them to do the same for each other.”

“Christ’s “mandate” is commemorated on Maundy Thursday—“maundy” being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “command.”  It was on the Thursday of Christ’s final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said this commandment to His disciples. Jesus and his disciples had just shared what was known as the Last Supper and he was washing their feet when he stated: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). [].

As a kid, I grew up attending every service offered during Holy Week. In my hometown church of First United Methodist of Wichita Falls, we carefully followed the Christian calendar and all the ”high and holy days.” Maundy Thursday was always one of note, not that I enjoyed it, I don’t think that’s the point, but that I was moved by it.

Sometimes called a Tenebrae service, the latin word for ”darkness,” the service often had the feel of a wake or funeral. Involving moments of Holy Communion, remembering the Last Super, and sometimes food washing stations, the service would end with a ”clang,” a loud noise or “gong.” (Often someone would bang two large cymbals together making everyone in the room jump.) And then we would depart both in darkness and in silence, remembering the Christ who was crucified upon the cross and left to die.

Tonight I’m assisting in a Maundy Thursday service in a small church in the country, offering Holy Communion to the pilgrims who are honoring Christ and worshipping him in spirit and in truth. I will be moved to tears at least once during this service. I remember the one who suffered, died and hung on a tree for my sake and for yours.

And it was all about love. John 13.34 says, ”A new command I give you, love one another…” Jesus demonstrated this love in the more remarkable and pain-stakingly difficult way — he died so we might live. And out of not only respect but allegiance for what he has done, I do not want to live a moment stuck in sin for him who liberated me from the darkness.

As the Tenebrae service concludes in darkness tonight, my soul will be in sorrow. My mind will be a mess and my heart splintered for the innocent Lamb of God who bled on my behalf.

Will you join me in attending your own Maundy Thursday service? Will you join me in loving the Lord who loved us first?

“O Lord God, the darkness was real. The pain excruciating, the betrayal brought on by selfishness and fear. Thank you Jesus for taking up your cross and counting the cost for my sins. I love you Lord. I can not wait to see you face to face. To walk with you, look into your eyes, bow at your feet. Come now, Lord Jesus, I receive your blood sacrifice. I receive your offering. I accept your grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen