Maundy Thursday, April 17, 2014

Title:Maundy Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maunday Thursday , April 17, 2014  (full size gallery)

Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week, in which our worship flows in one continuous liturgy, beginning with the Maundy Thursday service. “Time is suspended as we ponder and celebrate the great mysteries of our redemption.” The word “Maundy” is derived from Middle English, Old French and from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”), the statement we hear from Jesus to his disciples in tonight’s gospel reading.

We had 28 on a beautiful night with several visitors. It is rewarding to get to church before 5pm on a clear day and watch the change of light and color inside and out. While remaining cool, the clear conditions provided a wonderful backdrop for the service. The bulletin is here.   The description of Holy Thursday with the Bible readings and commentaries is here.

Today we had the added benefit of watching osprey watch over a nest they are a making in an old sycamore tree in the front. This takes the old and brings new life, which is a theme of Easter.

Marilyn brought her new 60 string harp tonight for the first time and graced us with music in the prelude "Near the Cross and in the ending Keep Watch segment. Helmut and Nancy provided a vocal and violin duet in the offertory "O Loving Father." Helmut also provided the mounful accompaniment to the foot washing in "Abendsegen (Evening Blessing). " 

Amy provided the sermon. The disciples had been following Jesus preaching, teaching and healing for some time.  Jesus is the sacrificial lamb like those in the Exodus reading tonight. 

Maundy Thursday was both a celebration of those times with friends but also acknowledgment that things would end quickly.  The disciples did not always understand. At the Last Supper Jesus would be a server and servant – of the bread and wine and also washing feet   and encourage the others to do the same.  This was the worst – washing feet caked with dirt and grime made worse by the sandles they word. He was acting as a lowly servant so that they would understand the necessity to serve.

By this action Jesus would show God’s love and they would show it others  also.  He provided them a new expanded commandment of love one another – "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." This would be through prayer, care and action. This love is the Agape love where we provide for the wellbeing of others. Love is transformed into giving and receiving for all including the sinner and tax collector. It is not just between friends but includes enemies.

After the sermon was the footwashing. About 10 came forward in imitation of the events after the Last Supper.   

 

Maundy Thursday is known for the stripping of the altar which is part of the preparation for Good Friday. After the Last Supper, less than 24 hours remained for Jesus. Indeed the plotters had to execute him before Jewish passover began on Friday evening at sundown.  

Events moved rapidly – prayer in Gethsemane, betrayal by Judas, arrest, mock trial, painful beating, the trudge to Golgotha and execution.  As His life was stripped from Him, so we strip our altar of the signs of life to symbolize His purposeful, redemptive suffering and death for us.  

The candles are extinguished and removed. Candles represent the "Light of the World" Jesus said; "I Am the light of the World" in recognition of the darkness following the death of Jesus on the cross, the candles are removed from our presence. 

This year was the addition of a Keep Watch segment for 30 minutes after the last prayers. This featured the chants of the Taize community of France. rother Roger founded the Taize community in France in 1940. In this community, “heartfelt kindness and simplicity would be the center of everything.” The music of Taize reflects this simplicity.  There was an icon on the altar to focus attention, itself an object of simplicity.

Leave a Comment