Maundy Thursday, 2021

Title:Maundy Thursday, 2021

 Maundy Thursday (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.

The bulletin is here. The description of Holy Thursday with the Bible readings and commentaries is here. 

A photo gallery of the service can be found here. The sermon is here. We had 15 for the service including one watching online, Sylvia Sellers. This was done through Zoom and the first time St. Peter’s had added an online element.

Jesus told the disciples he was going to a place they couldn’t go. “But they didn’t need to go with him physically, because they were already part of this eternal circle of love, eternally flowing into itself. ”

“On Palm Sunday, quoting Rowan Williams, I said that God made us to be “endless journeys into love.”

“But this endless journey is not simply about me and my love for God. It’s also about how we human beings love one another and God’s creation.

“To be an endless journey into love means that this love that God shares with us is constantly expanding and broadening out from us into the world, the circle becoming wider and wider, including more and more, until at last God’s deepest desire is complete–

“That all that God has created through eternity will be only love, endlessly flowing into itself, an endlessly expanding love.

“Jesus wanted the disciples to know that to be part of this endlessly expanding love of God was not through power, not through wealth, not through fame, but through humble service, loving service to one another, service as simple and as mundane as washing one another’s feet.

“Because even the simplest services that we do for one another, when done with love, draw us ever more closely to one another and into God, who is endless love. ”

We had 14 in the service compared with 20 in 2019 and 17 in 2018. Considering that we are still in the pandemic that is not bac

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. " You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."

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 well being 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.

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.