April 09, 2009

What is Maundy Thursday?


All week long I have been too busy. Too busy to look up some answers about the meanings of some of the days that precede Easter. But this morning at coffee (Happy Birthday Denise) I was reminded about the day called Maundy Thursday. The Lord is certainly calling me into area's of study that are not typical evangelical practice, although more and more people who consider themselves evangelical Christians are being drawn back to the roots of Jewish and Christian Orthodox traditions, I am certainly one of those. After doing some very "surface" type research I came upon this basic information from wikepedia

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday or Great and Holy Thursday), is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. In 2009, Maundy Thursday will occur on April 9 for Western Christian traditions including Roman Catholicism and on April 16th for Eastern Christian traditions including most Orthodox Churches.
On this day four events are commemorated: the washing of the Disciples' Feet by Jesus Christ, the institution of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.


Maundy Thursday is also known as Holy Thursday, or in the Orthodox Church, Great and Holy Thursday. Here is where the name Maundy is derived:
he word Maundy is derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, 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 by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. The phrase is used as the antiphon sung during the "Mandatum" ceremony of the washing of the feet, which may be held during Mass or at another time as a separate event, during which a priest or bishop (representing Christ) ceremonially washes the feet of others, typically 12 persons chosen as a cross-section of the community.


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What is Holy Wednesday?
In Western Christianity, the Wednesday before Easter is sometimes known as "Spy Wednesday", indicating that it is the day that Judas Iscariot first conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus for thirty silver coins.
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So today is the day that commemorates Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, the day Judas set forth the plan and the day Jesus called him on it, the last time all the disciples ate together before the crucifixion of our Holy Jesus, and also commemorates the day that Christ suffered the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

That all makes me a little sad to read, but then I am reminded of what happens on Sunday, and I read Christ words to His disciplies, "If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father."

John 14:28-30
"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "
"Come now; let us leave."

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