In the more formal Christian churches, where Holy Week is recognized on the Church Calendar, today is called Maundy Thursday. While the less formal Christian churches don’t necessarily ‘follow’ the Liturgical Calendar, they certainly do not minimize the teachings from Scripture which make up the more formalized traditions.
I love traditions that bring me closer to Christ, deeper IN Christ, and help me with my daily life. I don’t like traditions that just try to manipulate me for some ecclesiastical control or purpose of man. This is delicate stuff to sort out, as I’m sure few would ever suggest they were ‘trying’ to manipulate or control us! Just sayin’…
Holy Week is the week of Christ’s “passion.” The days leading up to the crucifixion were powerful days in the life of Jesus. The crucifixion is almost incomprehensible for us in this modern age, and yet we have the record of Scripture to inform us. And the Resurrection is surely the focus for our “obtained Victory” by Christ. So this is good stuff! It’s good for us to visit the history of each day, and ask again “What sayeth the Lord to me today” by this story?
This, then, is Maundy Thursday. A strange name for a day; one which we’ve pretty much lost any idea of what it means or why it might be important. Once a year we get to re-visit it, and ‘remember again.’
Maundy Thursday was the day in history when Jesus held what we call the Last Supper. So named, obviously, for it was His last meal with His Disciples, but so much more powerful the more we learn about it. The order of seating, the style of seating and placement of things, the meal itself and the cups and vessels used, all have spiritual connection. It’s fascinating stuff even before the ‘words of Christ’ are introduced, or the behavior of His followers is studied.
“Maundy” is a term referring to the practice of washing the feet of the poor. Jesus began this ‘meal’ by washing the feet of His disciples, which produced in them no small frustration, as He should be ‘above’ such demeaning behavior. His teaching was of course just the opposite. He was reminding them again why He came, to minister to the poor, thus their consternation. They wanted him strong and victorious and beyond the powers of this world. They wanted a physical hero who could overthrow the powers controlling them, both earthly and spiritually. His humility, His meekness, His entire approach continued to both amaze and confound them.
In this current age we don’t do humility very well. We tend to see it as they did….weakness. We tend to value more the conquering heroes of military conquest, and sports, and business, etc. When the humble person shows up, that person is easily misunderstood, and that person’s power is too often overlooked.
And yet, when Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He surely elevated the value of the humble! Read again Matthew 5:3-10, called the Beattitudes!
So today, we have the wonder of looking back into history, and learning from this day. We can remember what Jesus said, and how He behaved. We can use these ‘teachings’ of Scripture as a basis for personal prayer, even interceding for our own selves! We can, this Holy Week, not just remember what took place in history, but begin to put into practice these lessons for life today! The foot washing we can practice today, in addition to the literal practice, is the opportunity to change our behavior toward others. To ‘judge not,’ for example. To give hilariously, for example. To ‘choose life,’ which comes only through the Savior, Jesus Christ. And so much more…..
God Bless you this Maundy Thursday,