Question of the Week

What does “Maundy” mean in “Maundy Thursday”?

If you knew you only had a few hours left to live, how would you spend your time? What would you say to your loved ones? In Jesus’ few last hours, he decides to eat a meal with his friends, a meal that honours God and his Jewish faith, and which chooses friendship and courage over hatred and fear.

The word Maundy comes from the Latin ‘mandatum’ – command. On this last night before Jesus’ death, he has some very specific commands for his friends and followers. Over supper, and in the passing of the cup of wine, he says “Remember Me.” It is because of that command that we gather in our Christian worship around God’s table, week by week and year by year, and we share together in bread and wine. We hear in Jesus’ words not only the call to stay close to him, but also his promise to stay close to us. After supper, Jesus washes the tired, care-worn feet of his disciples, an act of humility and great tenderness. When he commands his disciples then to “do likewise,” he makes it clear that we are not only to engage in the same kind of humble care of others, but we are also to be prepared to allow others to extend care and kindness to us. From our Breakfast Program, to our Water Project, to our Refugee Sponsorship, to the Pastoral Visitors’ Team, Grief Group, Krafty Korners and ACW and ministries of friendship and fellowship across our church, all of our ministries strive to develop these bonds of care that we might offer one another. In doing so, we follow the underlying command of Jesus’ final night: “That you LOVE one another.”

This year, we will be offering a simple Maundy Thursday service, with foot washing, at our regular 12:10pm Thursday worship time April 18th. In the evening, starting at 6pm, we will gather in the gymnasium downstairs for a hearty dinner. As we eat, we will engage in and reflect on these central commands which Jesus gave over that original supper table. Beginning around 7pm, our choir and clergy will lead us in procession into our church sanctuary. (The elevator will be on ready for any with mobility challenges). Together we will celebrate the Eucharist, and we should anticipate that this traditional part of our worship service will be received with fresh eyes for having just shared a meal together downstairs in his name!

Our service ends with the arrest of Jesus. We strip our church of all adornment, and extinguish the lights. We are invited to remain in the dark for prayer and meditation if we wish. We are asked to leave in silence. The evening will be interactive, appropriate and meaningful for people of all ages and for longtime and brand-new Christians. You are more than welcome to invite friends and extend the invitation for supper.

If you can’t join us for supper, you are welcome to arrive for 7pm as our worship continues in the sanctuary. If you don’t want to drive at night, call our office so we can arrange transportation for you.