Reflections on Maundy Thursday

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday.  What on earth does that mean?

On Maundy Thursday the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in an upper room before his arrest and crucifixion.  During this evening, Jesus washed his disciples' feet and shared his "last supper" with them.

Image credit: Diane Herring

Maundy Thursday begins the Triduum, the three-day period from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Easter Sunday.  The name “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin mandatum novum, referring to the “new commandment” Jesus taught his disciples (John 13:34).*

At First Presbyterian Church, our worship service on Maundy Thursday is the primary midweek event during Holy Week.  As such, our service also draws attention to Good Friday and the suffering, death, and burial of our Lord.  The removal of the elements from the sanctuary represents the humiliation, nakedness, and abandonment of Jesus as he was arrested and crucified.  As we leave in silence, we contemplate the darkness of his death on the cross for us.

This is a sacred and a somber time.  Yet it is not a time without hope, for we gather as a people who know that out of the darkness of the tomb will shine the brilliant light of resurrection on Easter morning. 

It may be Thursday... but Sunday's coming.


P.S. - Take a look at the other resources for reflecting on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday:

“What Happened on the Cross?" - N.T. Wright responds

"Countdown to Calvary" - a new BBC series chronicling the last days of Jesus' life