Moving Forward: Maundy

Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter

March 31, 2024

Moving Forward: Maundy Thursday

Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter

 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.                                                                                                                         – John 13:1

If you’re like me, you’ve had to look this word up more than once in your life.

The English word maundy, in the name for the day, is derived from Middle English and the Old French mandé, and originally from the Latin mandatum (the origin of the English word “mandate”). It is the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34) 

That would be the commandment Jesus gave His disciples at the Last Supper, after He had washed their feet.

John’s description of the events of Maundy Thursday are suffused with extended teaching in a way that the other Gospels don’t cover.  And while John doesn’t speak specifically of the Last Supper itself, John goes through multiple chapters (14 through 17) of Jesus trying almost to stuff perspective in the heads of his hard-headed disciples.  In the same way, no Gospel but John mentions Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, and pretty much go straight from the Last Supper to Gethsemane to condemnation and crucifixion. In a way, John’s prolonged text makes me want to skip ahead to what painful events are coming – sort of how the other Gospels do – and not get lost in the beauty of His continued teaching. I know what’s coming.

But it’s worth lingering here.  Not only because there is so much depth and hope in this teaching, but because it showed what Jesus really did with His disciples just at the point He knew He was about to leave them – and leave them full of pain and confusion and hopelessness for 3 days. Just at the point Jesus knew He would have to surrender everything to the Will of His Father, including His fear and pain and – yes, His death.

At the point where it was most apparent that He was at the hour appointed for His torture and crucifixion, He poured into them.  He poured His heart and love and His Very Being into them. He promised them hope, and comfort, and inclusion into the very branch of God, and the Holy Spirit as His gift to them. Everything He did that evening was to strengthen them for the trials that lay ahead. He loved them, fully, to the end.

This week let us enter into that liminal time of surrender, knowing that Jesus pours that same love and heart and Being into us.  That He has promised to also be with us to the very end of the age. And He has commanded us to Love One Another Love One Another Love One Another.

Blessed Holy Week, my friends.  May your waiting time be suffused with love and hope. Friday is here – but Sunday’s coming.