Maundy Thursday

John ArmstrongThe Church

Today is a church day called Maundy Thursday. The term is derived from the Latin mandatum, which means "command." The origin of this particular day is found in the footwashing ceremony that the Gospel of John describes as a part of passion week. Maundy Thursday is observed on the Thursday before Easter and usually includes the celebration of communion in most churches. The "foot washing" ceremony is still observed in many churches to this day, as a distinct part of the ancient "love feast." For many these events seem far too ancient and removed from modern life. For those soaked in the narrative of Scripture, and willing to enter into the life of the community with faith, they still live with real meaning.

This whole ceremony is part of Lent, the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Lent, you may recall, is a time of preparation and penitence. For me, as for most modern Christians, it is also a time for study, devotion, personal and congregational worship and deep spiritual renewal. This day is followed by Good Friday and then by the Easter Vigil on Saturday. Easter follows as the glorious day of resurrection celebration.  I pray that you will benefit from these ancient practices as the Lord allows you the freedom and joy to pursue them in ways appropriate to your own faith in Christ as Lord and church tradition.