Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

So this is the first of the Three Holy Days, or the Triduum. It is a major turn in the Holy Week story. The name "Maundy" shares the same root with "commandment" because there are a is something that Christ commands us to do in this story. We are told to love one another just as Christ has loved us. And in doing that, in telling this story, the Church has established two things.

I've often felt that the words of this story could be slightly tweaked... What if, instead of a brief statement when we're receiving the Eucharist, we were told something like this: "Child of God, take this and eat it. It is broken for you because you are broken. Let it nourish you; let it sustain you. It is Christ. Always strive to be like Christ, who was broken to heal our brokenness."

I imagine these words whispered in someone's ear. And they seem so much more intimate. Less like Da Vinci's Last Supper and more like this:

Picture of the Last Supper taken from Kirk of the Keys

Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, has been important to me because it establishes two things. One is the Eucharist, which we are invited to participate in. Christ gave it to us and it is something that I think is essential to our efforts to create the Kingdom of God. Because the Eucharist is a little piece of the Kingdom and it is given freely to us. I like imagining that this is was first offered in the company of friends.

The second thing that wasn't so much established, but kind of encapsulated at the Last Supper was Jesus' servant ministry. He had been serving others in many ways during his ministry, but then we get an image like this:

Picture of Jesus washing Peter's feet taken from Artilim

Jesus washing the feet of his friends is a really controversial thing. Because in it, we see the Messiah, this great and awesome king, humble himself to be a servant (and in the picture, Peter doesn't seem too pleased about it at all). And it is exactly what we're all called to be; servants. Our Christian mission is to serve. We're called to give from ourselves to others. Just like how the Eucharist is given as well. They're two sides of the same coin. Two pictures of Jesus, but the same God.

What else do you think about on this first day of the Three Holy Days?