Today is Maundy Thursday – The Thursday before Easter. It is the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the Holy Eucharist. Today is also called Holy Thursday.
During the Last Supper, Jesus took bread and wine and shared them with his disciples. We continue to share bread and wine as part of their worship in church. The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The name ‘Maundy’ is derived from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning a commandment. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, commanded: – ‘And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ John 15:12
In Roman Catholic churches the anthem Mandatum novum do vobis (a new commandment I give to you) would be sung on Maundy Thursday. Maundy coins are specially minted for the occasion and are legal tender and, as they are produced in such limited numbers, they are much sought after by collectors.
We commemorate the Last Supper in a special Eucharist. In some churches, they may wash each other’s feet. After the service the altar is stripped. Some Christians may hold an all night vigil in church, remembering Christ’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Prayer for Maundy Thursday
Dear God, On this day when you were turned over to face death on the cross, let us remember that only you are God and only you can say what is bad or good. Help us to remember the evil done this night lead to the greatest good that man kind could ever have wished. That it is only our ignorance which makes us condemn those who killed you instead of praising them as the heroes who made Easter possible. Only you know how you perceive them, and us. So help us to know that we are here to love you and one and other. Not condemn, just love. The love that Jesus showed us every day of his life and death. Amen.