What is Maundy Thursday?

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Church, Faith

I had quite a few folk among my friends and church family ask me what Maundy or Maundy Thursday meant. Here’s my quick reply to that. I’m not digging into the history…just the basics and my current application.

Maundy (as in Maundy Thursday) comes from the Latin, “Mandatum” which is the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34 “A new commandment (mendatum novum) I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

So, Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of the Commandment. But that’s just the title. The event, that is to say, a Maundy Thursday service, is to remember the night of Christ’s betrayal and institution of the Lord’s Supper (or Communion).

I grew up in a church tradition that did not observe Maundy Thursday. I’m a newcomer to the celebration of this traditional church holiday. As such I rather like it. I see the value in making a big deal out of the entirety of Holly Week (another term lacking in my religious upbringing). The danger in any thing is that it becomes rote. These types of services need to be something unique, a departure from the normal Order of Service or Liturgy. Time and energy need to be poured into the planning and setup of these types of special services.

This little church is already growing. As we grow and I’m able to recruit more people to help with the planning and execution and, God willing, I’m able to move into a full time pastoral role, I hope to make a bigger deal of Holy Week with meaningful, moving, challenging, encouraging services for each event in Holy Week.

While Christmas is my favorite Christian Holiday family/sentimental reasons, Holy Week in general and Resurrection Sunday (AKA Easter) in particular is more important.

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