If there is any holy day that I like more than Christmas and Easter, today is indeed that day. Today, in many traditions, is known as Maundy Thursday. Maundy Thursday is a part of the Triduum (the three days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). Maundy comes from the latin word “mandatum” which means “mandate” or “command”. On this day, Jesus gives us a new commandment “Love one another as I have first loved you.”
Maundy Thursday often uses the Last Supper reading from the Gospel of John where Jesus washes the disciples feet. The foot-washing does not appear in any of the other gospels. Maundy Thursday is an important day, in my opinion, because it teaches us how to follow Jesus’ example of being served and serving others. Jesus still washes Judas’ feet even though he knows what is yet to come…that Judas will betray him before his death. Jesus calls all of us with all of our brokenness to come to the table, have our feet washed, and gather as we eat and drink together. Then we are called to go out into the world “to serve and be served.”
My call to Diaconal Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is based specifically on this gospel text from John. Diaconal Ministers are called to pick up their basins and towels and wash the feet of all God’s people. Diaconal Ministry grew out of the Catholic understanding of deacons and deaconesses. On my consecration day, I was presented with a basin and towel to represent my call. It is a daily reminder to me to pick up that basin and towel and reach far beyond the church walls. I am called to bridge the gap between the church and the world. So now you can see why Maundy Thursday is one of my favorite holy days.
Often, on Maundy Thursday, many congregations have their youth who are going to take their first communion do it on this night because it is the night we celebrate the holy meal in addition to the foot-washing. I am excited that we have 21 youth publicly joining us at the table tonight. What a powerful reminder of how we are all called to be fed and forgiven.
“How beautiful are the voices; How beautiful are the hands; How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good news to the world.”
Thank you for sharing this post with us, Tara! I love the part in the scripture where Jesus washes the disciples' feet…and I love how the ELCA presents a basin and towel to the Diaconal Ministers; what a touching way to begin a ministry…
Appreciate your work for our Lord and Savior, and for enlightening us and sharing the "why" for this Holy of days. And YES, I do see why it is a special day for you!! So exciting that you have 21 young people joining you tonight in Holy Communion.
P. S. I just read your actual title…Maundy, Maundy…and the song "Monday, Monday" popped into my head!!! LOL
You are so welcome! It was so much fun for me to write it. And my basin and towel is one of my fave things in the world. I am glad you see why it is such a special day for me. That is actually where the title idea came from! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Beautiful, wonderful, powerful! Love your heart. Love your calling! May your path be blessed and your mission for God be big!
I really enjoyed reading this tonight Tara.
This is a beautiful reflection on this passage from John's gospel. Your mention of the basin and towel as symbols of the diaconate makes me think of a song by Michael Card called "The Basin and The Towel" where he tells the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet and then goes on to relate it to the fact that we are all called to love and serve our neighbour. Here's a link to a YouTube video of it. The video just has a static image, but you can hear the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUT_rSXjXNY Great post, my friend!
Funny you should bring that song up. It actually is a song we have used for some informational videos etc to talk about Diaconal Ministry. I love it. Thanks for sharing the link friend!
THIS must be included in you-know-what. I've never understood Maundy Thursday until right now.
Yes… same here! This is so good, my friend!