Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Is Monday On Thursday?

Holy Week is coming to its close.  Tomorrow is Good Friday, when we take even more time than usual to focus on the sacrifice Christ made on the cross.  Today, however, we remember the events that took place the night before. We recall the some of these events every Sunday in the Eucharistic Prayer:
On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take,eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me." -BCP pp. 362-363
What many of us will be remembering in the Maundy Thursday services tonight is something else that Jesus did that night.  Jesus washed the disciples' feet and, in so doing, gave us an example that, in order to be like Jesus, we must seek to be servants, not masters.  

I do not recall the sermon preached at last year's Maundy Thursday service, but I do remember, with distinct detail, a sacramental moment from that service.  We had last year's confirmation class serve as t the foot-washers.  One of them in particular sticks out in my mind.  His mom had come up and gone to him to have her feet washed.  When she went back to her pew, he noticed his father had not come up.  He immediately started making large gestures in front of the entire church in order to convince his father to come forward so that he could wash his father's feet.  How special it was to see this young man so enthusiastic about becoming a servant for his parents.

This Thursday, remember that we are called to serve others and that we can continually come back to the gift Christ instituted for us that night every time we gather around the altar.

Collect for Maundy Thursday
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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