Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday Reflections

Today is Maundy Thursday and Kork Moyer, coordinator for the Northern Atlantic District and pastor of Still Waters, a Grace Brethren church in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, has sent his parishioners an e-mail backgrounding the history and tradition of Maundy Thursday. Here is a short excerpt -- to read more from Kork click on

Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) [môn'dē]

Maundy Thursday is one of the lesser-known days of the Christian calendar and, were it not for the Maundy Ceremony, would probably have fallen into disuse altogether. It is the day before Good Friday.

Maundy Thursday is the traditional English name for Thursday during Holy Week, so named because it is considered the anniversary of the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus at the Last Supper (that is, the mandatum novum or “new commandment”).

The word "Maundy" is derived from the Latin mandatum meaning "command" - the same Latin root as mandatory and mandate. This is a reference to Christ's commandment to love one another, made at the Last Supper (the day before the crucifixion) when Jesus washed His disciples' feet.

In some churches, Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet is symbolically reenacted. In our Grace Brethren tradition, we employ this reenactment as a normal part of our remembrance – the three-fold communion. Maundy Thursday has been celebrated since the earliest days of the Christian church, and the feet of pilgrims were washed by the clergy and nobility from at least the 4th century up until the mid 1700’s.


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