Reflection for Maundy Thursday 2017

April 13, 2017

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

This is a precious, wondrous, solemn, and holy night, this Thursday of Holy Week.

In English, we call this day “Maundy Thursday.”

“Maundy.” What’s “Maundy,” you might well wonder. It’s another example of what happens to words in another language that come into English. It comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” which means “commandment” – English speakers may recognize the root of the word “mandate.” So this is “Commandment Thursday,” or “Mandatum Thursday,” or Maundy Thursday.

The commandment is one that our lay reader, Mrs. Kobayashi, didn’t read – and it’s not her fault, because I didn’t ask her to. It’s Jesus’ commandment recorded in the Gospel of John to “love one another as I have loved you.” That’s the reason this becomes Commandment Thursday, Mandatum Thursday, Maundy Thursday.

“Love one another as I have loved you.” That is a precious commandment to remember.

But that wasn’t the only thing Jesus asked his followers to do that night. They had gathered to observe the Passover, which is a solemn but joyous celebration of God’s deliverance of the Hebrew people from their slavery in Egypt. But as Jesus raised the unleavened bread, the bread of haste, the bread which honored the night the people left Egypt and obtained their freedom, he made it a symbol of his body. He broke it, and said that his body was given for you.

Later, he took the cup, which was the wine of celebration, the cup which rejoices in freedom from bondage. And that he described as his blood, “shed for you.”

And he asked his friends, when they ate bread and drank wine, to remember him.

The Passover meal is all about remembering, remembering the love of God that led a captive people from slavery to freedom. Jesus asked his friends to remember something new: that his love was so great that he was able to offer his entire life – his time, his sweat, his wisdom, his words, his prayer, but also his body and his blood – for them and for all the world.

So on this Maundy Thursday, let us remember Jesus’ commandments: first, to love one another.

And let us also remember just how much Jesus loved us: He loved us heart and soul, body and blood.

Let us remember just how much he loved us. How much he loves us now: and how much he always will.


Categories Sermons | Tags: , , | Posted on April 13, 2017

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