by Dan Davis – Director of Maintenance / Valpo FUMC
According to the United Methodist Church website, Maundy Thursday is an alternate name for Holy Thursday, the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to, and immediately following, the crucifixion of Jesus.
The English word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, which means “commandment.” As recorded in John’s gospel, on His last night before His betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as He had loved them (John 13:34). This is why services on this night generally include the washing of feet or other acts of physical care as an integral part of the celebration.
While John’s gospel does not record the institution of the Lord’s Supper among the events of this night, the other gospels do. Luke 22:7-38 outlines this in great detail. Christians therefore keep this night with celebrations both at the basin (foot washing) and at the Lord’s Table (Holy Communion).
What’s interesting is that I’ve been told that many past Maundy Thursday services here at FUMC, haven’t included the ritual celebration of John 13:1-17. Considering how much precise ritual emphasis is placed on Ash Wednesday services, Palm Sunday services, Good Friday services, and of course Easter Sunday services, my wish this Lenten season is that a return can be made to Maundy Thursday services that are celebrated with equal precision.