During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.

“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. John 13:34 

Maundy Thursday

Richard Hamrick – Director of Worship Ministries

Maunday Thursday is a pivotal day in the story of Jesus. I don’t know when the tradition started to call the Thursday before the crufixion ‘Maunday Thursday’.  However, ‘MAUNDAY’ comes from the Latin word mandatum – English translation is “commandment.”

That Thursday before Jesus’ death is vividly portrayed in the Gospels. It was a small gathering of Jesus and His disciples. They were eating the evening meal together and having conversation with one another. Perhaps reflecting on Jesus’ big entry into Jerusalem or other things they might have in common. We know there were definitely some Type A disciples, so it is not hard to imagine that a heated discussion could also have been taking place around the supper table.

In this intimate setting Jesus does two shocking things that have an immediate impact on those twelve men. First, he kneels and washes the dirt, grit, grim and smell off their feet. The twelve were immediately puzzled by Jesus do something so lowly and menial. He then comes to the table and takes some bread and blesses it with more surprising instructions. Jesus was always a ‘teacher’. In these acts he was teaching with very vivid and concrete images.

We use many of the words of Jesus still today when we prepare for the sacred meal. But most important and often missed is the NEW COMMANDMENT that He gives. A commandment that while at first familiar to the listener,  goes much deeper than the commandments Moses brought from the mountain. In a simple statement Jesus tells them and us what he expects from his followers after he is gone – Love – Love each other – and takes it further by adding ‘you must love each other as I have loved you’ Not it would be nice if you loved each other or only love others that agree with you, look like you, talk like you…the list goes on and on. Such a simple commandment and at the same time so difficult to keep.

As we journey through Holy Week, let’s pray together that God will show us ways to carry out Jesus’ last and greatest commandment. We certainly live in a day and age where we need God’s help loving others freely and unafraid.

Holy God,  We pray that we through Jesus’ life and death that we can see you more clearly and love you (and the ‘others’ you send our way) more dearly not just at Easter but each and every day. AMEN

Read Richard’s other devotions: Pretzel Prayer