Thursday, April 05, 2012

Maundy Thursday

Holy Week continued...



Today is called Maundy Thursday.  I did not grow up in a church that used that term and it took me awhile to figure out that people weren't saying, "Monday Thursday", which sounded ridiculous.  I learned that it was  a name for the day when we commemorated Jesus' last meal with his disciples.  You've likely all seen artwork of Jesus at a big banquet table with them all seated on the same side of the table just as if they were on a sit-com.  When I went to Bing Images and Google Images I found a LOT of paintings of the Last Supper.  This one is by Da Vinci and likely the most famous...

The Last Supper, 1498 (post-restoration)
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519)
Scala/Art Resource, NY
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan


As I continued browsing through the images I found a lot of renditions of Da Vinci's painting.  Some had the apostles as dogs, I'm not sure why.  Another was an impressive recreation by Laura Bell.  What's so impressive about it was that she did it with laundry lint!  Now that's an art form I'd not considered before!

  (by Laura Bell...made with laundry lint)

At that Last Supper, Jesus taught his apostles about communion.  He taught them to eat the bread and drink the wine together when he was gone, remembering him, taking him into themselves.  This was a big deal.  The apostles don't seem to quite get it yet, then.  They weren't catching on that Jesus was soon to die.  Jesus knew, though.  Jesus loved these followers and he knew they would soon be hurting.  He wanted them to know that he would always be with them.  I think much of what began that night was not understood until after his death.  I don't know, maybe we still don't quite understand it as well as we should.  What I understand, though, is that when I take communion, Jesus is with me.  What more could I ask?

What I learned from Wikipedia about the word, Maundy, kind of surprised me.  I expected it to have something to do with communion.  Nope.  It refers to washing, specifically Jesus' washing the feet of the disciples.  Well, what do you know?  We had yet more to learn from that night.

Yes, Jesus washed the disciples feet.  These weren't feet that had already soaked in a tub.  These were feet that had probably been walking dusty roads for miles in sandals.  This was not a pretty job.  Washing someone else's feet is a pretty humbling thing to do.  It is a true act of service.  

Jesus demonstrated humility as he showed his apostles how much he cared for them.  Humility is not something we talk about much these days.  I think we should.  I don't think being humble means we should have a low self-esteem.   As a Christian, I think it means we need to recognize that any goodness within ourselves comes from God.  Knowing that makes us want to share that goodness by serving others. It seems simple but humility is often a challenge to accomplish.  

Other names for this day include Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries.  Not every Christian Church even names this day but they all talk about the lessons Jesus was teaching.  The first lesson that stands out to me is that we need to commune with one another as we take Jesus into our own beings.  The second lesson is that we need to be people of humility.  There are more lessons here, such as the lesson of obedience, as Jesus was obediently following God's plan for him.  What else?  What do you take from all this?  Do you do anything special on this day?