Each year on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday in Holy Week, we pause to remember the "New Commandment" given to us at the Lord's Supper. "...the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet."(Wikipedia)
We participate in a foot-washing ceremony at home.
Husband following Christ's example in an act of humble service:
"If I then your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you...If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:14-17)
By practicing this rite in the domestic church, we allow the children a chance to participate as children.
Sticking dirty feet into the air,
getting up close to watch it done
We are knitted together in new commandment. Father loving and serving children.
We partake of the Agape Meal, a simple dish with Bread and Wine, remembering on this night Christ gives us a new way:
As Christians we no longer eat the Passover Lamb on this night but now feed on His Body and His Blood. As Paul wrote, "Christ our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast" (I Cor. 5:7). St. Athanasius in his Easter tetter of 332 A.D. writes,
"Now the pictures and shadows and types have all been fulfilled and accomplished. So we, dear brothers and sisters, should no longer consider the Feast a figurative one. We do not go up to the earthly city of Jerusalem to sacrifice the Passover. That ancient Jewish practice is no longer suitable. If we followed their practice, we would be celebrating the Easter season inappropriately...Since our Savior was making the change from the type of shadow to the spiritual reality, He gave them the New Covenant promise. That is, He promised them that they would not eat the flesh of a lamb anymore, but His own: 'Take, eat and drink; this is My body and and My blood' (Matthew 26:26-28)." (The Resurrection Letters of St. Athanasius)And so now that we have entered the church season of Easter we seek to live out this "new commandment" in the power of this "new covenant" by all that was accomplished on the cross and by the resurrection of our Lord.
What are the disciplines of this Easter Season of fifty days? Though there are many ways to answer this question, Maundy Thursday answers
A Family Loving and Serving. Feasting and Celebrating.
Not in mere picture, shadow, or memory but a new spiritual reality.
"From that day [Easter], until Pentecost we keep holy day through seven weeks, one after the other. As we set our minds properly on all that this season means, we will be prepared for the eternal realities behind them." (The Resurrection Letters of St. Athanasius)
May we all come to know these eternal realities more this Easter Season!