Maundy Thursday is not my favorite date in the Christian calendar. I think the reason is that it is all about humility, service, and watching with the Lord. I fail in all of these things. It also commemorates the first celebration of the Holy Eucharist or the Last Supper. It derives its name from the Latin phrase mandatum – “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“) Like I said, I am a total Maundy Thursday failure.
I find the entire service very discomforting. The priest in an Episcopal church, and indeed in other liturgical churches such as Catholic, washes the feet of others as a sign of humility. Before the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of his Disciples. Following the service, the church is left open, to watch and wait.
After the Last Supper, Christ went to pray. He knew his fate, and was dealing with it. I think that is the single most telling incident of his life, knowing his faith, praying that he would like to avoid it, but meeting it head on, with love, grace, dignity, and forgiveness.
If we knew our fate, what would we do? What would we do if we knew we were going to be horribly executed? I don’t know about you, but I’d get the heck out of Dodge, as quickly as possible, and try to avoid my fate. Jesus of Nazareth did not do that. He prayed, and then faced his fate, head on. He had the opportunity to flee, to avoid his fate, and screw humanity, but he did not.
The greatest love there is is when you give your life for another. Christ showed the greatest love there is. Like Wayne and Garth on Saturday Night Live were want to say: I’m not worthy.