We gather this evening at 7 p.m. for Worship on this Maundy Thursday.
Here is the introduction to this Sacred Day which we use at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.
An Introduction to Maundy Thursday
The Maundy Thursday service is one of endings and beginnings. What was begun on Ash Wednesday is brought to a close here today. What begins today does not end until the Day of Resurrection. It is the ancient Triduum, “The Three Sacred Days,” which lead us to the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
The theme is love, our Savior’s love for us, expressed in the washing of the disciples’ feet, in giving himself in bread and wine, in dying upon the cross. An invitation to confession is given. The focus is on forgiveness. On Ash Wednesday, we began Lent with a major act of confession and ashes, but we did not receive a strong statement of forgiveness in the absolution. That bold announcement of forgiveness comes now, “In the mercy of almighty God,” and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” at the service celebrating Christ’s love.
The lessons of love are read. A new command derives from it: “Love one another.” The name “Maundy” comes from the first word of the Latin form of John 13:34: “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”). This self-giving love is demonstrated in the washing of feet. The prayers are said. The table is made ready. The time of the Lord’s Supper arrives, and our Lord is revealed in bread and wine as once he “revealed himself to his disciples.” It is a solemn moment, but we cannot linger here. Nor could the Lord, for His betrayal was imminent.
Before we know it, the markings of betrayal are seen before us. The symbol of Christ in our midst, the altar, is stripped bare. Christ is stripped of his power and glory. Good Friday is inescapable. The powers of darkness work upon him.
In silence, we depart without benediction. The Three Sacred Days continue with the Good Friday service tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. We will also gather on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. for the Vigil of Easter.
Thanks to Pr. Thomas L. Weitzel, ELCA. This introduction is adapted from his original work.