The name comes form the Latin "maundatum" meaning commandment. Before His death and resurrection Jesus ate a "last supper," the Passover feast, with His disciples. He gave them, and by extension all of us, a new commandment. It was that they love one another. A marvelous commandment and a tough one. It seems so easy, until we get into the day to day drama of living and interacting with each other. But even then we are to do it.
Maundy Thursday ushers in the saddest commemorations. We reflect somberly as we remember the increasing darkness of the Passion.
Just four days ago, we celebrated a bright and hopeful holiday, Palm Sunday. In a few days, we will surrender ourselves to the unbounded joyousness of Easter. We know that that final Passover began as a party. But right now, we think of sad and horrifying times. Times of betrayal, abandonment, crucifixion and death.
They were necessary to our salvation. Jesus did all this for us. If just one of us had needed his atoning sacrifice, He would still have died. He loves us that much -- and we are to love each other that much.
Some churches and traditions put a lot of focus on these remembrances; others do not, figuring that we are living in resurrection times.
Well, we do live after the Resurrection. Christ rose or, Paul tells us, all of our hope is in vain. Very true.
Still, Christ did die for us, a horrible death on a cross. He gave his life to open the doors to God's kingdom. I think that's worth remembering.
The joy of Resurrection Feast is all the greater when we remember what went before it.
What do you think?