In order to redeem myself for the previous post concerning the possible 666 tattoo on my head, I’d like to talk about Maundy Thursday.
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. As far as holidays go, it’s right up there with Arbor Day–you’ve probably heard of it, but you’re not really sure what it’s all about. Growing up, I certainly never paid any attention to Maundy Thursday–after all, what good is a holiday if it’s not important enough to close schools?
But as I get older, I have more appreciation for this day. Historically, Maundy Thursday is the day Jesus and the disciples celebrated Passover with a seder meal–what we now call the Last Supper. It was the first Eucharist (communion) celebration. The day takes its name from the word meaning “mandate” or “command” which refers to the two commandments Jesus gave us on Maundy Thursday: “Do this in remembrance of me” and “love one another as I have loved you.” It is also the night that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, much to their discomfort.
I went to church last night for our Maundy Thursday service. My friend preached a great sermon about how Jesus holds our soles and our souls. She talked about touching–how Princess Diana was famous for holding babies with AIDs when no one else would. She talked about us leaving our comfort zone as we washed each other’s feet.
And she almost had me convinced that I could let someone wash my feet. But I just couldn’t do it. Couldn’t walk barefoot up to the front of our tiny little Episcopal church and let someone wash my feet. After which, I would wash the next person’s feet. I wasn’t the only one. Only a handful of people went. It was funny–people I expected to do it didn’t. People I would’ve sworn shared my feelings did.
At the end of the service, the altar is stripped bare, representative of Christ being stripped of his own garments. All the linens, flowers, candles and things I don’t know the right name for are taken away. It’s quite a transition to see only wood where flickery, shininess was before.
This little “holiday” really has very special meaning. The word holiday, after all, comes from “holy” and “day”.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get up the nerve to participate in the foot washing, though. That’s why I sat in the very back row.