Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundatum Novarum -- Maundy Thursday

April 21 Maundy Thursday
7:30 pm Institution of the Lord's Supper & Procession
9:00pm Overnight Vigil

The Washing of the Feet is a traditional component of the celebration in many Christian Churches.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Mass of the Lord's Supper begins as usual, but the Gloria is accompanied by the ringing of bells, which are then silent until the Easter Vigil. After the homily the washing of feet may be performed. The service concludes with a procession taking the Blessed Sacrament to the place of reposition. The altar is later stripped bare, as are all other altars in the church except the Altar of Repose. In pre-1970 editions, the Roman Missal envisages this being done ceremonially, to the accompaniment of Psalm a practice which continues in many Anglican churches. In other Christian denominations, such as the Lutheran Church or Methodist Church, the stripping of the altar and other items on the chancel also occurs, as a preparation for the somber Good Friday service.
Today, Christians around the world commemorate Maundy Thursday.
Some Christians misunderstand that this day is only a “Catholic” celebration. Christians both ancient and modern have remembered Christ’s last supper with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, which begins the great triduum, the three days of the paschal celebration.

The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word maundatum for “commandment”, which comes from Jesus’ words from the last supper: “I give you a new commandment; that you love one another…” The full Latin phase is maundatum novarum, which means “a new commandment.” According to Robert Webber (The Services of the Christian Year, pg. 252), these words were translated in the French word mande. This in turn was anglicized into “maundy.”

During this day, Christians celebrate Jesus’ last supper with his disciples through serving and receiving communion with a special service. Often, all of or some of John 13 is read. This scripture recalls:
1.The celebration of Passover
2.The plan of betrayal against Jesus by Judas
3.How washed his disciples feet
4.Peter’s rejection of the washing, but then wants his hands and head washed
5.Jesus told his disciples to wash one another’s feet
6.The Last Supper
7.The new commandment

Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?

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