Maundy Thursday falls on Thursday 6th April, 2023.
Maundy Thursday is famous for two things. The first is one of the final acts that Jesus did before His death; the washing of His own disciples’ feet (John 13). Jesus washed His disciples’ feet for a purpose. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” His disciples were to love through service, not domination, of one another.
In Latin, the opening phrase of this sentence is ‘mandatum novum do vobis’. The word ‘mundy’ is thus a corruption of the Latin ‘mandatum’ (or command). The ceremony of the ‘washing of the feet’ of members of the congregation came to be an important part of the liturgy (regular worship) of the medieval church, symbolising the humility of the clergy, in obedience to the example of Christ.
But Thursday was also important because it was on that night that Jesus first introduced the Lord’s Supper, or what we nowadays call Holy Communion.
Jesus and His close friends had met in a secret upper room to share the Passover meal together – for the last time. There, Jesus transformed the Passover into the Lord’s Supper, saying, “This is my body” and “This is my blood”, as He, the Lamb of God, prepared to die for the sins of the whole world. John’s gospel makes it clear that the Last Supper took place the evening BEFORE the regular Passover meal, and that later Jesus died at the same time that the Passover lambs were killed.
The Benefice Service for Maundy Thursday will take place today, Thursday, 6th April, at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Colemere at 6.30pm. It will include the stripping of the altar.