Maundy Thursday, is a day that reminds us of some key things that Jesus not only said, but modeled and commanded. Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, translated as “commandment.” This is taken from Jesus’ words in John 13:34-35
“So now I am giving you a new commandment:
Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.“
Rooted in this command is the idea of presence: a word that speaks of being present, being visible, being active.
When we meet together on this thursday (or indeed any time) we can experience God’s presence as we share humour, as we offer hospitality, as we are gracious with each other, desiring the best for each other.
Being present with others, in safe spaces, being safe people, we create space for God’s Spirit to minister truth, joy, healing, forgiveness, and power and strength for living.
On that night when Jesus shared what we call The Last Supper, God’s Presence was actually with the disciples as they communed, unaware of what was about to take place. Some difficult things were said (John 13:21-30; 36-38; 15:18). The disciples wrestled with what Jesus said. In many ways they were still clueless. But a genuine love was shared at that table. They broke bread. They drank wine. They prayed. God’s Presence was real as Jesus prayed his unifying prayer of John 17. I imagine there was a crescendo of emotion. Realness with vulnerability.
So on Maundy Thursday we eat a meal together, we laugh together, we enjoy each other’s presence, we in some way, re-enact the community of the Last Supper.
Christianity is empty when void of community.
Christianity is not a solo activity. We were created and are re-created in Christ to be in relationship, to be in community. Community adds to us the truth of life, of hope, of support, and of healing. In community we are able to grow as God intended from the beginning.
As we meet on this Maundy Thursday together, we reflect on the surprise of Easter that opens our hearts to the goodness and greatness of God.