This week has been so hectic for me, I have to confess that I completely forgot it was holy week until this morning. The sun hadn't quite come up yet and I was already on my way to work. In lieu of morning radio (too perky dj's rambling on about I don't know what) I decided to listen to the silence for a while and spend some time in prayer. As I was praying through the day to come, I suddenly realized that it was Maundy Thursday. In the past, this has not meant very much to me. I grew up in the Baptist church and we only celebrated Good Friday and Easter. Maundy Thursday was something the Presbyterians did down at the other end of the block. It never made much sense to me, mostly because I couldn't see going to church Thursday night when you knew you would have to go back Friday and Sunday anyway. There was also the issue of the name, Maundy Thursday. What's a Maundy? No one seems to know. I have actually heard the definition a couple of times now, and have read it once, but it's nothing so significant that I actually ever remember it. So, what's the point? I asked myself that question this morning, and here's what I came up with.
Maundy Thursday is the calm before the storm. It is the last day of preparation before we walk down the road to the cross. It is the day where we commit ourselves to taking that journey with Jesus once more, even though we know it will be a painful process. More than that, it is the day we have to come together as people of God to strengthen and sustain each other for the journey. The image came to mind as I was driving of someone who has been diagnosed with a major illness. Before physical treatments begin, there is a time of mental preparation. Most people meet with those closest to them to discuss the upcoming journey, and to commit themselves to seeing it all the way through, regardless of the end result. This, I believe, is what Jesus was trying to do for his disciples. He was preparing them spiritually, not only for the journey to the cross, but for a life lived in service to the resurrected Lord. "Do this in remembrance of me," Jesus said, as he passed around the bread and the wine. For me, today, the message is not to just eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus, but in everything I do to try and remember the love Jesus so willingly gave, and to pass that along to those I meet along the way.
Blessings and Peace,