Today is Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday whichever you wish to call it. As I have said before, I do not come from a liturgical background, and I do not have a tradition of celebrating any of the days of Holy Week. However I have recently participated in several services centered around this Maundy Thursday idea.
The first was several years ago. The concept then was to commemorate and teach the arrest, betrayal, and death of Jesus. There was no Good Friday service at this church nor a community Good Friday service. I am not sure that they do that in the south. This service sparked emotions of despair and hopelessness. It was designed to leave us with the feelings that the disciples and apostles must have had on the day that Jesus was arrested and killed. I am not sure if that is right, but it was one of the most powerful and thought provoking services in which I had ever participated.
In my current church setting we began discussing the Passover meal that Jesus and his disciples ate. For several years we talked over the images of Christ in the Passover meal. We learned that the Jewish feasts all predict and image Christ's coming and sacrifice, from the spotless lamb, to the blood on the doorpost, to the matzah that is made with holes and stripes and is broken. Even the juice/wine and the cups have special significance and meaning. It is a celebration and a commemoration of the plight from Egypt and the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ.
Tonight we had a full Seder service (my first one). We did the whole meal and interjected the Christian symbolism into it. We talked about what it meant and what it means. We will continue to do this and celebrate it. I am waiting to take the next step. I would love to sit in on and participate in an actual Passover meal with an authentic Jewish family who know all of the secrets, rites and rituals and who perform them as they are meant to be performed without explanation. While what we did tonight had its merits and was well accepted and informative. I think an actual Passover meal would be an unique and powerful experience.
One more note about tonight. Our church, The Foundry Church in Wallingford, PA, has many different ministries going on. We have several Bible studies that happen at the church as well as on Widener Universities campus, and not all of the people come together or even meet. There are some people who only come to Tuesday nights at the church. There are others who only come on Thursdays, while others we only see on Sundays, and the college students only come to things on campus or are directed to them. Tonight we had people from all portions and parts of our ministries. We had about 30 people with representatives from all our ministries. It was a true representation of our church and good view of what the Church and body of Christ is all about.
Anyway the point is no matter how you commemorate this day. Whether it is with a dark ominous and foreboding service, or a family seder meal, or just a worship service, this day is a day that deserves notice and a day that sparked the change in the world. Remember that Maundy Thursday leads to Good Friday which leads to Resurrection Sunday!
Hair the Theolobster