It is a longer time of reflection today, perhaps you may wish to split it up over the day.
Firstly, sit in a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths. A guide is to breath through your nose for the count of two, then breath out through your mouth for count of four.
We remember a number of incidents on Maundy Thursday, the word Maundy is derived from the Latin ‘mandatum’ in English ‘commandment’, ‘mandamiento’ in Spanish, ‘gebod’ in Dutch.
This new commandment was given around the celebrating the Passover, a meal packed with meaning for those gathered in what is often referred to as the ‘Upper Room’. Jesus took what was familiar and gave them a new meaning. All those in the upper room would have been familiar with foot washing, often done by the slave or servant, yet Jesus turns this upside down. He the ‘Teacher’ was on his knees washing his disciple’s feet. After this, they eat and Jesus talks of his betrayal and at the end takes some bread from the table and breaks it and shares it and he does the same with the wine. In doing this Jesus gives a new meaning to the breaking of bread and sharing the wine when it is done in remembrance of what is to happen the following day.
Now let us:
Open yourself to the Gospel, experience the words, enter into the story and
read through the verses two or three times slowly.
Imagine you are just a few feet away from Jesus.
Imagine you are a witness to this event and the other events as the week unfolds.
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
(Jesus) got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me. (John 13:4-8)
The Foundation of Holy Communion, the Eucharist
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’ (Mark 14:22-25)
A New Commandment
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ (John 13:34,35)
There is so much to ponder in these stories. Don’t rush, take them one at a time. You may wish to pause for a while between each of the stories and come back to them later.
Read the words of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet above: (John 13:4-8)
o Imagine you were there and Jesus approached you to wash your feet or perhaps into days culture your hands.
o How would you feel? The coolness of the water, his hand touching you and then the towel gently drying them.
o Pause and ponder these actions, what do they say about our relationship with our Lord and with others?
Read the words of the Foundation of Holy Communion: (Mark 14:22-25)
o You watch Jesus clear a space on the table.
o Given what Jesus has just said there is an uneasy quietness around the table. How do you feel?
o Jesus blesses the bread and breaks it, the crumbs seem to hang in the air and then settle on the table. The disciples take the bread and eat.
o Jesus blesses the wine and the cup is passed around.
o How do you feel having witnessed these and how will it effect how you receive Holy Communion in the future? How will you feel when you are able to receive Holy Communion, receiving both bread and wine?
Finally, read the words of the new commandment: (John 13:34,35
These words were written when the word of Rome was key and with the occupation came brutality and a culture of fear. It was within this oppressive culture that Jesus preached a way of love and peace. It was not a throw away line but rather it pointed to a narrow path way that leads to love and peace.
o Do you find the words hard?
o How do you think you can follow these words?
Sit quietly for a while and thoughtfully reflect of this event, take your time and then pray the Lords Prayer followed by
God our Father, your Son Jesus Christ was obedient to the end
and drank the cup prepared for him: may we who share his table
watch with him through the night of suffering and be faithful. Amen
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship if the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen
Rev Derek Akker