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Maundy Thursday is Here
From Matthew 26: 17 On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?" 18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, "The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.' " 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. 20 When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; 21 and while they were eating, he said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me." 22 And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, "Surely not I, Lord?" 23 He answered, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born." 25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" He replied, "You have said so." 26 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." 30When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Saturday I shared with the Confirmands of our district how as a child when I first heard Maundy Thursday, I heard Monday Thursday. I thought an out of sequence week or what? How can it be Monday and Thursday? And what happened to Tuesday and Wednesday? The name refers to commandment and the new commandment that Jesus gave while celebrating the Last Supper. A new commandment I give you, that you love one another. Love is key and very present in the celebration of the Last Supper. God loved enough to give Jesus and Jesus loved enough to give Himself for us. Can we not give love to one another, no matter who the other is?
There was also an element of betrayal in the supper. Jesus knew this was His last night with the disciples and that one of them was to betray Him that night. The disciples upon hearing that question Jesus if it was them one by one. Even Judas. For Maundy Thursday as a pastor, I would set up two tables and twelve chairs around it. People were invited to come and sit at the tables. One year I made twelve cards of each disciple. I found the symbol of each and placed it on the card. I shared a little of the history and legend of each below the symbol and I turned each card face down before the people sat. The Judas card was marked and those assisting me were told not to give the Judas card to children. I shared Jesus' words about betrayal and how we still continue to betray or deny Jesus in our lives, and then I asked them to turn the cards face up. It was always an audible gasp for those receiving the Judas card. If not a gasp a look around as if to ask, You want to trade with me?
Jesus took the bread and broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is my body." A body soon to be given and broken like the bread. The sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, killed to pay for our sins.
He then took the cup, gave thanks and said, "Drink from this, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. I will never drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Within hours, Jesus' blood would flow from the cross, each drop precious with power to forgive and make new OUR lives.
Today is that day we associate with the first Last Supper and one that should be spent in God's house if possible, to truly share among believers our joy and pain for all that Jesus endured for our sake.
This is God's love for us in action.
PRAYER: Loving God, I know that I am not worthy of any of the things You offered through Christ Jesus for me, but because of Your great love You still invite me to sit at the same table as Jesus. What it represents does make me worthy and for that I am humbled and thankful. Be glorified in my life today is my prayer. In Christ Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord!