Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

York Minster
Great West Window

Christ washing the feet of his disciples
Jacopo Tintoretto
National Gallery London

Maundy Thursday:

I'd never heard of Maundy Thursday before visiting a Lutheran church some years ago and seeing the words printed in the church program. Even there, no one seemed to know what Maundy Thursday was or its significance. (I'm sure the pastor did, but I happened to ask a few parishioners who were standing around after the Sunday service.) 

When we were in Cambridge, England, we attended a Maundy Thursday service at King's College Chapel. I've written about this before, but anyway, it was a very moving service. There may have been foot washing at some point before the service we attended, but there was the celebration of the Lord's Supper followed by the stripping of the altar, where all altar appointments were removed and doors were closed over the painting above the altar in preparation for Good Friday. At the end of the service the sanctuary was stark, dark, and quiet. Everyone walked out in silence.

From Wikipedia:

"The Anglican Church uses the name "Maundy Thursday" in the Book of Common Prayer, whereas it treats "Holy Thursday" as an alternative name for Ascension Day. But outside of the official texts of the liturgy, Anglicans sometimes apply the name "Holy Thursday" to the day before Good Friday...

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet."

King's College Choir, Samuel Barber, Agnus Dei

If you'd like to hear this beautiful piece of music and all you're seeing is a black square on your monitor, try clicking on it.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace.
Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.




Diane said...

Thanks for the reminder. I knew it was Maunday Thursday but had forgotten about it this morning.

MadSnapper said...

I have heard people use the word Maundy Thursday but did not know what it meant.

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I remember reading about it... But I had forgotten, so thanks for the post and the beautiful picture.

bj said...

When I was growing up, our family belonged to the Episcopal church and we sang O, Lamb of God.
Really enjoyed your post.

Paulette said...

Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday service is a very moving part of Holy Week.
On Tuesday my granddaughters kindergarten class provided the music for the student body mass, I was moved to tears when I heard those little voices singing in Latin, Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Elesion, Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy. Thanks for this wonder blog post.

TexWisGirl said...

i always grew up calling it holy thursday. :)

Suzan said...

Absolutely beautiful music!!
I'm Lutheran and know Maunday Thursday well! I love the ritual of the church - walking out in silence!!
Thank you for sharing!

Vee said...

My pastor is a former Lutheran who has taught us a few of these things, but even he uses Maunday Thursday and Holy Thursday interchangeably...probably for our benefit. We have no services until Easter Sunrise Service; although, there is a walk tomorrow on Good Friday through the twin cities. The music was hauntingly beautiful. Thank you for including it.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

That is very interesting. So Maundy Thursday was the day of the last supper. It makes sense to me. This is an amazing long weekend in the world of Christians.

sweetbriardreams said...

Due to my job, Maundy Thursday is an incredibly busy day! I have just sat down and I am sure my local priest is very happy not to be washing my feet today!! The service at Peterborough Cathedral was beautiful to witness today and I now have time to reflect. Have a wonderful Easter xx

Judy S. said...

We're singing the Agnus Dei as the rest of Durufle's Requiem tomorrow night as part of the Tenebrae Service; it will be streamed live at 7:30pm (our time) at belpres. com. Love that stained glass photo!

Terri D said...

We Catholics also have a Maundy Thursday service, with washing of feet. That is a lovely window!!

Joyce said...

We did not have Maundy Thursday services growing up, but I think many denominations or non-denominational churches have now added them. Happy Easter to you!

camp and cottage living said...

So interesting. We've never attended a Maundy Thursday service although now I would like to.

Denise said...

Bless you sweet friend.

Donna Sexton said...

Lovely window. It's been years since I've been to a church service had forgotten about Maunday Thursday. Was always one of my favorite services in the Lutheran Church.

Yenta Mary said...

I always love coming to visit here, but particularly at holy days. You always have something wonderfully inspirational to offer! There is such significance, such solemnity in undressing the altar, a sense of sadness at what is pending but also a sense of anticipation for what comes after ....

Donna Wilkes said...

I have so enjoyed the music in the last two posts and the message behind them. Thank you so much.

J_on_tour said...

The sunday before Easter, we had three mini sermons at church from three people tying in three themes from the spring term. One man read the washing of the feet passage whilst performing the act, it was very moving as if we were there.


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