March 30, 2010

Contemplating Maundy Thursday

Sue Tanida is a Christian and lifelong intuitive. Her blog, Angelic Insights, is about angels, animals, and God’s love for all of us.

The Triduum begins with Maundy Thursday, a day during which our more liturgically-oriented Christian churches will have some sort of ceremony to commemorate Jesus washing his disciples' feet (John 13:17).

At the end of liturgy, the altar is stripped bare. Jesus – in the form of bread and wine – leaves us for a while, just as he did between his physical death and resurrection as Christ.

During this “Gethsemane Vigil,” we gather during the night to pray, to meditate on the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Recalling how the disciples drifted off to sleep, we’re invited to stay awake and in prayer with Jesus (Luke 22: 39-46).

Honoring these more somber observances of Holy Week helps me rejoice more at Easter. Just as there is darkness during the Easter Vigil until the Paschal Candle is lit and the church is illuminated with candlelight, focusing on the darkness of the Passion makes the joy of the resurrection more pronounced for me.

The word “Maundy,” from the Latin for “mandate,” refers to honoring Jesus’ commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). And so, my spiritual practices on this holy day include examining resentments I carry and asking God to help me forgive – as I have been truly forgiven. I also plan to especially meditate on Simon Peter denying Jesus three times. Would I have done the same? In what ways do I betray Jesus in my daily life? It will be a rich and enriching hour.

In the evening, I’ll pray the Daily Office with the Virtual Abbey before heading off to services at my church, knowing that prayers with my online community will prepare me to be more present and focused when I arrive.

Image: Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, Paolo Veronese (16th c.)

4 comments:

Dan Webster said...

Would that Christians would follow the example of Jesus by loving the other as Jesus loved his friends and strangers--unconditionally. May Easter joy be followed by true Christian love for the poor, homeless, oppressed, unemployed and marginalized of our world.

claire said...

Amen, Dan.

Sue said...

Thank you, Dan and Claire. May we all love all, as Christ loved us.

Brenda Finkle said...

Such a thoughtful post. I enjoyed it a great deal. Blessings to you.