In the Christian liturgical calendar, Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday is the feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.(“Maundy” is from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" which means "A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another as I have loved you" – John 13:34) On this day four events are commemorated: the washing of the Disciples' feet by Jesus Christ, the institution of the Last Supper, the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His betrayal by Judas Iscariot.
But, first, to answer a question that was asked yesterday, the morning celebration of these events marks the beginning of what is called the Easter or Sacred Triduum (the Latin triduum means a three-day period…the three days from the death to the resurrection of Jesus). It should be noted that for Jesus and his followers a day ended, and a new day began, at sunset, not at midnight, as it still does today in the modern Jewish calendar. The Last Supper was held at what present-day Western civilization considers to be the evening of Holy Thursday, but what was then considered to be the first hours of Friday. So the ‘three days and three nights’ that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 12:40 is really an idiom that does not require there to actually be three nights as we would think of them.
Anyway, I was thinking about the fact that Maundy Thursday is so associated with the sacrament of foot washing, and about what that really means, so I want to address that here.
In the last few days I have grown especially weary with all the non-stop contention between the Democrats and the Republicans, Hilary vs. Barack, all the white people who are outraged at Barack's Pastor's controversial comments vs. all the black people who are outraged at all the white people for being outraged, and all the wearisome strife between people of faith that goes on every day. I'm tired of hearing about church splits, and about mature people unnecessarily breaking covenant with one another over doctrinal issues.
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq...five years! Half a decade, already! I'm tired of war, and I'm sick of non-stop violence...sick of turning on the news, and every day seeing another story about some senseless murder, or yet another random person walking into a public place and opening fire on innocent people. I'm tired of beautiful married couples splitting up over things that should easily be resolvable...tired of the hateful nastiness of e-mails from intolerant religious people...tired of strife and bickering and pride...tired of people being mean-spirited and unkind to one another...tired of terrorism...tired of gang violence...tired of bigotry, racism and prejudice...tired of hatred...tired of selfishness.
Please don't write me and tell me that that's just the way things are, and there's nothing we can do about it. I didn't just get here...I know how mean the world can be. But on this Maundy Thursday, I just want to honor the simple, beautiful act of Jesus washing His disicples' feet...even though He knew that he was about to be betrayed by a friend. I was looking online for a footwashing picture, and I came across this one of Jesus at the U.N. washing the feet of world leaders. That's Hilary on the left, and Jesus is serving Kofi Annan who is next to Osama who is next to George W. Bush. Apparently, the picture has been cirulating on the internet, and has gotten a lot of strong reaction, both pro and con.
I didn't put it here to make a political statement. I just want to speak peace to the world on this Holy Thursday. And for those of you who are a part of this blog, especially the regulars, in the Spirit, I am kneeling before you all with a basin of water, washing everyone's feet.
I have been hearing from people who log on here from all over the world (night before last I talked to Bishop Tommy Smith in the Philppines who told me that he comes here very day) and so I want to say to all who come here...welcome, and take your shoes off.
The trademark at Hard Rock Cafe is "Love all/Serve all", and today...if only for today...that's what I want to do. And whatever you do, from the time of reading this through Easter Sunday...remember to keep these days holy...be a lover...be a server...maybe your little act of kindness will make a difference.