Tag Archives: Holy thursday

Year of Gratitude April: Week 3

The cold winter has created a beautiful spring. I have never seen the flowers in my yard or in my neighborhood more abundant or beautiful. Recently I have been “so over winter,” so it seems has the spring flowers.

On my walk this morning I was greeted by this very cheery woodpecker


Can you see it? Right in the middle of the picture. The lilacs across the sidewalk were full and the smell was heavenly!


In my own yard, my iris are so full of blooms and my wisteria as well.

So as I continue my year of gratitude and particularly this month of finding my growing edges, I am grateful for Holy Week. Today is the last day before the Triduum (the 3 Holy Days of Thursday, Friday and Saturday) before Easter.

Today is known as “Spy Wednesday.” So named, because traditionally this is the day we remember Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. Two years ago I blogged this reflection on this day.  In it, I quoted Leonard Sweet who had written, “there is a sliver of Judas in all of us.”

That phrase haunts me. Holy Week is a reminder to take stock of how how I betray Jesus in word and deed. As I look at the flowers from my walk this morning, I am reminded of the sweetness and beauty of the grace of God. The flowers shown don’t just pop up, but must be tended and watered and the season just right. Yet they are always there, whether they are blooming or not. God’s grace is like that, always there. Whether I turn away or don’t pay attention, God is still there.

So today I am grateful for the traditions of Holy Week. Tomorrow evening I will gather with the good people at First United Methodist Church, there will be prayer stations, foot washing, holy communion and a meal around tables. On Friday we will gather to hear remember those last hours of Jesus’ life and word and music. On Saturday, I will wait. As the people have waited generation upon generation. I will write a thank you note or several to all those people that make Lent a special time.

And I will rise early, Easter morning……for darkness can not stop the light, hatred can not stop love, evil can not stop God on the move. My betrayals and my failings can not keep Jesus in the tomb….After the long night…..morning will dawn….

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Maundy Thursday

Today begins the Holy Triduum (three days of prayer beginning with Thursday evening services). Maundy Thursday begins this holy and sacred time. “Maundy” comes from the latin word mandatum from which the English “mandate” is derived. In John 13: 13, Jesus gives his disciples a mandate or new commandment, which is “to love another.” Jesus has washed their feet as a sign of what is often called servant leadership.

The day in most churches is used to remember how Jesus gathered his disciples around a table and asked them to remember him every time they gathered to eat or drink. Many churches hold services of Holy Communion on this night.

Following communion, Jesus goes out and prays and from there he is betrayed by Judas and all the other disciples.


Arrested, and paraded from place to place, Jesus ends up with a death sentence. This hours and days are invitation to ponder Jesus’ life and death, but also to pay attention to our own acts of betrayal, or unfaithfulness and unwillingness to stand against injustice and evil.

In a fun devotion I do during the season of Lent, Lent Madness, playing off of the “March Madness” model, this devotion has “saints” set in competition for the “Golden Halo.” Their stories are shared, and the saints are both biblical, literal saints of the church and some people that could be saints. All have been faithful in different ways. Yesterday the final two saints came down to Florence Nightingale and Franz Jägerstätter. I found Franz’s story compelling, particularly as the end of Holy Week approached.

He was an Austrian who stood up to the Nazi’s. He was the only no vote in his village to the Nazi annexation (and in all of Austria, the annexation was approved by 99.7%.)He was encouraged to take the military oath and serve in the German Army. He refused and was thrown in prison. His village priest came and tried to convince him to change his mind. He refused and was abandoned by his friends, the church turned its back on him. Only his wife stayed by his side until he was beheaded by the Nazis.

Franz was a farmer, not anyone of any power or influence. Yet his faith convinced him that the evil of the Nazis had to be named. He chose a most difficult path. He wrote these words that I find perfect for this Holy, Maundy Thursday:

“God’s love for us human beings is so great that we can never comprehend it with our human understanding. Although we often offend him and even seriously offend him, God still persistently loves us. Otherwise, God would not time and again forgive us. Could you imagine a greater love? … Therefore, love of our neighbors is the greatest act of gratitude that we can show God for his love.”

I pray that I might find the same kind of courage and faith that Franz had. God’s love for us is so great….therefore love of our neighbor is an act of faith and love and grace and courage.

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Holy Thursday

On this night begins what is called in some circles the “Triduum.”  Basically the word means “three days,” and this particular three days begins the evening of Maundy or Holy Thursday.  Another churchy word, “maundy” comes from a latin word meaning commandment.  According to the Gospel of John, on this night Jesus washes his disciples feet like a servant and commands them to “love one another.”  

In all traditions, this is the night that Jesus gave us the “last supper” the “sacrament of Holy Communion” or the “eucharist.”  This last meal that Jesus ate with his disciples, he ended it with new meaning given the bread and cup.  His followers are called to “remember him” when they eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

These three days cover Thursday evening, usually Christians gather to remember that last supper, continues into Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion and burial.  Then Holy Saturday is a day of waiting as Jesus laid in tomb.  The final day is Easter Sunday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and new life and hope.

Today, I leave you with a holy communion song, a bit dated, but a reminder that Crhisti


I am graced to serve.

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