act i - maundy thursday
Maundy Thursday is in Holy Week. It is part of the Triduum, or three holy days that come before Easter.
The name comes from the Latin mandatum novum, “new commandment,” from John 13:34. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” The ceremony of washing feet was also referred to as “the Maundy.” Maundy Thursday celebrations also commemorate the institution of the eucharist by Jesus “on the night he was betrayed.”
Egeria, a fourth-century pilgrim to Jerusalem, describes elaborate celebrations and observances in that city on Maundy Thursday. Special celebration of the institution of the eucharist on Maundy Thursday is attested by the Council of Hippo in 381. The Prayer Book liturgy for Maundy Thursday provides for celebration of the eucharist and a ceremony of the washing of feet which follows the gospel and homily. There is also provision for the consecration of the bread and wine for administering Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament on Good Friday. Following this, the altar is stripped and all decorative furnishings are removed from the church.
At our celebration of Maundy Thursday, we will pray, have a meditative meal together, foot washing, offer each other communion, sing, and strip the altar.
If you have never been to a Maundy Thursday service, it is incredibly moving.
I hope to experience this with you this year.