A new command was given on Maundy Thursday – a mandate – mandatum – hence the name. And in honor of “loving one another,” priests wash parishioners’ feet, kings and queens give coins, and altars are stripped to remind us of that giving of it all.
I’ll add my homage to Maundy Thursday in two short drabbles below – a 100-word story and a 100-word essay. And I’ll wish you all the blessings of this season.
Imagine the scene; twelve men on an after-dinner walk to a place of quiet reflection, bodies stuffed, minds tired, and souls restless with that nervous sense that something is bound to go wrong.
The streets were quiet. Night had fallen, everyone sleeping or praying, except for them.
“Strange about the bread,” said James, still tasting forbidden matzos eaten after lamb.
“And the blessing”—“This is my body,” the master had said, reminding them of something they were too full, or too tired to remember.
They stopped at a garden, sat on rocks, lay on grass, their bodies weary with food. And they barely noticed when Jesus left to pray with Peter, James and John.
Matthew looked up. “Huh? Where’d they go?” then, “Wonder what happened to Judas.”
Voices whispered. Armor jangled. Footsteps approached.
Mark 14:22 “…Take, eat: this is my body.”
After they’d eaten the Passover meal, Jesus blessed and broke another matzo. He prayed over the third cup of wine—cup of redemption, blood of the lamb—and the feast drew to its end.
Maundy Thursday evening begins a three-day celebration of Easter: Maundy pennies to the poor; priests washing the people’s feet. But it’s communion that matters most—bread and wine shared in remembrance of Him. We file out from church, leaving the light shining in a tiny garden—shrubs and flowers, a place of Easter prayer.
And through the night, people visit, to watch and pray one hour.
Imagine this scene too, re-enacted in churches all over the world, including my brother’s church, where people, including my mother, watch and pray, souls restless with that whispering sense that even this is God’s plan, and resurrection will follow.
Sheila Deeth is the author of the Mathemafiction novels, published by Indigo Sea Press. Find Divide by Zero and Infinite Sum on Amazon and where all good books are sold. And watch out for Subtraction, coming soon.