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Maundy Thursday

Lent ends at sundown and the Paschal Triduum begins, the "Great Three Days," running through sundown on Easter Day.  In most languages, a
Jesus washing the disciples feet (from Sri Lanka)
form of the word "Paschal" is the word for Easter.  It relates the Good Friday--Easter story to the Passover Story of the Hebrew Scriptures.  The Paschal Triduum is the Christian Passover.  Our word "Easter" comes from "Eostre," the name of a Celtic goddess of spring.  "Triduum" is Latin for "three days."

The word "Maundy" comes from the Gospel for this day, in which Jesus gives his disciples a "new commandment" after washing their feet.  It is an irony that the Gospel for this day has always been John's account of the footwashing, which does not include any reference to the Last Supper, so prominent in the other Gospels.  We also read the story of the passover lamb from Exodus.

Our regular Thursday Eucharist in the Chapel at 12:05 pm is celebrated using the Maundy Thursday readings.

Our Service on Maundy Thursday at 6 pm always includes footwashing, the only time of the year we do this.  The clergy start the washing, but others join in, as we sing, "Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love" and other songs of our call to love another as Jesus loves us.  This takes place in the midst of the Service, which takes place in the Parish Hall. We celebrate the Eucharist ("The Lord's Supper") at table, reminding ourselves that this act which is so important to us began as a simple meal at a simple table.  We are blessed to have a well-known Rochester musician, Mitzi Collins, lead the music for this time together.

At the end of this Service, we go into the main Church and strip it of all decoration. It is a way to mark Jesus' betrayal and ready the church for Good Friday, when our space needs to be as plain and free from distraction as possible.  The last act is the priest washing the bare Altar.  We leave in silence.

Here is a poem, "At the Eucharist" by Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, a Church of England priest and poet who died in 1929.