Pathways through Lent

Weekday reflections from St. John’s in the season of Lent.

Maundy Thursday: March 28, 2024

Today is Maundy Thursday. This name comes from mandatum, which is Latin for mandate. At noon, 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. we will hear stories from Jesus’ last night among friends. He will give the disciples a new commandment, a mandate, “. . . that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35)

At each of the services, we will have a chance to take a small step toward embodying the kind of love Jesus lived. We will kneel to wash our neighbor’s feet and take the vulnerable position of letting them wash ours. We will eat and drink Communion and leave in silence as our attention turns to Golgotha on Good Friday.

If you’ve never been to a Maundy Thursday service, you’re not alone! My first vivid memory of attending one was in college. It changed me. It changed how I heard that commandment to love as Jesus loved. It made me feel vulnerable and sad and deeply loved all at the same time. It made Good Friday and Easter Day all the more resonant.

As your day allows, join us at one of today’s services. If you have children, the 5 p.m. service is designed with you in mind. However today unfolds, I hope this poem from Jan Richardson might be a blessing to you.

  • Noon: Choral Eucharist with foot washing

  • 5 p.m: Family Eucharist with foot washing and stripping of the altar

  • 7 p.m: Choral Eucharist with foot washing and stripping of the altar

Blessing the Bread, the Cup

For Holy Thursday

Let us bless the bread
that gives itself to us
with its terrible weight,
its infinite grace.

Let us bless the cup
poured out for us
with a love
that makes us anew.

Let us gather around these gifts
simply given
and deeply blessed.

And then let us go
bearing the bread,
carrying the cup,
laying the table
within a hungering world.

—Jan Richardson

Sarah Akes-Cardwell
Associate for Children and Family Ministries

Links to the appointed readings for today