The meaning of Maundy

Read: John 13:1-15

During Holy Week each year many people of the Christian Faith observe Maundy Thursday in different ways. On that Thursday before Good Friday some have services, some have meals, and others find private ways to remember the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples before he was betrayed and led away to be crucified. I would encourage you to find a way to remember that tomorrow.

The word Maundy is actually from the Latin word “Mandatum” which means “Washing of Feet.” Many people think it has to do with the bread and the cup that Jesus shared with the disciples as a way to remember his broken body and shed blood, but it actually signifies another event that happened that evening of the Last Supper.

In John 13:3-5 it says, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Some churches still practice the washing of feet in different ways. Some literally wash each others feet, some find other ways to serve others, and some use the example of Jesus to teach about our need to serve other believers. However we observe it we should not forget about this very important part of the Last Supper.

The Mennonite Confession of Faith even has a specific article dedicated to this teaching and example of Jesus. This is a part of what article 13 entitled “Foot Washing” says….

“We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to serve one another in love as he did. Rather than seeking to lord it over others, we are called to follow the example of our Lord, who chose the role of a servant by washing his disciples’ feet.

Just before his death, Jesus stooped to wash the disciples’ feet and told them, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

In this act, Jesus showed humility and servanthood, even laying down his life for those he loved. In washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus acted out a parable of his life unto death for them, and of the way his disciples are called to live in the world.

Believers who wash each other’s feet show that they share in the body of Christ. They thus acknowledge their frequent need of cleansing, renew their willingness to let go of pride and worldly power, and offer their lives in humble service and sacrificial love…..”

May those words help us to focus on Jesus’ call to servanthood this week. We no longer need to wash each others feet when we enter each others homes as they did in Galilee, but we definitely need to serve each other in the spirit that Jesus has shown us. Let’s do that this week and beyond!

Make it personal: Who can you serve this week? How can you serve this week? Jesus took the time, went out of his way, and reached out to those in great need. We are called as his followers to do the same.

Have a great Easter everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church