Tonight we begin the Three Days during which we participate once again in the saving power of Jesus’ passing over from death into life. The Maundy Thursday service includes the words of Jesus’ new commandment (mandatum, from which Maundy comes) to love one another.
As a sign of our calling to follow Jesus’ example of humility and service, we may wash one another’s feet as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. On this night in which Jesus was handed over to death we also gather around and commemorate his institution of the Eucharist, or Lord’s supper. At the conclusion of the service, the altar will be stripped of its furnishings as a sign of Jesus’ abandonment by his disciples.
|6:15pm||Simple Supper in the Parish Hall|
|7:30pm||Commemoration of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper|
|9:00pm||Compline service in the Park Room|
A Word About Holy Week:
The glory of Easter is the heart of the Christian gospel. It is the centre of the Church’s faith and worship. In the earliest days of the Church it was the only Christian festival: an annual celebration, in one act, of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, ascension, and his sending of the Holy Spirit.
The celebration lasted fifty days in one continuous festival of adoration, joy, and thanksgiving, ending on the Feast of Pentecost.
By the fourth century, the Church was adding to its celebration of Easter a week-long commemoration of the events which preceded our Lord’s resurrection, beginning on Sunday with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Christians would recall the final meal Jesus had with his disciples and his institution of the sacrament of the eucharist.
On the Friday they would commemorate Christ’s agony and death on the cross. On Saturday night they would gather for the reading of the scripture, for prayers, for the baptism of their new converts, and then, as the day of the resurrection dawned, for the joyful celebration of Easter. The week before Easter became known as Holy Week. The focal points of this week would be
- The Sunday of the Passion with the Liturgy of the Palms,
- Maundy Thursday, with foot washing and a thanksgiving for the institution of the eucharist,
- Good Friday, with a veneration of the cross,
- Easter Eve, with the Great Vigil, paschal fire, initiation, and the Easter eucharist.