jesus last supper2
Meditation and Reflection

Maundy Thursday: humility, forgiveness, reconciliation

 

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you
(Jn 13:1-15).

The day before the Passover, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and Christians have spoken of washing one another’s feet ever since. Jesus did it as an act of humility. The disciples were to do it as an exercise in love and mutual subjection. We don’t do it much now, mainly because we wear shoes and socks and take a daily shower. Christian feet tend to be a lot cleaner in this decontaminated age than they were in dusty Israel in AD33. But our souls are just as sullied.

And then He ate bread and drank wine for the last time. Most Christians commemorate the Last Supper all year round, but we witness the foot-washing only once a year, and rarely is it physically re-enacted. Perhaps we should precede the Easter Eucharist with foot-washing or a modern equivalent:

What about having a new law that made all cabinet members and leaders of political parties, editors of national papers and the hundred most successful financiers in the UK, spend a couple of hours every year serving dinners in a primary school on a council estate? Or cleaning bathrooms in a residential home? Walking around the streets of a busy town at night as a street pastor, ready to pick up and absorb something of the chaos and human mess you’ll find there especially among young people?

Perhaps not a law, but certainly a new tradition, if that isn’t too oxymoronic, to induce a little humility; dispel perpetual feelings of superiority; test doctrinal infallibility and confront our pride. After all, we do still need to wash our feet, some more than others. And we all need to eat, but the bread and the wine are privileges. Only if we are humble, forgiving and reconciled one to another may we dine with Him. Only when everything else fades into oblivion can we feed on Him.

But it never does, does it? Life is messy, you see. We intone the liturgy and pray the Lord’s Prayer – ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us‘. But we have not forgiven because the grievance still eats into our soul. There is bitterness, resentment, malice, even hatred. And yet we presume to eat the bread and drink the wine. Funny, isn’t it, how zealous and assiduous we are in demanding the excommunication of our brothers and sisters for their notorious sexual sin, while we take the bread and drink the cup with hearts of hate, hostility, greed and malevolence.

If we are to feed on Him, we must be humble and love one another. It is the fruit of the Spirit by which we might be seen and made known to the world: ‘..love one another; as I have loved you..’. If God can empty Himself to become man, then we can empty ourselves of self and fulfil the human vocation to be in the image of God. To be is to live; to live is to breathe, to persist, to remain in Him. And that doesn’t connote always being kind, nice, liked or acting the amiable doormat: loving one another can be a prickly, argumentative and disapproving process. But it is never proud, conceited, ostentatious, haughty, sadistic or spiteful. Nor can it be unforgiving if we are to truly live, pray and worship with one another as one body, as He agonisingly entreated in Gethsemane that we should.

  • Phil R

    Another excellent mini sermon

    He washed their feet.

    A job always done by a slave or the lowest member of the household.

  • Ivan M

    Who are these people who are with hearts of hate, hostility and malevolence? Do they actually go to church? As the sexual sin is the greatest problem most of us face we naturally are inclined to think it odd, that we can openly flaunt our defiance like our bent brothers and sisters.

    • Phil R

      His Grace is right the greatest sin is pride.

      Thinking and believing as Christians that God condones our sexual immorality and finds it good simply because we like what we are doing and don’t want to stop still stems from pride.

      God knows what is best for human flourishing, but we like to think otherwise.

    • sarky

      “Who are these people who are with hearts of hate, hostility and malevolence? ”

      Probably people who use the word ‘bent’.

  • Anton

    “What about having a new law that made all cabinet members and leaders of political parties, editors of national papers and the hundred most successful financiers in the UK, spend a couple of hours every year serving dinners in a primary school on a council estate? Or cleaning bathrooms in a residential home?”

    Plus BBC high-ups, any Brit who tops the pop charts, and the Royal Family. But you might be in for a pleasant surprise re Prince Charles, whom a friend encountered picking up litter anonymously on the minor roads of Gloucestershire not too far from his house.

  • Anton

    When a church goes in for footwashing at this time of year, you an bet that everybody there has washed their feet an hour or so beforehand! the point about this passage is that we Christians must care for each other.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Exactly – on the one occasion I was ‘chosen’ for this singular (whatever the opposite of honour is) I ensured that I had clean socks and had put some after shave on my feet as well, in order to ensure that the feet of an adolescent male didn’t cause a crisis of faith.

  • Athanasius

    Not sure exactly what you’re trying to say here, but condemning the sin is not by any means condemning the sinner. Conversely, to accept the sinner in all circumstances (including still in his sin) is certainly to accept the sin. You don’t need to be either haughty or spiteful to take this position.

  • Dominic Stockford

    One constituent of the greatest sin is pride – but the greatest sin is to fail to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your strength, and all your mind….

  • Athanasius

    BTW, the pre-emptive text on my phone seems to be having huge trouble predicting the words “sin” and “sinner”. They keep coming up “din” and “dinner” and I’ve had to edit my previous post twice to take account of that. I imagine that’s because the concept of sin is so alien to modern sensibilities that it’s little used today. Metaphor, anyone?

    • Dominic Stockford

      People gorging themselves on what satisfies their own desires – could be sin or dinner…

      • saintmark

        It’s what the ‘all inclusive’ church is about, being able to eat & drink as much as you want

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Maybe it’s the “sin” card

      I’ll get my coat….

    • sarky

      god moves in mysterious ways.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I Thought Your Grace that you were going to suggest that the Cabinet members should wash each others feet.

  • preacher

    Jesus teaches well, – by example. Washing the dirty feet, Cleaning muddy shoes, & all the things that we hate because they need humility & that is so hard for most of us, – Jesus’ Boot Camp it could be called – literally!.
    Jesus found it easy! He didn’t wait or make a fuss. We must learn self control if we are to walk in the footsteps of our Lord & teacher.
    I suppose menial tasks are the hardest because they strike at the very heart of our dignity, but from them we learn our greatest lessons, humility, self discipline, love & service.
    We lay down our self. Not our faith or belief, but as Paul puts it, we become “Living Sacrifices” to our God.
    When we have achieved this , we can overcome our “hate, hostility, anger, greed & malevolence”. Until like Him ,we can say “Father forgive them, they know not what they do!”.
    Most of us still have a long way to go.

    • Morning Preacher, sounds a bit theatrical though doesn’t it? ;o)

      • preacher

        Nice one,- not as all singing all dancing as some though!. 🙂

        • Ah well, as we old die hard Catholics say: “lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi”.

          • preacher

            As we old proddies say “Who’s Lex & what’s he doing?”. Don’t like the sound of it!.

          • Lex = Law of prayer, believing and living.

            “Don’t like the sound of it!” … well no, Jack doesn’t suppose old proddies would. ;o)

          • Anton

            Tis not about law, tis about grace.

          • But of course it is all about grace.

            All the statement signifies is that worship, which are channels of grace, manifest our beliefs, and our lives should mirror these beliefs through the graces received.

          • preacher

            You’ve just made my point, why didn’t you say that in English? & Sarky was criticising ME a couple of days ago for speaking ‘Christian Gobbledegook’.

          • Hmmm … mea culpa (i.e. “through my fault”)

          • Anton

            Excellent!

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Who is Grace, pray?

          • The sister of Faith, Hope and Charity.

          • preacher

            You guys have more strange rites than the Freemasons. I only hope that your responsive cries of Crucify are not a dress rehearsal for the return of the Lord!. {:o(

          • *chuckle*
            As Jack has never dabbled with Freemasonry, he wouldn’t know. When you comprehend the symbolism of Catholic liturgy it makes perfect sense.

          • preacher

            So you are a liturgy lout then? all a bit mystical & Latin for us simple Christians. I’ll stick to the KJV thanks, at least one can read it & understand it. ]:~)

          • CliveM

            I had an argument with the pastor at the Church I currently go to. He claimed that the Church of Scotland had a liturgy. Rubbish says I (thinking of Anglican, orthodox and Catholic liturgies). But he was insistent. So checked it out. Seemingly a liturgy is little more then a set order of service, according to an established custom. Came as a surprise to this old Presbyterian! It would appear that most Churches do have a liturgy, not just the Liturgy ‘louts’ of the RC’s.

          • preacher

            The liturgy that binds eh, no freedom of worship there then, maybe it’s catching, or do I mean catechism?.

          • It comes down to whether you believe the Sacraments are objective channels of Divine grace, i.e. “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions”, or whether they are symbols and traditions that remind and connect us with Christ and with one another.

            Catholics believe they are the former. St. Thomas Aquinas affirms that the Sacraments act by virtue of the sign itself being performed. Accordingly, from the moment that the Sacramental sign is celebrated, in accord with the intention of the Church, Christ and the Holy Spirit act, conferring the fruits of the sacraments on those rightfully disposed to receive them.

            The Sacraments act “ex opere operato” (by the action itself), the graces they confer are validly received “ex opere operantis” (rightful and proper intention and disposition of the recipient).

            That’s why Catholic are focussed on liturgy – they are outward signs of inward grace.

          • The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by Him, the same night wherein He was betrayed, to be observed in His churches unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and showing forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him, their further engagement in, and to, all duties which they owe unto Him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other.
            In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sin of the quick or the dead; but only a memorial of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, on the cross once and for all.

            Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689.

          • Dated 1689, Martin. Yet since Pentecost, more than a millennium and a half before then, the Church believed and practiced something different and still does to this very day.

            A good summary:

            “That Holy Thursday Our Lord had given to them not another sacrifice than His unique Redemptive Act on the Cross; but He gave a new manner of Presence. It would not be a new sacrifice, for there is only one; He gave a new presence of that unique sacrifice. In the Last Supper, Our Lord acted independently of His Apostles in presenting His sacrifice under the appearances of bread and wine. After His Resurrection and Ascension and in obedience to the Divine command, Christ would offer His sacrifice to His Heavenly Father through them or depending on them. Whenever that sacrifice of Christ is memorialized in the Church, there is an application to a new moment in time and a new presence in space of the unique sacrifice of Christ Who is now in glory. In obeying His mandate, His followers would be representing in an unbloody manner that which He presented to His Father in the bloody sacrifice of Calvary …..

            When the Apostles, and the Church later on, would obey Our Lord’s words to renew the Memorial and to eat and drink of Him, the Body and Blood would not be that of the Physical Christ then before them, but that of the glorified Christ in heaven Who continually makes intercession for sinners. The Salvation of the Cross, being sovereign and eternal, is thus applied and actualized in the course of time by the heavenly Christ ….

            Only Divine wisdom could have conceived such a Memorial. Humans, left to themselves, might have spoiled the drama …. they might have regarded it as a drama which was played only once, but one which ought often to be recalled only through meditating on its details.

            In this case, they would go back and read the accounts of the drama critics who lived at the time, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This would be only a literary recall of His death ….

            Our Lord never told anyone to write about His Redemption, but He did tell His Apostles to renew it, apply it, commemorate it, prolong it by obeying His orders given at the Last Supper. He wanted the great drama of Calvary to be played not once, but for every age of His own choosing. He wanted men not to be readers about His Redemption, but actors in it, offering up their body and blood with His in the re-enactment of Calvary, saying with Him, “This is my body and this is my blood” dying to their lower natures to live to grace; saying that they cared not for the appearance or species of their lives such as their family relationships, jobs, duties, physical appearance, or talents, but that their intellects, their wills, their substance—all that they truly were—would be changed into Christ; that the Heavenly Father looking down on them would see them in His Son, see their sacrifices massed in His sacrifice, their mortifications incorporated with His death, so that eventually they might share in His glory.”

            Please note, Jack isn’t getting into a drawn out and unfruitful discussion. You’ve stated your position and Jack has stated his belief.

            Have a Blessed and Holy Easter.

          • What the Didache actually says, is ‘On the Lord’s day, assemble together, break bread and give thanks.‘ (Greek, eucharisteo). But you stick to your church fathers, HJ, I’ll stick with the Bible. ‘ Do this in remembrance of Me.’ That’s what I’m off to do now. Cheerio!

          • Liturgy frees rather binds, Preacher.

          • Hi happy Jack

            Well speaking of symbolism I’m prepping for Passover….. just making some haroset for tomorrow and other stuff with Sarah & my sisters and sister in laws and families, or at least those not in Israel, which is well cool. Of course the boys are down the pub, as tradition says that us girls are the ones who do the foods, which is just as well as none of the boys can cook…. well ok Sam worked at burger king for a year.Happy holidays to all people of good will on this blog.

          • preacher

            Have a wonderful time at passover Hannah, celebrated it a couple of times with friends & enjoyed it. the Wine tasted so good I don’t know what it was, but brill.

          • Hi preach

            Thanks

          • preacher

            I’m jealous Hannah. I’d rather be celebrating passover with you & sharing that Wonderful nectar than washing feet. But we must follow what we believe, luckily I’m not a traditionalist so I won’t have to.

          • Hi preacher

            Well cool, although passover starts about this time tomorrow (:

          • Wishing you and your family and assorted others a blessed and joyful Passover, Hannah.

  • The Explorer

    There is hate, hostility, greed and malevolence within the Church. No one, presumably, denies that. Some, indeed, would argue that they arise as a direct result of the religion. So the best way to rid the world of them is to rid the world of Christianity.
    Myself, I’m sceptical of such claims. After years of observing the irreligious at work, at leisure, social interaction, sexual/gender interaction etc etc I’d say there’s quite as much hate, hostility, greed and malevolence outside the Church as there is inside it. I’d even go so far as to say there’s more.
    In fact, I’d say the source of the problem is not the Christian religion, but what the Christian religion identifies as the human condition.

    • preacher

      I agree, One would be hard pressed not to. But I believe that when we are born again & become a “New Creation” in Christ, we have to start over to unlearn the way we were & demonstrate the difference as the way we now are. Not always easy, as the ways of the flesh, the ‘Old Man’ wars against the spirit. But perhaps that’s just me!.

      • Inspector General

        When you say ‘Old Man’, Preacher, you are referring to your member for the loin district, to give your post an election flavour, are you not?

        • preacher

          Sorry inspector, not using Chinese inflection – no Peeking!.

          • Inspector General

            That should have read ‘the ‘honourable’ member for the loin district, as we would expect no less from a preacher man. The Irish have a similar problem with their ‘Auld Fella’ you might like to know, or perhaps not…

    • preacher

      Well said brother. ‘The human condition’, or to give it it’s real name – Sin?

  • preacher

    Just re-reading the message today, had to laugh at our hosts suggestion that a new tradition could be introduced to show all the leaders of politics & industry doing manual labour & menial tasks for charity. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen our ‘Westminster Warriors’ doing all sorts of manual work, grinning at the cameras as they try to show that they are one of the boys. Maybe it’s the silly season just before an election, so perhaps we could make the new tradition once every five years, in case they strain something.
    One thing’s for sure, give them a T.V camera or any good media coverage & they’ll appear like bears coming out of hibernation.

    • Darter Noster

      I agree with our host, but must insist that no cameras or publicity of any kind be permitted beyond maintaining a register of who has fulfilled their legal duty (tradition is not enough).

      Most politicians would eat their own faeces if they thought it would bring good publicity, but wouldn’t lift a finger to do something lowly but useful if they didn’t.

      • preacher

        Regrettably I have to agree. Those cheesy grins AAAAAAAAAAAGH!.

  • Inspector General

    Don’t go overboard on the humility, chaps. Yes, we are imperfectious, but that is hardly our fault. Our very breathing is not a sin and nor are our usual thoughts, even the carnal ones. We are as human as we were designed, and if we fall short in the haughty opinions of the human sanctimonious, then those people should blame the creator of us, if they dare!

    We must also remember that ‘those who do trespass against us’ are invariably worse than we are by virtue of what they are doing, and in serious cases of felony, such as insurrection and murder, deserve everything coming their way. For that is the way of man, and we should not be ashamed of our nakedness, to give a flavoursome synonymy of what we are before God.

    Despite two thousand years of apologising for being alive, here we Christians still are. So, men, swords at the ready as we conclude with a rousing chorus of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’. We’ll let the preacher types writhe in agony on the ground for our supposed sin of existence – they seem to gain some comfort for themselves by doing that. Very strange, very indulgent, but each to their own, what!

    • Hi inspector

      That’s what I love about you: you are almost Jewish, rather than Christian, in your theological stuff

      • Inspector General

        Greetings Hannah

        Let the Inspector tell you it’s damned difficult experiencing humility when you are surrounded by people you instinctively know are the inferior of you. One of course refers to the shabbily dressed tattooed obese, or variants thereof. One does not wish to put on false graces, as he would expect Christ wouldn’t be too impressed, so he leaves the washing of feet to others, and goes his sweet merry way of aloofness in spades….

        • Hi inspector

          Sounds like you’ve been watching the Jeremy Kyle show…

          • Inspector General

            Never watch it, or anything else that appeals to thicks, come to that…

          • Hi inspector

            A relative of mine was aghast after watching that show…

            Must go now….

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Dear Hannah, he is the producer…

          • LOL! Just watching the election debate. Strangely I’m agreeing with Nigel farage, so far.

          • Inspector General

            Watching, Hannah. Can’t help feeling that Clegg should be wearing a canary yellow suit…

    • preacher

      Let the preacher types writhe in agony on the ground for your sins brother, – no way. D.I.Y. is good for the soul you know?.

      • Inspector General

        No, you go ahead. Get what you can out of it. Just leave the Inspector out. He has no regrets over his failings….

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Goodness, dear Mr Preacher…are you advocating Onanism?

        • Inspector General

          Very popular amongst homosexual men, so one is led to understand, Mrs Proudie. And thank you for asking…

          • preacher

            As someone once said, “Evil be to he who evil thinks”.

          • Inspector General

            And you mean what by that…

          • Inspector General

            The Order of the Garter motto, isn’t it. Now man, out with what you have to say…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Here in Barchester my Lord the Bishop washed the feet of the gentlemen of Hiram’s Hospital every year. Of course he hasn’t yet realised that I send Mr Slope round in the early hours to hose them all down beforehand. As for being ashamed of our nakedness, I find stout flannel under garments and bombazine prevents all worries, doubts and discomforts.

    • CliveM

      Inspector

      There are a number of people I know who I’m relieved to say are ashamed by of nakedness and I for one am going to encourage continued shame.

      • Inspector General

        Should be in the school curriculum….

  • Darter Noster

    I’ve always been distinctly uncomfortable about ritualised foot washing/alms giving. An event which runs:- 1) Leave palace 2) process into vast Cathedral surrounded by flunkeys, music and cameras 3) Ritually splash water on feet of carefully selected and prepped volunteers 4) Return to palace – doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of use to anybody, and just comes across as a parody.

    When Jesus washed feet it was an extremely practical and necessary, but extremely humble, thing to do. If HM Brenda or HRH Brian spent the day changing pads on severely disabled adults or cleaning out the bogs at a homeless shelter, with no cameras present, then I’d say fair enough. Waltzing around Sheffield Cathedral handing out coins which may as well be made of chocolate to a small number of worthies just doesn’t seem to be what our Lord had in mind somehow.

    PS Yes, that discomfort goes for the Pope doing it too.

    • Archbishop Diarmuid Martin got it right a few years ago.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359091/Irish-archbishop-Diarmuid-Martin-washes-feet-sexual-abuse-victims.html

      I don’t think anyone thought this was a parody.

    • Hmmm … perhaps you need to think a bit more deeply about what it represents in Catholicism:

      http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3074/holy_thursday_footwashing_and_the_institution_of_the_priesthood.aspx

      • Darter Noster

        Sorry HJ, but that “essential ritual of the all-male priesthood” thesis just doesn’t *ahem* wash.

        If it’s such an essential symbol of the priesthood specifically, why had it fallen into virtual disuse until the Mandatum of 1955, and why is it still optional?

        Why do rubrics from then state: “”Where the washing of feet, to show the Lord’s commandment about fraternal charity, is performed in a Church according to the rubrics of the restored Ordo of Holy Week, the faithful should be instructed on the profound meaning of this sacred rite and should be taught that it is only proper that they should abound in works of Christian charity on this day.”

        If it signifies the institution of the priesthood, why are the men chosen not at least ordination candidates?

        Why do the rubrics (Paschale Solemnitatis) specifically say that “The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’. This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.”

        Ritualised displays of humility and servility will always make me feel uncomfortable, however sincerely they are meant (and I certainly don’t doubt the Pope’s sincerity).

        • Well, Jack thinks the chap presented a rather solid argument but concedes the points were not included in the 1988 Paschale Solemnitatis. However, despite American practice and Pope Francis’ recent rather novel introductions, strictly speaking it is still men who should be selected and it seems a shame to detach it from one of its meanings at this service.

          If you’re uncomfortable with ritual, then Catholicism must be a trial. Post-Vatican II, by any chance? Or is it just ritualised displays “of humility and servility”? It’s a theme at the very heart of our faith.

    • It used to be the case that on Maundy Thursday the English king would wash the feet of the same number of beggars as his age. The last one to do this was Charles II, one of the most immoral men to occupy the throne (and that’s saying something!).

  • Inspector General

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that Christ’s washing of others feet had more to do with Christ showing us what he was about than to encourage similar behaviour amongst us less types?

    • IanCad

      Inspector, Christ said we should wash one another’s feet. As HG stated in John 13:14-15.

      • CliveM

        I notice that most Churches ignore this injunction. I wonder why!

        • IanCad

          I don’t have the answer to that. Maybe Sarky (above) has a point.

      • Inspector General

        This man has absolutely no intention of washing anyone’s feet or any other part of their anatomy. And neither do you outside of close family if the truth be known…

        • IanCad

          Inspector, I used to think exactly like that.

        • “If we approach holy Communion without being sincerely willing to wash the feet of one another, we do not recognize the Lord’s body.”
          (Pope Francis – Holy Wednesday)

          • Inspector General

            Rather bizarre thing for the Pope to say. Wonder what the other one thinks about that.

    • One can wear gloves to do the job Inspector. It’s about unconditional love for one’s fellow human beings.

    • magnolia

      More to the point to clean other people’s shoes I would think, given that we are not walking around dusty streets in sandals!! I am a vote forr valid modern translation of the spirit of the thing, which includes being practically helpful, not the re-washing of previously carefully washed and pedicured feet!

  • IanCad

    Our church follows the Ordinance of Humility (foot washing) when we celebrate communion.

    I will say that I found it most profoundly un-English at first but soon came to cherish it as an essential and humbling act within the full communion service.

    Most certainly, washing the feet of a fellow man is a great antidote to selfish pride – especially if things have been going well – but the true beauty of the ceremony is to see Jesus in the form of he who is washing mine.

    • Uncle Brian

      Ian, do you mean every time you celebrate communion, or only on Maundy Thursday?

      • IanCad

        UB, we do it at every communion – celebrated four times a year.

        • sarky

          Gives them 3 months in between for the verrucas to clear up 🙂

        • Uncle Brian

          I imagine the SDAs must be unique in celebrating the foot washing on any other day of the year than Maundy Thursday. Or is that just my ignorance?

          In German Maundy Thursday is called Green Thursday
          (Gründonnerstag). The only explanation I’ve ever been given is that the name comes from Luke 23.31, “For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” However, I find that explanation unconvincing , not least because it’s the wrong day: that happened on the Friday, not the Thursday.

          • IanCad

            I’m not sure about that UB.
            I will say though that in the verses pertaining to he practice there is no indication of a required annual frequency.
            Every quarter seems just about right.
            You make a good point – one I had not considered – in that you note it occurred on Friday. Of Course! Friday started on Thursday evening according to Jewish timekeeping.

          • IanCad

            I should have said “God’s timekeeping”
            Genesis 1:5

          • Uncle Brian

            Right, which is why Lent ends at sunset on Maundy Thursday.

            But my point about Jesus’s saying, “The tree is green”, is that he said it while he was carrying the cross, on the morning of Good Friday.

          • dannybhoy
          • Uncle Brian

            Thanks for that link, Danny. “The exact cause is lost in the haze of history,” it says. That makes a lot more sense than the so-called explanation about the saying in Luke.

            While we’re at it, there’s an old name in Portuguese for Maundy Thursday (no longer in official Church use) which is
            Endoenças, an altered form of the Latin word Indulgentias. What exactly indulgences have to do with Maundy Thursday, rather than any other day of the year, I’ve never found out.

          • dannybhoy

            Good Morning and Happy Easter UB.
            I’m glad the link helped.
            Re “What exactly indulgences have to do with Maundy Thursday, rather than any other day of the year, I’ve never found out.”
            Perhaps the idea was to offer wayward believers an opportunity to buy forgiveness in case our Lord should actually rise to reign on Easter Sunday??
            Not being a Catholic I have no real idea.

          • Uncle Brian

            Yes, that sounds logical! I’ll ask my parish priest next time we meet.
            And a Happy Easter to you too, Danny.

    • dannybhoy

      Footwashing is a beautiful expression of Christian love and humility. Providing people have time to prepare (pre-wash) and know exactly what to expect it can be a most uplifting and unifying experience.

      • IanCad

        We hold an open communion and there is no pressure to participate if someone feels unprepared. Either spiritually or physically.

      • sarky

        But surely if it is only done through tradition not humility, then it becomes meaningless.

        • dannybhoy

          Agreed.
          Although it doesn’t have to be.
          My (YWAM) experience of footwashing was unstructured rather than ritualised.
          Towels, bowls of water etc. were available and individuals were encouraged to go to individuals and ask to wash their feet.
          Expressions of appreciation and prayers might be expressed, and the service would conclude when everybody had participated.
          It was that ‘informality’ which made it so meaningful.

      • Inspector General

        “Providing”. What a bloody laugh…

  • “Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem: sicut dilexi vos, ut et vos diligatis invicem.”

    For Preacher and all the other proddies who for some strange reason appear to prefer the common tongue of the KJV rather than the Latin:

    “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

    • Pubcrawler

      If one must deal deal in translations, I’d have the KJV over the Vulgate any day — it’s far more poetic than Jerome’s clunky Latin 🙂

      • Hmmm … there’s no pleasing some folk.

        My good man that translation is from the “Knox Bible”. Msgr. Ronald Knox did not merely translate the original but made it read as if a modern day Englishman had written it. None of the “ye’s” and “thou’s” and so forth from the early 17th century. People just don’t talk like that anymore. It was translated from the Latin Vulgate and then compared with the Greek and Hebrew texts by Ronald Knox over nine years and he uses timeless English.

        Here’s the translation of John 13:34:

        “I have a new commandment to give you, that you are to love one another; that your love for one another is to be like the love I have borne you.”

        Rather splendid.

        • dannybhoy

          I rather like the “thees and thous.”
          If it’s good enough for the Almighty, it’s certainly good enough for me..
          I wish all my Christian brothers and sisters from the Catholic tradition a blessed holyday.

    • preacher

      Amen Jack. My prayer for you & all the Catlicks. – May God reveal to you, His love in a real & personal way this year.
      May he lead you in paths of righteousness all your lives.
      The love of Christ Keep you & the Blood of Christ save you.
      Amen.

  • David

    I send fraternal Easter Greetings to all Christians, in all continents, be they Orthodox, Catholic or the various strands of Protestantism.
    May the love and truth of God help us all Christians to point a needy, rebellious world towards the One True Saviour, Jesus Christ the Righteous.