I am not a traditional kind of guy. Innovation excites me and keeping tradition well…kind of bores me. If you like tradition, that’s great! I see the appeal to it. I really do. Tradition, when used in a healthy way, can help anchor us in values or keep us tethered during difficult times. There is definitely a benefit to it.
That being the case, I’ve just never gravitated toward it. I’m not sure if it is my ADD, professionally diagnosed, or if it is just the way that I am geared. Either way, it has never played a huge part in my life. That’s probably why I’ve never really understood the religious observance known as “Maundy Thursday”. It always sounded like we were mispronouncing “Monday” and then I was really perplexed as to why they were coupling Monday and Thursday together. What tha heck happened to Tuesday and Wednesday huh?!! Let’s send out a search party.
After doing a little bit of studying, it has come to my attention that the Latin word “Maundy”, where we get our word “mandate” from, means command. The reference is to the Thursday of the passion week, or the week before Jesus’ death. It commonly points to the Passover which is also where we get the Christian practice of Communion or the Lord’s Supper. At that meal, Jesus also stooped to wash the disciples feet. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure everybody washed their hands afterward. The “command” that is being referenced comes from John 13:34 where Jesus says,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
THAT is a tradition I can get behind! A reminder that is tucked within the Passion Week that spells out why Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. We should never forget that Good Friday and Easter aren’t simply miraculous feats that Jesus performed. They authenticate that Jesus was exactly who He said He was and that He was capable of what He claimed He could do. It showed Him to be the Son of God and that He was more than a good teacher.
All of these things are true of Jesus.
What is also true is that He loved God and loved humanity so much He was willing to do the above things. It is also true that the life that He lived before that was a life that was lived in love for those around Him. He served and cared for the least of these. Then, in the Upper Room (upstairs in someone’s house) He stooped to wash the feet of those He would have to leave. Then He would tell them that they needed to love each other, and those they would encounter, “just” as He had loved them. What a great reminder during this week that we celebrate a risen Savior! Let this Maundy Thursday serve as a reminder that Easter is more than a tradition that we observe from year to year.
It is a symbol of faith, hope, and love.
It is a reminder that to celebrate Easter means to celebrate Jesus and how He lived, as well as how He died and rose from the dead. His life was lived in love and His death was motivated by the love that He had for God and for us.
To celebrate Easter is to celebrate God’s love.
It is also a reminder that we are to treat one another with the same love that Jesus showed and still shows us today.
Before we get to Easter, let’s take some time to reflect the love of God to someone who desperately needs it. Find a friend, a family member, your spouse or maybe your kids and surprise them with sacrificial love in some way. Write a note, buy some flowers, cook dinner for someone or go out to dinner with friends. You get to choose the way that you surprise them with loving kindness.
I want to leave you with is this friends, to celebrate the hope that we have in Christ is to celebrate the means by which that hope came to us. Hope came to us wrapped in love, unpretentious and unselfish. Hope poured out His love in His life, death and resurrection.
Let’s celebrate that this Easter.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:3-4