‘Maundy’ Thursday takes its name from the Latin word ‘mandatum’, meaning ‘commandment’. According the St John’s Gospel, Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, gave his followers a new ‘commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15. 12).
On this night, we remember how Jesus took a towel and washed his disciples’ feet—showing us the way to love, by serving others rather than seeking to be served.
On this night, we remember how Jesus took bread and wine at supper and gave them new significance for his followers through all time—both as a reminder always of that moment and at the same time showing us the way to love, by welcoming all people into the fellowship of the table.
And yes, on this night, we remember how Jesus’ own followers and friends, betrayed by their own fears and dashed expectations, fled his side into the night. ‘In the chaos of that moment we are left to consider how we too forsake and flee from him—when his teaching is too hard to embrace, his gospel too hard to embody in the manner of our living’ (Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada).
This is a profoundly moving service of worship. All are welcome.