March 28

Written by Bill Grandi on March 28th, 2024

“What in the world is Maundy Thursday?” That was my incredulous question to someone when he mentioned Maundy Thursday.

Backstory: I grew up and subsequently preached in a church tradition that was not a denomination (least they said they weren’t). We didn’t and still don’t celebrate special days (except Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays) or saints or creeds. All I knew growing up was my Catholic friends ate fish, not meat, on Friday, but I had no clue why. I never knew about Lent, saints, creeds, and certainly not Maundy Thursday.

Until a few years ago. I was looking into the history of Lent and church practices when I heard about this thing called Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum or “command.” The command being commemorated was the one Jesus gave His followers the night before He died: “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (Jn.13:34 NLT)

I have also learned that the royal family began giving gifts to people in need as far back as the 13th century on Maundy Thursday. Do they still carry on that tradition? I don’t know. (Maybe you do?)

Maundy Thursday is today in the Christian world. The day before Good Friday. Think about this for a moment. Jesus gave the command to His followers to love as He loved.  A day later in an act of pure love and selflessness, He showed His love by dying on a cross for sins He never committed. “There is no great love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:13 NLT). So He spoke; so He lived loved. 

I’m still not too sure about this thing called Maundy Thursday. I’m still not convinced about the need to make a special day of it. But it does beg the question: How are you going to show love this Easter season? One went to a cross. We are not/may not be asked to go to that extreme, but are you willing to give yourself away in service to another?


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bill, I’ve been in a denomination that recognizes Maundy Thursday for many years. And although I knew that Maundy meant mandate, I didn’t realize the mandate was to love others as Jesus loved us. Maundy Thursday now has a whole new meaning for me! Thanks!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You’re welcome Pam. That mandate is one we all should live and strive for…Maundy Thursday or not.

  2. Ryan S. says:

    A very worthwhile recognition and remembrance. The world would be in a much better place if we could Love as Christ loved.

  3. gail says:

    I grew up catholic, and we called it Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. I gave up things for lent, I ate fish on fridays or tuna casserole. One thing I did like that we did, is in church we had the 14 Stations of the Cross, we had big marble plaques with paintings of Jesus’s journey to the Cross. We would as a class go through each station and pray, and reflect on Jesus’s walk to the cross. It was a powerful experience to go through. It would have helped tremendously if they would have read the Bible verses that went to each station, but they did not.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks for the history lesson Gail. I know they have the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Is that similar to your 14 stations?

  4. gail says:

    Yes Bill its the same thing.

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