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Archive for April 9th, 2020

Maundy Thursday

Note about the word, “Maundy”: It is derived from the Latin “mandatum”, or commandment (as in “mandate”).  On this 1st of the 3 days of our salvation, the Lord Jesus gave 2 commandments.  

1.  When He washed His disciples feet He said, A new commandment that you love one another.  The sense of the Greek is that the new commandment is SO THAT you love another, which would mean the new commandment is to wash each other’s feet.  IN that way we love each other and show forth His love to all.

 2. When He broke the bread and gave the Cup, He gave us His body and blood with the words, “Do this”.  The Holy Communion is not optional, but a command.  In Jewish tradition the 2 candles on the dining table represent:  Command and Remembrance.  Yes! “Do this, in remembrance of Me.” (!)  We are serve one another as the Lord serves us His Body and Blood till He comes again in glory.  His Church is called to serve the Dinner:  the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Mass.  Below is a sermon quote from one The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod church fathers, Dr. C.F.W. Walther on the meaning of the Mass.  A blessed Triuudum!

Triduum:  The Three Days

Holy (Maundy) Thursday

COLLECT OF THE DAY

O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

READINGS: Exodus 24:3–11 or Exodus 12:1–14 Psalm 118: 12-19 Hebrews 9:11–22 or 1 Corinthians 11:23–32 Matthew 26:17–30 or John 13:1–17, 31b–35

The apostle [Paul] wishes to say: Consider, beloved Christians, that when you receive the blessed cup and the blessed bread, each one partakes of the body and blood of Christ; they are both common to all of you. You come into body-and-blood fellowship with one another. For just as many grains become one bread, so in the Holy Supper, you, though you are many, become one Body, one mass, because you are partakers of the one bread and with it one and the same body and blood of Christ.

Because of the presence and participation of the body of Christ, the Holy Supper is a meal of the most intimate fellowship and, therefore, at the same time, the highest love-meal. Just as fervent love is demanded, so fervent love is delivered. We all come together, as children of the same family, to the table of our common, heavenly Father. As great as the distinction between communicants in civic life may be, in the Holy Supper all distinctions evaporate. We are all the same, in that we each eat the same earthly and heavenly bread and drink the same earthly and heavenly drink. In this Meal, the subject and his king, the slave and his master, the beggar and the rich, the child and the old man, the wife and the husband, the simple and the learned, truly all communicants stand as the same poor sinners and beggars, hungry and thirsty for grace. Although one may appear in a rough apron while another in velvet and satin, adorned with gold and pearls, when they depart, all take with them that for which they hunger and thirst: Christ’s blood and righteousness as their beauty and glorious dress. No one receives a better food and better drink than the other. All receive the same Jesus, and with Him, the same righteousness. —C. F. W. Walther

Jesus, hail! Enthroned in glory, There forever to abide; All the heav’nly hosts adore Thee,Seated at Thy Father’s side. There for sinners Thou art pleading; There Thou dost our place prepare, Ever for us interceding Till in glory we appear.

—Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus (LSB 531:3)

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I was told growing-up the importance of good posture.  Now there are varieties of good postures in the Scriptures. In Christ Jesus we see the various postures. We reflect on kneeling.

In the Bible kneeling can be for these reasons: 

1. Confession of sin, as Peter kneeling before the Lord after the miraculous catch of fish and confessing, Depart from me O Lord, for I am a sinful man.  (BTW:  the Lord did not depart). 

2. Confession of praise and adoration, as in the first Psalm of Matins, 95:  Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!  But on this Holy Evening, in the night in which He was betrayed, two other types of kneeling are indicated for our focus on His Word:

3. Kneeling to serve; 

4.  Kneeling to receive His Body and Blood

This night is entitled Maundy Thursday.  Maundy derived from the Latin, mandatum, mandate or commandment.  We did not read the other appointed Gospel for this first day of the Triduum, the Three Days, John 13, Jesus gave us a new mandatum, commandment, to love one another as He loved us by washing the disciples’ feet.   Then in the same evening the Lord’s blessed command:  Take and eat, This is My Body.  Take and drink, This is My Blood of the new Testament.  Now kneeling is not prescribed in the Scriptures to receive Communion yet as a godly custom it is meet, right and so to do:  see kneeling in confession of praise and adoration for the Gospel’s joyful sound:  you are forgiven.

These two reasons for kneeling are inter-related. The Lord of heaven and earth knelt to wash His disciples’ feet.  He was doing the work of a slave.  He is the Master who is servant and slave for His people.  If He did this, should we not so love?  Just think:  Jesus this evening also washed Judas’ feet and the Lord knew what was transpiring in the dark recesses of Judas’ heart and inJerusalem.  We do not know if Jesus felt like doing this.  If we had to wait for the mood to strike us so to serve and love, then nothing would ever be done. Jesus did not feel like suffering and dying.  He asked this evening of the Father, take this cup away from Me. If He had waited until He felt like it, we would still be in our sins.  To serve in love is not primarily a feeling but a doing. Though it is not by doing are we saved for then we should be so doing non-stop.  But this kneeling flows out of the first:  He knelt to give us His Body and His Blood tomorrow on the Cross. As Mary sat at His feet to be taught by the Lord in His Word, the good portion He said that will not be taken away.

‘My God is too big to fit into any one religion.’ The true God was so big He fit into the very religion through which He loved His people from Abraham to Joseph to Moses to Joshua to Deborah to David and till this day:  His beloved Son was born a Jew to kneel in prayer and service for the life of His people and in love of the fallen world.  ‘My God is too big to fit into a box’.  The too big God fit into flesh to make us fit for Himself and each other. The Lord is so big, big in heart, in anger and grief toward His wayward children in going after false gods that He came to find them and redeem us.   My God is too big…yes,  He was placed at birth in a box, in a manger. He never went abroad.  He hardly journeyed more than a 100 miles from His place of birth.  He was boxed in by the sin of the world and was handcuffed this evening after He knelt to wash His disciples’ feet and commune them. He said this evening over simple bread and wine, This is My body and blood, so we are freed, not boxed in by our trespasses and live to serve and kneel in confession of sin, confession of faith, confession of praise and to kneel to serve, IN the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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