As I sit here in my comfortable home, I ponder the activities of the days leading up to Christ’s resurrection. I compose this on Maundy Thursday. Tonight, our church joins with a sister church to partake of a Seder meal.
A woman in our prayer group has asked, “What is Maundy Thursday?” We tried to explain it but we stumbled as to why it was called “Maundy.”
" Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter, believed to be the day when Jesus celebrated his final Passover with His disciples. Most notably, that Passover meal was when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in an extraordinary display of humility. He then commanded them to do the same for each other. Christ's "mandate" is commemorated on Maundy Thursday-- "maundy" being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means "command." It was on the Thursday of Christ's final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said these words to his disciples,'A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.'" (John 13:34) (1)
Tonight, those of who attend will partake of foods representing the foods eaten by the Hebrew peoples as they awaited the sign for them to escape Egypt and the slavery that bound them. A plate at a traditional Seder meal contained.
“1. Z'roa: A lamb shank represents a symbolic offering to the temple.
2. Beitzah: The egg is a symbol of rebirth.
3Maror: Bitter herbs such as horseradish signify the bitterness of enslavement.
4Karpas: A non-bitter vegetable, here parsley, is dipped in salted water to symbolize tears.
5. Haroset: A mixture of apple, nuts and wine that represents the mortar and bricks used by the enslaved Jews.
6. Hazeret: Another bitter herb, such as romaine lettuce. Some do not use a second bitter herb.
Source: myjewishlearning.com” (2)
When I remember the Seder meal, I remember the bitterness of the parsley and the saltiness of the tears shed by the Hebrew children as they went through the agony of enslavement by the Egyptian pharaoh.
As a child, I wondered why we called the day Jesus was crucified, Good Friday. The explanation I was given was simply that by Christ dying on the cross, we are deemed worthy and we have our sins forgiven. In other words, we were considered good because of Jesus’ going to the cross and giving His life for our sins.
A study of the term “Good Friday,” tells us that the term was originally “God’s Friday.”
“The Catholic Encyclopedia, first published in 1907, states that the term's origins are not clear. It says some sources see its origins in the term "God's Friday" or Gottes Freitag, while others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag. It notes that the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons and is referred to as such in modern Danish.
It also says that the day is known as "the Holy and Great Friday" in the Greek liturgy, "Holy Friday" in Romance Languages and Karfreitag (Sorrowful Friday) in German.” (3)
I can only marvel at God’s plan for us, for you and me. He gave His son that we might live for Him and then live with Him when our time on earth is completed.
1. http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/what-is-maundy-thursday-11628350.html accessed 4.13.2017
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