Holy Week Reflections – Maundy Thursday 2020

The audio file of this reflection can be found at https://ucashford.podbean.com

MAUNDY THURSDAY – 9th April 2020


This is the fourth reflection in this series for Holy Week and will be a little different in format.

Today is Maundy Thursday, so called because of the traditional Latin anthem used on this day, ‘Mandatum novum do vobis’, taken from the words of Jesus in John 13:34, ‘A new commandment I give to you’.

Today’s readings are:

EXODUS 12:1-14 (you can omit vs.5-10) – where we hear about the first Passover;

PSALM 116:1-2 & 12-19 – words offering a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for God’s goodness;

1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26 – Paul’s account of the Lord’s Supper as the early church had begun to share it;

and then JOHN 13:1-17 & 31b-35.

You may wish to read these through in detail, later today.

In the gospel story, we read about Jesus sharing the Last Supper with his disciples, the washing of feet, the awareness of betrayal, the call to servant-hearted ministry amongst his followers and the call to love, not as we love but as Jesus loved.

I wonder if you can imagine being on the receiving end of Jesus’ love? (In the synoptic gospels – Matthew, Mark & Luke but not John, we have the story of Jesus breaking bread) Can you imagine Jesus breaking bread and giving it to you, telling you this is his body, given to you? (From today’s passage from John) Can you see Jesus kneeling in front of you and washing your feet? What would that be like…Jesus offering himself to YOU, in these ways of service and self-giving?

And, if we can take that on board, does it help us to serve others in a similar fashion; loving them just as deeply and in as costly a manner, as Jesus loves us?

A poem by George Herbert:

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back, guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack from my first entrance in,

drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning, if I lacked anything.


A guest, I answered, worthy to be here: Love said, You shall be he.

I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear, I cannot look on thee.

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, Who made the eyes but I?


Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame go where it doth deserve.

And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame? My dear, then I will serve.

You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat: so I did sit and eat.


You may wish to end this reflection time today with a period of quiet, thinking about what we’ve shared here and then ‘keep watch’ with Jesus a while as we remember his anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane  (as recorded in John 18:1-12)… ‘Stay here, and keep watch with me, watch and pray’