Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday – according to a note in the little gift book Happy Easter, published by Honor Books, the word Maundy comes from a Latin word meaning “a command.”

“It refers to when Jesus commanded His followers to love one another,” says the unidentified author, “On this special day many people, including world leaders, try to follow that command by giving maunds, or gifts, to the poor.”

That's an explanation I've not heard before. I always assumed that “maundy” meant what it kind of sounds like to me – mourning. It's the day we remember the Last Supper, and Jesus's time in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed while His friends slept; a day when we mourn the sins that cost Him everything.

Usually on Maundy Thursday that's what I'm thinking of – my sins, both the things I've done that I shouldn't have done, and the things I should have done that I haven't. I'm thinking of the sharp words, the eye-rolling, the resentments and jealousies I harbor. I'm thinking of the times I choose my own comfort or entertainment over helping someone else, whether that help is practical or financial. I'm thinking of the times I choose the small lie, or turn away from doing what is right and good. It's hard to recognize and acknowledge those things in myself, but I know they are there.

One of the most painful lessons I've learned as a mother is how awful it is when I somehow cause my children pain, either through something I've done or because of something I haven't known or done, and the child suffered because of my mistake. It's horrible to know someone else suffers because of my shortcomings!

But isn't that what Jesus did for us? My sin caused His suffering. He suffered for our sin, went to the cross to make things right with God. I don't understand this all, but it seems like a wonderful gift to those of us who are poor in spirit, who cannot help but mourn our sin.

So today, I'll get out that old Latin book and look up “maund” to see if it really means “a command.” I'll think about the instructions Jesus gave to us to “love one another.”

And I'll mourn the sin that sent Him to the cross.

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