From three years ago:
There's so much that you can talk about on Maundy Thursday. The Garden
of Gethsemane is so important, but there's something about Jesus
washing the feet of the disciples that I love. Here are two old posts
about this day:
March 24, 2005
On Thursday morning of Holy Week, we went to the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, which happens to be one of my favorite places in Jerusalem.
We went to watch the Greek Patriarch performing the Ceremony of the
Washing of the Feet. The Church was crowded with people so we climbed up
on the roof to get a better view.
It was a fairly long ceremony because the Greek Patriarch had to have
his heavily decorated robe removed; he wore a much simpler white robe
for the ceremony. He washed the feet of 12 of his clerics while prayers
were recited. I can still hear the sound in my mind. Afterwards, he
sprayed the crowd with the leftover water from the ceremony.
We didn't see the Latin Patriarch
celebrating the washing of the feet, but it is a much simpler process
inside the Church (if the weather is decent, the Greeks do it outside).
Afterwards, The Latins go to the traditional site of the Upper Room on
The Armenians don't do their ceremony in the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre at all; they use the Cathedral of St. James in the Armenian
Quarter of Jerusalem. The Copts use the Church of St. Anthony in the
Coptic Patriarchate. The Coptic Archbishop washes the feet of the
entire Coptic congregation.
April 12, 2006
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and
his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said
unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn
from them about a stone’s cast, and knelt down, and prayed, Saying,
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not
my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from
heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more
earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling
down to the ground. ~Luke 22:39-44
Out of all the days of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday seems to be the most
overlooked, but it is one of the most important days, possibly even
more so than Easter Sunday because Thursday night was the time Jesus
Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Without that,
the Resurrection wouldn't have been worth nearly so much.
I've spent a lot of time in the traditional Garden of Gethsemane. There
are two separate sections, both filled with old olive trees. Neither
sections are particularly big, and it doesn't really matter to me if
the traditional sites are the actual places where Jesus actually stood.
There is a large church on the site, the Church of all Nations. It's not my favorite church in Jerusalem (Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives is one I like much better), but it is a lovely building.
But my favorite place there is to the garden. Once when I was in the
garden on a Saturday morning in October, one of my roommates introduced
me to the hymn "Reverently and Meekly Now." These are the first and
fourth verses. I also like to remember "How Great the Wisdom and the
Rev'rently and meekly now,
Let they head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.
At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love than cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful, evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.