Maundy Thursday Liturgy
April 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
On this night we remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ final teachings to his friends. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning “commandment,” referring to “The New Commandment,” that is, Jesus’ commandment to us to “love one another.” (The famous text Ubi caritas—”Where charity and love are, God is there”—has its origin in this liturgy.)
This Gospel is followed by a Liturgy of Foot Washing, an enactment of Jesus’ gesture of humble service to his followers. At Saint Mark’s, it is the tradition to invite the entire congregation to participate in this powerful and intimate act, both washing the feet of others, and allowing your own feet to be washed. It is your choice whether to participate or not.
A service of Holy Eucharist follows the foot washing, after which the ritual Stripping of the Altar is performed. Fundamentally, this ritual is simply preparing the worship space for the next “act” of the Triduum liturgy, since on Good Friday the altar is always kept completely bare. But in the context of the Maundy Thursday, the act takes on profound symbolic resonances, reminding us of the stripping of Jesus before his scourging in the final hours before his death, the preparation of the body of Jesus for his entombment, or even the stripping bare of our own hearts. At Saint Mark’s this ritual contains unique elements—you are invited to find your own meaning in this powerful, ambiguous, and unsettling act.