Maundy Thursday and Beyond

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

Thursday of Holy Week—Maundy Thursday—is a day when Christians prepare our hearts for what tomorrow through Sunday signifies for us. I can think of nothing more important to blog about today.

The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning commandment. It refers to Christ’s command, as he washed his disciples’ feet: to follow his example by reflecting his love and humility in serving others. The Maundy Thursday service at our church is my family’s favorite service of the year. Appropriately solemn and completely different from any other service of the year, it focuses on commemorating the Last Supper, Scripture reading, and communal worship of Christ. Nothing more. No distractions.footwash

Our day jobs may require our minds and bodies to be at work tomorrow, Good Friday, but our hearts will be elsewhere. We in Christian publishing will be one together—authors, agents, editors, sales and marketing and PR staff, publishing executives—brothers and sisters kneeling at the foot of the cross, humble, repentant, hearts overflowing with thanksgiving for Christ’s unimaginable sacrifice on our behalf to purchase our eternity.

Today’s pondering of Good Friday’s sacrificial miracle on through Holy Saturday and into glorious Resurrection Sunday reignites our united purpose. We will not shrink back under the pressure of political correctness, but rather renew our resolve to obey the Great Commission. How can we not? We worship our Savior through the work he has given us to do. We use the giftedness, the knowledge, and the stories he inspires to encourage readers, possibly introducing some to him for the first time. A privilege and no greater joy.

In the spirit of communal worship, share your thoughts and memories of this most important of weeks for Christians.


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Maundy Thursday is a good day for Christian writers to refresh their purpose for what they do. Click to Tweet.

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  1. A significant part of my life was spent in a land of perpetual Good Fridays. I’ve walked with too many on their private Via Dolorosa; I’ve stood on too many Calvarys.

    And have held too many spears.

    They died young, and they did not die quietly. Hollywood is not life, and life is not softly given up.

    Was there, in that red crucible, the quick balm of Grace, the soothing of the bloody brow?

    I have to think so, because it was delivered in the frail vessel of my prayers, and the shaking hands of my love, on orders from Above.

    To the least of these, and even to an enemy.

    The faces and voices crowd back this week, and they remind me that work and life and worship are one and indivisible, through the violent majesty of their passing.

    He is risen; and He brings the healing of harms.

    (The phrase ‘healing of harms’ is the title of the last chapter of C.S. Lewis’ “The Silver Chair”; it’s used here with gratitude.)

  2. Micky Wolf says:

    So beautifully stated, Mary. Find myself drawn into a deep silence these days. The sacrifice. The gift. That Love could be so generous. With humility and grateful hearts, may we renew our resolve to obey the Great Commission. Thank you.

  3. Jim Lupis says:

    A very beautiful and spirit-filled post, Mary. It encourages me to be a better writer, not for me, but for Jesus. As a pastor I have the privilege of ministering the Gospel this week and proclaiming the incredible greatness of our Lord and Savior.

    By His grace, may I be able to do the same as a writer.

  4. My recent appendectomy cost me a ride in an ambulance. Weeks later, my husband said, “I had a hard time keeping up with the ambulance.” I said, “What? The siren wasn’t on.” He said, “The lights were on.”

    I had no idea the lights were on.

    God reminded me of all that He does and has done behind the scenes on our behalf …

    We were the emergency … and the LIGHT was turned on for us – Jesus.

    May we realize and forever remember.

  5. Beautiful thoughts…Thanks, Mary!

  6. As a girl, I remember attending many Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Somber affairs.

    It was only as I came into adulthood that I truly understood the enormity of WHAT Jesus did on the cross. The horrific-ness of it. What He gave out of love for us all. When I stop to ponder His act of love it makes me want to live all for HIm. I don’t do it consistently, but it’s especially during this week when I am challenged to do this.

    Beautiful post, Mary.

    • You may live for Him more than you think. He didn’t make it hard, and He said so.

      To live for Him, just remember that He died for you…and for everyone.

      That’s it. Love Him for what He did, and love everyone else because He says they’re as worthy of love as you are.

      It’s not a matter of show. It’s just doing it, and I think you are.

  7. Angela Mills says:

    Beautiful post!

    The church I grew up in was fond of having us take little bits of paper with our sins written on them and nail them to a wooden cross at the Good Friday service. It is a beautiful idea, but it was always too painful for me to hammer the nail into the wood. It overwhelms me to think of the pain Jesus suffered on my behalf. I so appreciate that He gives us this time to reflect and remember and rejoice, and a day to celebrate that He has risen!

    We do not exclude chocolate bunnies and candy-filled eggs from our celebration, but we begin our morning with resurrection eggs that tell us again the story of it all and we remember what Christ has done.

  8. When I was a little kid, where we lived, it was called it Black Friday. I still wish we did.

    I often imagine God’s roar of pain as His son’s life faded and ended. How the angels would have flung themselves at the gates of heaven, begging for permission to fly at the speed of light to go and save Jesus.
    Did God’s hand shake as He held them back? Did the collective shouts of the angels tear through the temple curtain?

    I dislike how the days between Friday and Sunday go on as if nothing happened. But as Tony Campolo’s pastor said, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.”

    Then, BOOM.

    Did the earth heave new mountains, knowing the stone had finally rolled away? Did the sun shine brighter to give Jesus the dawn of all dawns? Did the palms in the garden reach for Him, shouting their own Hosannas?

    I have stood on mountains, 14,000 feet high, to watch the sun rise over the Andes. Each beam of light shooting out over another, like a thousand Klieg lights firing at once.

    I am certain that was nothing compared to heaven’s victory celebration.

    I will be spending Easter morning in a hockey rink in Maine. But I will have my cowbell, and everyone will think it’s to cheer on my son…


  9. The churches I have attended have not usually had a Maundy Thursday service. But on a recent visit to The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, we took communion with Jesus. I know he was just an actor playing the role, but in my willing suspension of disbelief, it was one of the most powerful spiritual moments of my life. Tears streamed down for many of us. Lovely post today, Mary. Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

  10. What a lovely post for Holy Thursday. Our church (non-denominational Christian) celebrates a Seder Supper. It’s something they’ve always done, and it attracts people outside of the congregation each year. I especially love how it involves the children. It definitely puts me in a better frame of mind as I approach Good Friday.

    This year, I’ve found myself needing to read more Scripture. I started an Easter devotional several days ago. I’m also reading through parts of the New Testament this week: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and now Hebrews. The Holy Bible App on my Kindle Fire allows me to highlight verses that speak to me, so I can reflect on them again. I’m feeling more prepared than usual for Easter Sunday.

    Many blessings to all of you.

  11. Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.
    -Isaac Watts

  12. A few years ago Seder and Maundy Thursday fell on the same day. Our church usually lets the tiny neighboring synagogue use our building for their Seder dinners so that time we shared the dinner with them and invited the Synagogue members to join us for communion afterwards. Only a few of them did, but it was a profound worship experience, at least until the service dog of my Jewish friend tried to take the communion bread from my hand, thinking it was a treat like I often gave him.