Reflection: Maundy Thursday

Welcome to our series of Lent and Easter reflections.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle compares the atmosphere in the city of Jerusalem to the words Jesus shares with his disciples. This reflection is inspired by John 13: 1 - 8.

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John 13: 1-8

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’  


Passover in Jerusalem. The city is rammed, full of edgy people. Everyone telling the Exodus story, the one about freedom from oppression. Telling that story in a city occupied by Roman soldiers. It’s volatile. In the Temple they are praying for a different future.They keep hearing ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord’. At the Passover meal there are cups, bitter herbs, and a lamb that all spell out the same hope of deliverance. A longed for Saviour, a better life - you can hear it, smell it, and taste it.

All that frantic hope and then the strange scene in the Upper Room where Jesus speaks and Jesus kneels. ‘This is my commandment - That you love one another, as I have loved you’. Then he washes their feet. Christ on his knees as servant. The story that John wants us to step into. The new life, is love and the Saviour is a servant. On this night the little christian community will be plunged into chaos and the last image they will have in their heads in the summoning dark is of Christ kneeling at their feet commanding them to love. It is all the truth that they need.


O God,
you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbour:
Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit,
that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart,
and united to one another with pure affection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and forever,