Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maundy Thursday

With Maundy Thursday, we begin the Sacrum Triduum - the 3 holy (holiest) days. It is hoped that many (many more) people will participate in the fullness of the worship on these holy days!As usual for Thursdays we have 9am Morning Prayer and 5pm Evening Prayer. BUT there is NO 12:15PM Communion Service this day.

The primary service for Maundy Thursday is at 7pm in The Church. We begin this evening with the celebration of the Holy Communion with 3 special meanings.

First, it is where the Maundy, the anglicized version of the Latin Mandatum - is given, that new Commandment that we love one another as Jesus loves us. This is symbolized in the liturgy by The Rector washing the feet of the parishioners, in obedience to our Blessed Lord's command to his Apostles (John 13:14-15).Secondly, it is the this evening at the Apostle's commemoration of the Passover Meal that Jesus institutes the Sacrament of the Holy Communion. Therefore the priest wears white vestments and we sing with gusto this evening since it is a High Feast. Related to this, thirdly, it is also the night that our Lord institutes the Sacred Priesthood to the Apostles to carry on His sacramental ministry.

After the glory of the Liturgy, in commemoration of Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane after Supper, and the abandonment by the Apostles, we strip the Sanctuary and Altar bare as we solemnly recite Psalm 22. My God, My God, why hast thou abandoned me...

In about an hour we go from joyous celebration for the Mandatum, Communion, and Priesthood, to shock and horror at our Lord's betrayal, arrest, and impending crucifixion!

This is then followed by THE GARDEN WATCH - 8:30pm to 11pm Thursday or 8:30am to 11:30pm Friday.A great devotional tradition during Holy Week is to spend an hour with Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, in our own Garden of Gethsemane. At the end of the Maundy Thursday Service the Sacrament will be moved in procession to the Chapel.The Chapel Sanctuary will be decorated with plants to recall the Garden, and the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the Altar for you to adore Him and meditate on the Saving Acts that He has endured for our Salvation.
There will be devotional material available to read during this time to focus your mind and your heart, or you can just sit there quietly and gaze with love upon Him.