Much of what we know about Holy Week comes from a pilgrim named Egeria who provided a detailed account of what she saw on her pilgrimage in the year 385. She described the daily and weekly services at Jerusalem and chronicled the major celebrations in her diary to take with her back to Spain. Holy Week is when we walk along with Jesus on his journey that week towards the cross. On Holy Monday we hear about the anointing of Jesus, Holy Tuesday Jesus predicts his death and on Holy Wednesday Jesus predicts that he will be betrayed by Judas. This leads us to the final three days known as the Triduum. This begins with sundown on Maundy Thursday through sundown on Easter. Today on Maundy Thursday we remember his final meal known as The Last Supper.
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
Maundy comes from the Latin word for commandments because on this day we remember the things he commanded us to do. Maundy Thursday often has a ceremony of the washing of feet to symbolize servanthood. Oils used in baptism and other sacraments are blessed on this day. Bread and wine is consecrated and reserved on the side altar to be used on Good Friday. The tabernacle light is extinguished and the tabernacle is left open. As Psalm 22 is read, everything is removed and the altar is left dark and bare.
Maundy Thursday Collect
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen