Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday: We have feet to wash

The Great Three Days of Easter – the Easter Triduum – begins today with Holy Thursday, or in the English tradition “Maundy” Thursday. “Maundy” means “mandate,” the idea being that this is the day that Jesus “mandates” us to remember him in the Last Supper.

Today is also when the clergy are mandated to remember our call to service by renewing our ordination vows and by washing the feet of the faithful.

The invitation to have feet washed puts it this way:
“On the night before his death, Jesus set an example for his disciples by washing their feet, an act of humble service. He taught that strength and growth in the life of the Kingdom of God come not by power, authority or even miracle, but by such lowly service. All of us need to remember his example, but none stand more in need of this reminder than those whom the Lord has called to ordained ministry.”
I hope you will join us at 7:30 pm, and I hope you will come forward to have your feet washed. We will also celebrate our last Holy Eucharist of this Lenten season, and place consecrated bread in the chapel on the “Altar of Repose” until we distribute it tomorrow at our 7 pm Good Friday service.

By reserving the bread we signify that Christ is with us even as he hangs on the Cross. We will keep the chapel open tonight until midnight for those who wish to remain in silent prayer and reflection.

One other item to bring to your attention today:

In the Diocese of Virginia, the priests and deacons will gather this morning in several churches with our bishops to renew our ordination vows. For the first time in many years I will be absent, and it pains me to do that. I have a cold and I feel the need for rest rather than travel.

But I still want to renew my ordination vows, so please hear me as I do:

+ + +

My brothers and sisters, do you believe that you are truly called by God
and his Church to this priesthood?

AnswerI believe I am so called.
BishopDo you now in the presence of the Church commit
yourself to this trust and responsibility?
AnswerI do.
BishopWill you respect and be guided by the pastoral
direction and leadership of your bishop?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you be diligent in the reading and study of the
Holy Scriptures, and in seeking the knowledge of
such things as may make you a stronger and more
able minister of Christ?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you endeavor so to minister the Word of God
and the sacraments of the New Covenant, that the
reconciling love of Christ may be known and
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you undertake to be a faithful pastor to all
whom you are called to serve, laboring together
with them and with your fellow ministers to build
up the family of God?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you do you best to pattern your life [and that
of your family, or household, or community] in
accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you
may be a wholesome example to your people?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you persevere in prayer, both in public and in
private, asking God's grace, both for yourself and for
others, offering all your labors to God, through the
mediation of Jesus Christ, and in the sanctification
of the Holy Spirit?
AnswerI will.
BishopMay the Lord who has given you the will to do these
things give you the grace and power to perform them.

By James Richardson, Fiat Lux
Painting of the foot washing by Meister des Hausbuches, circa 1475.

1 comment:

Emily said...

We are blessed by your ministry, Jim!