This service recalls the Last Supper of Jesus on the night of his betrayal. It focuses on two major themes: Holy Hospitality and the Institution of the Eucharist.
Holy Hospitality: The Foot-Washing Coming from the Latin Mandatum Novum, or “New Commandment,” maundy refers to the commandment Jesus gave to his disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you.” At this service, Christ’s commandment is enacted by the Foot-Washing. After an invitation from the Presider, you may come forward to have your feet washed by the clergy. We encourage you to take part in this beautiful ritual.
The Institution of the Eucharist After the Foot-Washing, we proceed with the celebration of the Eucharist. Every Sunday, we hear the Words of Institution during the Eucharistic Prayer. They begin: “On the night he was handed over to death and suffering, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread….” The familiar words take on a poignant urgency and reorient us to the central mystery of our faith.
The Stripping of the Altar The service concludes with the stripping of the altar as an act of preparation for Good Friday. One way to deepen our understanding of the symbolism of this moment is to meditate on the following verse from Psalm 22: “They divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.”