Maundy Thursday is the Christian equivalent of Passover in the Jewish tradition. For the Jewish people, the event of God's saving action to liberate their ancestors in celebrated and remembered and made alive in the celebration of the Passover. Though Easter is the most important Christian feast, Maundy Thursday has a special significance which can't be forgotten.
For Jewish people, the Passover celebration was a Memorial. It’s not a dead memory, but a memory of a past event that is still alive in their life after any number of years. It is a living tradition. So one of the deepest sentiment is gratitude (thanksgiving) to what God has done to their ancestors, which continues even in their life. This gives them Hope; things may not be the best today, but that God wont abandon them, but is accompanying them. Hope becomes truly Hope in the midst of extreme hopelessness. I may not wish to be in such a situation, but Israelites were in such a situation during the Exile.
Jesus farewell meal took place in the context of Jewish Passover. So all those aspects like Memorial, Gratitude, Hope are also there; or they are enhanced as we also include Good Friday and Easter.
Two extra additions, which became the centre of Christian Passover, are washing of the feet and breaking of Jesus himself to be given as food and drink. As a video beautifully put, two catch words are humility and broken.
- One who is ready to be broken, will he also be humble?
- One who is humble, will he be ready to broken too?
I think answer is YES for the first question; it may not be always the case for the second question. When we celebrate the feast of Eucharist (Christian Passover), its a celebration of someone who was ready to be broken for the sake of others. But that willingness to be brokenness is the limit of humility. Humility is one of the best ways to reach that state of brokenness. I never doubt all pervading presence of love in this game of humility and brokenness; or humility and brokenness are very concrete expressions of love.
We have many such people amongst us…
- A person who takes care of his sick spouse/children/parent and who doesn't get any positive feedback from any side. Is it not broken fully for the other person? You will surely know people like this.
I may have only given an extreme example. But there are many lives who are broken for others; they are happy to do it, and and yet ready to bebroken tomorrow too. They are surely being Jesus-like.