Disconcerted: A Maundy Thursday Reflection

Pastoral Reflections

I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” (Matt. 26:31b)
With this proverbial saying from an Old Testament passage, Christ prepared His disciples for the events that will take place late Thursday night and into Friday of the Passion Week. These words come between the Last Supper room and Gethsemane.

Maundy Thursday is disconcerting. One difference between that evening and Good Friday is that on Thursday, the tension and anxiety are wildly building up and the suspense is killing. By Friday, the inevitable happens.

We know the whole story on this side of the resurrection. But, let’s not forget the place of liturgy. It seeks to lead us, over and over, through redemption’s drama in the mode of worship. So, we come again to Maundy Thursday and it leaves us disconcerted. It should.

The room was tense on the original night. The Master’s words were tempered with warning but filled with reassurance. His expressions were rather determined. His closest friends were tense and worried; more so by the things they just didn’t, and couldn’t, understand. When it all starts to shake down, they will back away from their Master.

Maundy Thursday ends with the under-shepherds absconding from their post. That’s when I struggle to make it through. We disperse in silence. The altar is gone. The under-shepherds flee. We are scattered. By the time we return to Good Friday, He’s walking the path up Calvary alone and unpopular.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to Easter. We know the whole story. But for this week, let’s walk each moment. If you like cozy services, Maundy Thursday won’t do that for you. It leaves us disconcerted. It should. At least, for now.
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Donald Nwankwo
The Light of Christ Anglican Church
4000 W. Yale Ave.
Denver, CO 80219