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Daughters of the King Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday

With the coming of summer, it may seem odd to reflect on Lent.  However, the Daughters of the King were privileged to join our Priests, Ushers, the Altar Guild, Staff, the Choir, Vestry, and Congregants for this year’s Holy Week on March 28th – specifically helping to wash feet.

 

From the evening’s bulletin:  Maundy Thursday receives its name from the commandment given by our Lord: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:  just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (Jn 13:34).  At the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and commanded them to love and serve one another as he had done.  “For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (Jn 13:15).

 

The footwashing portion of the service was done before the worship service this year.  The simple act of placing your feet into a basin and having a priest or fellow parishioner wash them isn’t for everyone.  Our priests washed each other’s feet first.  Then they washed vestry members’ feet, who then washed several DOK members’ feet, who then washed the feet of those in the congregation who came forward.

 

“I loved that we all served together.  It just felt right that the sisters would do that.  It had been an emotional God-filled day starting with a friend I brought to REAL Women!” said DOK vice-president, Leslie Wilson.

 

“I enjoyed it, as I always do!” said parishioner Elsa Olsen.  “My best memory is from a few years ago.  Fr. Matt washed my feet and it cured my toenail fungus.  My doctor hadn’t wanted to give me a pill for a 20-year ailment, and it’s better now.  I go to the service every year for maintenance.  It makes me feel better that I’ve done it.”

 

When asked to reflect on the theme of his sermon that night, Fr. Caleb referred to Peter’s strong reaction to having Jesus wash his feet.  “He was the vocal one, but they were all feeling that way,” he said.  And yet this game changer of sorts was what helped his disciples prepare for what was to come – the cross.

 

The choir was unable to sit behind the altar due to what is perhaps the most moving part of the evening service on Maundy Thursday, the stripping of the altar.  They sang instead from the transept.  After the closing hymn, everyone’s attention was drawn to members of the Altar Guild, who join the priests in removing everything off the altar, in silence.  It takes a while. “This is as powerful for us as it is for the congregation,” said Altar Guild member, Cecile Nusbaum.  “I’m preparing for the burial.  It’s kind of like I’m at the tomb.  It isn’t just a task.  You truly realize why Jesus was put on this earth, and he was taken.  It’s the last thing we can do for him.”  The altar remains bare until Easter Sunday.

 

DOK president Sharon Shailer, who had never been to a footwashing before, much less washed feet, was stunned and touched by the conclusion of the stripping of the altar.  Fr. Matt explained: “While many churches wash the altar (as if one was cleaning it after a lamb was sacrificed) we decided that was too reminiscent of Christ’s death or of the washing of his body.  Neither of those happen until Good Friday.  Instead, we coordinated it so the lights would go out as we pulled the fair linen off.  It naturally comes off with a pop and with the lights going out, we were trying for a jarring close, sort of like a wonderful going away party is over, and Jesus is on his way out to die.”