Maundy Thursday, The Day Before Good Friday

I suppose that my parents must have had their disagreements, but I can never remember them ever raising their voices or shouting either to each other, or to us children. But I do remember my mother showing her great annoyance to my father on one occasion.

My father was a keen gardener and he loved his roses, the sight of horse manure laying in the road outside our house was too much for him, armed with a bucket and spade he went out and collected it to feed his roses. I recall mother saying over and over again “What will the neighbors say”.

As a child living in London in those days I was used to most of the traffic being horse drawn. People on horse back, carriages, buses and carts of all kinds were horse drawn, They drank from horse-troughs made for them, and ate from nose-bags as they worked . This meant that the roads were toilets for countless horses used every day all day.

Think for a moment what the narrow streets of Jerusalem were like in the days of Jesus. Horses, donkeys, and camels fouling where people had to walk. So the first task when entering a house was to wash the feet. This job was given to the lowest slave, and near the door there always stood large pots of water for that purpose.

Remember the wedding Jesus and His disciples attended ? the pots were empty for all the guests had arrived. When Jesus met with His disciples for the last supper, the Thursday before Good Friday, there was no slave to wash feet. Jesus poured water into a basin, took a towel, and knelt before each one and did the task of the lowest slave. Little wonder that Peter did not want his master Jesus to wash his feet (read John Ch13.v1 to 17)

Did you know that some four hundred years ago our Queen Elizabeth I st each year of her reign did what our Queen still does today on Maundy Thursday? Distributes the Maundy Money, but not in fine silk purses as today, but also she would kneel before each one and wash and kiss their feet. She was showing the humility of her Lord as a slave; and also acting as the head of The Church of England, whose task was to serve. She was doing in effect what Jesus has said we all should do.

“If I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet

I have shown you an example”.

I leave with you this thought. In this our generation we need, not so much a basin of water, but prayerful love for others to help them to be better than they are, by our humble service and care always toward them. If our Lord could kneel and do the work of the lowest house slave, let us pray that we might do the same, and by His power achieve it.

Greetings from Gerald Gossage.

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