The Phrase "Maundy Thursday"
by Kimberley Thompson, Tastemaker in Residence
The phrase "Maundy Thursday"...the normally ignored first part of the Easter Holy Days...keeps running through my subconscious tonight.
Partially, it is because I am out of my normal environment and I have none of my usual distractions. To be exact, I am an unplanned 316 miles out of my "normal" zone in beige hotel room in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for this night of Maundy Thursday.
The other reason it continues to pop into my thoughts is that as the first happening of the religious weekend...Maundy Thursday starts the Easter Triduum...the passion, the death and the resurrection of Christ. The terrible, gut wrenching sacrifice given by God the Father in John 3:16 begins the evening of Maundy Thursday. And ends with second half of the same verse... the most glorious of all blessings that a human can ever hold as truth...as a solemn promise...as a divine gift. That of eternal life and resurrection with Christ to those who believe in Him.
And that brings me to the actual trigger of my "Maundy" thoughts: the reason I am in Cedar Rapids in this beige and overheated hotel room. The passing into the resurrection and eternal life of my great Aunt Olive. And the gathering of her family to celebrate her Christ driven life and death.
The last of 7 children born; she was steadfast through hard times...alone times...grievous times...laughing times...simple times...her unwavering belief in the God's covenant of life everlasting.
I remember, as a child, endless traipsing to numerous gravesites where assorted relatives were buried. Olive would be teary, telling me stories of those below the tombstone and of the times they shared. Without fail, she would grow pensive...words dropping off to silence. After a moment, her large smile would reappear, and she would say "I cannot wait to see them again in heaven! Where we can sing with the angels in the presence of God!"
Her serene belief in the promise that Easter gives to Christians is not the result of hereditary genetics...though the claim could be made due to the generations that preceded her. French Huguenots who fled persecution for religious freedom in the New World, itinerant Mennonite preachers who rode the circuits in the Eastern mountain ranges, hard working Catholic farm wives who held the Sabbath sacred throughout their years and Olive's own widowed mother who waited upon her resurrection in Christ to set her eyes upon God, her husband and her babies.
Olive's solid belief in Christ...the absolute knowledge of divine life after death...guided her life and actions. Her joyous journey started with her last breath...how appropriate I am thinking of what Maundy Thursday begins each year. The Passion...the Death...the Resurrection.
The Last Supper was the night of Christ's covenant with His Apostles...and hence all believers. His willing surrender to His Father's plans...His consuming love for His Children...in the full and divine knowledge of what the next days would mean both corporally and spiritually.
Olive's faith journey continued March 21st. For those still on this blue planet...her pilgrimage is evidenced through a legacy of memories...lifelong evidence of her unshakable belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. For Olive...her journey has taken her through the gates of heaven and she is in the arms of her Father.
Tomorrow, at her earthly funeral, I will be thinking of God's promise to Olive. Eternal life...resurrection...a journey that Christ has taken first...so that all who believe will celebrate with Him in Heaven for all times. And I am comforted by the knowledge that Olive is in that heavenly chorus...her voice lifting with the multitude of angels...glorifying her Lord.