Maundy Thursday (March 29, 5:30pm): The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the root of our English word “mandate” or “command”. It refers to the new commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34) that Jesus gave his disciples after he had washed their feet on the Thursday of his final week in Jerusalem. Tonight we move through Jesus’ final evening with his disciples, beginning with the Passover meal, through his anguished prayer in the garden of Gethsemane to his betrayal and arrest. Our liturgy highlights many of these key moments. We, too, will be invited to wash one another’s feet as a sign of our willingness to follow Jesus’ mandate to love one another. We will recall the last supper in which Jesus instituted Holy Communion on the night before he died by doing as he commanded: do this for the remembrance of me. The service concludes with a dramatic stripping of the altar: the lights in the sanctuary dim gradually as clergy and acolytes, now dressed in black, remove all altar hangings, candles, vessels and appointments until the altar area is completely bare, at which time the sanctuary becomes completely dark. Those who wish to wait with Christ as the disciples were asked to do at Gethsemane can move to the chapel, which will have been transformed into a garden. You can say a prayer, sit and meditate with the body of Christ, represented in your fellow silent worshippers and in the reserved sacrament stored there. Many people find such silent prayer to be deeply moving.