ALMIGHTY Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood; Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him, who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal; the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
"Greater love has no one than this"
Maudy Thursday means commandment Thursday. The name likely comes from the Latin phrase, mandatum novum which means "new commandment". The new commandment was "love one another as I have loved you". Jesus had just given the disciples signs of his great love for them, including washing their feet and instructing them to serve one another. He then emphasized the love for one another with an example of the ultimate gift one can give - one's own life. For he says, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
In a nearby small town there is a memorial park located next to the county court house. In it there are a series of monuments to those who have served their country under arms. Some indicate where a warrior gave up his life in defense of his country. As one enters the park, they must step through a portal. Nearby is written the inscription, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends".
Jesus demonstrated that love in his Passion. He knew of the coming events. His actions in Jerusalem immediately before hand antagonized the religious leaders - as he knew they would. He had fully accepted his fate and knew it was his Father's will. He was about to give his life up as a sacrifice for those he calls friends.
His command to love one another is realized in the fullest measure when one lays down their life for another. There is nothing more one can give. Our country has recognized this in its military as a form of the highest valor. However, the reward far exceeds the scraps of parchment and bits of metal that the country gives in recognition. A much greater reward is to feast with the Lord Jesus. The feast as described by St Paul in today's epistle, but with the Lord in his kingdom he will again take of the fruit of the vine. He receives all those he calls friends -- those who have obeyed his commandment - to love one another.
1 Corinthians xi. 23.
I HAVE received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
This Gospel reading is a substitute for the one in the BCP
"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. "These things I command you, that you love one another.
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