Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper with the Washing of the Feet and Vigil at the Altar of Repose
7.30pm Thursday 18 April: St Mary & St John
On the night before he was betrayed Jesus shared the ‘Last Supper’ with his disciples. At supper he washed his disciples’ feet, setting them an example as to how to be the servant of others. That same night, knowing what was to come, he went to the loneliness of the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
In the liturgy of Maundy Thursday we too commune with Christ in the Lord’s Supper. The priest, representing Christ, washes the feet of twelve of the gathered people, and we hear again Our Lord’s command to love one another as he has loved us. We follow Our Lord, in the substance of the Holy Sacrament, to the Altar of Repose (a side-chapel in the church) to watch and pray in silence.
This is the first liturgy in the great ‘Triduum’, the three days leading to the celebration of the Resurrection. In reality, though, it is only the first part of one continuous observance which we make, punctuated by (and informing) our daily living, from Thursday night all the way to Sunday.
On Maundy Thursday the Watch at the Altar of Repose is kept until midnight.