Spring Break 2011 was cut short (by our choice) so we could go home to check on Dad. He was struggling with shingles (or so we thought) and we were just anxious to be home with him. Riverland Hills Baptist Church (my parent’s church in Columbia, SC) had an annual Maundy Thursday service planned. Dad was to serve as deacon at this service and Mom sang in the choir.
We breezed into the driveway from Surfside at the same time Dad whipped around the corner in that red Honda Accord. He had been to work. He got out of the car, said hello, hugs for us all, and then said “I have to go lie down for 20 minutes until it is time to go. I am so tired.” He asked me to wake him up in 20 minutes. This was definitely out of character for him. I did wake him up and we made it to church on time. It was very clear to me that the shingles were really zapping his energy. Obviously he felt terrible.
I hold in my hand the church bulletin from the Maundy Thursday service at RHBC 2011. I also have Dad’s deacon notes from that night.
“Thursday of Holy Week is called Maundy Thursday. “Maundy” probably derives from the Latin mandatum, “commandment.” Jesus commanded His disciples to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) The emphasis on this day is to remember and celebrate the final supper Jesus shared with His disciples. Jesus’ body and blood was the price paid for re-establishing a right relationship between God and humanity.”
The service was very moving. Music elements such as “How Deep the Father’s Love”, “At the Name of Jesus”, “Behold the Lamb”, and “Adoration Medley” filled the large room as voices reached to the heavens. We had The Lord’s Supper as we focused on the blood and body of Christ.
There was a very moving element that had each person walk to the front of the church to a very large wooden cross. Each person had the opportunity to use a hammer to put a large carpenter nail in that cross. The symbolism of this is a way to remember what Christ did for each of us was beyond powerful.
I remember the sound the most. The large room was completely quiet. All you heard was alternating hammers pounding nails into wood.
As the service unfolded, seven symbolic candles, including the central “Christ candle,” were extinguished. The sanctuary was dark to depict the final hours of Jesus’ life and to dramatize the impact of His death.
When the service concluded worshippers were asked to depart the building in silence. I walked out of the building with my Mom and Dad. No one spoke until we got to our cars.
We were asked to remain silent so our hearts might dwell on the awesomeness of the love that was demonstrated through Christ’s sacrifice.
Let’s continue to do this today….