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Dear Clergy Colleagues,
Grace and peace on this Maundy Thursday. Because of COVID-19, this day will be unlike any Maundy Thursday observance of which we have ever been a part. In the midst of the restrictions we must observe around gathering in groups, we will hear and respond to the Passion story in a different way.
We are not able to wash one another’s feet this year, as is the custom in some of our churches. But we can all identify with Jesus’ words to his disciples after he foretold his betrayal, “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:34-35).
I’d like to share several observations with you.
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down;
now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown;
How pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn.
What thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain:
mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend,
for this, thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to thee.
(Words: Anonymous, Latin, 17th century; Music: Hans Hassler 1601)