Thoughts for Maundy Thursday

Editor’s Note:  Maundy Thursday, the day preceding Good Friday, commemorates Christ’s act of washing his disciples feet and his commissioning them to the same type of service for the Gospel.  These two poems explore the irony and paradox of the Lord of all washing the dirty feet of his followers.

Lines for Maundy Thursday

by Thomas Banks

Strange as it was, I could not understand
That He, unasked of me, should make so bold
To wash from me the gathered mud and mold,
To cleanse my homely grossness with his hand;
And I at first would not receive this grace–
That He should kneel before me in my seat
And with fresh water wash my rancid feet–
Whose shoe I am unworthy to unlace.

Maundy Thursday

by Malcolm Guite

Here is the source of every sacrament,
The all-transforming presence of the Lord,
Replenishing our every element
Remaking us in his creative Word.
For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,
The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,
The fire dances where the candles shine,
The waters cleanse us with His gentle touch.
And here He shows the full extent of love
To us whose love is always incomplete,
In vain we search the heavens high above,
The God of love is kneeling at our feet.
Though we betray Him, though it is the night.
He meets us here and loves us into light.

(N.B.:  Be sure to check out Malcolm Guite’s new book of poems, Sounding the Seasons, a sonnet sequence that follows the Church calendar.  His sequence on the stations of the cross alone is easily worth the price of the book, which is available in book form and Kindle form.)