What is Maundy Thursday? The term comes from the Latin for commandment because according the Gospel of John at the Last Supper Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” The command is symbolically and really shown in Jesus’ taking the position of a slave and washing the feet of those gathered for the meal in the upper room. It is also, the day of the institution of the Eucharist. It is also the day betrayal of Christ in the Garden by Judas, Jesus’ agony in the Garden, and the secret late night trial before the Sanhedrin. Maundy Thursday; complex, chaotic, intimate, and political.
As I chose the songs for this playlist I attempted to keep the complexity and movement between intimacy and public exposure, the moment of calm but also the moments of chaos. Personally I feel that what could fall under the umbrella of goth, dark alternative, or death rock, is well suited for the complexity of Maundy Thursday. The playlist begins with love but an ambiguous troubled love. If we are to hear Jesus’ command to love, we should also hear that it needs to be qualified. Love is many things, Jesus keeps us from any ambiguity through saying the command to love is connected to the way in which Jesus, and thus God incarnate as Jesus, loved. Furthermore, in washing the feet of those at table Jesus makes concrete and symbolic what that love looks like. So, we get a more intimate and positive, less conflicted moments of love. Here is where I find John Coltrane’s “Love supreme” in the mix. But, then back into the mix of emotions, conflicts, and ultimately betrayal. This leads to facing violent death and the politics of death. There isn’t only a linear movement in the playlist, you can find betrayal articulated at the beginning as well as at the end. As I listented to the playlist on Maundy Thursday, I was surprised by the degree of nervous energy in the playlist, even the moments of intimacy have an undertone of excitement and even anxiety. I hadn’t had that in mind when I put the playlist together the week before.
This isn’t a peaceful meditation. Human failing is highlighted throughout, yet wiht hints, of something else, hins of the command ..” to love as I have loved you.” But only hints
The above is what I heard as I listened to this playlist, as I finished preparation for Maundy Thursday worship.
What did you hear? What resonates with you?
How do you see Maundy Thursday and our commemoration of this moment in Jesus of Nazareth’s Passion?