Maundy Thursday is Middle English

Today is Maundy Thursday, often affectionately called Monday Thursday because maundy is not a word in modern English and people mishear it and make jokes at its expense (deservedly).

Mandate. The word is mandate.

Although the rest of us stopped saying maundy when we left middle English in around 1470, the English-speaking church continues to hold on to maundy either out of a kind of maudlin nostalgia or as “I know the secret password” insider jargon. Which, frankly, is equally a reason to keep calling it Monday Thursday.

As far as the mandate itself is concerned, I’m inclined toward “love each other as I have loved you,” but quite a few liturgists would argue with me that it’s about foot washing or taking communion. My main counter argument is that it would be fairly stupid for God to sacrifice his son/self in order to tell everyone to clean their feet and eat more bread. But I suppose I also get hung up on little things. Anyway, I love you.

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