Blessed Maundy Thursday and Triduum ““ An Opportunity for the Brothers to Learn a Little Latin, by Pr. Rossow

We look forward to all the blessings God will shower upon us as the Triduum begins today with Maundy Thursday. We thank the Lord that his word of law will be sung and preached to break through our callous hearts, even to the necessary point of killing the old sinful self. We bless the Lord even more  that His word of gospel will once again build us up in the peace and joy of His Son’s body and blood, preached and sung into our hearts and laid upon our lips to eat and drink for eternal refreshment.


Authentic Lutheranism, as promoted by the Brothers of John the Steadfast, crosses over time and geography and so Lutherans sing and chant music from all times and places. In our congregation, Bethany – Naperville, Illinois, we sing the Kyrie in Greek during the season of Lent (LSB 944). Throughout the year we are also edified by the splendor of many other cultures and eras that we are able to sing, thanks to the Lutheran Service Book. (Thank you Paul Grime and Jon Vieker for your selfless work on this project.)


The season of Lent is filled with words and terms from other times and cultures in the history of the church. “Triduum” and “Maundy” are Latin terms. “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandate” which means command. It comes from John 13:34 in which Jesus gives the command to love one another after he washes the disciples’ feet. So Holy Thursday has come to be known as “Command Thursday” or Maundy Thursday. Command Thursday would leave us in our sin and be a lousy name if Jesus had not then backed up the new command with the holy meal of the new covenant in which we receive His body and blood. What a wonderful gift this night brings.


Some of the Brothers and our other readers may have heard the term “Triduum” this time of year. This is another Latin term which means “three days.” It refers to the three holy days of Maundy Thursday through the Vigil of Easter (Easter eve service on which the church has historically baptized and confirmed adult catechumens.) Marking the Triduum helps us to understand the passion of Christ is all one piece. As we sing in the Great Litany, “by your bloody sweat, your cross and passion, your death and burial, your resurrection and ascension…” (LSB, Altar Book, p. 410, 414). You cannot separate one piece from another. Besides, we all get annoyed, pastor and laity alike,  that some people only come to church on Easter. Promoting the Triduum emphasizes how all the gifts are given together and how important it is to worship each of the days of the Triduum.


So we have some Latin and Greek to learn on occasion and it is good for us Brothers. It helps us to be authentic Lutherans and to steadfastly maintain our grandfather’s church that has come doen to us through the ages and across the miles. In, with, and alongside heartfelt confession, soak in the goodness of God’s forgiveness this week. God has great gifts for you in this great three days. God bless you Brothers of John the Steadfast, and God bless all our readers.

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