Today is Maundy or Holy Thursday. “Maundy” comes from the same Latin word that we get words like “mandate” and means “commandment.” Jesus’ commands the disciples to follow his new law of love and to remember him following the pattern of the Last Supper.
The gospel of John has quite an extended narrative of the Upper Room which, interestingly, says nothing about the Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion. At the end of the suggested reading for today (John 13:1-17, 31b-35) Jesus says
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NRSV)
I wonder… maybe John doesn’t mention the “religious” ceremony of the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper/Communion to focus our attention on the fruits or effects of faith. People will know I follow Jesus because I love others more than they will know by what rites I follow.
I have read other interpretations and explanations for the absence of the institution of Holy Communion from John. They make more theological sense than my explanation perhaps. But the fact that this explanation – the need to obey Jesus’ command to love rather than to remember – troubles me makes me wonder if I am on to something…