Maundy Thursday Thoughts: “The New Commandment”

Introduction: Pastor Roger wrote this entry for the Pastor's Blog last week, with no idea what the days ahead would hold for him. We wanted to go ahead and share his thoughts as they are especially poignant and meaningful today. Please continue to fervently pray for Roger and his family as they are in a somber time of waiting.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
–  John 13:34 NIV
Everyone knows the power and excitement of Easter, which is just ahead. Annually we seek to remind each person of why we are so joyful, especially during the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday. This is called Maundy Thursday.  
Take a moment to read John chapter 13. It’s not all that long and it can be life changing. Do it and see if God’s Word speaks. You may think of ways to put love in motion like Jesus this week.  
Up until that last week of Jesus’ life, people knew of the commandments “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, in this new Mandate (commandment), he is saying … love as I have loved you. Think about how Jesus loves and compare it with how you and I love.  His love is different. The new mandate was celebrated in the Bible that night by Jesus washing the dirty feet of the disciples. It’s easy to love some people but Jesus loved all of mankind. He loved us with a cross taking upon Himself the sins of the world. He comes to our prison where we are guilty of sin and then takes your place and my place at our execution day. On the cross, he changed places with us!
On Maundy Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. church family and friends will gather in what is likely the most formal worship service we have at First Baptist. We have Communion and a service of Tenebrae (scripture, music and candles). The hymns are emotional, reflective and somber but powerful. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper, read the Biblical account of Jesus from Palm Sunday, the last supper, the garden of Gethsemane, the arrest and trial and the crucifixion. As we read and listen, we reflect on our unworthiness. We will gently lower the lights in the room as candles are extinguished symbolically showing the coming death of Jesus. Scripture this year will be read by Pastor Reed Bernick and his wife Bridget. The choir with organ, piano and flute will share in between the 7 readings until the room is completely dark, symbolizing Jesus’ death. One candle is relit…. the Christ Candle… We depart saying together “The Lord’s Prayer" and exit in silence.  
I need this time personally. All can’t be upbeat and exciting in worship. Life isn’t that way, is it? There is blessed hope even in somber moments. This time is special and purposeful.  It sets the heart right as we anticipate the excitement of the Resurrection Day. This makes Easter even more joyful!! We have the victory over sin and death, and I plan to REJOICE!!
 Join me this Thursday at First Baptist.  
Roger McGee 
Pastor for Music and Worship  


Lana irby - April 12th, 2022 at 9:27am

I wish I could be there for the beautiful Maundy service but my heart will be there with you. Peace, comfort and love I send to you all. Lana (Matthew's mom)

Chris Jones - April 12th, 2022 at 9:57am

Thank you Alydia for sharing this message with us. Roger always creates wonderful and meaning services and has done so for over 25 years. Thank you Roger for preparing this for us.

Mark Kern - April 23rd, 2022 at 2:59pm

Pastor Roger always loved this service. It was the last thing we talked about together before he went to heaven. I will cherish that time always.




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