Maundy Thursday by Malcolm Guite

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, 1495 Location: Church Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy

Here is the source of every sacrament,
The all-transforming presence of the Lord,
Replenishing our every element,
Remaking us in his creative Word.
For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,
The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,
The fire dances where the candles shine,
The waters cleanse us with his gentle touch.
And here he shows the full extent of love
To us whose love is always incomplete,
In vain we search the heavens high above,
The God of love is kneeling at our feet.
Though we betray him, though it is the night.
He meets us here and loves us into light.

Hear Malcolm Guite Read Today’s Poem

Matthew 26: 26-29

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

The day before Good Friday is known as Maundy Thursday.  The events of that day are rich and densely packed with meaning.  Among other things Jesus said and did, He gathered His disciples for the first communion.  At the Incarnation, Jesus the Word became flesh, and now, on the eve of His sacrifice, He expanded that communion with man.

As Malcom Guite writes in The Word in the Wilderness:

It is the Word himself who says of that bread ‘This is my Body’, the same Word through whose utterance everything that is becomes itself. When this Word speaks then something substantial, something new, is brought into existence. From his words in that room, to his Word dwelling richly in our hearts, the Novum Mandatum, the new commandment from which this day takes its name, springs into being. So too does the new reality of our communion with him physically in his body and his blood. There is therefore on this day a renewal of incarnation, an opening out of its fuller meaning. The body and blood he took for our sakes, woven in Mary’s womb is shared with us as he shares our nature, extended to and through us, so that we too are Christ’s Body. Amazingly and wonderfully, he who took our human nature shares with us his divine nature: the Spirit is here for us to breathe, the substance of the true God is there with us, not high and inaccessible as Isaiah found it when he saw the Lord mighty and lifted up, but close, humbled below us, kneeling at our feet to wash us, or broken and placed into our hands to feed us.

How does communion inform our daily life?

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John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.



Malcolm Guite
Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite is poet-priest and Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge, but he often travels round Great Britain, and to North America, to give lectures, concerts and poetry readings.  For more details of these and other engagements go to his Events Page. You can read more about him on this Interviews Page

He is the author of numerous books including

Parable and Paradox: Sonnets on the Sayings of Jesus and Other Poems Canterbury Press 2016

Waiting on the Word; a poem a day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany Canterbury Press 2015

The Singing Bowl Canterbury Press 2013

Sounding the Seasons Canterbury Press 2012




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