First, Maundy Thursday has become established as one of the "Holy Days" in much of the Christian world throughout the ages. "Maundy" is an old word signifying "commandment," and "Thursday".... you know, that's the fifth day of the week. So, "commandment Thursday"? Yes. According to the Scriptures, it was around the table of the Passover Feast, the Thursday before the day of resurrection, that Jesus washed his disciples' feet and gave them this prime directive:"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
Second, you should care because the brightness of Easter morning is more clearly seen set against the dark backdrop of betrayal and suffering Jesus first endured. The joy of an empty tomb and risen Lord is more intense after the contemplation of death and loss. Like a Lenten fast and disciplined denial, Maundy Thursday offers an occasion to glimpse the depth of sacrificial love we believe the Lord reveals in his willing descent. We also remember the love he has called us to demonstrate, as his disciples.
In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.
Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.
Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."
After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.
Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.