The Maundy Thursday Service for this year was celebrated by the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh at the Chapel of the Advent Wuse, Abuja. The highlights of the service was the blessing of oil and the washing of the feet of the Archdeacons by the Primate, which was replicated by the Archdeacons to the Priests and congregation present at the Holy Communion service. This symbolic act was performed by Archbishop Okoh in imitation of what the Lord Jesus Christ did to His disciples before He was crucified on the cross.
According to him, Jesus Christ though Lord and Master decided to wash the feet of His disciples to symbolically show them what the attitude of every Christian should be like in their relationship with others. Therefore, the Chaplain of the Chapel, Ven. Princewill Ireoba emphasized during his sermon that Christians especially ministers of the gospel should go and do likewise adding that if Jesus could overlook His status and stoop to wash the feet of His followers, then who are we His servants not to do same. The Ven. Dr. further clarified that the washing of feet is a symbolic act that should be reflected in the lifestyle of every Christian. In other words, he said that Christians are to emulate the humble nature and life of service that Jesus Christ showed to them. Quoting profusely from the scriptures, the Cleric cited instances where Jesus took on the nature of a servant that He might do the work of God.
The Chaplain stated that Jesus deliberately reserved this last teaching and demonstration for the last day of His earthly ministry, before He was arrested and taken to the cross to teach that Christians have been called to a life of service. He added that Jesus did this to leave a lasting impression in the minds of His followers and to also institute what was done on Maundy Thursday. He called the attention of the congregation to the fact that a lot of believers are so overly conscious of their titles and positions today that they take offence when they are not addressed properly and thus they create demarcation in the Church. Ven. Ireoba also mentioned that some Priest have built castles around themselves and thus cannot be reached by their parishioners. To them, he said that Jesus did what He did that they may know that the call of the ministry is one of service and that is why they are called servants.
Giving a brief rundown of the Holy week, the Cleric opined that the second day of the week, was filled with controversies, challenges and teaching adding that what gave rise to the situation that day was that the Pharisees and Scribes were not happy with Jesus. According to him, they felt threatened that a local man who was not from Jerusalem could preach to them, and as such they sought to kill Him. He said they made plans to kill Jesus, but because of the crowd who believed in Jesus, they became afraid and sought other private means to carry out their evil. The Chaplain pointed out that Jesus Christ was aware that these were His last hours and so He used these few days to instruct His disciples on what is expected of them as His followers.
The Director of Ecumenism Church of Nigeria Anglican communion concluded his message by reminding the congregation that obedience to God’s commands attract His blessings and therefore he advised that Christians should endeavour to live by Christ’s example. Present at the service were Priests from the various Archdeaconries in the Diocese of Abuja and members of staff at the Church of Nigeria office. The Holy Communion service ended with a thanksgiving offering and the benediction by the Primate, Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh.
By Ngozi Maduoma