Monty Thursday Ecumenical Service
I have to tell you Maundy Thursday, was one of the strangest days of my entire life. You don’t need me to relate the ugly details. It is enough to say, believe me, it is not a day I will soon forget.
We thought the day was topped off with a wonderful worship service at our church in Cortez. That was a little strange as well. We had more people in choir than congregation. The whole day was just different.
But, the Maundy Thursday topper actually came four days later on Easter Monday.
Our family was at table having Grama’s homemade spaghetti on Monday. Matt was telling us about some of the highlights of his mission trip to McGehee, Arkansas, over Spring Break. Since we had picked him up the night before, he had been telling us about McGehee’s pastor Kenny Shaw, how they had worked with the Methodist Church in McGehee, and how the kids from Colorado Springs had worked hard. As he was trying to describe all that, he was stumbling to use a word that was new to him.
I asked, “Do you mean ecumenical?”
Yes, Matt nodded and told us Pastor Kenny Shaw pointed out how their Monty Thursday service was truly ecumenical. There were five churches worshiping together.
I was puzzled and asked “Did you say Monty Thursday?”
“Yes,” now Matt was puzzled.
“Do you mean Maundy, M-A-U-N-D-Y, Thursday?”
“I guess, I always thought it was Monty Thursday.”
We all laughed. Not a polite chuckle, we busted up. Kim and older brother Chuck were imagining John Cleese and the Monty Python comedy troupe reenacting the Last Supper. I immediately thought of Monty Hall from ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ All I could think of was Jesus in a 1970s flashy sports coat walking around a zany audience.
When we finally regained control, we finally thought to ask Matt, “You had five churches at the Maundy Thursday service?”
He answered Pastor Kenny Shaw pointed out five churches: First Presbyterian Church in McGehee, First Methodist Church in McGehee, First Presbyterian Church from Colorado Springs, who sent kids and adults, Gateway Presbyterian Church from Colorado Springs (the group Matt went with), who sent kids and adults, and the Montezuma Valley Presbyterian Church in Cortez.
Pastor Kenny Shaw pointed out that our Presbyterian Women and the donation of a couple of MVPC members helped make the mission trip possible. So Pastor Kenny was sure to mention that MVPC was truly a part of their communion service.
So the twenty or so of us who celebrated the Lord’s Supper in our MVPC Sanctuary on what will always now be known in our family as ‘Monty Thursday,’ was truly in spiritual fellowship with the people of God in Arkansas and Colorado Springs.
Through all the years, I have recited as part of the Communion Prayer, “Keep us one in spiritual fellowship with your people in every time and place.” And there we were living that out on that weird Maundy – Monty Thursday. I am so glad for that capper related by Matthew at the supper table four days later. It reminds us we are all together in the Christian endeavor, sometimes without even realizing the contributions we are making. And we all contribute in different ways, and each way, is the way the Lord has meant it to be.
Blessings, Steve Nofel