Today is Maundy Thursday, so I wish all of you a happy Maundy Thursday with the following picture:

Happy  Maundy Thursday - 2024

Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples. The Last Supper was a Passover meal and so we continue to celebrate that through communion with unleavened bread and a grape drink. Jesus wasn’t a Christian. In fact, one of my favorite shirts has Jesus on it, riding a motorcycle, with the words “What the (fudge) is a Christian?” I don’t own this shirt, but I have admired it from afar.

My picture to commemorate the Last Supper is a (rather weak admittedly) imagining of Jesus’ Last Supper if he was not only a Christian, but a Methodist. A good Methodist meal would consist of a casserole. But Jesus’ status was “single” or maybe it was “It’s complicated” depending on who you listen to and how you want to interpret relationship status. So I figure Jesus wouldn’t have made his own casserole. He would have picked up a frozen one by Marie Callender and popped that in the oven. He definitely wouldn’t have had wine with it. He would have had grape juice. But not just any grape juice. It would have to be Welch’s grape juice. Or as it was originally called, Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.

You still might be wondering where the Maundy in Maundy Thursday comes from. Maundy is short for the Latin word mandatum which means command. Maundy Thursday also celebrates Jesus giving us the new commandment:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

On these holy holidays I like to share a devotional. This one was written by Rev. Dr. Luz E. Maldonado.

Maundy Thursday

Trimmed or chopped

Scripture: John 15:1-11, CEB
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.

“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete.

In the Bible we find the use of similes (indirect comparison) and metaphors (direct comparison). God uses them to bring to His people the teachings of what the kingdom of God is like and what He is like. He uses well-known examples to teach the people in these comparisons. The potter, the carpenter, in this case he uses agriculture-the growing of grapes. Whenever a seed is sown it is done in the hope that it will grow and produce its fruit. But there is a care to be taken so that the harvest is properly reaped.

Jesus teaches us what He and the kingdom of God are like by pronouncing the seven “I am’s.”

In John 10:11-14 I am the good shepherd; John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life; John 6:35-48 I am the bread of life; John 8:12; 9:5 I am the light of the world; John 10:7 I am the door; John 14:25 I am the way, the truth, and the life. And in the reading, we have chosen for today’s meditation: John 15:1-5 I am the true vine. The vine is a grape plant, it is a vine. It has a root, a trunk, branches, shoots, leaves and fruit. Jesus compares himself to that plant “He is” and my father is the vineyard keeper, He is the owner and caretaker. He is the one who takes care, who cleans, who prunes. The use of agriculture to explain the kingdom of God, and its care.

He talks about trimming: What is it and why is it necessary? It is to clean, to cut, to pull up, to remove dry leaves, dry branches. Pruning is a sign of love, God is concerned about us. He takes care of us, He removes what is not necessary, He removes what is not productive, what is not useful to us. When God is closest to us, it is when He is trimming us. When a vinedresser goes to prune, He always has the branch in his hand. God has not let you go, you have always been in the hollow of God’s hand. Pruning is not the absence of God, on the contrary, it is when He is closer than ever. John 15:2 he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.

To be cut off: John 15:2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit; the branch is a new shoot. The danger of not being attached to Christ is that this new shoot will dry up. In other words, the danger of not congregating, of not being in a church, can dry us up, it does not allow us to grow, mature and bear the fruit that is expected of us. The Lord gives us a piece of advice, a commandment or recommendation in John 15:4 “remain in me, and I will remain in you”. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. He is speaking of a relationship, a friendship and fellowship. John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches” is giving us identity. He is also giving us a promise John 15: 5b “he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit”. He is telling us that we need him in order to go forward, John 15:5c “for apart from me you can do nothing”.

For reflection
Trimming is the evidence of something new in our lives. Usually when something goes wrong or we are in a time of trial we get desperate. We tend to worry too much and try to solve. The pruning in your life has as a goal that you bear fruit as it says: Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”; 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control”. So do not stray from the vine and allow whatever the vineyard keeper desires to do in your life to be done, for the result will be a blessing.

Blessed God, thank You for revealing Yourself to our lives with examples from our daily lives and with them help us to understand Your plans and purposes in our lives. Help us to stay attached to You and continue to work in our lives, take away what You need to take away, add what You need to add so that we may remain united to You and bear much fruit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

If you want to worship an awesome God, you are welcome to join me at Boone First United Methodist Church. Our Maundy Thursday Service is at 6:30 PM tonight. And I promise you will be home in plenty of time to watch the Iowa State game.


I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am, and
I am yours

My love
There’s so many ways I want to say I love you
Let me hold you in my arms forever more

You have gone and made me such a fool
And I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?

For so many years
I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and
Made me whole

Let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly
In my ear

And in my eyes (In my eyes)
I see no one else but you (I see no one else but you)
There’s no other love like our love
And, oh, girl I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long

Your love’s the only love I need
Oh, and beside me is where
I want you to be (I want you to be)
‘Cause, my love
There’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life
You’re my lady
-Written by Lionel Richie
-Perfected by Kenny Rogers

This week marks the 3 year anniversary of my Mom’s passing. I selected this song because she loved this song and she loved Kenny Rogers. She loved Elvis. She loved the Beach Boys. I’m not sure which was her absolute favorite, but this was one of her absolute favorite songs. And objectively, it is one of the greatest songs ever written.

I got to see a Kenny Rogers concert at the Civic Center with my Mom. It is one of my favorite memories and favorite concerts I’ve ever attended. Life, as they say, is made up of memories. Not possessions. It is a great memory.

This Thursday’s flowertography is a collection of flower images taken in my yard. I know I said I was about to finally leave my yard for the flowertography session, but then I stumbled upon this collection of flower images that I had somehow missed. I’m glad I found them.

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2023

Nature's Amen - 2023

Soul Expansion - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Last Penny - 2023

Next Thursday we will finally leave my yard again.

Can you believe that it is almost flowertography season. I will be heading down to Pella in a couple of weeks to take some tulip pictures. The peak tulip bloom is going to be about 2-3 weeks early this year. So I’ll probably head down there in the middle of April. Let me know if you are interested in going, hitting their bakery, and probably eating some good food.

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