CALL TO WORSHIP
On this day
Christ the Lamb of God
gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him.
On this day
Christ gathered with his disciples in the upper room.
On this day
Christ took a towel and washed the disciples’ feet, giving us an example that we should do to others as he has done to us.
On this day
Christ our God gave us this holy feast,
that we who eat this bread
and drink this cup
may here proclaim his holy sacrifice
and be partakers of his resurrection,
and at the last day may reign with him in heaven.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray.
Holy God, source of all love,
on the night of his betrayal
Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment,
to love one another as he loved them.
Write this commandment in our hearts;
give us the will to serve others
as he was the servant of all,
who gave his life and died for us,
yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
*HYMN No. 220 “Go to Dark Gethsemane”
1 Go to dark Gethsemane,
all who feel the tempter’s power;
your Redeemer’s conflict see;
watch with him one bitter hour;
turn not from his griefs away;
learn from Jesus Christ to pray.
2 Follow to the judgment hall;
view the Lord of life arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall!
O the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
learn from him to bear the cross.
3 Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
there, adoring at his feet,
mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete;
“It is finished!” hear him cry;
learn from Jesus Christ to die.
4 Early hasten to the tomb
where they laid his breathless clay:
all is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.
*CALL TO CONFESSION
The proof of God’s amazing love is this: while we were sinners
Christ died for us.
Because we have faith in him,
we dare to approach God with confidence.
In faith and penitence
let us confess our sin before God and one another.
*CONFESSION OF SIN
whose covenant with us is never broken, we confess that we fail to fulfill your will. Though you have bound yourself to us, we will not bind ourselves to you.
In Jesus Christ you serve us freely,
but we refuse your love
and withhold ourselves from others.
We do not love you fully
or love one another as you command.
In your mercy, forgive and cleanse us. Lead us once again to your table
and unite us to Christ,
who is the bread of life
and the vine from which we grow in grace.
*RESPONSE No. 471 “O Lord Hear My Prayer”
O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
Come and listen to me.
*DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS
The mercy of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting.
I declare to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
May the God of mercy,
who forgives you all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.
Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another.
The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Peace be with you.
*HYMN No. 216 “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”
1 Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.
2 Upon the cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain or loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
FIRST READING Exodus 12:1–14
12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn with fire. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human to animal, and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
PSALM Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19
1I love the Lord because he has heard
my voice and my supplications.
2Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
12What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
13I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord;
14I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful ones.
16O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
17I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
and call on the name of the Lord.
18I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 11:23–26
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for[a] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
GOSPEL READING John 13:31b–35
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him,[a] God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Term “Maundy Thursday” is one of those phrases that we throw around without much stopping to think about what it meant. In fact, when I was a kid, I often thought that what we were saying was “Monday Thursday” and couldn’t figure out why we would call it that. I went through a lot of rationale, up to and including that it was Monday Thursday because it was the first day of the… never mind. It was silly.
Since then, I have learned that it is generally understood that the term Maundy is derived from the Latin term mandatum which means “mandate” indicating that this day that we celebrate has to do with a mandate…an order or direction to do something in particular.
Most often the way that we live this out in the life of our worship is by celebrating the meal that tradition tells us that Jesus shared with this disciples that evening…because we take those words that Paul reports to us in 1 Corinthians, that Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” to be the mandate that Jesus gives and that we live out.
This has been both helpful and unhelpful throughout the history of the church, as people have gotten so caught up in the idea that Jesus mandated that we we do this…well, the conversation often becomes about what, exactly, this is!
Is the bread unleavened, or can I use any bread around? Does it have to be wine, or can it be grape juice. What if we don’t have access to any of these things? How do we “remember” if we can’t do this!?
There’s also a camp out there that believes that what the mandate that Jesus is giving has to do with the washing of the feet of his disciples. That, perhaps, our sacraments should include foot washing, as Jesus both washed his disciples’ feet and told his disciples that they had to have their feet washed and also wash one another’s feet saying, “For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (Doing and telling us to do being, at least, the Presbyterian standard for what makes a sacrament).
Great arguing throughout time has been done on this subject…do we, don’t we, why should we…and on and on and on…
But, from where I stand today, when we argue those things…we’re having the wrong conversation.
Because, the mandate, or the commandment, that Jesus gave to his disciples and to us had nothing to do with feet, bread, and wine.
At the end of the reading from the Gospel of John that we shared tonight, Jesus turns to his disciples and says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
That is the mandate.
Not wash each other’s feet.
Love one another.
That is the commandment.
Not eat bread and drink wine.
Love one another.
That is why we celebrate this Maundy, Mandate, Thursday.
Love one another.
Tonight, on the eve of his betrayal, arrest, trial and execution…on the night that begins the long journey to the cross and then to the empty tomb, we gather to remember that Jesus commanded his disciples, and us, to love one another…just as he loved us, so should we love each other.
So, why is it that we gather around this table, weekly, monthly, on special days and seasons such as this evening? Why is it that we set the table and share the meal? Why is it that we, on really special occasions, would ceremoniously wash each others feet?
If it’s about loving each other, and not about the feet, bread, and wine…why do we do those things?
We do them because it’s not about the feet, bread, and wine…but it is about what those symbols of feet, bread, and win mean.
And so, tonight, as we gather together, we remember: On the night that he was to be betrayed by one of them, Jesus knelt before his disciples, his followers, and he washed their feet.
On the night that he was to be betrayed by one of them, Jesus sat at the table with his disciples, his followers, and he served them.
On the night that he was to be betrayed, in one of his final acts as teacher, he used the everyday and commonplace actions of washing of the feet before sharing a meal and the sharing of the meal itself to show his disciples what he meant when he said, Love one another, as I have loved you….share the bread and the drink that you have…feed the hungry, refresh the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, comfort the oppressed…serve one another…whenever you do these things, do them in remembrance of me…live out what I have taught you and shown you…by this, the world will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.
We remember this each and every time we share the Lord’s Supper and each and every time we wash one another’s feet, as it reminds us of Christ’s call to us, and strengthens us to go out and live and love and serve in Jesus’ name.
May it always be so. Amen.
Commentary and Liturgy provided by Natalie Bolz-Weber, Heather Schoenewolf, Leanne Masters, the Book of Common Worship and the Book of Confessions.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
We believe that in the death of Jesus on the cross God achieved and demonstrated once for all the costly forgiveness of our sins. Jesus Christ is the Reconciler between God and the world. He acted on behalf of sinners as one of us, fulfilling the obedience God demands of us, accepting God’s condemnation of our sinfulness. In his lonely agony on the cross Jesus felt forsaken by God and thus experienced hell itself for us. Yet the Son was never more in accord with the Father’s will. He was acting on behalf of God, manifesting the Father’s love that takes on itself the loneliness, pain, and death that result from our waywardness. In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not holding our sins against us. Each of us beholds on the cross the Savior who died in our place, so that we may no longer live for ourselves, but for him. In him is our only hope of salvation.
INVITATION TO THE LORD’S TABLE
Hear the words of the institution
of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ:
The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God,
he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way he took the cup, saying:
This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord, until he comes.
let us offer God our grateful praise.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is truly right and our greatest joy
to give you thanks and praise,
O Lord our God, creator and ruler of the universe. You bring forth bread from the earth,
and create the fruit of the vine.
You made us in your image,
and freed us from the bonds of slavery.
You claimed us as your people,
and made covenant to be our God.
You fed us manna in the wilderness,
and brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey. When we forgot you, and our faith was weak,
you spoke through prophets,
calling us to turn again to your ways.
Therefore we praise you,
joining our voices with the celestial choirs
and with all the faithful of every time and place, who forever sing to the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
You are holy, O God of majesty,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, whom you sent to deliver us
from the bondage of death and slavery to sin.
In humility he descends from your heights,
to kneel in obedience to love’s commands.
He who is boundless takes on the bondage of our sin. He who is free takes our place in death’s prison.
In the deserts of our wanderings, he sustains us, giving us his body as manna for our weariness. The cup of suffering which he drank
has become for us the cup of salvation.
In his death, he ransomed us from death’s dominion; in his resurrection, he opened the way to eternal life.
Remembering all your mighty and merciful acts, we take this bread and this wine
from the gifts you have given us,
and celebrate with joy
the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ.
Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy offering of ourselves,
that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen.
Christ is the bread of life:
When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ
and with all who are baptized in his name,
that we may be one in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.
Lead us, O God, by the power of your Spirit
to live as love commands.
Bound to Christ,
set us free for joyful obedience and glad service. As Jesus gave his life for ours,
help us to live our lives for others
with humility and persistent courage.
Give us strength to serve you faithfully until the promised day of resurrection, when, with the redeemed of all the ages, we will feast with you at your table in glory.
all glory and honor are yours, almighty Father,
with the Holy Spirit in the holy church,
now and forever.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
BREAKING OF THE BREAD
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?
The gifts of God for the people of God.
The body of Christ given for you. Amen.
The blood of Christ shed for you. Amen.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.
UNISON PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
God of grace,
your Son Jesus Christ
left us this holy meal of bread and wine
in which we share his body and blood.
May we who have celebrated this sign of his great love
show in our lives the fruits of his redemption;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
STRIPPING OF THE CHURCH
The candles are extinguished, and all linens, paraments, and banners are removed from the worship space. During their removal, Psalm 22 may be read, or the congregation may bow or kneel in silent prayer.