Maundy Thursday Worship
Introduction to the day
This evening our Lenten observance comes to an end, and we gather with Christians around the world to celebrate the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Tonight we remember Christ’s last meal with his disciples, but the central focus is his commandment that we live out the promise embodied in this meal. As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so we are called to give and receive love in humble service to one another. Formed into a new body in Christ through this holy meal, we are transformed by the mercy we have received and carry it into the world. Departing worship in solemn silence, we anticipate the coming days.
Song - There is A Green Hill Far Away
1 There is a green hill far away, outside a city wall,
where the dear Lord was crucified, who died to save us all.
2 We may not know, we cannot tell, what pains he had to bear,
but we believe it was for us, he hung and suffered there.
3 He died that we might be forgiv’n; he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heav’n, saved by his precious blood.
Text: Cecil F. Alexander, 1823-1895
Prayer of the Day
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
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 had loved them. By your Holy Spirit write this commandment in our hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Exodus 24:3-11 The Blood of the Covenant
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.[a] And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
Psalm 116:12-19 Precious to the Lord
What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
Matthew 26:17-30 The Passover with the Disciples
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Washing of Feet
We who receive God’s love in Jesus Christ are called to love one another, to be servants to each other as Jesus became our servant. [Our commitment to this loving service is signified in the washing of feet, following the example the Lord gave us on the night before his death.] Optional: With an apron or a towel and water, wash the feet of one another.
Message from Pastor Jill: They Sang A Hymn
I want to highlight an entirely new thought about the text tonight. This struck me: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
I had never thought before about this being the only place in scripture where we see Jesus singing. The verse says “they sang a hymn.” First of all, how can you possibly be singing at a time like this? And secondly, what might Jesus and His disciples have sung that night?
So, to the first question - what a time to be singing! Think about it. Jesus had just discussed with His disciples the reality of the wine being poured into their cups, symbolizing the blood that He would soon pour out for their sins. Hardly party or celebration conversation.
He had just predicted His betrayal by Judas & that His time was at hand – the time of His death.
Was it a sober, reflective song? Probably not! Why? Jesus said He had joy set before Him. He knew it. He was the sacrifice Lamb. It was His chosen destiny. The disciples really didn’t understand it all as they sang that night. But Jesus knew there was joy set before Him, so He sang. He sang before He endured the cross. He didn’t sing because He was excited about the suffering. Jesus was not a sadist, looking forward with anticipation to torture.
What did they sing that night? Many believe we can know for certain what they sang, because they were doing what Jews always did on the Passover. The things they did together that night were all very familiar to the disciples. They’d done them before, every time they’d celebrate the Passover.
Yet, this night, Jesus gave the rituals and traditions special meaning, new meaning. He redefined them in a way that revealed their prophetic nature about his suffering and his death. He reinstituted them for us, to remember something different than they were remembering that night.
In one sense it was the same thing – they were being delivered, saved, rescued, in the Passover, and they were being delivered in the death of Jesus. But in a larger sense, they were were being delivered from so much more, and this was the new meaning Jesus was infusing into the Passover meal in the upper room.
Yet we question “what did they sing?” From what scholars researched---They most likely sang from Psalms 113-118 as these six Psalms are known as the Egyptian Hallel--Psalms related to the exodus, the deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
That fact alone is significant, knowing that Jesus sang these words that night, before He willingly became the Sacrifice Lamb. On the first Passover, the Jews were delivered by the blood of sacrificial lambs, when the angel of death passed over those homes marked by the lambs’ blood. We, too, are delivered from sin through Jesus’ blood. Let’s take a look at 3 of them:
Psalm 116 is a personal song of thanksgiving for deliverance from imminent death. There’s no death more lasting than the death that Jesus delivered us from.
Psalm 117, the shortest chapter in scripture, recounts God’s unfailing love and His faithfulness. Was that ever demonstrated in any fuller way than in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross?
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Imagine for a moment your worst day ever. A day of suffering and pain and misery. None of us have ever had a day like Jesus did, which began the night before in the upper room and then Gethsemane. Only about 24 hours later, Jesus was dead and buried.
Yet, knowing that the events of that day were beginning to unfold, knowing that suffering and death was His chosen fate, the gentle, sacrificial lamb, Jesus the only Son of God, very likely sang that verse in Psalm 118. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
As we come to His table of grace tonight, as we remember, according to His instructions, what He accomplished for us by shedding His blood on the cross, let’s also remember that He did it for the joy set before Him. Let’s also remember that in the midst of this day of days, Jesus sang, He gave glory to His Father, and He rejoiced.
Sober reflection now is appropriate as we remember the awful price Jesus paid, but in the midst of that let’s always remember what Jesus remembered – sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. For us, it’s a joy of gratitude, because we serve a loving, merciful, faithful God.
Turning our hearts to God who is gracious and merciful, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
A brief silence.
God of love, unite your church in its commitment to humble service. Make us your faithful disciples. Speak words of truth and grace through us. Encourage us in self-giving acts of kindness. Let us love one another as you have loved us. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
God of love, tend to flocks, fields, and vineyards. Bring favorable weather for crops to grow. Guide the hands of those who cultivate, farm, and garden. Let the earth flourish so that all may eat and be satisfied. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
God of love, you give us a new commandment, to have love for one another. We give thanks for organizations that respond to disasters and for agencies that offer relief and humanitarian aid to populations in need (particular organizations may be named). Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
God of love, give ear to all who call upon you for any need of body or spirit (especially). Provide for those who do not have enough to eat, those who are unemployed or underemployed, and those who rely on the generosity of others. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
God of love, you invite us to your table of mercy. Heal all divisions between members of this assembly. Extend the hospitality of this table beyond these walls, that your love and welcome be made known to all. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
God of love, glorify your servants who walked by faith in this life and who now feast with you. Inspire us by the sacrifice of those who were imprisoned, persecuted, or martyred for their faith. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
According to your steadfast love, O God, hear these and all our prayers as we commend them to you; through Christ our Lord.
Words of Institution
In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.
The Communion follows. The bread may be broken for distribution. Receive the bread and wine and then give them to those who come to receive. As the the bread and wine is given, say these words to each other:
The body of Christ, given for you.
The blood of Christ, shed for you.
After each eat and drink you may say:
The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin and a model of the godly life. Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving, and to conform our lives to his; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Silence for reflection.
Hymn - What Wondrous Love is This
Verse 1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul O my soul What wondrous love is this O my soul What wondrous love is this, That caused the Lord of bliss To bear the dreadful curse for my soul for my soul To bear the dreadful curse for my soul Verse 2 When I was sinking down, Sinking down sinking down When I was sinking down sinking down When I was sinking down, Beneath God's righteous frown Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul Christ laid aside His crown for my soul Verse 3 To God and to the Lamb, I will sing I will sing To God and to the Lamb I will sing To God and to the Lamb, Who is the Great I Am While millions join the theme, I will sing I will sing While millions join the theme I will sing Verse 4 And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on I'll sing on And when from death I'm free I'll sing on And when from death I'm free, I'll sing and joyful be And thro' eternity I'll sing on I'll sing on And thro' eternity I'll sing on
Stripping of the Altar
Danielle and Jeremy strip the altar - video
Linens, paraments, ornaments, and candles are removed from the altar and chancel.
There is no benediction. Close in silence.
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