april 9th, 2020 – maundy thursday

In the context of Holy Week, we refer to this day as Maundy Thursday. It derives
its name from a shortened form of the Latin word mandatum, meaning mandate or
command. It marks the occasion in which Jesus and his disciples shared their last
Passover meal together. Prior to eating, Jesus, in an act reserved for servants,
washed the feet of his disciples. After washing their feet, Jesus told them that
they should also serve one another in the same way and then he stated, ‘A new
command I give to you: Love one another as I have loved you.’
Maundy Thursday revisits the ‘new command’ given by Jesus, reminding us that
we are to serve others in love. But it is also a commemoration of the meal Jesus
shared with his disciples that evening. The retelling of the story brings to mind the
instructions Jesus gave to his disciples – that we are to remember him, and to be
joined with him, through the eating of bread and the drinking of wine (or juice).
During this liturgy, there will be opportunity to partake in communion. (In the flow
of the liturgy, the song Holy Communion is the cue for this.) If this is something
that you wish to participate in, feel free to pause the liturgy now and take a minute get
some bread and juice, or bread and wine.
As we begin, let’s pray:
Compassionate God
     we come to you in our need,
confessing to you
     what we often dare not admit to ourselves:
It is hard to celebrate life
     when faced with the mystery of death.
It is hard to look to the future
     when surrounded by
the uncertainty of the present;
Help us this day, and in the days to come,
     to receive comfort from your word
and light for our darkness.
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
     the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
     help of the helpless, abide with me
I need Thy presence every passing hour
     what but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be
     through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
     the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
     help of the helpless, abide with me
The chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest,
whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.
“But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and
asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out
for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand
him over.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to
leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he
loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son
of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under
his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from
the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that,
he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the
towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet;
their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also should wash one another’s feet.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,
nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.
And he said to them,I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Then Jesus took a cup of wine,
and when he had given thanks for it, he said,
“Take this and share it among yourselves.
For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
Then he took a loaf of bread;
and when he had thanked God for it,
he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying,
“This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After supper he took another cup of wine and said,
“This cup is God’s new covenant to save you—an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for
Let us eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus.
Holy Communion   (Click here for audio link)
Gracious Father we give you praise
     and thanks for this holy communion
The body and blood of your beloved Son
The body is broken
     God’s love poured open to make us new
Lord make us new
Abba Father we bless your name
     and take part in this holy communion
Make us all one to love like your Son
Jesus said, “I am telling you now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.
Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me;
and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified,
“Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.
“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend,
is the man who will betray me. For I, the Son of Man,
must die since it is part of God’s plan.
But how terrible it will be for my betrayer!”
Then the disciples began to question among themselves which of them it might be who
would do this. They began to say to Jesus, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.
Jesus told them,
“In this world the kings and great men order their people around,
and yet they are called `friends of the people.’
But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank,
and the leader should be like a servant.
Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here!
For I am your servant. You have remained true to me in my time of trial.
And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom,
I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in that Kingdom.”
“Dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you!
Then, though you search for me, you cannot come to me—
just as I told the Jewish leaders.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
Then Jesus answered, Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you,
before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to
them and live with them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not do what I say. And
remember, my words are not my own. This message is from the Father who sent me. I
am telling you these things now while I am still with you.
But when the Father sends the Counsellor as my representative–
and by the Counsellor I mean the Holy Spirit–
he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I
myself have told you.”
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.
So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you:
I am going away, but I will come back to you again.
If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, because now I can go to the Father,
who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that you
will believe when they do happen.”
“I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the prince of this world
approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so
that the world will know that I love the Father.”
So now we have been given a new commandment:
Love one other.
Just as Christ has loved us, so we should love each other.
Our love for one another should prove to the
world that we are Christ’s disciples.

Sister let me be your servant
     brother be as Christ to you
I will share your joy and sorrow
     ‘till we’ve seen this journey through
I will hold the Christ light for you
     in the nighttime of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
     speak the peace you long to hear
Let us live as Christ commands us
     share his love so rich and free
Born of all we’ve known together
     of Christ’s love and agony
Sister let me be your servant
     brother be as Christ to you
I will share your joy and sorrow
     ‘till we’ve seen this journey through
When they had sung a hymn, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.
On the other side there was a garden with a grove of olive trees called Gethsemane.
Jesus and his disciples went into it.
Now Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials
from the chief priests and the Pharisees. Judas had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”
Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”
Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus.
They bound him and led him away…
Readings from: John 13:1-17, Luke 22:15-29, John 13:33-35, John 14:23-31

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