Maundy Thursday Service


APRIL 1, 2021


Let us worship together and reflect upon the life of Christ, that we might remember what discipleship may cost, and what it may reap.


MAUNDY is an English form of the Latin word for commandment. The overarching theme of Maundy Thursday is Jesus’ new commandment, given on this the eve of his death, to “love one another even as I have loved you” (John 13:34)

Maundy Thursday is the night in which Jesus not only washed his disciples feet, and later lifted up the bread and the wine and established a new sacrament in his name – it is also the night of Gethesame – the night of anguish of soul as he faced his betrayal and fast approaching death.


Call To Worship

L: Come and remember the love of Jesus, gathered at table with his friends.

P: We come to receive Christ, the bread of life, the cup of blessing.

L: Come, receive the tender service Christ offers each of us;

P: We come to receive the challenge of the new commandment: “Love one another.”

L: Come and contemplate the many temptations of a world that would entice us, like Judas, to betray the trust of a suffering God.

P: We come to travel with Jesus the way of the Cross, so that our Easter “alleluia” will take on new meaning.


Choral Response “Jesus, Remember Me”

Gospel Lesson John 13: 1-15, 31-35

Hand Washing


Jesus spent his life teaching us the meaning of love. Through word and deed Jesus showed us how to love God and to love one another.  He fed the hungry.  He healed the sick.  He invited the women and the children and the tax collectors and the sinners to come to his table.  He broke bread with the least and the lost and shared the cup of redemption with them all.  He crossed boundaries of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, and class.  He challenged religious authority, and he scoffed at pomposity and self-absorbed grandeur.  He called out the hypocrites.  He admonished the scribes and the Pharisees for their hardened hearts.  He brought a simple message: Love God, love yourself, and love one another.

All: We gather in the name of Jesus and remember the way that he showed us.  We gather to remember not just his death, but his life.

The way of Jesus goes through the cross, but we are not there yet.  It is close.  We can see its shadow.  We can feel the cold, dark, night. We know that the enemies of God are conspiring.  They have had enough of him.  He threatens their comfort.  He threatens their way of life.  He threatens their power.  They will come for him.  First though, we will gather.  We gather with Jesus and his closest friends.  We gather with those that called him teacher, Rabbi, friend.  We gather for the Passover meal, to remember that God saved the people from slavery.  God saved once.  God saves forevermore.

All: God saved the Israelites at Passover, and revealed that it is God who reigns, not the Pharaoh.  Our God saved once.  God saves forevermore.

Even as they were sharing this sacred meal together, the disciples were not of one heart.  Jesus knew that he was asking much from these men, and he knew that they would fail him.  Judas had already agreed to betray Jesus to the religious authorities.  Was he angry at some slight?  Was he disappointed that Jesus would not raise an army against the Romans? Was he upset with the value of the oil that the woman “wasted” when she anointed Jesus?  We will never know Judas’ heart, but Jesus knew that he would be betrayed.  And did Jesus do with the man that would betray him?  He broke bread with him. All of the disciples were deeply saddened, and they asked:

All: I would never betray you, Lord.  It’s not me, is it?

Pastor: On the night in which Jesus was betrayed by his friend, he took the bread, gave thanks to God, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: “This is my body, which is broken for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over he took the cup, gave thanks to God, gave it to his disciples and said, “Drink from this all of you, this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this, as often as you drink of it, in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

All: Christ has died. Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

Pastor: Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and the cup.  Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by Christ’s blood.  By your Holy Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet.  Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father now and forever.


Invitation to Communion (John 13) (Pastor)

We are gathered as disciples, and tonight Jesus reveals himself to us. He is the master teacher who unexpectedly washes our feet, as would a servant. He has led us triumphantly into Jerusalem, and yet he speaks of going where we cannot go, of being broken and poured out for us. We remember him now as he asked us to do, in a communal meal. Whether bewildered that he must depart, sobered before the cross that awaits, or quietly anticipating Sunday’s joy, let us center ourselves now—in this moment, connected with those around us—to seek God’s presence in the breaking of the bread.



When the holy meal had been shared, the disciples began to argue over which one would be the greatest.  Even here, at the end of their time together, they did not seem to understand what Jesus had been teaching them all along.  He reminded them that to be great in the Kingdom of God meant to serve.  After Jesus’ talk of betrayal, the disciples’ argument, and Jesus’ rebuke of them, the disciples seemed to be growing anxious. Peter proclaimed:

All: “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

And Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day until you have denied three times that you know me.”


Silent Prayer


Afterwards, Jesus led his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane.  He asked them to pray for him, for he wanted to be alone.  There, Jesus prayed.  He asked his friends to keep watch, but they kept falling asleep.  He prayed for another way out.  He prayed in anguish.  He prayed as a man who could feel pain, who would be hurt by betrayal, who would be scarred by the scourge, and would bleed when nails were driven into his arms and legs.  He prayed as a man who knew that if he followed God’s will, he would be charged, convicted, mocked, humiliated, abandoned, and nailed to a cross.  Knowing all of this full well he prayed, “Not my will, but yours.”  Then he stood up for all that he had lived for.  When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come to into the time of trial”

All: Judas said to Jesus, “Rabbi” and kissed him.  Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

There was a brief skirmish at the arrest, but his disciples quickly scattered.  Peter, who had only hours before promised to go with Jesus to prison, even death, followed from a distance.  During the trial, Peter remained hidden in the shadows.  First a servant girl saw him and said, “This man was also with him.”

All: “Woman, I do not know him.”

A little later someone else, on seeing him said, “You also are one of them.”

All: “Man, I am not.”

Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man was with him; for he is a Galilean.”

All: “I do not know what you are talking about.  I do not know Jesus.”

Pastor: At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed.  The Lord turned and looked at Peter.  Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him, and he wept bitterly.


Call to Confession (Leader)

Let us confess before God our tendency, like the Jerusalem crowds, to profess our faith in moments of enthusiasm and deny our faith in moments of stress.


Prayer of Confession  (All)

Just as the followers of Jesus met with him in that first upper room filled with perplexity and fear, so we confess our own uncertainty, our own timidity as disciples. We would prefer to leave this holy table clear in mind and resolute in spirit. But we know that we will leave with fear and betrayal in our hearts. Yet you are a forgiving and merciful God. You want us to be fed at this table, to be strengthened, to be ready for what may come as we seek to serve you. So forgive us and renew us, we pray, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Words of Assurance   (Leader)

In our striving to follow Christ, God is a sure and constant presence, never coercing commitment but always inviting it. Amen.


Choral Response “Jesus Remember Me”



Go in peace, into the darkness of the night to await the dawn. AMEN.

















Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on April 1, 2021

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