For our Maundy Thursday service, in your homes, you will be invited to participate in a hand or foot washing, and Holy Communion. Please have what you need ready before worship, so you can begin the service quietly, with no stresses. You will need a large bowl or basin, room temperature water in the basin (better yet - in a pitcher, and as you pour it into the basin, listen to the sounds - and remember your baptism), and towels for drying (plain towels - Disney Towels are a visual distraction ). You will also want communion ready: bread or cracker, and juice, wine, or water.
Praying for you in this Holy Week journey.
THE UNITED CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Disciples of Christ) “To be and share the Good News of Jesus Christ” 499 E. Malden Drive, Coal Center PA 15423 Pastor Amory Merriman 724-938-2098; cell 724-322-8220 Office Hours: Mon-Wed-Fri, 9am-12pm Pastor Amory’s Hours: Sunday-Thursday Maundy Thursday, April 8, 2020
"On Maundy Thursday the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before his arrest and crucifixion. Maundy Thursday marks three key events in Jesus' last week: his washing of his disciples' feet, his institution of the Lord's Supper, and his new commandment to love one another. This service begins the Triduum, the three-day period from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Easter Day. The name 'Maundy Thursday' comes from the Latin mandatum novum, referring to the 'new commandment' Jesus taught his disciples (John 13:34).”
This is a different worship service in the liturgical year – because we cannot gather as a community of faith in the sanctuary, as we have always done. So tonight we gather as a community of faith in our homes, across the miles, virtually. In this season of concern for our health and the well-being of others, we are grateful to have you join us from your homes. Tonight’s service will include a hand or foot-washing and holy communion. Whether you join us alone, or with others, we invite you to prepare for the service by having a basin of water and towels, bread or crackers, and juice, wine or water. This service has been adapted from a template designed by Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson, given with full permission.
– The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
CALL TO WORSHIP Today we gather at many tables in many homes to remember that meal so long ago when Jesus gathered with his dearest friends, his disciples. We remember the wilderness around us: physical separation, quarantine, illness, unemployment, deployment of health care workers, fear, uncertainty and grief. We also remember the wilderness to come for Jesus: betrayal, denial by his closest friends, suffering and death. Let us seek God’s nourishment, strength and hope to face the wilderness.
“IN THIS VERY ROOM” – verse 1 In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me, And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for one like me; And there’s quite enough hope, and quite enough pow’r to chase away any gloom, For Jesus, Lord Jesus, is in this very room.
A RITUAL OF WASHING Following the custom of the time, Jesus and the disciples would have had their feet washed by a servant when they entered the Upper Room, so it wasn’t necessary to wash them again for the purpose of comfort or cleanliness. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples not in order to clean their feet, but to make a point – a point about humble service.
Telling the Story from John 13:1-15 L: It was the day before the Passover festival. Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. Jesus got up from the table, took off his robes, and tied a towel around his waist. Then Jesus poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel he was wearing. Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him: P: Are you going to wash my feet, Lord? L: Jesus answered Peter: P: “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you willunderstand later.” L: Peter declared: P: Never at any time will you wash my feet! L: Jesus answered: P: If I do not wash your feet, you will no longer be my disciple. L: Simon Peter answered: P: Lord, not only my feet, then, but my hands and head, too! L: Jesus said: “Those who have bathed are completely clean and do not need to wash other than their feet.” After washing their feet, Jesus put his robes back on, returned to his place at the table, and said, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.”
A Ritual of Hand-Washing or Foot-Washing Depending on your home/family context, this ritual may be somber or joyful, serious and gentle or playful. There is no wrong way to do this. God meets us where we are. L: Water has always been a sign of creation, life, birth and rebirth. We remember the water of baptism, a symbol of our dying and rising in Christ. Tonight, at Christ’s invitation, we share this water of service and love. All: With this water let us bless one another and wash each other’s hands or feet.
Take turns washing and drying one another’s hands or feet. As you wash another person’s hands (or your own if you are by yourself), say: “May this water renew and restore your spirit.”
Then gently dry one another’s hands or feet, saying: “May you dwell in God’s tender care.”
“IN THIS VERY ROOM” – verse 2 In this very room there’s quite enough love for all of us, And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all of us; And there’s quite enough hope, and quite enough pow’r to chase away any gloom, For Jesus, Lord Jesus, is in this very room.
GATHERING AT THE TABLE Tonight, we remember the last night Jesus spent with his disciples celebrating the Passover meal. Before we sup, I want to share with you a poem by Sarah Are, entitled “Bread.”
“After he had washed their feet . . . [Jesus] returned to the table.” (John 13:12)
Jesus returned to the table, that simple common space, Moving from water and undeserved grace To bread that nourishes and sustains our place-- Two simple elements, no time to waste.
I should have known there would be water, But of course there would be bread.
From the start of creation, God has tried to keep us fed-- Fed on bread and roses and love we don’t notice. I should have known there would be water, But of course there would be bread. I should have known there would be space At the table for grace-- Space for nerves, and questions, and absent confessions; Space for me and Elijah and Judas, without question. I should have known there would be space, But of course there would be bread--
For it started with manna, and all must be fed. “This is my body, broken for you. For you, five thousand; For you, Israelite nation; For you, child of the covenant; Judas and Peter, This is my body broken for you.”
That simple phrase, paired with the food of the day, Makes me human again—nourishes weak spots within. It lifts me up and draws me back in-- Breathing life into bones that were weary and thin.
For it’s easy to be so hungry for God That God must appear in the shape of a meal, Countering frailty, allowing me to heal.
So maybe that’s why I come back to this space, Because I know God will be here, offering grace. And I need that bread in order to feel-- In order to see the kingdom revealed.
I should have known there would be water, But of course there would be bread-- For I am hungry, and all must be fed.
Invitation To The Holy Feast L: This table is for all who are hungry. If you are hungry, come. P: Where compassion and love are, there is God. L: The love of Christ has gathered us as one. Let us love one another. P: Where compassion and love are, there is God. L: When we are gathered in spirit, even distance cannot separate us. Christ is present in our midst. P: Where compassion and love are, there is God. L: In this meal and worship, may we feel the joy that is community, the peace that is Christ, and the presence that is Spirit. Amen.
Breaking The Bread Of Life Here we are at a table. We come hungry, for sacred food, for God’s Spirit of hope, comfort, and peace for our wilderness journey. Let us pray for the Bread of Life:
Dear God, We thank you so much that we are able to partake of this bread--the bread that symbolizes the broken body of Jesus the Christ who freely gave of His life for us. As we partake of this bread we ask that you will cleanse us of all of our sins. We also ask that your spirit now fill us giving us strength and guidance to carry on the work you would have us to. Please be with those who do not know you. We ask that you help us to guide them to you by showing your love to them. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Jesus gathered around tables like this one. He gathered with sinners and saints, religious leaders and tax collectors, the proud and arrogant, the self-deprecating and uncertain, the filthy rich and destitute, the healthy and sick, the young and old. We remember the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples – a meal remembering God’s liberating power. At that meal, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it and shared it with his disciples saying, “Take and eat, this is my body broken for you. Do this and remember me.”
More Of The Story From John 13:1-3, 21-34 Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to God. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully.
Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew God had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. After he said these things, Jesus was deeply disturbed and testified, “I assure you, one of you will betray me.” His disciples looked at each other, confused about which of them he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was at Jesus’ side. Simon Peter nodded at him to get him to ask Jesus who he was talking about. Leaning back toward Jesus, this disciple asked, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread once I have dipped into the bowl.” Then he dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son. After Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” No one sitting at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. Some thought that, since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus told him, “Go, buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So when Judas took the bread, he left immediately. And it was night.
When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One in himself and will glorify him immediately. Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the religious leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
All: May God open our hearts to hear the good news.
Sharing the Cup of Grace Like Jesus’ disciples, we have broken bread together. Now let us pray for the Cup of Salvation:
Heavenly Father, we come to you with thankful hearts for this wonderful time of year in which we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, let us ponder the agony that Jesus endured from the beating, carrying of his cross, and being nailed to it, then hanging on it. Yet He said "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." Help us to remember that supreme sacrifice as we partake of this cup that represents his blood shed for our sins. In Jesus' name, amen. We have heard of the betrayal and suffering to come in the days ahead. We remember that at the end of the meal, Jesus took their common cup, and giving thanks for it, he shared it with them saying: “Take and drink — this is the cup of the new covenant poured out in my blood for the forgiveness of sins. Do this and remember me.”
L: We are God’s people. P: Shaped and formed by water and Word. Sustained and nourished by the gift of Love. ALL: Together, we will live as God’s people.
“IN THIS VERY ROOM” – verse 3 In this very room there’s quite enough love for all the world, And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all the world; And there’s quite enough hope, and quite enough pow’r to chase away any gloom, For Jesus, Lord Jesus, is in this very room.
BENEDICTION L: We must not stay here. P: As we journey with Jesus to the cross, our purpose is among those who repent, those who open their hearts and change their lives to cultivate peace and sow justice. L: As we look to the cross, as we feel the wilderness closing in around us, we trust in God, who promises to fill the void of shadow with light and the emptiness of death with life. ALL: Let us leave this time with trembling hearts, to receive and sow the seeds of God’s beloved community.