Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday, we would usually gather for a service of Holy Communion with the offering of foot-washing. This helps us to journey with Jesus through his last days. Here you will find a short service using some of the same music and words. There is a particular poignancy today in not being able to join together and share Communion. As you use this service, I invite you to pray for the Church throughout the world, that we may meet again in person and grow in unity.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says:
‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’
‘Unless I wash you, you have no part in me.’
Let us confess to almighty God our sins against his love,
and ask him to cleanse us.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading – Exodus 12: 1-4, 11-14

Reading – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Duccio di Buoninsegna - Appearance While the Apostles are at Table - WGA06738

Reading – John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

Reflection from The Little Book of Lent by Margaret Silf

For the Eucharist to be fulfilled, the consecrated elements must be broken and shared in communion. Our consecration is always for some purpose. It is not an end in itself. A church is consecrated for worship. A pilgrim is consecrated for his or her journey towards God. We are consecrated for God and for each other, not for ourselves alone.

Let’s just think for a moment about what happens when, for example, we consecrate a church. It seems to me that we do two things:

  • We declare our desire and intention that this particular place, this building, shall be a place of worship and a sacred space where God shall be at home.
  • We then use that space for the purpose for which it has been consecrated, and in using it, we continue and fulfil the process of its sanctification.

It seems to me that God does the same thing for us when he consecrates us. He declares his desire and intention that we shall be consecrated to his truth and that our lives shall become a space where he can be at home. He then lives in our lives, fulfilling in them the purpose for which he has consecrated them.

And, like the Eucharistic bread, we are consecrated in order to be broken and given to others. Like the Eucharistic wine we are consecrated in order to be poured out for others. Consecration is always a community matter. It is an act of inclusiveness, expressing the all-inclusive love of God.

Consecration, understood in this way, is a vocation for all believers, and it has sacrifice at its heart. We can’t share in the consecration that was first enacted during the Last Supper, and is re-enacted in every Eucharist, unless we are willing to become part of the sacrifice. Of course, it is easy to believe it in our heads. It becomes a problem when we try to take hold of it on our hearts, because when it reaches our hearts it takes on a life of its own that rapidly passes beyond our conscious control.

Can you remember any moments in your journey with God when you felt that you were being consecrated by him for a particular ministry or role in life? You may perhaps remember your confirmation, or a time of spiritual renewal, or the growing awareness of a vocation or the moments may have been very private, in times of prayer. Recall them now, before God. If you feel drawn to do so, perhaps renew the promises you made to God at those times and ask him to bless your continuing intention to follow him in those special ways.

Prayers of Intercession

In the power of the Spirit let us pray to the Father
through Christ the saviour of the world.
Father, on this, the night he was betrayed,
your Son Jesus Christ washed his disciples’ feet.
We commit ourselves to follow his example of love and service.
Lord, hear us and humble us.

On this night, he prayed for his disciples to be one.
We pray for the unity of your Church.
Lord, hear us and unite us.

On this night, he prayed for those who were to believe through
his disciples’ message.
We pray for the mission of your Church.
Lord, hear us and renew our zeal.

On this night, he commanded his disciples to love,
but suffered rejection himself.
We pray for the rejected and unloved.
Lord, hear us and fill us with your love.

On this night, he reminded his disciples
that if the world hated them it hated him first.
We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith.
Lord, hear us and give us your peace.

On this night, he accepted the cup of death
and looked forward to the new wine of the kingdom.
We remember those who have died in the peace of Christ.
Lord, hear us and welcome all your children into paradise.

The Peace

Jesus says: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.’

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

Now, my tongue, the mystery telling
of the glorious body sing,
and the blood, all price excelling,
which the Gentiles’ Lord and King,
in a Virgin’s womb once dwelling,
shed for this world’s ransoming.

Given for us, and condescending
to be born for us below,
he, with us in converse blending,
dwelt the seed of truth to sow,
till he closed with wondrous ending
his most patient life of woe.

That last night, at supper lying,
‘mid the Twelve, his chosen band,
Jesus, with the law complying,
keeps the feast its rites demand;
then, more precious food supplying,
gives himself with his own hand.

Glory let us give and blessing
to the Father and the Son,
honour, might, and praise addressing,
while eternal ages run;
ever too his love confessing,
who, from both, with both is One. Amen.
Words: St Thomas Aquinas (1227-74)

Conclusion

When the disciples had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus prayed to the Father, ‘If it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me.’ He said to his disciples, ‘How is it that you were not able to keep watch with me for one hour?
The hour has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the power of sinners.’ Christ was obedient unto death. Go in his peace.

At the end of the service, the church goes into darkness as the sanctuary is stripped bare. We depart in silence to contemplate the mystery of Christ’s betrayal.

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.