Welcome to Maundy Thursday. Join by Zoom (christoncapitolhill.com/worship) at 6:00 pm on Thursday, April 1 or watch anytime right here.
In the past our Maundy Thursday services have included foot and hand washing, communion and the stripping of the altar – all practices that bring our hearts and minds into Jesus’ last night before his crucifixion. This year we will include these practices in a slightly different way around Table Church. Take a moment to gather a bowl of warm water and a washcloth, set your table with your dinner, and have some communion bread and a cup of wine or grape juice handy. While you participate, you are invited to join in the practice of Table Church in your own home, at your own table – blessing it as an extension of the Lord’s Table, where God meets us every day.
Maundy Thursday 2021
Introduction – Deacon Kari
Welcome to Maundy Thursday. Tonight, you may wish to have a few things with you before we begin. In the past our Maundy Thursday services have included foot and hand washing, communion and the stripping of the altar – all practices that bring our hearts and minds into Jesus’ last night before his crucifixion. This year we will include these practices in a slightly different way around Table Church. So, if you haven’t already, take a moment now to gather a bowl of warm water and a washcloth, set your table with your dinner, and have some communion bread and cup of wine or grape juice handy. While you watch the video, you are invited to join in the practice of Table Church in your own home, at your own table – blessing it as an extension of the Lord’s Table, where God meets us every day.
Gathering Hymn – 1040 (ACS) Love Has Brought Us Here Together
Call to Worship – Vicar Anne
Do you remember your last supper before the pandemic?
The last meal you had out at a restaurant with friends?
The last meal before fear and anxiety ran the conversation?
If you had known it was your last, would you have lingered?
Would you have ordered dessert?
Would you have held your friends’ hands and told them how much you loved them?
If you had known, would you have washed their feet?
Tonight we gather together because this night was the beginning of the end.
This night was Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
Take a moment to imagine how Jesus must have felt.
Friends, with all of this in mind, I invite you to join in in our opening words:
All: Tonight we will hear, again and again, of a love that knows no bounds. May we be fully present here. May we worship holy God.
Kyrie – ACS 1007 Khudaya, rahem kar (Pakistani traditional), sung by Natalia Peterson
Call to Confession – Pr Joy
The closer and closer we get to the crucifixion,
The more earnest our prayers of confession feel.
For we know that what was done to Jesus –
Betrayal, humiliation, violence, and death –
Are things we do to each other all the time.
So with all earnestness, a sense of urgency, and a deep hope for transformation,
We return to this prayer once again,
Trusting that the God who holds the stars in the sky is holding us tonight.
Let us confess together…
Prayer of Confession
Holy God who holds us together,
If I were to place myself at your table, I would probably be Peter
Misunderstanding your radical hospitality,
Sticking to the rules,
Arguing what I do and don’t deserve.
Then again, it’s possible that I’d be Judas –
The one who betrayed you,
The one who failed to see the good right in front of him,
The one who might have thought he wasn’t worthy of your love.
If I were to place myself at your table,
It’s possible I would be one of the unnamed disciples –
Watching, but not speaking,
Silently missing the opportunity
To tell you what I believe and how much I love you.
If I were to place myself at your table,
I am confident that I would have made the same mistakes
Your well-intentioned disciples made.
There is no surprise there.
What is surprising is that I know you would have washed my feet nonetheless.
So forgive me, God.
Wash not just my feet, but my hands and my head also. Amen.
Words of Forgiveness
One: Family of faith,
Jesus knew that Peter would deny.
He knew that Judas would betray,
And he knew the disciples would hide in fear.
And still – and still – he invited them in.
He washed their feet, and he fed them.
Friends, we worship the living Christ.
Whose love shocks, surprises, adn far exceeds our understanding of love.
So may this story tonight remind us:
All: No matter who we are,
No matter where we go,
No matter how great our mistakes or regrets are in life,
We will always be invited in and held together by the living God.
Again and again and again, we are forgiven.
Again and again and again, we are held. Amen.
We will now turn to our tables, beginning with hand washing. You are welcome to take your bowl of warm water and a wash cloth and wash your hands at the table, or any other way you feel comfortable. If you are with others, you may wash each other’s hands. As you wash, we will sing “God Bless the Hands”
Hymn of the Day – 1022 (ACS) “God Bless the Hands”
Gospel John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Reflection – Deacon Kari
Garlic. It’s one of my favorite things to chop. I know this is not the case for everyone – some people hate it. It’s pungent, and the smell stays on your fingers even after you’ve washed and washed them. But that’s why I like it. As soon as the garlic is opened, usually crushed, it sinks in and stays. Sure I like the sweet and flowery fragrances too, but there is something more exciting about garlic. I love it so much, I wrote a poem about it a couple years ago.
Garlic by Kari Alice Olsen
Crushed under the weight of my hand
And flat edges of
Sharp blades sturdy and slipping towards flesh.
Papery, threadbare protection brushed aside
The pungent, hard flesh awakens
Crushed and broken.
The spirit is unleashed,
My skin gasps it into the deep layers,
Unmistakable and erasable evidence
Upon my hands and in my nose
Waking up my heartstrings
Tied to kites and clouds.
I can’t hide when I’ve minced a small mountain of garlic. It surrounds me and follows me – exposing me as the garlic fiend I am. But when I add it to the meal I’m making, it’s aroma and softened bite can transform a dish to a new level.
Tonight we began our Table Church with handwashing. Do you remember the last time we did hand and foot washing together? I know some people love it and, like chopping garlic – some people really don’t. It’s okay to feel both ways. Both ways reveal what’s important about the practice.
As we wash another’s hands or feet, when we in turn allow someone else to wash ours, and even when we wash our own – we are exposed. We let our bumpy, maybe smelly, maybe narrow, maybe wide feet – be seen, and washed. We allow our skin’s dryness, rough or patchy, or papery feel – be touched, and washed.
The skin of our feet and hands are laid bare, and exposed.
This moment – sometimes uncomfortable – can be transformative. Being exposed and vulnerable can wake us up out of our embarrassment, pride or shame, and show us the honest and beautiful place we sit – here, at the Lord’s Table, where we sit among friends and strangers – also exposed and vulnerable. We look around the Table and see that we all come with a need – to be washed and fed by Jesus – our Teacher, our Savior – who submitted to the brokenness of the cross and was raised to then ultimately break all power of death. Jesus, who washes our hands and feet so carefully and lovingly.
As we submit ourselves to the exposure of being washed and fed like a child, we are taught to turn and humbly serve another in the same way. Jesus says 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” This love becomes the lively, stubborn aroma that follows you around, exposing you as a real child of God who has been broken, crushed, saved and revealed as Beloved – one who cannot help but spread that love wherever you go.
As you all finish your dinner, I’ll read the poem once again, and then you can take a moment to ponder for yourself, or share with another – how have you known the hard work of exposure to be the seed of humble love.
Prayer of Illumination
Jesus of Nazareth, If the disciples had known That the last supper would be their last meal with you Before the crucifixion, I bet they would have listened differently. I bet they would have put down their arguments, And leaned in with their whole bodies. I bet they would have asked questions And halted the small talk. I bet they would have taken notes and hung on your every word. Jesus of Nazareth, I want to listen like that. I want to listen like tonight might be the last time you speak. I want to listen like everything could change tomorrow. I want to listen like my soul depends on it. So gracious God, clear away anything in me that might distract. Clear away anything in me that might hinder my hearing and receiving of your word. I am listening. We are listening. With hope and honesty we pray. Amen.
The Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
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.
The Lord’s Prayer (Spoken)
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory Forever. Amen.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Communion Hymn – 966 ACS Loaves were broken, words were spoken
Abiding God, under the expanse of the night sky in ordinary places, you bring forth extraordinary life. Nourish us with earth’s bounty, that we may freely share the gifts you have first given us, through the one who gives his life for the world, Jesus Christ, our risen Savior. Amen.
Whenever you are finished with your dinner and communion, take a moment to see the table before you again as an extension of the Lord’s Table, where you receive God’s love on a daily basis. On Maundy Thursday we practice the stripping of the altar in church in remembrance of Jesus laid bare and vulnerable for us before his crucifixion. Tonight, I invite you to clear your own table slowly and with intention. Use this ordinary moment, and your ordinary plates, napkins and tablecloths to remember Jesus’ extraordinary love for you. As you wash dishes and wipe clean your counters, bless your ordinary spaces that they might be places of extraordinary love. Use these words – God come into this ordinary space, and into these ordinary things, and use them for your extraordinary love and grace. Amen.
Strippping the Altar/Dinner Table
Hymn – ELW 642 “Ubi Caritas”