Daily Worship for Holy Week, Thursday 1 April 2021

Holy Thursday/ Maundy Thursday

watch today’s service here:
(if you wish to share with us in communion, you may wish to pause this now, go and get some bread and water/wine, and then restart the video)

Welcome

You desire faithfulness in the inmost being. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51: 6-7

Hymn 396 And can it be

All age time (for 0-100 years)

For today’s symbol, use a towel folded up (or face-cloth if that is easier)

Opening Prayer

Lord

Long ago when people were living in slavery and oppression

 you heard their cries and you rescued them

 not because they deserved to be saved

 not because they were worthy of salvation

 but because of your great love

 and your faithfulness to your promises

You led them through ways unknown to them

 along paths they had not travelled

 you were with them in danger and difficulty

 and in your generous grace provided all they needed

Long ago a group gathered in the upper room of a city building

 some were full of hope

 some were wracked with fear and doubt

 within hours their world would be shattered

 what they had been expecting would not happen

 what they had not been expecting did happen

 but in the pain and loneliness

  of that dark night and sorrowful day

 your Son saved and rescued them

 and not only them

 but people of every land and age

 that all might know your love

 your forgiveness

 your call to follow

Come close to us

 accept our praise and worship

 cleanse the unclean things of our hearts

 bring healing and wholeness to our lives

 and send us out to serve you

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Bible reading John 13: 1-17; 31b-35

Hymn 78 O set ye open unto me

Reflection

(what Jesus might have thought before the Last Supper)

I’ve always had a good appetite – I suppose it comes from living in the hills, doing heavy manual work and walking everywhere. We don’t eat fancy food: unlike the tales you hear of the palaces in the West End of Jerusalem. But I enjoy soup, stew, vegetables, fruit, beans, fish and bread – especially newly baked bread. And if Martha ever makes any of those little honey cakes, I could eat the lot!

I’m not a foodie who will sit and discuss the relative merits of this or that type of onion, nor will I sniff and sample wine to think of suitable adjectives to describe the aroma. On the other hand I don’t just gulp food down, paying no attention to it. I appreciate its taste and flavour, but I also appreciate the kindness of God in providing for us, and I appreciate the hard work of all who harvest and prepare the ingredients for a meal.

I don’t get much opportunity to eat alone – I’m struggling to remember when I last did so – but I’m glad about that. However good the food is, it is always more enjoyable being able to share it with others. I have been to lavish banquets where the host is really only interested in showing off, but I much prefer occasions where it is the company, the people, the chat that are at the centre of the meal – and some that I remember best were outdoor picnics or everyone squeezed round the kitchen table. Even if the food is everyday, and the setting is very plain, it is the welcome and the people who make it a memorable occasion.

He we are gathered for the meal at Passover. In terms of what we eat it’s a special meal – roast lamb is a treat reserved for high days and holidays. But it is special in other ways too. I am eating with friends and family. And it is a day with special customs and practices, packed with symbolism and significance. They aren’t just what we’ve ‘aye done’: they have meaning and relevance for today. They remind us that what happened long ago matters for us now. WE are part of that scene long ago, and that scene is transported here to our situation and circumstances. Promises made by God to people then about the future, still apply – and we await their fulfilment, as people did long ago.

We gather around this table with different thoughts and ideas, different hopes and memories, but we all come knowing that as we share in this food we enter into communion with God, we reaffirm what he did for us in the past, and what he promises us for the future.

I have celebrated a fair number of Passovers over the years, but I am sure that this one is going to be different. As the lambs were slain for the feast, so I must be slain. Their deaths are a reminder to the Jewish people of what God did to set them free and make them his holy people. I believe that my death will do the something similar, but for everyone, and they will become holy not by keeping rules in the Law, but by the Spirit working in their hearts and lives. After today, when we next share bread and wine together, the world will have changed and the Kingdom will be coming.

Prayers for others

As we recall your response to the slaves who cried to you for release

 we ask you to respond to all who are in need this day

 those who feel the hand of oppression or abuse

 those who look for release from pain or infirmity

 those who long to go home, but cannot

 those who are wracked by fear or doubt

 those who long to be forgiven and accepted

 those who feel desperately lonely, or simply desperate

 those who are very much in our thoughts at this time

  and whom we name in silence before you

Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen

Communion             

Invitation

We gather on the Thursday of Holy Week. It was on this evening that Jesus gathered with his friends to celebrate the Passover meal, a celebration that we know as the Last Supper, and which became the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper.

Images from the Passover meal were taken up by the church in the way we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and they resonate for us as we hear the story of our Lord’s suffering, death and rising again. To us Jesus is the Lamb of God, who sacrificed himself for us, and enables us to pass over from death to eternal life.

As St Paul said:

Christ, our Passover,

            has been sacrificed for us.

As at Passover Jewish people envisage themselves among the slaves in Egypt, sharing their experience, sharing their pain, to share in the joy and excitement of being led to freedom, so we envisage ourselves in the Upper Room in Jerusalem where Jesus and his friends gathered.

However we gather here after Easter, after Jesus’ rising from the dead. Our Risen Lord is with us here and is the head of the feast. It is his table, and he invites us to share with him at it.

Narrative of the institution

Let’s remind ourselves of Paul’s account of the Last Supper:

The tradition which I handed on to you

came from the Lord himself:

that on the night of his arrest

the Lord Jesus took bread,

and after giving thanks to God

he broke it and said:

“This is my body, which is for you;

do this in memory of me”

In the same way, he took the cup after supper and said:

“This cup is the new covenant

sealed in my blood.

Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.”

For every time you eat this bread

and drink the cup,

you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Taking the bread and wine

As Jesus took bread and wine, we take this bread and wine, and set it apart for this holy use and mystery.

As he gave thanks to God, so now let us bring our prayers of thanks and praise to him.

Thanksgiving

Holy, holy, holy Lord

God of power and might

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes

 in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you LORD God of all creation,

 through your goodness we have this bread to eat.

Blessed are you LORD God of all creation;

 through your goodness we have this wine to drink.

You have chosen us through your grace;

you have made us holy by your Spirit;

in your love you have given us this great feast,

as a celebration of our becoming free,

a memorial of our release from sin and death.

You have chosen us for your service.

You have kept us alive and sustained us.

You have brought us to this holy place

.

Heavenly Father

In the face of your love and goodness

in the face of Jesus’ commitment

in the face of his suffering

what can we say?

No words are adequate

especially in the light of our own shortcomings

Jesus, Lamb of God

            have mercy on us

Jesus, bearer of our sins

            have mercy on us

Jesus, redeemer of the world

            grant us peace        

We rejoice and celebrate

that Jesus, who suffered and died,

rose from the dead

and lives for ever

bringing new life, new hope

bringing the assurance that victory

lies with goodness, love and truth

not death, not hatred, not indifference

Send down your Spirit upon us now

 and upon this bread and wine

so that as we eat together

we may know that the risen Jesus is here with us

we may receive his new life

and remain his glad and faithful people

until we feast with him in glory

Lord’s Prayer

Breaking of Bread

Jesus took bread

and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said:

“This is my body which is for you;

  do this in memory of me”

In the same way he took the cup and said:

“This cup is the new covenant

  sealed by my blood.

  Whenever you drink it,

  do this in memory of me.”

Communion

This is the bread of Christ’s affliction

Let all who are hungry come and eat!

Let all who are in want come

 and celebrate the feast with us!  

God bless to us this bread

sign of his body broken on the cross for us

sign that each of us belongs to Christ

sign that we are made one in him

sign that he himself meets us and feed us here

Let us share in the bread of purity and truth

God bless to us this wine

sign of the Lamb of God

sign of his blood shed

 that the sins of many might be forgiven

He gives us cause to rejoice

and celebrate in this season and every season

God bless to us the cup of the new covenant

Peace

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.

The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Unless there is someone else in the house with us, we cannot share the peace as we would usually do, but we can put our hand on the piece of equipment we are using to watch this video (computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet) and say ‘Peace be with you’ to all other viewers

Prayer

Lord we give you thanks

because around this table

our hearts have been fed

our thirst has been quenched

our strength is renewed

and we are filled

with a new longing for justice

and a new spirit of hope.

Around this table

we have been made one

with all your people in heaven and on earth

We look forward to the day

when all the earth is nourished by your bread.

We look forward to the day

when with all the company of your people

we eat and drink

in the glory of your eternal kingdom

through Jesus Christ our Lord

Hymn 376 T’was on that night

Blessing

Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honour and glory and blessing.

Go out, fed by Christ

Go out, saved by Christ

Go out, to watch with Christ

Go out, to share the love and Good News of Christ

 and the blessing of God Almighty,

 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

 rest and remain with you,

 today, and every day, and for ever. Amen

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