Maundy Thursday Bulletin – April 1, 2021
The Bread of Life
On the Thursday before Good Friday and Easter, many Christians observe Maundy Thursday. This day commemorates Jesus’s last supper with his disciples. During that meal in the upper room, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and gave them a new commandment: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning “command.”
What is the meaning of the Last Supper?
“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’” –Luke 22:19–20
In the words that accompany the breaking of the bread and the pouring of the cup, Jesus makes it clear that his sacrifice and death is for our redemption. As he invited his disciples to partake in the Last Supper, he invites us also to a meal of faith shared among believers. By eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper together, we are reminded that Jesus wants us to love each other and to forgive each other. This is the command represented in the word “Maundy.”
Through Jesus’s charge to “do this in remembrance of me,” the Last Supper became the inaugural Communion. Through the taking of bread and juice, we are reminded of the promise of God’s love for us.
The simple meal is also a symbolic teaching that Jesus’s crucified body and shed blood spiritually feed us. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, as we share this meal, we share in the death and resurrection of Christ. This means that we accept with a believing heart that his body was offered for us and his blood was shed for us, granting us forgiveness and new life.
We invite you to have communion elements ready for tonight’s service.
One: God, you created our bodies and know that we need food to keep them going. You fed Moses and the slaves with manna and quail as they travelled through the wilderness from slavery in Egypt to new life in the Promised Land. You used the bread and fish offered by one boy to feed a huge crowd. We remember tonight all of those who are hungry. Help them find food and help us find ways to make food available for everyone all the time. God, food will keep our bodies going, but our souls require a different bread. Our souls need your love and forgiveness. We remember this night all the people Jesus loved—the soon who ran away from home and came back, Zaccheus and Matthew (the tax collector every one hated), the 12 disciples with whom he worked and travelled and laughed even when they did not get what he was showing and telling them, all the people he touched and healed, Nicodemus who came to him secretly to ask his big questions, even the thief who was crucified beside him. We remember that all of them turned on you when things got hard and that you forgave them. As You loved them and forgave them, love us and forgive us. We need your love and forgiveness as much as we need bread to eat. So we come to this Table tonight praying, and all of God’s people say…
Scripture Reading: Exodus 12:14-18, 40-42
14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance. 18 In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread.
40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42 That was for the LORD a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the LORD by all the Israelites throughout their generations.
Scripture Reading: Luke 22:14-20
14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
One: Servant God, on this night Jesus washed his disciples’ feet: may we follow this example of love and service. God of love…
All: grant our prayer.
One: God of compassion, on this night Jesus prayed for those who would believe through the message of the disciples: may those who gathered on this day to renew their ordination vows so live what they proclaim that all me come to know your saving love. God of love…
All: grant our prayer.
One: God of renewal, on this day oil was consecrated for use in baptism and healing: we pray for all who will be anointed with these holy oils, for the sick, and for those preparing for baptism. God of love…
All: grant our prayer.
One: God our companion, we pray for those unable to eat at the Lord’s Table or at any other table, for those who betray and for those betrayed, and for all innocent victims. God of love…
All: grant our prayer.
One: God of hope, remember all those in need, especially those we silently hold before you now…God of love…
All: grant our prayer.
One: Holy God, you give us this meal of bread and wine in which we celebrate your great compassion; grant that we may work with you to fulfill our prayers, and to love and serve others as Christ has loved us; this we ask through Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Sharing at the Table
An upper room did our Lord prepare for those he loved until the end:
And his disciples still gather there to celebrate their risen Friend.
This night before he died, Jesus gathered in an upper room with his friends and they ate a meal together. Jesus took the unleavened bread that had been served. He broke that bread passed it out to his friends saying to them, “this is the bread of my body, which will be broken for you. It is the bread of new life that lives in me. Every time that you eat this bread remember me!”
After eating Jesus took wine. He poured the wine and as with the bread, he passed this to his friends telling them as he drank from the cup, “Take this wine and drink it, it is the wine of the new covenant, the new covenant that will be made with my blood. Each time that you drink from this cup, remember me!”
We have come to this table tonight hungry. We are hungry for the Kingdom of God, hungry for justice, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, hungry for love. God invites us to this table. God invites us to come and eat. God invites us to bring our whole selves, our pain, our suffering, our shortcomings, our faults, our falls, our failings to this table. God invites us to bring everything that we are and everything that we are not to this table for it truly is God’s table. This is the bread of life that sustains us. This is the cup of the new covenant that sustains us.
A lasting gift Jesus gave his own: to share his bread, his loving cup.
Whatever burdens may bow us down, He by his cross shall lift us up.
God of the new kingdom, we have come to this night after a long journey. We have been called to walk a path that has challenged us, scared us, caused us to consider turning away from the events that are unfolding, but we also come to you as people looking for a new way, yearning for a new kingdom. Give us the strength to see this journey through. We are nourished at your table, help us to continue to walk this path that you have laid out for us, the path that will truly lead to your kingdom, the path that continues to lead us to Jesus, our hope.
And after supper he washed their feet, for service, too, is sacrament.
In Christ our joy shall be made complete: sent out to serve, as he was sent.
Meditation (adapted from Nigel Varndell)
Prayer of Benediction
Jesus, Messiah we come, bringing our praises to honour your astonishing grace.
In the presence of such humility from one so great what can we do but to offer our praise?
Jesus, Messiah we come, challenged to follow the one who kneels, who washes the feet of their followers, challenged to be your followers who pour out mercy and brings tender healing to the least among us. Help us as we move into these next few days, these days that make all the difference to be less judgmental and self-absorbed. As we go forward from this day help us to remember that you are the one, the one in whom the last become the first, the least become important.
We want to wash and serve, wash and love, like you do.
But first Lord Jesus, wash our feet, cleanse our hearts until we are—like you—humble and ready to serve Amen.
(adapted from Nigel Varndell)
No end there is! We depart in peace. He loves beyond the uttermost:
In every room in our Maker’s house Christ will be there, as Lord and Host.