A reflective service for Maundy Thursday

 

It includes prayers and meditations, and leads into a shared meal.

The liturgy focuses upon the account of the Last Supper in John 13.

Seven candles are lit during the service in response to seven actions,

which are noted during the narrative.

The lit candles offer a reminder of the presence of light even in the darkness of the eve of Good Friday.

 

Opening Prayer

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         Let us pray together . 

All:   God of light and truth, 

         grant us peace as we gather tonight.

         May we draw closer to you as we recall again 

         the service and suffering of Christ, 

         in whose name we meet and pray.

         Amen

 

Opening Hymn

 

         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.

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         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.

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         And after Supper he washed their feet

         for service, too, is sacrament.

         In him our joy shall be made complete –

         sent out to serve, as he was sent.

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         No end there is! We depart in peace,

         he loves beyond the uttermost:

         in every room in our Father’s house

         he will be there as Lord and Host.

Prayer

 

         God of grace and truth, 

         as we move from the brightness of the day's light 

         to the enfolding darkness of the night-time, 

         help us to know your light in our hearts, 

         that in our need for forgiveness and strength 

         your gracious word may be known. 

All:   And then help us to go from this place 

         renewed in spirit.

         In the name of Christ we pray.

         Amen

 

Prayer of confession and assurance

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         Lord Christ, in the evening of this day, 

         forgive us for our lack of attention to you, 

         our absence of word and action in following you, 

         and our denial of your place within our lives ...

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Silence for personal confession

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         Help us to know your Spirit with us, 

         your gracious forgiveness, 

         and your strength in our hearts, 

All:   That we may more closely follow you.

         Amen

 

Introduction to the Gospel reading

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This evening we shall hear part of John's account of the last evening that Jesus spent with his friends before his arrest. Chapter 13 speaks of actions taken, and decisions made. Some were inspired by goodness, and others not. As the words are read we consider where our place might be within the narrative, and we renew our hope, which is in Christ the light of the world, that through him we might come closer to God.

 

The first Action from John 13:1-5 is about Washing

JOHN DAVIES

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Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father.

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Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then 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.

 

Let us pray:

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         Tonight, O God, we recall that your Son arose from the table 

         to descend to the floor. 

         We rejoice that in his humility he left the things of heaven 

         for the dirt and dust of this world. 

         Give us humility, we pray, 

         that we might discover and follow Christ's way and not our own.

         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, fill us with your truth.

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The first candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Washing

The second Action from John 13:6-11 is about Cleansing

LYNN or BILL PEARSON

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He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' Jesus answered, 'You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.' Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet.' Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.' Simon Peter said to him,

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'Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!' Jesus 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.' For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, 'Not all of you are clean.'

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Meditation

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Feet are not everyone's cup of tea! To take water and wash the feet of the old, the sick, the poor, to take that intimate step of closeness, and to do so in a matter-of-fact way, is a marked act of service.

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And to have one's own feet washed can be accompanied by a painful sense of lost independence, as another does for you what you cannot do for yourself. Again and again we become clean through water and through forgiveness. But again and again the cleansing grace of God finds its challenge through our words and actions, our lack of words and lack of action. And then, once again, we need that cleansing grace.

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Christ comes and kneels and cleanses us that we might be whole. 'Unless I wash you, you have no part of me,' Jesus says to Peter, and Jesus says that to you and me as well.

 

Let us pray:

         Lord God, help us to accept love when it is shown, 

         and your love as it is shown through Christ.

         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, cleanse us through your grace.

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The second candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Cleansing

Washing

The third Action from John 13:12-17 is about Serving 

JOHN RICKMAN

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After 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? You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. So if l, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.'

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Meditation

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To sort out the seating plan for a wedding can be a nightmare. Who might be offended by not being included on the top table? Who should be seated near that table? Who wouldn't mind sitting with the children? Our egos can be massaged by the importance placed upon us. Jesus lowered himself to the floor and spoke about servants and messengers being no greater than the master ... and yet the one whom we serve came to serve. 'Do you know what I have done for you?' Jesus asks. Well, do we? 'If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them,' says Jesus.

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This night we recall the blessedness of following Christ. The blessedness not of a throne or palace. Not a promise of ease. Not a satin cloak. But a towel and a basin, and a crown of thorns and a cross. A way of blessed service here and now, and the promise of peace to come.

 

Let us pray:

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         Gracious God, teach us how to serve as we are served.

         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, fill us with your humble love.

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The third candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Cleansing

Serving

Washing

The fourth Action from John 13:12-33 is about Betraying

JOHN ANDERSON

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'l am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, "The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.

" I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.'

 

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, 'Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.' The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples — the one whom Jesus loved — was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, 'Lord, who is it?' Jesus answered, 'It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.' So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, 'Do quickly what you are going to do.' Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, 'Buy what we need for the festival'; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

 

Let us pray:

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         Loving God, we pray for those who are persecuted

         and betrayed for their faith.

         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, fill us with your strength.

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The fourth candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Washing

Cleansing

Serving

Betraying

The fifth Action from John 13:31-33 is about Leaving

JO HOTCHKISS

 

When he had gone out, Jesus said, 'Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little 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.'

 

Let us pray:

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Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them.

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In silence we remember those who have gone before us, 

who have brought the Gospel to us, 

who have served Christ amongst us, 

and who now are in that place prepared also for us.

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Silence

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         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, fill us with your hope.

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The fifth candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Washing

Serving

Cleansing

Betraying

Leaving

The sixth Action from John 13:34-35 is about Loving

NORMA KING

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'l give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.'

Let us pray:

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         Jesus commanded his disciples to love, 

         even as he knew that betrayal and denial were close at hand. 

         We pray for those who are rejected and unloved 

         We pray for those who are betrayed by those whom they love . 

         We pray for those who deny their faith through fear . 

         We pray for those who this night, and every night, fear for their lives ...

         We pray for those for whom this night will be their last ...

         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, fill us with your compassionate love.

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The sixth candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Washing

Cleansing

Betraying

Serving

Leaving

Loving

The seventh Action from John 13:36-38 is about Denying 

ALASTAIR HOTCHKISS

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Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus answered, 'Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.' Peter said to him, 'Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.' Jesus answered, 'Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.'

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Meditation

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There was only one other person waiting as he arrived. The owner was speaking to the man in the chair as he cut his hair. There were strangers in the street, he said. There was a different accent to their voice. A different manner to their dress. It was like being in a foreign land. The waiting customer nodded with a smile and said nothing.

 

She was with her friends, and the joke she retold was one heard earlier in the day. It was mild in comparison to some, but not so to those who knew the pain of disability or the rejection of difference. The girls laughed, and her closest friend smiled quietly, but said nothing.

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He was on his way home after an early appointment, and the driver laughed as he passed the congregation leaving the synagogue. 'Look at them!' he said. His passenger, visible in the mirror, turned away to look out of the side window, but said nothing.

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Let us pray:

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         O God, you know that it is often easier and safer for us 

         to remain silent when we might challenge.

         To speak with quiet voices when they need to be louder. 

         Help us, we pray, re-call us to your service 

         as Christ recalled your servant Peter by the lakeside, 

         that we may be fed . . . and then feed others.

         Lord, hear us.

All:   Lord, fill us with your courage, your love and your humility. 

         Help us in the night-time shadows of fear 

         to know the continuing light of your presence, 

         that we may be seen and heard as your people.

         Amen

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The seventh candle is lit, followed by pause for reflection . . .

Serving

Loving

Cleansing

Washing

Betraying

Leaving

Denying

Brother sister let me love you                                                                       Hymn

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         Brother, sister let me serve you.

         Let me be as Christ to you;

         Pray that I may have the grace to

         Let you be my servant too.

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         We are pilgrims on a journey, 

         And companions on the road;

         We are here to help each other

         Walk the mile and bear the load.

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         I will hold the Christ-light for you

         In the nighttime of your fear;

         I will hold my hand out to you,

         Speak the peace you long to hear.

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         I will weep when you are weeping;

         When you laugh I'll laugh with you;

         I will share your joy and sorrow 

         till we've seen this journey through.

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         When we sing to God in heaven

         We shall find such harmony,

         Born of all we've known together

         Of Christ's love and agony.

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         Brother, sister let me serve you.

         Let me be as Christ to you;

         Pray that I may have the grace to

         Let you be my servant too.

         May you know that the Lord is with you. 

         And also with you.

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         May you open your heart to him this night. 

         May you know his love within you.

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         Even in the foreboding presence of darkness 

         May his light shine forth.

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         In the beginning, before betrayal and denial, O God, 

         creator of all that is seen and not seen, 

         you blessed us with the gift of this universe

         and this world in which we live. 

         A place of beauty and challenge, 

         a place of endless sky and minute form, 

         a place of similarity and difference. 

         Present from the beginning was the Word, 

         bringing forth your grace through the waters of sea and sky, 

         river and stream, and through all living things. 

         You formed us in your image, 

         but rather than praising your name for all that was and is, 

         again and again we turned away from you, 

         preferring our own gods and our own ways.

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         In patience and love, 

         you gave to us those who called us back to your paths, 

         but we chose different roads. 

         In a moment of time, you gave the word present before time, 

         to become flesh and make his home amongst us. 

         He taught of wholeness and celebration; 

         he healed those who came to him; 

         he sought those who had wandered from your way. 

         But still your grace-filled word was denied.

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         On this night we recall that after supper Jesus Christ, 

         the word of love and goodness amongst us, 

         was arrested and tried, 

         and that on the day that followed he was crucified. 

         In remembrance of all that has been done for us, 

         through the word of creation, 

         and the word of prophecy, 

         and the word of all-giving grace, 

         we join with voices around us and beyond us 

         in the song of everlasting praise:

 

         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.

 

         On this night Christ our Lord gathered with his friends. 

         He washed their feet, offered cleansing for their hearts, 

         and taught them to love as he loved and would love.

         Whilst they were eating, he took bread, 

         and when he had given thanks, 

         he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 

         'Take it; this is my body.'

         Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, 

         he gave it to them. He told them:

         'This is my blood of the covenant, 

         which is poured out for many. 

         Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine 

         until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.'

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         Here in this moment of time and in this place,

         Christ is present with us. 

 

Lord's Prayer 

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We now saying together the prayer our Lord Jesus taught us

        Father, who art in heaven,

        hallowed be Thy name.

        Kingdom come; thy will be done, 

        On earth as it is in heaven.

        Give us this day our daily bread.

        And forgive us our trespasses,

        as we forgive those who trespass against us.

        And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

        For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

        for ever and ever. Amen.

         Christ invites us to share in a meal together.

         Christ invites us to share in hospitality, humility and service.

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         Christ invites us to share in strength and renewal. 

         We gather in faith.

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We share in a meal together. . .

Prayer after the meal

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Let us pray

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         We give you thanks and praise, O God, 

         that even in the darkness of this night, your light shines. 

         We rejoice that we have shared a meal with Christ and one another,

         and we pray for his strength as we continue to be his body in this                    world.

         Amen

 

It is a thing most wonderful                                                                           Hymn

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         It is a thing most wonderful

         almost too wonderful to be

         that God's own Son should come from heaven

         and die to save a child like me.

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         And yet I know that it is true:

         he came to this poor world below,

         and wept and toiled, and mourned and died,

         only because he loved us so.

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         I cannot tell how he could love

         a child so weak and full of sin;

         his love must be most wonderful

         if he could die my love to win.

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         I sometimes think about the cross,

         and shut my eyes, and try to see

         the cruel nails, and crown of thorns,

         and Jesus crucified for me.

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         But, even could I see him die,

         I could but see a little part

         of that great love which, like a fire,

         is always burning in his heart.

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         How wonderful it is to see

         my love for him so faint and poor,

         but yet more wonderful to know

         his love for me so free and sure.

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         And yet I want to love you, Lord:

         O teach me how to grow in grace,

         that I may love you more and more

         until I see you face to face.

Closing words: Mark 14:32-34

 

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.' He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, 'l am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.'

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There is no final blessing tonight, as the events continue into tomorrow and then to Easter morning resurrection.

The candles remain lit as a sign of hope, as we depart quietly into the night.

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The Dassett Magna Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit:

fill the hearts of your faithful people

and kindle in us the fire of your love.

Strengthen your church here in Dassett Magna:

deepen our faith

and pour out your love, through us,

on our communities.

We ask these things in Jesus' name.

Amen.

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Contact Us

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The Reverend Nicki Chatterton

Tel. 07769871237

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