CELEBRATING MAUNDY THURSDAY AT HOME
On Maundy Thursday, our worship will begin with the family meal that you will prepare and eat together, just as Jesus ate with His disciples. You are encouraged to use the suggestions that follow in this document. Following your meal, proceed with the Worship Service at 7:30 pm that will be live streamed through the link. Before your meal and Worship service, please completely read through the following suggestions to make your Maundy Thursday a very meaningful experience.
Before your meal on Maundy Thursday evening, assemble the following items for use during the meal and the worship service:
*A cross (free standing or on a nearby wall)
*A Holy Bible
*A “chalice” (any “special” goblet, wine glass or glass will do)
*Wine or grape juice (save for the worship service)
*Bread or crackers on a small plate (save for the worship service)
*A large bowl/basin, a pitcher of water and towel(s) (save for the worship service)
*A large box, basket, bag, or storage bin to place items in
*Table cloth or sheet to cover the table or placemats
*Nicest dishes and glassware.
Before you begin your meal: Light the candle so everyone knows that this is not just any meal. Use a tablecloth or sheet on the table with nice dishes Something special and holy is about to happen. You may want to set an empty place at your table as you invite Jesus to join you at your meal.
Read aloud as you begin your meal:
Did you know Jesus’ last night with His disciples was spent in a place called the “Upper Room”? That’s where they gathered around a table for their Passover meal. They thought it was going to be a meal just like many other meals they had shared with Jesus, but this one turned out to be unlike any meal they had ever experienced.
You may have seen pictures of Jesus’ “Last Supper” where they are all seated in chairs, the way we sit. But actually, they reclined on cushions at a table on the floor. We call this Passover meal the “Last Supper” because it was the last meal that Jesus ate with His disciples before He died.
Sample Prayer before dinner: (All) Lord Jesus, on this Holy night You washed the feet of your friends, and You shared your last meal with them. Bless this meal that we share tonight. Help us to remember that whenever we eat, You are here at the table with us, teaching us to love one another the way You have loved us. Amen.
Eat your meal together.
Following the meal, please read the following passage from your Bible:
Afterwards, you may share these words in preparation for the service which will begin at 7:30 on-line.
There were two really important things that happened at this meal.
Before the meal that night, Jesus did something to show them how much He loved them. He knelt before them and washed their feet, an act usually done by a servant in the household when a guest entered the home. This was Jesus’ way of showing them that, like Him, they need to love and serve one another in humility. He gave them a new commandment, that they should love one another as He loved them. In fact, the word MAUNDY means command. That means that we should show our love or one another just as Jesus shows His love for us.
It was later, in the context of the Passover meal, that Jesus took the bread and wine (two earthly elements), blessed them, and said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood.” Every time we celebrate Holy Communion, we are remembering this night when Jesus shared Himself with His disciples around the table. He has promised that He comes to us, even tonight, in the bread and wine.
Wait for the worship service to begin. When directed, follow these instructions:
Read this story from the Bible in John 13:3-17, 34-35. At this time, pour water into your large bowl/basin and take turns washing one another’s feet/hands. If you are alone, you may wash your own feet/hands.
The Lord’s supper. At the appointed time in the service, the leader in the home should take the bread/crackers on the plate and lift it up during the words of institution. They should also lift a cup filled with wine or grape juice during the words of institution.
The leader or members of the household serve the sacrament to each other with these words, “Take eat, this is the body of Christ, given for you.” And “Take, drink, this is the blood of Christ shed for you”. Amen!
At the end of the worship service:
Leader: When we traditionally come together for Worship in our church building on Maundy Thursday, we end our time together with the stripping of the altar. As we hear a Psalm sung or said, everything is removed from the altar: candles, bible, altar book, Holy communion ware, linens, and paraments. When it is finished, the altar is completely bare. It reminds us of the bareness of life without the hope of Christ that we have through His resurrection from the dead on Easter.
At home this evening, you will be stripping your table and surrounding room(s) of faith related items in your home. To remember this tradition, we read Psalm 22. This Psalm foreshadows the death of Jesus on the cross and leads us into the sorrow of Good Friday.
Preparing for the “Stripping of the altar” in your home: While verses 1-5 are the most visual you may want to follow along while it is being read during the live stream Worship service while Pastor Peter and Pastor Diefenthaler are stripping the altar at church.
*Gather any faith items you may have in your home-crosses, icons, statues, religious art- that can be easily removed. Pack them away in the storage bin/box, basket, or bag or cover them with a cloth.
*Remove all items from your dining table so it is completely bare except for the Bible, candle, and cross.
*Leave your table bare until Easter morning (eating future meals on a bare table).
Parents: On Saturday night , either during the Easter Vigil Worship Service, or after everyone has gone to bed, unpack the religious items you have put away and decorate your dining table and rooms with Easter items so your family can awaken to Easter JOY. Be sure to include flowers-real or artificial- on your table as a sign of new life in Christ.