it was the beginning of hope:
that night long ago when you prepared to lead your people to freedom.
As they readied themselves,
you fed them with your grace,
so that all sin, pain and bitterness could be set down and left behind when it was time to follow you.
it was the beginning of salvation:
In That Upper Room Called Your Heart
that night long ago when you prepared your disciples
for all the things which were to happen.
You humbled yourself by washing their feet,
so they could follow you in service and love into a world
which would reject you and hang you high on a cross.
Gracious God, prepare us for our journey of discipleship,
as we pray for reconciliation with one another and with you.
(Silence is kept.)
Creating and loving God, you kneel to wash our feet,
Yet we are reluctant for you to see the wounds and scrapes
of all the places we have run to in our attempts to escape you.
You would bathe us in the warm, living waters of your love,
Yet we splash and play in the puddles of temptation.
We have received all the gifts you have to offer,
Yet are tempted to think they are only for us rather than for sharing.
Forgive us, Holy One, and have mercy on us …
God, what can we give you for all your wonderful graciousness towards us:
As you have given your life for us, may we offer ourselves to bring healing to the world.
As you have called us together around your table, may we go forth to feed a world hungry, not only for food, but for that Spirit which brings peace and reconciliation.
This we pray as servants of Jesus Christ, who came to serve us in life, in death, in resurrection hope.
Time of silence
On this holiest of nights, receive the Good News, that Christ loves you so selflessly and completely that your sins are forgiven, that hope will sprout where despair has taken up residence, that you will be filled with hope and peace, bathed in grace and mercy. Amen.
Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
You may wish to wash one another’s feet at home, or to ponder this poem by Liz Crumlish, Holy Week 2020.
The foot washing we mimic
in our pimped up sanctuaries
on Maundy Thursday
with our tepid water
and pristine white fluffy towels
will never get close
to the ritual played out
who handled the feet
of grown men
who had just traversed
the gutters and cesspools
at festival time.
Our notions of servanthood
can barely compute
of the teacher
of his disciples.
And all without PPE.
all over the world
we are witnessing
of selfless giving
in our frontline workers
who are risking all
to care for
and the dying.
Today, at every turn,
we are being confronted
with tangible reminders
of what servanthood looks like
and of the cost of love.
So maybe it’s a good thing
that we won’t be able to gather
and reenact a ritual
as we bear witness to
of costly love
May we not look away
but, rather, observe
and stand in awe
of the servants
who are teaching us today
about stepping up
and stepping out
and to serve.
And may we never forget
our debt of gratitude
for their acts of servant love.
Father, on this night when Jesus was betrayed, your Son, Jesus Christ, washed his disciples’ feet. We commit ourselves to follow his example of love and service. Lord, hear us and humble us.
On this night, he prayed for his disciples to be one. We pray for the unity of your Church… Lord, hear us and unite us.
On this night, he prayed for those who were to believe through their message. We pray for the mission of your Church…
Lord, hear us and renew our zeal.
On this night, he commanded them to love, but suffered rejection himself. We pray for the rejected and unloved….
Lord, hear us and fill us with your love.
On this night, he reminded them that if the world hated them, it hated him first. We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith…
Lord, hear us and fill us with your love.
On this night, Jesus accepted the cup of death, and looked forward to the new wine of the kingdom. We remember those who have died in the peace of Christ.
Lord, hear us and welcome all your children into paradise. Amen.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty God, who, in your tender love for the human race, sent your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his passion, and also, be made partakers of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
When the disciples had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus prayed to the Father,
If it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me’.
He said to his disciples, ‘How is it that you were not able to keep watch with me for one hour? The hour has come for the Son of man to be handed over to the power of sinful men. Come, let us go.’
Christ was obedient unto death. Go in his peace.