Rev. Jack D. Cook, Pastor
Maundy Thursday (A), April 9, 2020
“I 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.” Amen (John 13: 34-35)
RECITAL OF THE HISTORY
Many of the events surrounding the last days in the life of Christ are shrouded in darkness. In the fourth century AD, a solemn observance of Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper, known as “tenebrae” was first celebrated. The service involved the extinguishing of light as a reminder of the darkness that covered the earth after the passion and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. The word “tenebrae” means “shadows.”
The light is gradually extinguished, symbolic of the gradual flight and denial of the disciples and friends of Jesus after the crucifixion. As we see the dramatic pageant unfolding, we are reminded all too tragically of our own falling away and the consequences of our own separation from God.
The service is never concluded with a traditional benediction. From its original Latin definition, the word “benediction” means “good saying” or “blessing.” But nothing good can be said about the events we remember this evening. There is no blessing in the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion, the burial, and the flight of the disciples. So there is no benediction.
CALL TO WORSHIP (based on Psalm 116 and John 13)
L: In the dark of the evening, guided by candlelight,
P: we come to remember and to give thanks.
L: In the solemnness of this hour, guided by prayer,
P: we come to worship, to be fed by God’s Spirit.
All: We come to be filled with Christ’s amazing love!
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Gracious God: our Lenten journey begins to draw to a close this evening. Darkness is falling. The crowd is restless. Our hearts break as your cries pierce the night. Stay with us, Lord. And when this night is over, and our journey continues, give us the courage to stay with you to the end and beyond. Amen.
UNISON PRAYER OF CONFESSION(based on Exodus 12, I Corinthians 11, John 13)
God of service and abundance: on this night of holy meals, we are reminded that we ought to love and share with one another. We confess that your ways are not always our ways. When we drift toward isolation and indifference, may we remember this night of communion with you and your ever-new commandment of love. May our love and sharing be signs of hope for the world. Amen.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE(based on Psalm 116)
The Lord has heard our voices and our confessions. God has loosed our bonds. When we fall short, God hears our prayers and frees us for lives of gratitude and service. In Christ we are all forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Break Thou the Bread of Life
THE ORDER OF THE TABLE
INVITATION TO THE TABLE(based on I Corinthians 11, John 13)
As often as we gather, we gather in remembrance of Christ. When we care for one another in need, we care for Christ our Lord. When we break the bread and share the cup, we participate in the kingdom of God. Come, all things are now ready; and all are invited.
UNISON COMMUNION PRAYER
Dear God: pour out your Holy Spirit on all of us, that we might be disciples of your new covenant of love and grace. Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup, that they may be for us the life and love of Christ, so that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by your gracious love. By your Spirit, make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world. In Christ’s name, we pray, Amen.
WORDS OF INSTITUTION I Corinthians 11: 23-26
UNISON PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
O God: by coming to your table, we receive more gifts than we deserve. We give thanks for Jesus Christ, through whom we receive life and in whom we are bound in covenant. Renew us, so that we may serve willingly, just as Christ served. Amen.
Just as I am
THE ORDER FOR TENEBRAE
Shadow of Betrayal Matthew 26: 20-25
Shadow of Desertion Matthew 26: 31-35
Agony of the Soul Luke 22: 39-44
Unshared Vigil Mark 14: 32-41
“Father, the hour is come” John 17: 1-6
“That they may all be one” John 17: 15-22
Arrest in the Garden John 18: 1-5
Shadow of the Cross Mark 15: 16-20
The Word was God John 1: 1-4, 14, 10, 12; 3:19
Were you there?