Maundy Thursday

Welcome

A Note from Linda Miller: Today is Maundy Thursday. Maundy means mandate or command, and the following readings, reflections, and exercises will emphasize the two poignant and powerful moments of the commemoration of this day in the church: The act of foot washing and the sacrament of communion. This will be an interactive experience that can be done with other family members or by yourself. It’s very much like our Ash Wednesday experience was when this season of Lent started. Go at your own pace. It will probably take around 30 minutes. You will see some activities and reflections for kids interwoven through this worship guide and we hope that families will participate together.

In a way of preparation, please do the following:

  1. Set out a basin of clean water and a towel next to it.

  2. Put out enough juice and bits of bread or cracker for each person you are living with.

 

Read  John 13:1-17. (Kids can read from their Bibles). Kids and parents can watch the following short video from The Jesus Storybook Bible You Tube Series 

Note For Kids: Although the video shows the disciples fighting about who was going to wash feet, (something they thought only a slave should do), the story in the Bible does not mention that. But we do know from other New Testament stories that people walked around in sandals, so their feet did get very dirty and probably stinky! And there are other stories about the disciples arguing with each other about who was the greatest, so it makes sense that they knew everyone’s feet needed to be washed, but there was no way they wanted to do it!

The Reflection

For Kids:

  • What are some things you have been doing in your family to show God’s love to others?

  • When is it hard to love other family members or friends?

For Adults:

  • We are in a season in which we are required to hold still, to be faced with ourselves and, perhaps, false narratives we hold of self-sufficiency and control over our circumstances. As we experience a crumbling stock market and health crisis that has spiraled out of control, where do we go?

On the eve of the most public humiliation that Jesus ever faced-his arrest and trial-He now sits around the table with his most beloved friends and performs the most humble of services- he washes the disciples’ feet. He models what it means to truly love at the worst time of his life and ministry. And he serves one disciple who will later betray him and another who will deny knowing him. It puts a whole new level of meaning to the mandate to “love your enemies”, doesn’t it?


A friend of mine once shared a story of a time when she was working at a Christian camp and there was a young man on the team who was difficult to work with. Not sure if it was a personality conflict or different working style, she did her best to avoid conflicts with this person. Towards the end of the summer, the camp director led the team in an exercise of genuine love-they were to wash each other’s feet. As she approached this young man, the barriers between them came down and they were reconciled. Fast forward to over twenty years later….my friend’s daughter married the young man’s son! 


God knows what He’s doing when He teaches us about love. He breaks through our preferences and biases and teaches us to love during all kinds of circumstances. 

 

Today we are experiencing the biggest health crisis in anyone’s lifetime. How is God calling you to love? 

The Exercise

You can participate as a couple, an entire family, or as an individual.

 

  1. Consider washing each other’s feet. Tell them you do this as an act of love. Talk about the experience with your family. What was it like?                                                                           

  2. ​If you are by yourself, prayerfully consider this exercise: Imagine that Jesus is washing your feet. Are your feet tired from walking all day? Are they dirty or full of aches and pains? Imagine for a few moments how it would feel for Jesus to hold your feet, the relief of the clean water, the comfort of the towel. What emotions do you feel? Do you say anything to Jesus while this is happening? When your eyes meet, what do you see?

Jesus washed the feet of the disciples to model what it means to be a loving servant and to show them that He wanted them to do similar acts of mercy for others once He left this earth. Maundy Thursday symbolizes the touch of Christ in a very palpable way. Christ washed our feet. He gave Himself as the sacrificial Lamb for us, which we now experience in a tangible representation of the bread and the cup.

Respond in Prayer

“O Lord, how can we ever go anywhere else but to You to find the love we so desire? You love us and desire for us to participate in your works of love on earth. Make us mindful of ways that we can extend Your love to others during this most difficult of circumstances, amid incredible suffering and pain. Give us creative minds and imaginations to figure out how to be more spacious and gracious in our love. Through Christ our Salvation, Amen.”

Scripture

Take a moment to read Matthew 26:17-30. If you have young children, take a moment to watch a five-minute explanation of communion below.  

The Word for Everyone

The body of Jesus Christ, broken for you. The blood of Jesus Christ shed for you. It is in the upper room that Jesus taught the disciples a way to commemorate His sacrificial love and atonement for our sins. He was about to go to His death, the collective sins of the world, nailed to the cross. Death did not have the last word, as we come together, in spirit, to celebrate the resurrection and promise of eternal life on Easter Sunday. 

The Reflection

Every time we celebrate communion and receive the bread and wine, we become part of his “body”. We now belong to Jesus when we acknowledge ourselves as sinners and surrender our lives to Him. We belong to Jesus in the most intimate way, to Him who has suffered for us, died for us, and rose again so that we may die to self and rise again with him for eternity.

 

For Kids:​

  • How did it feel to take communion in your house?
    What are the ways you can trust Jesus this week?

 

For Adults:

  • What does it feel like to trust Jesus with your life, your actions, and your future? Bring these emotions into your prayer conversation with him. You may find it helpful to journal about these things.

The Exercise

You can participate as a couple, an entire family, or as an individual.

 

  • If you are with your family, take a piece of bread, give thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice, and say to the person to your right, “This symbolizes the body of Christ, broken for you. Take and eat. Whenever you eat this bread, remember Jesus.” If you are by yourself, take a piece of bread and repeat, “This is the body of Christ, broken for me.” Do this with the cup in the same way. Say, “This symbolizes the blood of Christ shed for you/me. Take and drink. Whenever you drink this cup, remember Jesus.”                                          ​

Listen to the following worship song by Stuart Townend after you take communion. Let the lyrics sink into your very being.

Respond in Prayer

“God of all grace, let the bread and wine of communion always remind me of the breaking of Jesus’ body and the pouring out of his blood for me and the forgiveness of my sins. Let my response to You be an always ready ‘yes, Lord’ as You guide me through the troubles of this world. You are the Bread of Life; help me depend on You daily for the nourishment that I need. During this unprecedented season, please teach me new ways to reach out to others with Your love. Thank you for Your mercy and grace, which are new every morning. AMEN.”

Final Encouragement

As you think about our Baseline church family and your own family, friends, and neighbors, who comes to mind  and who can you reach out to? Perhaps it’s a person who doesn’t have access to the internet and lives alone, or a healthcare worker or other essential frontline person you can thank. We may be restricted physically, but there are ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus right now through a phone call, text, or written note. Take some time during holy week to practice hospitality to others.

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