Maundy Thursday Worship at Home Full Text

Posted By EmmanuelUMC on Apr 9, 2020 |

Emmanuel United Methodist Church   

Maundy Thursday                       April 9, 2020

Maundy Thursday Full Text Worship @ Home Order of Service

(CCLI #1149131)

Welcome to Emmanuel United Methodist Church for this Maundy Thursday service of worship. This is such an unusual Holy Week for Christians everywhere, as many around the world are unable to gather due to COVID 19 pandemic. Even though we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ each and every Sunday, Easter Sunday for us is always is a special time of joy and celebration, yet this year we find ourselves in a time of great difficulty and worldwide sadness. But even in these difficult days, we believe that Christ is with always, and by His Spirit, draws us together as one before God. We believe that our God gives us strength in the midst distress and provides comfort in the face of all our sufferings.

In many Christian communities, the three Holy Week services, traditionally called the Triduum (or the Three days), from Maundy Thursday evening through Easter Sunday evening are often celebrated as one continuous event stretched over the three days. In our church family here at Emmanuel, we have observed these days differently year by year, and worshipped in various ways leading up to our Resurrection Celebration on Easter Sunday. This particular Holy Thursday service may be done on your own or with others in your family, but no matter how you wish to use the service, in order to fully participate, it will be helpful for you to prepare a small worship space in your home before you begin, including:

A small candle to light at the beginning of the service; a Bible; a cross or other Christian symbols that you may have in your home; a bowl with water and a clean towel for each person; a small glass of water for each person and a piece of bread or some crackers, enough for each person to have a small piece.   If you are able to do so, it would be helpful for you to print out the order of worship in order to have the words for the hymns available to you. Both the online service and the full text service are available on the church website at        


(If worshipping with others, two voices may alternate the readings in a “Call to Worship” style.

This night is a night of remembrance, a time to recall God’s mighty acts of salvation.

As people in every generation, we come before the Lord to offer our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. We remember with generations past the wonderful deeds of our God.

On this night, Jesus shared his last meal with His friends. He told them to share the bread and cup, and to remember his broken body and shed blood, to know His presence with them always, no matter what may come.

On this night, Jesus washed the feet of his friends, inviting them and us to submit to Him as servant King. By the grace of Jesus our Lord, we seek to love and serve God by serving one another.

This night is also a night of fear and betrayal, as the final days of God’s redemption plan through Jesus Christ our Lord began to unfold. Our Lord prayed in the Garden that this bitter cup would pass from Him, yet He willingly went as a sheep before the slaughter for our sakes.

With Christ’s friends of the past, we are also invited to remember, celebrate and learn from the stories of Jesus, our blessed Savior, who gave Himself for us and for all the world.


People: Christ, the Light of the World, is here with us. Thanks be to God.


HYMN               Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross                                              #301

OPENING PRAYER Loving God, we come into your presence with gratitude and joy. We come this night to remember. We recall with thanksgiving the traditions of our faith, the ancient stories that bind us together, and the people of God who have served You and others through generations. Especially in these days of isolation and uncertainty, the foundations of our faith bring us strength and comfort. Inspire our hearts tonight as we gather in Spirit, though scattered, as we recall Jesus’ last hours on earth, and relive the days before His suffering and death on Calvary’s cross. Help us to know that by His stripes we are healed, forgiven and set free to live as your people, redeemed by the blood of your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. In whose holy name we pray. Amen

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON                        Exodus 12:1-14

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.


HYMN OF RESPONSE               I Love You Lord                               TFWS#2068

THE EPISTLE LESSON                      I Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

THE GOSPEL LESSON                             John 13:1-38

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned[a] against me.’[b]

19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,[c] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

The Word of God for the people of God.   Thanks be to God!

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION                         Remember

Between the triumph of Palm Sunday and the day we remember as Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday, the events in the life of Jesus move swiftly, one after the other… much so that when we read the different gospel accounts of these last days, it is difficult to distinguish one day from the next. By the time we reach Maundy Thursday there are multiple mini-dramas that are playing out in and around the main story. There is so little time left….so much that needs to be said….so much that Jesus wants his friends to understand…yet in these last quiet tender moments that our Lord shares with his closest friends…there is a violent storm brewing outside those sacred walls of the upper room….and a dark cloud that is hanging over them…are darkness that dwells within the heart of one closest to Jesus. The Romans and the Jews have put a price on Jesus’ head.  Judas has set his selfish and dark plot into motion.

No doubt Jesus and his friends had gathered to celebrate the Passover meal together before….to commemorate with all Jews everywhere God’s great deliverance of His people from the grip of Pharaoh.

Long before this night, God had instructed those ancient Hebrews who were slaves in Egypt to smear across their doorposts the blood of one pure and spotless lamb so that the angel of death would “PASS OVER” the household. And every year since the Exodus, God’s people had participated in the rituals of the Passover. This symbolic meal was one that Jesus and most of his friends would have celebrated throughout their lives….but tonight was different.

Jesus must have seemed different to them, and he kept saying such strange things, even stranger and more cryptic than usual. “What did he mean when he said that one of us would betray him?? What parable is this leading up to? What is he trying to tell us?,” they must have thought.

And Peter, bold and fearless Peter, how it must have wounded him so very deeply to hear his Lord say that he would betray Jesus three times before the night was over. Surely not, Peter must have thought–not me…..oh no….others maybe….but me?  Never!! But as the drama unfolds, we see in Peter what we often see in the followers of Jesus in every age, and even in ourselves.   Here we see Peter, not as the Rock, not as the example of devotion that he so longed to be. But more of a mirror of the dark side of the human soul, the same darkness that Judas had allowed to engulf him, the darkness that Peter could not face within himself, the darkness that is often present in the hearts of all of us. In the emotion of the moment, it seems that Peter was just a bit too sure of himself, doesn’t it? He forgot his own weakness.  He could not even envision how he might respond if his life were really in danger. It is easy to be brave before the battle, but I’m not sure that Peter could fully grasp what was about to happen to Jesus, or to him….or to all of them.

But Scripture tells us that while all the others ran away in fear, Peter, to his eternal credit, was still hanging around in the courtyard, close enough that he could even be identified. No sign of the others….

In spite of Peter’s weakness and his ultimate denial, there was a war going on inside him as he tried to muster the courage not to run away completely. But after he heard the cock crow, no one had to remind Peter of the words that Jesus said.  His heart must have broken in that moment when he realized that Jesus’ words had come true, that he had denied the Lord he loved. He wept bitterly.

In the upper room that night, on this Passover night so full of remembrance and symbolism, Jesus gave to his friends and to us and incredible gift, a way to remember him again and again. When Peter looked back on that night long after the drama of the first Easter had passed, I want to believe that he remembered the message behind what Jesus was saying to them… Peter and all the others….and to us…That we, along with them, especially Peter, would remember this night in the way Jesus wanted us to…And Jesus’ message was this: “Look!   Listen!    I know who you are! I know what you are capable of. I know you in your very heart of hearts, both the good and the bad, your strengths, but also your weaknesses. So remember that I love you and gave myself for you just as you are, in spite of who you are.  Remember God’s mighty power from the days of old, remember God’s deliverance, how he saved your ancestors with a mighty hand when they were enslaved.  And remember that tonight, I made a new covenant with you. I am now the spotless Lamb of God that has come to take away the sins of the whole world.”

When Peter and the other disciples and his disciples for all time looked back on this Holy Night, Jesus asked them to remember….  “Remember the meal that we shared…..remember what I told you…I am giving myself TO you and FOR you and for the whole world because I love you.   Remember that my sacrifice for you covers all of your weakness, all of your shame, all of your sin. So when you remember me the last time we ate together…don’t remember just the bad stuff….the betrayals, the failures, the weaknesses…..NO! Instead, remember that on the night of your greatest failure, I talked about triumph.  While your hearts were breaking, I talked about my broken body and shed blood that could heal you and make you whole. On the night you ran away and broke your covenant with me, I made a new covenant and sealed it with my own blood. Out of the symbols of the past, I gave you a new way to remember me, and to remember me always, that I am with you always, even when you doubt, even when you are afraid, even when you run away, even when you forget how much I love you and all that I have done to prove it to you. Always REMEMBER. Thanks be to God. Amen.

It is so very unusual for us to have a Maundy Thursday service without participating in Holy Communion…of hearing Jesus words to us…”This is my body broken for you…..This is my blood….shed for you”. But even though we cannot share the sacrament together in the same way, we can still remember Christ’s great sacrifice for us and the love of God made known to us and all the world on the cross. So we have some symbolic gestures that we can participate in together that are fitting for this night, rituals that can help us recall Jesus’ last meal with His friends.

HANDWASHING     In these days of pandemic, handwashing has taken on new importance. We are doing it endlessly to protect not only ourselves but others from the virus. During this Holy Week, I have been reminded of Pontius Pilate’s action of washing his hands when Jesus was brought before him, when he was asked to decide what to do with this one called Jesus. Handwashing for Pilate was a way for him to relinquish responsibility, to wash his hands of this troublemaker. But Jesus washed the feet of his friends to demonstrate just the opposite, that as disciples we have an obligation and responsibility to follow Christ’s example of sacrificially serving one another in love. Every time we wash our hands these days, we can remembering our servant Lord, who laid down his life for his friends and calls us to do the same. In these days of pandemic, it is not only something we do to protect ourselves, but an act of love and service for our neighbor.

Leader: As Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, so we wash our hands as a way of remembering the call of Christ to serve one another in love.

Wash your hands in the bowl of water and dry them on the towel.


Even though we are unable to share together in Holy Communion, we long for it and patiently wait in hope for the time when we can gather at the Lord’s table once again, and share in this Holy Meal together. But until then, we can remember together and participate wherever we are using different symbols that remind us of who Christ is and the redemptive plan of God the Christ came to fulfill.

Leader: Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

Take a piece of the bread in your hands.

Christ broke bread and fed the multitudes. Christ broke bread and formed a new covenant with his closest friends and with all who break bread in remembrance of him. Christ was made known to his disciples in the breaking of the bread. Bread reminds us that, just like individual grains of wheat are gathered together to make a single loaf, we who are scattered are one body in Christ.

Break and eat the piece of bread that you are holding. Remember the times you have received bread in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Remember those who gathered with you. Remember the presence of Christ in that moment. Be assured that Christ is with you in every moment of your life.

Sit silently for a moment and allow Christ’s love to surround you.

Leader: On the last day, the high point of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (John 7:37-38)

Hold the glass of water in your hands.

Without water, there can be no life. In creation, the Spirit of God hovered over the water and brought forth light. God brought John to the Jordan River to call us to repentance. We were nourished in the water of the womb. We were baptized by water and the Spirit into God’s family. Water reminds us of the gifts of creation that God has so abundantly given us, and of the love and grace we have all received.

Drink the water slowly. Feel it quench your thirst. Know that God’s love is flowing into your body and soul right now, refreshing your parched spirit.


In the silence after every petition (marked by . . .), specific names or situations may be spoken aloud from wherever you are, or held closely in your heart during the pause.

Lord Jesus Christ, light of the world, you speak to us words of life.

Call forth in us rivers of living water, and feed our deepest hunger.

In trying times like these, in times of loneliness or confusion, in times when we feel most alone, remind us that we are never alone, for you are with us always.

Hear us now, and pray for us in our weakness with sighs too deep for words,

We pray for….

Those whom we love – those present with us and those from whom we are

separated today. . .                  Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

The prisoners, and those held captive physically, mentally, or spiritually . . .

Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Those who are sick, who have tested positive for the virus and are afraid, those around the world who are fighting for their lives right now and for their families…

Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Those who care for the sick, both medical caregivers and families who wait and watch with them; for first responders who are serving our communities so valiantly in these days . . .                Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

For leaders all around the world who are making critical decisions each and every day to serve the public good….      Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Those who are serving the us and others by providing for our daily needs, those who work in grocery stores and pharmacies; those who work in restaurants and deliver food; those who drive trucks to take goods where they need to go, and many others who are risking their lives to provide essential services……Lord in your mercy. Hear our Prayer.

Those who mourn the loss of loved ones, the loss of freedom, the loss of security, the loss of a livelihood, or the loss of a sense of order and control . . .

Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Those with more questions than answers, and all who long for your guiding light for their difficult path . . .                 Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

For the lonely, the isolated, the elderly and those who long for a loving touch . . .

Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

For those whose remaining days on this earth are few, and for those walking in the valley of the shadow of death with them. . Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

For those we tend to forget, and those whose needs are known only to you . . .

Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer.

Oh God of compassion, hear our prayers; fill us with your grace, and inspire us to be instruments of mercy and hope, for we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior who taught us to pray saying

THE LORD’S PRAYER Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy 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, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

HYMN OF DISCIPLESHIP            Let Us Be Bread                             TFWS #2260


When we are living, it is in Christ Jesus, and when are dying we are in Christ Jesus.

Both in our living and in our dying, we belong to God.

In these days of anxiety and uncertainty, may we go forth in Christ’s name as a people of hope.

May God bless us and keep us.

May God’s face shine upon us and be gracious to us.

May God look upon us with kindness and give us peace.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All God’s people said: Amen.

The Remembering the Lord’s Supper is adapted from Great Thanksgiving Four by Heather Murray Elkins in The Book of Offices and Services of The Order of Saint Luke, OSL Publications, 2012, pp. 22ff. Permission granted for reproduction in print or on the web by including this permission statement. ©2020 by The Order of Saint Luke

Prepared by Beth Fender, OSL; Elizabeth Moore, OSL; and Dwight Vogel, OSL