Tag Archives: Maundy Thursday

Experience Maundy Thursday

This evening at Resurrection Lutheran Church our Maundy Thursday worship will include participatory prayer stations where worshipers will experience the story of Jesus’ final hours. The worship will begin in our familiar pattern of singing, call to worship, scripture reading and sermon. The pattern will change during the Lord’s Supper. Instead of simply coming forward for communion, worshipers will have the choice of participating in four different prayer/story stations. People will be free to move about the worship area, engaging in the stations for as long as they desire. The stations are as follows:

communion_elementsHoly Communion
Holy Thursday is the night when Jesus transformed the Passover meal into our meal of Holy Communion. People can come to the altar for the bread and wine of communion. There will be kneelers available for those who would like to kneel as they receive.


Washing of Feet Station

Washing of Feet
During the supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, as sign of loving service. Worshipers will have the opportunity to either wash the feet of a family member or have their feet washed by a staff member or others.  Warm water, basins and towels will be provided.



Garden of Gethsemane stationGarden of Gethsemane
After the supper, Jesus and his disciple went out to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Worshipers are encouraged to pray for the whole Christian church around the world. They can light a candle and mark a nation on a world map for which they are praying.




christ mocked by soldier, bloch


Trail of Jesus
While praying in the garden, Jesus was arrested and taken to the High Priest Caiaphas and later Governor Pilate for trial. He was beaten and mocked, dressed in a purple robe and a crown of thorns. People will have time to reflect on Jesus’ suffering while confessing their own sin and recognizing that our baptism both connects us to Jesus’ suffering while forgiving us our sins.

Silent Reflection
If a worshipers prefer not to participate in the stations, they can sit in their seat and pray while reflecting on a series of audiovisual paintings and photographs are displayed on the video screens.

The purpose of each station is to make the story of Jesus come alive for us, that we are participants in Christ’s story. People can choose to participate in all stations or simply stay at one the whole time (about 12 minutes).

The worship will conclude with a song and blessing. We will gather again on Good Friday evening to remember Jesus’ crucifixion.

Lord Jesus, let us walk with you this day.

The Cup of Choice

This is the Kidron Valley looking to the North. To the left is the Temple Mount. To the right is the Mount of Olives.

On Maundy Thursday, as they ate the Passover meal, Jesus confronted the disciples with the harsh reality that one of the disciples would betray him. Jesus was not surprised or stunned that one of his twelve companions, Judas, would turn against him. Jesus seemed to be reading off a script, part of an unfolding story. It seemed as if Jesus had no choice, no freedom, all the options are closing in upon him.

As if to seal his intention, he picked up the cup and said to his disciple, “This cup is that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20).  He was ready to go to the cross, to pour out his blood, to be the lamb of God.

Jesus and the disciples then went off to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. As they walked towards the garden, Jesus told them that they would all desert him that night. Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus responded to Peter with the fateful warning, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times” (Luke 22:34).

Again it seems as if everything is fixed. The relentless march, a constant drum beat, continued towards Jesus’ suffering and death.

He asked the disciples to stay awake and pray, because he was deeply grieved, even unto death.  Jesus went a little farther and threw himself on the ground. “Abba, Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Here for a moment the relentless drum beats stops. Jesus is not some mere actor, reciting the lines of a play.

He is a flesh-and-blood human being who sees the horrendous suffering he is about to undergo. He is not some robot who is oblivious to human pain and suffering. No, he is a human being who relishes life, the joys and blessings of life.

Jesus does not want to die. Here he is like you and me. Here his humanity is on full display.

Jesus now comes back to the disciples to discover they are all asleep. Are they worth Jesus’ effort? Can’t they stay awake an hour with him? Are they worth the pain and suffering?

Jesus goes to the cross NOT to die for the worthy, for the great, for the valued disciples.

He dies for the weak and vulnerable.

He goes to the cross precisely because we are too weak, too sleepy, too self-absorbed, too sinful to go ourselves.  He pours out his life because we are weak and sinful and need to be rescued.

His love for the disciples, for you and me, overcomes any fear or temptation he faced.

Jesus, thank you for drinking the cup for us.

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Maundy Thursday is about preparation.

Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” Mark 14:12

The Passover Festival was a big deal in Jesus’ time; the festival centered on a meal that remembered God’s liberation of the Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt as told in the book of Exodus. Throughout the meal, Jews remembered God’s intervention and prayed for God’s continued activity in their lives. Jesus’ disciples needed to prepare for this meal with wine, bread and lamb.

According to Mark’s Gospel, Jesus gives elaborate instructions , “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner, “The Teacher asks, Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” (Mark14:13-14) One wonders how Jesus knew that they would meet a man with a water jug? Had there been some secretive pre-planning by Jesus so as to avoid the temple officials? Or was this Jesus showing his “magical” powers?

Throughout the Holy Week story, Jesus sees the future unfolding in a specific way. He knows how to find a donkey’s colt for his entrance on Palm Sunday. He knows that the great temple will be destroyed. He knows that one of his disciples will betray him. He knows that Peter will deny him. Jesus knows.

I don’t think the Gospel writer is trying to answer great philosophical questions with telling the story in this way. Mark is not concern with pre-destination versus free-will. What matters for Mark is that Jesus understands and accepts his role in the story and especially his role to die and rise again.  Jesus is LORD.

Three time prior to his coming to Jerusalem, Jesus had foretold that the Son of Man must suffer, be rejected, die and on the third day rise from the dead (Mark 8:31, 9:31 and 10:33-34). Even as Jesus and the disciples walk towards the Garden after the Passover meal, Jesus reminds them that he will be raised from the dead (Mark 14:28). Like the disciples, we may struggle to grasp the significance of the Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. We may not fully comprehend all that Jesus says and does. Events swirl beyond the control of his disciple, his enemies, or us. Yet Jesus continues to trust in God’s unfolding plan, even as he walks towards the cross and tomb.

Just as Jesus made preparations for the Passover Meal, he prepares his disciples and the readers of the Gospel for his death and for his resurrection. The meal becomes our place not only to remember his death, but also to claim the promise that he will drink the new wine with us in Kingdom of God (Mark 14:25). Jesus keeps his promises, including rising from the dead. Though we may scatter (like the disciples), he will gather us together as his children. He has prepared the way for us.

Lord Jesus, as you prepared to eat Passover with your disciples, so prepare us to eat with you at your table now and in the Kingdom to come. Amen.

Enter the Holy Week Story

Stories shape our lives. The story of our family, our nation and our world gives meaning to our lives. My own story of being raised in western Washington, going east to college and then coming to Minnesota for seminary shaped my life. The simple story of how we met our spouse or how we chose our career has profound implications on our life. Do we simply drift along from one day to the next, or are we active participants?

Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem by artist He Qi

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are molded by the story of Jesus, especially his last days. As we prepare to enter Holy Week, we have an opportunity to walk with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter, to enter his story. We can be with the crowd that cheered his entrance into Jerusalem, shouting our praise to our king. We can ask ourselves, “How do I allow Jesus to be ruler in my life? Am I simply following the crowd? Or do I fully seek to follow Jesus this week?”

On Maundy Thursday, we can enter the upper room with Jesus and watch him humbly wash the feet of his disciples. Are we willing to be servants like him? We can share in his meal of Holy Communion, remembering his steadfast, nurturing love for us. We can walk with him to the Garden of Gethsemane and pray with him as he seeks the Father’s strength and courage for his coming suffering. Will we stay close to him, when all the other disciples run away?

On Good Friday, we can stay in the crowd as they shout to Pilate, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Do we hear our own voices mingled in the crowd? As the soldiers nail him to the tree, do we hear his words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and wonder if he is speaking to us? As he dies, do we feel the sorrow of Mary, his mother? Does something in us die as he is laid in the tomb?

Such a walk through the story of Holy Week prepares us for the ultimate story of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.

Lord Jesus, keep my life in your story this week.