Not many hours before his death, before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus became aware that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father. He had loved his own who were in the world, and he loved them to the end. During this last supper with his disciples, the devil had put it into Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray him. Knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God – Jesus arose from supper, laid aside his outer garments, took a towel, and tied it around his waist. He then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
After Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer garments, he resumed his place at the supper. He asked the disciples if they understood what he had just done to them. He explained, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” A servant is not greater than his master. Our Lord has sacrificed for us; now, we must sacrifice for one another.
The new commandment he gave the disciples was clear: love one another in the same way that he had loved them. He assured them that everyone would recognize them as his disciples when they saw the love that they had for each other. The love of Christ shared among us – this is the sign of true discipleship.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, who hast given us the commandment that we love one another even as thou dost love us; we beseech thee for thy Church throughout the world. Look in mercy on the divisions among thy people, and in thy perfect wisdom teach us to heal them. Take away all blindness of heart, all foolish pride and vainglory, all prejudice, obduracy, and pettiness, and whatsoever else may hinder us from unity in work and prayer for the extension of thy kingdom on earth. Draw us nearer to thee, and firmly unite us in the bonds of a common faith and devotion; that we may all with one voice proclaim thy truth and thy salvation; and that thy Church, being one in thee, may speak a convincing word to a world divided and in awful peril, and so be for the healing of the nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Ernest Fremont Tittle (Tittle, p. 80)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Chronological Holy Week ReadingsMaundy Thursday: Matt. 26.17-75; Mark 14.12-42; Luke 22.7-65; John 13.1-18.27
Lectionary Readings for the Day
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
~ New Church Book of Worship, A.D. 1876. (Fox, p. 105)
Affirmation for the Day
Our Lord has sacrificed for us; now, we must sacrifice for one another.
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Empower us to love one another as Christ loved us.