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Maundy Thursday

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Before the fifth century there seem to have been no services on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of Holy Week, and there has never been much of an attempt to reconstruct liturgically the day-by-day chronology Of Holy Week. The emphasis has always been on the Passion as a whole. The emphasis continues to fall, as it always has, on the Sunday of the Passion and the Triduum, the three sacred days of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—seen as one celebration—in which are commemorated the central events Of Christianity. Each day of this triduum needs the other two to complete the account, the doctrine, and the proclamation. The preferred color of Maundy Thursday is the scarlet of Passiontide.
Before the fifth century there seem to have been no services on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of Holy Week, and there has never been much of an attempt to reconstruct liturgically the day-by-day chronology Of Holy Week. The emphasis has always been on the Passion as a whole. The emphasis continues to fall, as it always has, on the Sunday of the Passion and the Triduum, the three sacred days of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—seen as one celebration—in which are commemorated the central events Of Christianity. Each day of this triduum needs the other two to complete the account, the doctrine, and the proclamation. The preferred color of Maundy Thursday is the scarlet of Passiontide.

MAUNDY THURSDAY: THE CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

Ash Wednesday began with an extended confession of sins; the absolution was deferred until Maundy Thursday. The service for the Thursday in Holy Week therefore begins in an unusual way—with the sermon, which concludes with an invitation to confession and with the absolution and the sharing of the peace. All this is done before the Holy Communion begins, not simply as a novelty but to close off the time of repentance, to conclude the season Of penitence with the long-awaited absolution, recalling the ancient practice Of reconciling penitents on this day. Then with that done and the reconciliation Of the church effected, the last three days Of Lent begin, the most intense meditation upon the mystery of redemption: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday.
Moreover, the relocation of the sermon enables the preacher to deal with the various aspects of the theme of Jesus' love as a background for the entire service not just of one day but of three days.
If a hymn is sung before the sermon, it should not be elaborately done but should be the occasion only for the simple entrance Of the ministers. There is no procession of the choir. It is in keeping with the spirit of the service to have the ministers enter in silence, the congregation standing. The presiding minister may wear a scarlet (or purple) cope for this part of the service.
The Instruction may be part of the sermon or it may conclude the sermon.
In this Lenten season we have heard again how our Lord walked the path of suffering which led him to the cross for our salvation. We have also heard our Lord's call to intensify our struggle against sin, death, and the devil — all that keeps us from loving God and each other. This is the struggle to which we were committed at Baptism; God's forgiveness and the power of his Spirit to amend our lives continue with us because of his love for us in Jesus, our Savior.
Within the family of the Church, God never wearies of giving peace and new life. In the absolution we receive forgiveness as from God himself. This absolution we should not doubt, but firmly believe that thereby our sins are forgiven before God in heaven, for it comes to us in the name and by the command of our Lord.
We who receive God's love in Jesus Christ are called to love one another, to be servants to each other, as Jesus became our servant. In Holy Communion the members of Christ's body participate most intimately in his love. Remembering our Lord's last supper with his disciples, we eat the bread and drink the cup of this meal. Together we receive the Lord's gift of his body and blood for forgiveness and participate in that new covenant that makes us one with him and one another. The Lord's Supper is the promise of the great banquet we will share with all the faithful when our Lord returns, the joyous culmination of our reconciliation with God and each other.
After that, the congregation makes the confession for which it has been preparing throughout Lent. The appropriate form is the Order for Corporate Confession and Forgiveness (Ministers Edition, p. 318).
After that, the congregation makes the confession for which it has been preparing throughout Lent. The appropriate form is the Order for Corporate Confession and Forgiveness (Ministers Edition, p. 318).
An assisting minister says. "Let us kneel and make confession to God." The kneel (or sit if there are no facilities for kneeling) and confess "Almighty God, merciful Father, I. a troubled and penitent sinner confess to you... The presiding minister stands and addresses the congregation, "Almighty God in his mercy has given his Son to die for us... Those in the congregation may come forward and kneel before the altar. The presiding minister lays both hands on each person's head and addresses each in turn. "In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins." Each penitent responds, "Amen."
Following the pronouncement of forgiveness, the peace is exchanged. It is not repeated later in the service. When forgiveness has been pronounced individually, the minister may immediately help each person stand and exchange the peace with that person. If the congregation is large, several ordained ministers may be involved in the individual forgiveness and exchange of the peace. Thus penitents are reconciled to God and to each other.
Following the pronouncement of forgiveness, the peace is exchanged. It is not repeated later in the service. When forgiveness has been pronounced individually, the minister may immediately help each person stand and exchange the peace with that person. If the congregation is large, several ordained ministers may be involved in the individual forgiveness and exchange of the peace. Thus penitents are reconciled to God and to each
other.

MAUNDY THURSDAY: THE HOLY COMMUNION

The Lenten discipline having been concluded, the church now turns its attention to the most intense celebration of the cross and resurrection of Christ.
the cross and resurrection of Christ.
The ministers return to their places following the exchange of the peace and the presiding minister says the Prayer Of the Day. The salutation may be omitted since the peace has just been exchanged. If the first Prayer ("Holy God, source of all love"), which speaks of the new commandment, is used at this point, the second prayer ("Lord God, in a wonderful sacrament"), ascribed to Thomas Aquinas and traditional for this day in the Lutheran liturgy. may be used as the post-communion prayer.
The emphasis of this service is not so much the anniversary Of the institution of the Holy Communion as the new commandment of love; Maundy is an English form of the Latin word for commandment, mandatum. The over-arching theme of the day is Jesus' new commandment to "love one another even as I have loved you," a love sharply focused by the contrast of the betrayal which followed. Jesus' love is demonstrated both in his example of servanthood and in his gift of himself in Holy Communion.
It is best if one set of lessons serve all three years, for this set most adequately covers the themes Of Maundy Thursday. The First Lesson is , the new covenant that God will write on the hearts of his people. The Second Lesson is , Paul's account of reconciliation and the Last Supper. The G spel is , , Jesus' washing the disciples' feet and giving the new commandment by word and example (Min. Ed. p. 138).
Jeremiah 31:31–34 ESV
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
1 Corinthians 11:17–32 ESV
But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 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.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
John 13:1–17 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 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.
John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
It is best if one set of lessons serve all three years, for this set most adequately covers the themes Of Maundy Thursday. The First Lesson is , the new covenant that God will write on the hearts of his people. The Second Lesson is , Paul's account of reconciliation and the Last Supper. The G spel is , , Jesus' washing the disciples' feet and giving the new commandment by word and example (Min. Ed. p. 138). In response to the command of the Gospel, the washing of feet may 10110w (called sometimes "the Maundy"), as an exemplification of the servanthood that Jesus enjoins upon all who follow him. The use of this action provides a balance with the celebration Of the anniversary of the institution of the Lord's Supper.
The group of persons (often twelve) to represent the congregation—perhaps the church council—should be selected beforehand So that they may be prepared to remove their footwear. A pitcher of water, a basin, and a towel may be placed ready for use in the washing ofthe feet, together with an apron Or large towel for the presiding minister. Carpeting and hardwood floors should be protected with bath mats.
The presiding minister invites the group forward and may, if it has not already been done in the sermon, explain briefly the significance Of the action, connecting it with Christian charity and service. The group sits on chairs placed near the altar; they remove their footwear. The presiding minister removes the cope or chasuble, stole (and surplice) and puts on the apron or towel. The minister kneels before the representatives, pours water over their feet into the basin, and dries their feet with the towel. Words are not used; nothing is said; but during the washing, "Where charity and love prevail" ( 126) is sung. Other hymns such as "Love consecrates the humblest act" (122), "My song is love unknown" (94), may be sung also. Assisting ministers do not help with the washing; it is the presiding minister's task alone. When all in the group have received the ministration they return to their places. The minister again puts on the vestments.
The footwashing done, the Holy Communion continues with the Prayers. (The Creed, historically a festive element, is not used, in keeping with the solemnity of the time.) The peace, having been exchanged earlier, is omitted at this point. The liturgy of the Eucharistic Meal follows, beginning with the Offering and the preface. The hymn, "O Lord we praise you, bless you, and adore you" (215) is appropriate during the distribution of Holy Communion.

MAUNDY THURSDAY: STRIPPING THE ALTAR

After all have received the bread and the cup, the canticle T-1(39) is omitted. The post-communion prayer is said, either the alternate Prayer of the Day ("Lord God in a wonderful , if that was used earlier, "Pour Out upon us the spirit of your love." Hymn 120, "Of the glorious body telling," is sung and during that hymn the sacramental vessels are cleansed and removed to the sacristy and the candles are extinguished. There is no benediction at this service, and after the hymn the congregation kneels, and the altar is stripped while is sung or said. The psalm may be sung by the choir, but it is more effective if the psalm is sung or read by a single voice from the gallery, as if one were hearing the voice of Christ. The congregation should not be occupied with following the psalm in the books but rather watching the dramatic action of the stripping of the altar (which represents Christ) while listening to the words of the psalm. If is to be used on Good Friday, , a lament in which can be heard the voice Of Christ, may be used instead.
After all have received the bread and the cup, the canticle T-1(39) is omitted. The post-communion prayer is said, either the alternate Prayer of the Day ("Lord God in a wonderful , if that was used earlier, "Pour Out upon us the spirit of your love." Hymn 120, "Of the glorious body telling," is sung and during that hymn the sacramental vessels are cleansed and removed to the sacristy and the candles are extinguished. There is no benediction at this service, and after the hymn the congregation kneels, and the altar is stripped while is sung or said. The psalm may be sung by the choir, but it is moreeffective if the psalm is sung or read by a single voice from the gallery, as if one were hearing the voice of Christ. The congregation should not be occupied with following the psalm in the books but rather watching the dramatic action of the stripping of the altar (which represents Christ) while listening to the words of the psalm. If is to be used on Good Friday, , a lament in which can be heard the voice Of Christ, may be used instead.
The stripping of the altar should proceed in a deliberate, orderly, unhurried fashion, with several persons carrying the items into the sacristy. It is usually best if the presiding minister gives the items to be removed to the assisting ministers and servers. The missal stand and altar book are removed. If there are altar flowers (in some places it is the custom to use flowers this once during Lent) they are removed. Candles are taken off the altar. The cross, if it is removable, is taken away. The fair linen and the paraments are removed. No further words are said. There is no benediction, no postlude. Thus the continuity with the services of Good Friday and the Easter Vigil is suggested. It is all one extended service, from Thursday through Good Friday through the Easter Vigil. The church is left in semidarkness and all leave the church in silence. Thus the transition is made from the eucharistic celebration to Jesus' crucifixion and death. Symbolically, Christ, stripped of his power and glory, is now in the hands of his captors. There is a practical purpose to the stripping of the altar too. It is done so that the altar can be washed in preparation for Easter. Traditionally, Evening Prayer is not said by those who participate in the evening celebration of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday.
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