fbpx
Calls to Worship on Maundy Thursday

Featured Illustration:

 

Remembering Jesus’ Last Night on Earth

On Maundy Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week, Anglicans gather to recall Jesus’ last night on earth by washing each other’s feet and receiving Communion.

At the end of the service, the priest strips the altar, removing everything that adorns it—the purple cloth, the linens, the candles—until the front of the church is blank. I’ve seen this done in different ways—solemnly, expressionlessly, mournfully, clumsily. My favorite was when my former pastor, who had a background in theater and a flair for the dramatic, would stomp up to the altar and rip off the altar cloths. He looked a little like a teenager being made to clean his room, or a fired employee emptying his desk.

He did this on purpose; the point was to treat holy things as if they were worthless; to approach the altar not in worship but in ire. The stripping of the altar transitions the church from the beauty of the Last Supper to the horrific suffering of Gethsemane and Good Friday. The holy Son of God was treated as worthless. He was stripped, beaten, and spat upon. We remember this and ransack the church of any sign of life.

We end Maundy Thursday in darkness. Any lights in the sanctuary are extinguished. Then, in the dark, someone reads Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” And yet this Psalm, which weaves its way through so much torment—“I am a worm and not a man;” “Dogs encompass me, a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet”—ends in trust: “It shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it!”

Taken from Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren Copyright (c) 2021 by Tish Harrison Warren. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Worship Resources

Below are some of the major themes of Maundy Thursday. Click on the links to find the resources you need

Lectionary Worship Guide

We are now offering short worship guides on the Revised Common Lectionary. This year, TPW founder Stu Strachan has written a guide on John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Don’t Miss

The Lates From Our Blog

Check out articles, featured illustrations, and book reviews on all different topics related to ministry.

Listen for the Flutes

Listen for the Flutes

We must tune our ears to hear God’s voice. It’s like the child who was told by his father during a symphony orchestra concert, “Listen for the flutes in this song. Don’t they sound beautiful?” The child, unable to distinguish the flutes, looks up at his father with a...

Living as a Bi-Habitational Being

Living as a Bi-Habitational Being

I spent two weeks in a class with twenty pastors at a monastery, taught by Dallas Willard. The foundation of his teaching was on spiritual reality. Teaching that God is Spirit, that we’re eternal beings, and that the Kingdom of God is spiritual, might not sound like...

Church Leaders Who Apologize

Church Leaders Who Apologize

“I was forced to resign from my church.” 78% of pastors say this. Often these pastors leave their church hurt and angry, afraid their career and calling are ruined. Ken Baugh, former lead pastor of Coast Hills Community Church felt this way two years ago. (In last...

Prepare better sermons and inspired services in less time.

Join now and never worry about worship inspiration again.