Maundy Thursday

While we have adapted worship for the home for each of the Three Days, Maundy Thursday deserves special note. We’ve designed worship to happen around your evening meal.

When Jesus gathered the disciples at the Last Supper, they did not gather in a synagogue or the Temple to worship; they gathered around a table for a shared meal. At that table he served them humbly and commanded them to do the same for one another.

For Maundy Thursday we will do the same: Whether you are by yourself in your household or several in your home, we gather together as a congregation in a shared worshipful meal from each of our homes.

For Maundy Thursday you are encouraged to first eat your evening meal and then start the worship video. Participating in the worship service from your table would be ideal.

To mark the significance of this day, you might prepare a special meal. Or you might set the table as you would for special guests or a celebration, such as bringing out “the good dishes,” or lighting candles, or having a centerpiece of flowers or other decoration.

Please include bread and wine (or grape juice) to reserve until after your main meal to receive during the Communion portion of the worship service. Perhaps that bread and wine might be the centerpiece of your table.
Maundy Thursday worship follows in order of Gathering · Word · Meal · Sending

First we Gather together around the table. We say or sing grace. We eat our meal, enjoying one another’s company. Check-in with each other. Find out how your days went. Ask what this Holy Week and Easter Day mean to you. If you normally eat alone, you might consider calling a friend on the phone during this time or arrange with one or more other people in the congregation to have Zoom call together while you eat your dinners then watch the service together.

Now begin to play the Maundy Thursday service, available at

We then Confess our sins, and the focus moves to Absolution: you may lay a hand on each other’s heads and say these words, “In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.” It is not only ordained clergy who may do this action, but all members of the Body of Christ share the responsibility of speaking the word of forgiveness to others in our daily lives. As we began Lent on Ash Wednesday feeling the mark of ash on our foreheads and remembering our mortality, now we conclude Lent by feeling a hand laid on our heads in forgiveness.

Then we hear God’s Word. We hear scripture and sermon, and we live into Jesus’ New Commandment to love one another as he has loved us in humble service.

Then we have the culmination of the Meal as we receive the bread and wine, hearing Jesus tell us it is his Body and Blood given for us.

Then finally, we are Sent as we experience the “Stripping of the Altar.”

Normally, we would see the altar area in the sanctuary removed of all books, paraments, banners, candles, leaving the table bare. Tonight, because our shared worship space is the individual tables we gather around, we strip our tables of all we placed on them earlier with such care: “the good dishes,” the centerpiece, the candles, the tablecloth and placemats. We leave our tables bare and conclude this meal in silence, waiting until we gather again when worship continues on Good Friday.

Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Upsplash