Maundy Thursday Worship
"We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another." ~ NRSV
I have read this text on several other occasions. However, this time around after reading it and taking to heart its instruction the word that came immediately to my mind was eek. I truly heard what was being said and I immediately recognize the dread of actually doing just that, laying down my life willingly for another. Particularly, someone who does not deserve such a selfless act. Then it dawned on me that I am that someone who does not deserve such a selfless act. Eek! To more clearly understand why the word is so appropriate in this context let me share its common usage. It is an expression of alarm, horror or surprise. And so to come to the full realization that I was the very person not deserving of such a selfless act in light of the fact I was ascertaining who would be deserving of me rendering such a selfless act on their behalf caused me great alarm; eek!.
I have on many occasions contemplated the idea of giving my life for another. I like to believe that I would not hesitate to do so for loved ones like my wife and children. I believe most would be willing to do just that. But how about a stranger or an enemy? Would I be willing to lay down my life for such a person? To put the text in proper context how about a Sister or Brother in Christ? The reality is Jesus does just that. He willingly lays down his life for those in close proximity to him as well as those furthest away. On this Maundy Thursday let us wrestle with the fact that Jesus walked willingly and lovingly into the lion’s den, Jerusalem that is. He walked lovingly and knowingly into betrayal. He walked lovingly and knowingly into a rigged courtroom. He walked lovingly and knowingly to Calvary. And he did so for Sister and Brother, and stranger and enemy, alike. He did so for you and me. On this Maundy Thursday let us not forget the new commandment given to us by Jesus in the upper room that we love one another; even as he loved us.
I wonder if he too was struck by a feeling that could be captured by a word like eek, knowing all that he would endure. Considering he was human; it would not be farfetched to believe so. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Invitation to the Lord's Table
Hear the words of the institution
of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ:
The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God,
he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way he took the cup, saying:
This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord, until he comes.
let us offer God our grateful praise.
Communion of the People
The gifts of God
for the people of God.
The body of Christ given for you.
The blood of Christ shed for you.
God of grace,
your Son Jesus Christ
left us this holy meal of bread and wine
in which we share his body and blood.
May we who have celebrated this sign of his great love
show in our lives the fruits of his redemption;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.