When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Preparing for our Maundy Thursday worship is, obviously, quite different than it has been in the past. This year, I will be leading worship with Adam from our chapel at church. The service will begin at 7 p.m. as a Facebook Live Stream. I will also be attempting to record it for Vimeo at the same time and plan to post the recording later in the evening. Wish us luck.
As this service includes a time of communion, I invite you to bring along your own elements. You’ll need some type of bread (cracker, rice cake or what have you) and some type of wine (juice or water). In our tradition, the elements are symbolic, so they need not be anything in particular, or directly blessed by your pastor. The point is to treat them as part of the sacredness of the evening; to use them to participate in worship and bring to mind the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
That is always true when we celebrate communion. But, for me, Maundy Thursday is the most meaningful of all our communion services. It comes amid a reenactment of Jesus’ last supper; his last formal gathering with his closest disciples. It harks back to the first time his followers were told to “do this in remembrance of me.” And it captures the powerful tensions of the events that follow on Good Friday.
I always know that there will be those who do not wish to join us for what can be a pretty intense service. Perhaps especially in these times of suffering and uncertainty, the idea of facing the darkness that ended Jesus’ earthly life may feel too hard. I trust you all to make whatever decisions you need to about this service. But I also hope you will bear in mind and heart, that the power of Christ’s resurrection depends upon the depth of the suffering he had to overcome in order to get there. There simply could not have been a resurrection if there had not first been a crucifixion. In order to truly appreciate the light of Christ, we have to know the truth of that darkness which did not overcome it.
On another note, I was forwarded the following prayer from Catholic Charities USA. I thought you might like to see it.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose
between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children
when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
During this time
when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God
to our neighbors.
Yours in Grace,