I actually think the Maundy Thursday service is my favorite of all the ones we do. It must have to do with the fact that I believe nothing contains the mystery and intrigue like MT. It's the night we commemorate the Last Supper, where Jesus puts a whole new twist on the Passover celebration. And then there's the whole washing the disciples feet, and Judas getting nuts, and Peter being his usual overzealous self. I imagine there being a lot of confusion and "what in the world is going on" at that first one. It's a very disarming service, to me. I think it's good for us to every now and then have to step back and say, "I really don't know if I know anything at all, but here I am."
Lately we have been having a meal to celebrate MT. We would gather in the basement for soup and bread, with grape juice and water to drink. The bread and juice were then used for communion. We would read Scripture, pray, then anyone wishing to wash feet could go do that, and upstairs in the sanctuary we had the Stations of the Cross set up, and you could walk through that at your leisure. I always thought that was pretty powerful, and that the whole night was.
This year I changed it up. Partly because I felt I was putting way too much work into the other for only a handful of people, and partly because I like to change things around every now and then (plus Jane wasn't able to be there to help). So this year we had a very liturgical service. It was nothing but readings, meditation, and communion. I'll probably be kicked out of my denomination because we didn't wash feet (I hardly doubt I'll be kicked out, but feetwashing IS an ordinance in our denom). I decided to not do it because I wanted us to concentrate on what it symbolized, rather than the mere act of washing feet. And even though it was very different, I think it was still a very nice service. Almost all of the 12 (adults) who were there commented that they liked it. I was glad to get through it, because for being as "liturgical" as it was, I was having a hard time getting through it earlier in the evening just reading through everything. I kept getting choked up. There's something about MT that just "gets to me." Anyway, here is the order of service:
Welcome & directions
Scripture Reading (together): Psalm 116:1-4; 12-19
Call to Worship (responsively)
Scripture Reading (Scott): Exodus 12:1-4; 11-14
Prayer by me
Hymn #186 "Have Thine Own Way" (acappella)
Scripture Reading (Carrie Jade): John 13:1-17; 31b-35
Meditation on Feetwashing (imagine Jesus coming and bowing before us - what with our feet so dirty from all the muck and mire we've trod through; all the people we've walked over; all the things we've done - and he says, "Let me make you clean." And imagine who we might bow before, and how we might help them feel cleansed by his Spirit as well).
Prayer of Confession (together)
Words of Assurance (Pastor)
Response to the Word (together)
Sharing our thoughts from meditation...
Scripture Reading (Rose): 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Invitation to Communion (responsive reading)
Communion by intinction (pita bread and sparkling grape juice)
Hymn #252 "I Surrender All"