Maundy Thursday focuses on Jesus’ deep love for his friends as he prepares for the difficult ordeal that is coming. He washes their feet, they eat together, and he asks them to pray with him. When we gather in person for Maundy Thursday, our service usually includes a simple meal, foot- or hand-washing, communion, and reflection on Jesus’ invitation to “stay with me” and “remain awake” during the time of trial.

This simple, self-guided service is designed to be done at home, alone or with others, over a meal. There is no need to prepare special food; have supper as you normally would and consider how Jesus shows up in the ordinary moments of life – eating and talking and resting at the close of the day.

If more than one of you is gathered, decide in advance who will read the prayers and scriptures. You may wish to divide them or read them responsively.

You will need:

– A Bible
– A candle and match or lighter
– A candle “shroud” (any small cloth will do)
– Water, large bowl or bin, and towel if you plan to do foot- or hand-washing
– Optional: discussion partners (see below)*

 


ORDER OF SERVICE

CANDLE-LIGHTING & OPENING PRAYER

Light a candle in the center of the table

Pray:

Gracious God, we celebrate in this evening hour as friends celebrated with Jesus in an Upper Room long ago.
We come from various places bearing the marks and burdens of a bitter and broken world with dry and thirsty spirits.
Remind us  of our need and of your great sufficiency.
Refresh us and make us whole.
Even though we are physically apart, draw us nearer to each other
as we serve you and closer to you
in the covenant of faithfulness and thanksgiving to which we are called. Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING: John 13:1-9, 31b-35

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Eat dinner. As you eat, reflect on and/or discuss these questions:

  • In this time of separation and division where have you found refreshment?
  • Where are you seeing the movements of God’s healing and refreshment in our world?

*Optional: If you would like to share discussion with others while you eat,
reach out ahead of time to another FMC person or household whom you can call by phone or video chat during this time.

 

SERVING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE:
FOOTWASHING & SPECIAL OFFERING

Watch some of our FMC family wash each others’ feet and hands. Music:  “Jesus took a towel” sung by Andrea Welty Peachey.

 

After watching, do one or both of the following:

1. If you are with others who choose to do so, wash one another’s feet or hands.

2. As an act of love and service, give to the Maundy Thursday Special Offering, 100% of which will be directed to Immigration Services of Champaign-Urbana (ISCU) . Two ways to give:

Give online at tithe.ly. Select “To: Footwashing Offering / ISCU” or mail a check to First Mennonite Church, 902 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana, IL 61801 (write “Footwashing Offering/ISCU” in the memo line).

Please make or mail your offering no later than April 7 (best: do it now while the song is playing!)

Continuing the new tradition of giving our support to immigrants and refugees in our community during Holy Week, Service & Outreach chose Immigration Services of Champaign-Urbana (ISCU) (https://www.isc-u.org/) as recipient of this year’s Footwashing Offering. ISCU is a faith based and community nonprofit that operates primarily through the efforts of its volunteers and with the donations of individuals and partners. Those donations have enabled ISCU to provide household goods, food, sanitary and medical supplies, rental and utility assistance and small gift donations to more than 500 families being impacted by COVID-19. Since March 2020, ISCU has made over 12,000 deliveries of groceries, sanitary supplies, diapers, and medical items to an average of 360 families weekly in collaboration with their community partners. Special acknowledgement to Greg Springer for his volunteer service making deliveries and coordinating deliveries for ISCU. We are unable to meet in person to wash each other’s feet again this year, but we do have this special opportunity to serve each other by giving generously to support our neighbors in crisis.

 

SCRIPTURE READING Mark 14:12-50

 

Time of silence

 

CLOSING PRAYER

As the night advances, dear God,

deepen in us a sense of your steadfast love for us
as we walk with you through this dark night to the dawn of a new morning. AMEN.

Extinguish the candle. Place the shroud over the candle and return to use it again on Good Friday and Easter morning.

NOTE: Portions of this service, including the graphics, are adapted with gratitude from the Holy Week Tenebrae Home-Based Devotional from SALT Project, provided through the generous donation of graphic designer Hilary Breeze Rhodes.