Maundy Thursday, alternate

This is a worship service that I cobbled together from a bunch of resources to use in 2015.  I did not write any of these elements, but have also forgotten from whence they came.  I am putting this here for you in case it helps you think outside of the box.

This worship contains hand washing, communion around tables family style and draping the sanctuary at the end.


This whole service is to take place in the fellowship hall.  Only the lights on the side walls (not above) will be lit to have it a bit darker.  The tables will be bare with the exception of black cloth and a lit candle (pillar or something tall).  Under the candles will be a rumple of black cloth in the center of each table that corresponds to something that will be covered at the end of the service (list below).  Under the cloth will be a slip of paper indicating what is to be covered.  Also on each table will be 8 cups and napkins for communion.

 In the space there will be a centrally located communion table (on the south wall) and on two other sides of this there will be two hand-washing stations consisting of a bowl and pitcher full of water on a small table with available hand towels for drying.

 Be sure to set up microphones for the service.  Maybe a podium with a mic and hand held for communion.

This is the telling of the story of today…



Jesus said:

I give you a new commandment,

that you love one another.

Just as I have loved you,

you also should love one another.


On this day

Christ the Lamb of God

gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him.


On this day

Christ gathered with his disciples in the upper room.


On this day

Christ took a towel and washed the disciples’ feet,

giving us an example that we should do to others

as he has done to us.


On this day

Christ our God gave us this holy feast,

that we who eat this bread

and drink this cup

may here proclaim his holy sacrifice

and be partakers of his resurrection,

and at the last day may reign with him in heaven.



Let us pray.

Holy God, source of all love,

on the night of his betrayal

Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment,

to love one another as he loved them.

Write this commandment in our hearts;

give us the will to serve others

as he was the servant of all,

who gave his life and died for us,

yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.



Introduction to evening’s worship        


The Plot Begins         

Matthew 26: 1-4

26When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’

3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5But they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’


The Anointing at Bethany            

Matthew 26: 6-13

6 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, ‘Why this waste? 9For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.’ 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’



This is to fit in as a confession of sin.  It is our own preparation for cleansing before heading to the table.  It gives a sense of “I am clean, and now I can respond.”

 After introduction, people will go up to each table and have their hands washed and dried wile the pronouncement “be made clean and ready” or something similar is said.


Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus     

Matthew 26: 14-16

14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.


The Passover with the Disciples            

Matthew 26: 17-25

17 On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ 18He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.” ’ 19So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

20 When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; 21and while they were eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’22And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ 23He answered, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’ 25Judas, who betrayed him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ He replied, ‘You have said so.’


HYMN        “What Wondrous Love is This?”         #283, vs. 1 and 2

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,

What wonderous love is thIs O my soul!

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.


To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing,

To God and to the Lamb I will sing.

To God and to the Lamb, who is the great “I Am,”

While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,

While millions join the theme I will sing.


Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet         

John 13: 1-17

13Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ 8Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’

12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.


The Institution of the Lord’s Supper


As we gather around the table this evening, we are reminded of the events of long ago.  It was on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “where do you want us to go and make the preparpations for you to eat the Passover?”  So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher askes: where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready.  Make preparations for us there.”  So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them;  and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was the evening, he came with the twelve.  And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”  They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?”  He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.  For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.  He said to them, “Tis is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.  Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”


(Sharing of the Bread and Cup)

Presuming there are 8 tables there will be 4 loaves of bread and 9 (?) pitchers available on the table.  One central pitcher is poured into a cup for the symbolic action up front, and that pitcher is emptied into the other pitchers (or at least some is poured in.  Then an elder or pastor from each table will carry from the communion table to their round table a pitcher and ½ loaf of bread.

The elder/minister will pour cups from the pitcher for everyone at the table and pass out napkins for the bread.  All are encouraged to eat their meal in silent contemplation.

 When this process seems to be winding down the minister continues:


When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”  Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.”  Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”  But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.”  And all of them said the same.


HYMN                  “Abide With Me”  #500, vs. 1 and 2


Abide with me – fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepends – Lord with me abide;

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, o abide with me.


Swift to it’s close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;

O Thou who changest not, abide with me.


Jesus Prays in Gethsemane         

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’



The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus         

Matthew 26: 47-56

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.’ 49At once he came up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you are here to do.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 51Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?’ 55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.




After the last passage is read, the tables are encouraged (maybe only through action) to move their candles, lift the black cloth, and look at the location underneath.  A minsiter should be at the table that is assigned to the communion table in the fellowship hall to demonstrate taking the cloth and covering the table. Then this table leads everyone else into the sanctuary to finish placing the black cloths.


The locations for the 8 cloths are as follows:

-Communion table in fellowship hall



-Baptismal font

-Left candelabra

-Right candelabra

-Cross on center table and side, single candles

-Bible on center table


As the group starts walking into the sanctuary, a solo voice could start singing “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Taize) which will keep repeating through one turn following the last cloth being placed.


All dismiss quietly and quickly.




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