Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday

Holy Week 2017 — Through Death to Life Series Overview

Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday, Year A

Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, marks the last conversation Jesus has with his disciples, a conversation grounded in what he calls a new commandment (mandatum in Latin, hence our English word “Maundy”). He illustrates and underscores the new commandment by washing the disciples’ feet: “Love one another as I have loved you.”


The service begins as a meal blessing. All are seated at dinner tables supplied with loaves of bread (including gluten-free alternatives) and pitchers of water.

Sung Blessing at the Beginning of the Meal Text: Taylor Burton-Edwards
Loving One Who Tends Creation TUNE: AR HYD Y NOS (UMH 688)

Loving One who tends creation, blessed be your name.
With all praise and adoration, blessed be your name.
You have brought us here, together,
bound us in one heart forever
in your mercy, failing never. Blessed be your name.

Jesus, filled with great compassion, blessed be your name.
Feed us truth, our lives refashion, blessed be your name.
In this bread we give each other,
Friend or stranger, sister, brother,
Make us one with all who suffer. Blessed be your name.

Break bread and give it to one another. Tune continues to play.

Spirit, breathing life through water, blessed be your name.
Cleanse and keep each son and daughter. Blessed be your name.
In the pouring, glasses clinking,
In refreshment we are drinking,
May we feel our interlinking. Blessed be your name.

Pour water from the common pitcher to serve one another. Tune continues to play.

Triune God, Eternal, Holy, blessed be your name.
You bless all, the high and lowly. Blessed be your name.
Grateful for the meal before us,
Raise we up our voice in chorus,
Knowing always you are for us. Blessed be your name.


A meal is served and eaten. After dishes are cleared, new pitchers of water, several towels, and a basin are brought to each table.


“Jesus, United By Thy Grace” United Methodist Hymnal, 561, st 1-3
“There’s a Spirit of Love in This Place” Worship & Song, 3148, st 1

Reading John 13:1-7, 34-35 (3X)
The reading is offered three times, with substantial pauses between readings.
During the first reading, listen for what image or words most capture your attention.
During the second reading, ask God to show you what to do with that.
During the third reading, decide what you will do.
After the third reading, share at your table what you will do in response to what you have heard.

“Jesus, United By Thy Grace” United Methodist Hymnal, st 4-6
“There’s a Spirit of Love in This Place” Worship & Song, 3148, st 2


Use the pitcher and basin at each table to wash each other’s hands or feet, at the discretion of the receiver.

Music during the Washing
Jesu, Jesu UMH 432
The Servant Song TFWS 2222
Ubi Caritas TFWS 2179


Deacon or Lay Leader:
As Jesus prayed the night he washed his disciples’ feet, so we now pray:
make us one, as you are one, Triune God.

For boldness to speak and live the truth,
protection in the face of harm,
and mercy to forgive all who harm us:
make us one, as you are one, Triune God.

For growth in holiness through your word,
commitment to compassion and justice for all people,
and love for one another as you have loved us:
make us one, as you are one, Triune God.

With all among whom you send us,
people who are sick, homeless, or in prison,
with leaders and those with means and influence,
and with those who reject or do not know your love:
make us one, as you are one, Triune God.


Deacon or Pastor:
Let us go forth in love and peace.

The deacon or pastor leads a procession to the worship space.

All may be seated in silence.

People so designated assist to remove all unattached adornments from the worship space and to cover crosses or other attached elements in simple black cloth. The Lord’s Table, pulpit, and font should be bare.

Here is a suggested removal order.

Processional Cross(es)
Candle holders and candles (unattached)
Chalice and paten
Altar Bible (if present)
Paraments and altar cloths
Other items


When the last item is removed or nonremovable items are covered, the deacon or pastor may signal the congregation to stand and lead the people to exit the worship space in silence.

In This Series...

Passion/Palm Sunday — Planning Notes Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday — Planning Notes Holy Friday/Good Friday — Planning Notes Easter Sunday — Planning Notes Easter Sunrise — Planning Notes