A new commandment I give you: Love one another as I have loved you
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
Today is Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday. This night marks the beginning of the Great Three Days of Easter – The Tridiuum, the most solemn days of the Christian calendar. I invite you to participate in the liturgy of these days from afar, though we cannot share the worship in our sacred space of Holy Trinity, we can most surely join spiritually in this act of worship with the faithful around the world.
WHAT TO DO
Set aside a time to worship as if you are in your favourite pew at Holy Trinity, turn off the television, radio and phone – come to church! Light your candle.
THE WORSHIP SERVICE
‘I give you a new commandment,’ says the Lord, ‘that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another’.
The Prayer of the Day: The Collect
Grant, Lord, that we who receive the holy sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, may be the means by which the work of his incarnation shall go forward: take, consecrate, break and distribute us, to be for others a means of your grace, and vehicles of your eternal love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The First Reading: The Book of Exodus: Chapter 12 vs 1-4 & 11-14.
The Psalm: Psalm 116: vs 1-2 & 11-18
The Second Reading: The First Letter to the Corinthians: Chapter 11 vs 23-26
The Gospel Reading: St John: Chapter 13 vs 1-17 & 31b-35
So many themes, so much happening this night. The disciples have gathered in an upper room to celebrate the important Jewish feast of the Passover. At the table Jesus does something extraordinary, he takes bread blesses it and breaks it and says to his disciples ‘this is my body which is broken and given to you, take it and eat it’. Then Jesus takes a cup of wine and says to them, ‘this is my blood which is shed for you, take it and drink it. Do this in remembrance of me’. So, tonight is the celebration of the Eucharist begun by Jesus at this Last Supper, and the church has re-enacted this event from that time onward. Jesus then does something else that shocked the disciples, he took a basin of water and a towel and proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet! As they protested Jesus reminded them that he was a servant and that they too are to be servants of the Lord if they are to truly follow him. Jesus goes on to tell them that one of the twelve will betray him, they are outraged to think that might be so. Peter making the most noise pledges his undying loyalty to which Jesus declares that he too will deny Jesus at his time of need. So, what began as an evening of fellowship over a meal and a liturgical feast, now becomes a tragedy unfolding before their very eyes.
Jesus is betrayed by Judas with a kiss, he is arrested and taken into custody to await his trial before the Council and the Governor Pontius Pilate. The disciples and the followers of Jesus flee the scene in their fear and desperation, though the women remain close by. The Maundy Thursday Liturgy that began so joyfully now ends in darkness, despair and abandonment.
As I said at the beginning, so many themes, the lasting act of holy communion, the humility and servant nature of Jesus’ ministry, the commandment to love one another, the fickleness of human nature when fear and desperation coupled with disappointment are confronted! This is a time to focus on Jesus in his passion and agony and sacrifice.
Time of Reflection on the Readings and the Homily
The Prayers, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer