Maundy Thursday Service from Laura Westby

Maundy Thursday Service from Laura Westby

Maundy Thursday service by Laura Westby

Hymn “What Wondrous Love Is This” No. 183
Call to Worship and Handwashing (background music)

As the disciples gathered in confusion and fear, Jesus took a bowl of water and bathed his friend’s feet. It was such a simple act, a humble service extended to the ones he loved. Perhaps as he knelt before each one, gently removing the dirt and dung of their long journey, he offered a word of comfort or encouragement to sustain them in the even more arduous journey ahead.

Take a moment and feel the presence of Jesus in the room where you are sitting. Feel his love for you, his desire to gently remove all the fears and worries of the day.

Now, using the water and towel you have prepared, wash your own or one another’s hands and then dry them gently. As you do so, feel the warm touch of your savior flowing through you, preparing you for your own journey through the difficult days ahead.


If only it were otherwise. If only I could present my credentials, show my accomplishments, exercise some control. If only I could continue to clothe myself in the garments of worthiness I have made for myself. But the garments that I thought would protect me and those I love are in tatters. We have been brought to our knees, Lord. And we have found you there; ready to embrace us, care for us, comfort us. You have bathed our spirits in your love and bound up our wounds with your grace. And now we sit in your presence. We would not have it be otherwise.

Scripture Reading John 12:1-11


Anthem and anointing of hands (background music)

The act of anointing is an ancient one, a symbolic practice signifying honor and care and extravagant love. In his life and death, Jesus embodied the honor, care, and extravagant love God has for each of us and all of us. As a sign of your desire to accept and share that holy embrace, pour a small amount of the oil or lotion you have set aside and anoint your own hands or the hands of those gathered with you.


The Lord’s Supper and The Lord’s Prayer

Words of invitation

Like us, the disciples were ordinary people living in an extraordinary time. As they gathered in that Upper Room, they knew something was about to happen, sensed that their lives would were changing in ways they only guess at. Some were anxious, some were angry, some were at peace. And Jesus fed them all- the ones who would fall asleep, the ones who would run away, even the one who would betray him; because his love bridged every barrier. So it is for us; there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. And although we are not physically present with one another, it is as it has always been- we are united in this holy meal with all who have ever shared it in Christ’s name.

Prayer of blessing over elements

Words of remembrance and receiving elements

Prayer of thanksgiving and Lord’s Prayer

We give You the thanks, Blessing God, for this holy meal. In the bread that has been broken, we have seen our oneness with each other and You. Through the cup that has been poured and shared, we have tasted your goodness. With our hunger for You filled and our thirst for You eased, we take on your command to be bread and cup for the world. We pray as you taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


Introduction to the Shadows:


Shadow of Betrayal: Matthew 26:20-25

Shadow of Desertion: Matthew 26:31-35

The Agony of the Soul: Luke 22:39-44

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord”? (Verse 1)

Unshared Vigil: Mark 14:32-41

Father, the hour has come: John 17:1-6

That they may all be one: John 17:15-22

“Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree”? (Verse 2)

Arrest in the Garden: John 18:1-5

Shadow of the Cross: Mark 15:16-20

“Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb”? (Verse 3)

Final Reading: John 1:1-4, 14

Reflection in Silence (focus on single candle for one minute, then postlude)


A Lenten Prayer of Transformation
“The Life-Giving Lattice of the Ordinary”
David Long-Higgins, Conference Minister, Heartland Conference UCC.

This Lent, O Love,
Has heaved a heaviness.
It has shown shadows
before unknown.

Wonder has turned
Into worry
At warp speed.

So slow me down.
In the midst of
This extraordinary time,
Grant me the grace
Of noticing
Your continual arrival
Revealed in the life-giving
Lattice of the ordinary.

Let it be as light
As the sun
Falling on
Whatever it will
In the morning.

As Your light reveals
The gift of the hidden,
Let me also lightly,
In word and silence,
Tend the gift
Of this day
And the holy intersections
Which already await me.

Begin again,
Your work and way
Of love in me.
Redraw the lines
Of despair and drudgery
With delight.

Yes, Love,
​Let it be so...


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