As our church continues to walk together with Jesus in the Lenten Season, the pastoral staff would like to share the questions we’re asking one another in our collaborative planning of Holy Week. It is our hope that each of you will pray for the staff in our intentional planning and so that you will prepare your hearts for intentional participation during Holy Week. Yesterday, we shared the prompts we’re discussing for Palm Sunday. Today, we’re sharing the prompts for Maundy Thursday.
Thurs, April 14: Maundy Thursday – an immersive worship experience
Calendar Placeholder for the congregation: evening service
“Maundy” is derived from the Latin word for “command,” and refers to Jesus’ commandment to the disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” Traditionally, TBC has gathered on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, partaking in the Lord’s Supper, and following Jesus into the garden of Gethsemane. These three movements are a given in this year’s immersive worship experience. .
As we consider purpose and intention in our planning, we will inevitably find ourselves re-traditioning the Maundy Thursday Service.
MOVEMENT ONE:FOOT WASHING
Invitation and challenge?
When Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, Peter resists. Ultimately, Peter relents when he comes to realize that the invitation is actually a commandment. For years now, we’ve been reluctant to insist that leaders or worshippers participate in the first first movement of the service, mostly because there is a strong resistance to anyone touching our feet. Should we continue to make the first movement “optional”, what message are we re-enforcing? In turn, if full participation is an expectation, how do we convey the invite in the spirit it is being offered?
Secondly, on the heel of foot washing, Jesus offers these words of invitation and challenge, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Whereas, it’s essential we avoid public piety, it is also really important for the world to see us loving one another. As we plan this year’s Maundy Thursday Service, are there deliberate steps we can take in modeling Christ-like love to our neighbors and the world around us?
MOVEMENT TWO: BREAD AND CUP
The guest list?
As we plan the second movement of the immersive worship experience, who decides on the invite list? What does intentional invitation look like? How will we discern as to whether or not our invitation the the table is a faithful representation of Jesus’ invitation to HIS table?
MOVEMENT THREE: HOW DEEP DO WE MOVE INTO THE GARDEN?
As we follow Jesus to the garden, do we conclude the service at arrival or go a little deeper into the story as he expresses the betrayal he experiences in their sleeping during his hour of great need? If we conclude with “arrival”, how do we help our folks reflect upon this before the Good Friday Service? If we conclude with Jesus’ expression of betrayal, how do we help our folks keep their focus on continuing to walk Jesus? Shame can easily stop any one of us from walking.
Please pray for the staff as we consider these questions, and many others in our planning. We’ll share the essential stuff as clarity comes. Here’s what we know so far….
- April 10 Palm Sunday: 9 am – 12:23 pm (walking in the city + worship at 11)
- April 14 Maundy Thursday: an immersive worship experience (evening)
- April 15 Good Friday: a somber and reflective worship service (7:00 PM)
- April 16 Easter Egg Hunt and Cookout (4:30 PM)
- April 17 Easter morning: (early breakfast and 11 am worship service)