Maundy Thursday – Years A, B and C

Here are the resources you need for Maundy Thursday. Please feel free to choose what is suitable for your congregation’s needs. You will notice that the orders of service are available in different formats: choose the “pdf” format if you want something that is ready to print and photocopy, the “doc” or “rtf” format if you wish to change the formatting yourself or the “ppt” format if you use PowerPoint.

Notes on Foot Washing

The foot-washing, although usually reserved for the pastor when he is present, may, in his absence, take on a different meaning. Rather than have just one person doing the foot-washing, several congregation members may do this task for their fellow members. Perhaps congregational leaders (eg elders/church council members) may do this task. Alternatively, family members may wash the feet of others in their family. Use your imagination on this. What is suitable in one place may not be suitable in another.

If everyone is invited to have their feet washed, then they will need to have been warned beforehand that they will be invited to participate, so that they are able to wear shoes that are easily removed. Women in particular will find it hard to have their feet washed if they are wearing stockings. There must be no pressure on anyone to participate if they do not wish to do so.

Consider how the seating is arranged to enable the foot washing to occur. Before the service, prepare a bowl, a towel, and a jug of warm water. You may wish to put on an plain apron- avoid using fancy or patterned aprons.

Notes on stripping of the altar
The ceremony of stripping of the altar involves the progressive removal of the appointments and cloths covering the altar. This is done towards the end of the service, either during silence or during the reading of Psalm 88 or Psalm 22:1-11 or Psalm 22:1-21.

Originally the stripping was done on Maundy Thursday in order that the cloths and the altar might receive their once-a-year wash in preparation for Easter, but these days symbolism, rather than pragmatism, calls for the ceremony to be observed. The stripping of the altar table is seen as a symbol of the way in which Christ was stripped of his clothing and his dignity before his crucifixion. The rite points ahead to the second day of the Three Days to Easter celebration, Good Friday.

The sequence of removal of objects and cloths should be carefully planned beforehand. The assistants will need to be selected and trained, and, unless the cloths and objects are taken out of the church immediately, a small table must be prepared on which they may be placed once they have been removed. It perhaps works best if the pastor and one other assistant do the task of actually removing the cloths and other objects, and they then hand them to other assistants standing at the altar rail, who then put them away in the place prepared.

While the altar is stripped, the psalm may be sung or read. This is best done by a solo cantor or reader. An antiphon, Psalm 22:18, may be read at the beginning and the end of Psalm 88. The ‘Glory to the Father . . .’ is not used at the end of this psalm, nor with any psalms of the Three Days to Easter celebration.

If the lights are to be progressively dimmed, that should be well regulated, since a sudden darkness will take worshippers by surprise. A small light or candle needs to be provided for the person reading the psalm.

The rite suggests that the congregation may kneel and ‘remain for a time of silent meditation’. In fact, worshippers are often reluctant to do so since they feel uncomfortable in this ‘nothing’. One thing that may encourage worshippers to avail themselves of this opportunity for meditation is to use this time for a Taize-style meditation (see ‘Taize songs suitable for Maundy Thursday’ below, under ‘Hymns and songs’), but the use of silence should still be encouraged.

The service ends with the celebrant(s) and congregation leaving in silence.

Altar colour: White

Bible readings:
FIRST READING  Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14 The institution of the Passover
PSALM Psalm 116:1,2,12-19 *For musical settings of this Psalm, please see the song suggestions below*
SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 The institution of the Lord’s supper
GOSPEL John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Jesus washes his disciple’s feet

Lay-readers please note: the linked sermons have not been edited for general use. As part of your preparations, keep in mind that they have been written for specific people in a specific context, and for this reason the issues they address or the examples they use may not be entirely suitable for people in your congregation. If you feel this is the case, you may need to make minor adjustments or find another sermon

Based on gospel: Pr Stephen Pietsch, edited for lay reading  sermon – john 13 1-17 31b-35 – year a – maundy thursday sermon – john 13 1-17, 31b-35 – year b – maundy thursday , sermon – john 13 1-17 – year a b c – maundy thursday NEW edited for lay readingsermon – john 13 5-11 – year abc – maundy thursday
Based on second reading: Pr Vince Gerhardy, Dr Vic Pfitzner, NEW Pr Vince Gerhardy

Orders of service:
Word & Prayer- Maundy Thursday (pdf / doc / ppt )
Service without communion (pdf / doc / ppt)
Service orders with holy communion
The first service – Maundy Thursday (word / ppt)
Service with communion (page 6) (pdf / doc / ppt)
Alternative form A (page 58) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Sing the Feast (Chataway) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Simplified Spoken (pdf / doc/ ppt)

Prayer of the Day (Collect): Choose one of the following
O Lord Jesus Christ,
since you have left us a memorial
of your suffering and death
in the mystery of your holy sacrament:
Grant that we may so receive your body and blood
that the fruits of your redemption
may continually be revealed in us;
for you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.


OR, modernised traditional
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have left us a memorial
of your suffering and death
in your holy sacrament.
Nourish us with your body and blood,
so that our lives may show the fruits
of your redemption.
For you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, alternative
(Let us pray to receive life through the body and blood of Christ. [silence])
Heavenly Father,
your Son instituted his holy supper
as our passover feast,
and gave his life for us.
Unite us all by faith in him,
so that we who eat his body and drink his blood
may pass with him from death to life,
and serve one another.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, new
(Let us pray for strengthening through Christ’s body and blood. [silence])
Jesus Christ our Saviour,
thank you for giving your followers your holy supper
to commemorate your suffering and death.
Through your body and blood,
revive our faith in you
and increase our love to others.
For you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Offering Prayer:
Loving heavenly Father,
lead us to follow the example of humble service
given by your Son.
Strengthen us through his body and blood
to give ourselves to you
and to those in need.

Prayer after the gospel:
This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ (, Lamb of God).
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us
and giving your life in service for us.
Help us to love and serve one another.

Resources for services with Holy Communion:
The seasonal preface below is a modernised text for Holy Week recommended for use by the Department of Liturgics with all forms of the liturgy.

It is indeed right and good,
Lord God, holy Father,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
On the tree of the cross he gave salvation to all,
so that, where death began,
there life might be restored,
and that the enemy,
who by a tree once overcame,
might by a tree be overcome.
And so, with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we adore and praise your glorious name:

If using the Service – Alternative Form, Sing the Feast, or Worship Today settings, the eucharistic prayer may be modified as follows:

A. The Service—Alternative Form (also in the Sing the Feast settings).
All praise and thanks be to you, eternal God, holy Father,
together with your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit, who unites your people in love.
We thank you for creating all things.
We thank you for calling and rescuing your chosen people.
Above all we thank and praise you
for keeping your promise to the people of old
and sending your Son Jesus Christ.
He became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
He has given this holy supper
so that we may be assured of forgiveness of sins
won through the sacrifice of his life.
And so we remember
his life, death, and resurrection for our salvation
as he comes to us in this holy meal.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

B. Modern Liturgy (adapted from Worship Today).
Gracious Father,
we therefore remember the sacrifice of our Lord in celebration,
as we receive his body and blood
with this bread and wine.
We rejoice to receive all that he has done for us
in his life and death,
his resurrection and ascension.
We thank you that he became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross,
and that he has given this holy supper
so that we may be assured of forgiveness of sins
won through the sacrifice of his life.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit,
so that we who receive the body and blood of Christ
may live as true members of the body of your Son.

The following communion invitation may be used after the ‘Lamb of God’ and before the distribution.

Every time we eat this bread and drink from this cup
we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready.

There is no post-communion canticle at this service. Once the communicants have been dismissed, the post-communion prayer is said and then the stripping of the altar begins.

We give you thanks, almighty God,
that you have refreshed us
through this healing gift;
and we pray that through it
you would graciously strengthen us
in faith toward you
and in love toward one another.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Lord our God,
pour out your rich blessing on us
as we remember
the suffering and death of your Son.
Grant us pardon and comfort,
so that we may be assured
of our eternal salvation.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Visual images for the day: His Word in Pictures

Song/Hymn suggestions: * =  Modernised version available (please click here to go to the Modernised hymns page) ;G3, G4 . . . =  Guitar chords available in the Music Package 3, 4 . . .; GS =  Guitar chords in the Supplement to LH
First reading: Exodus 12:1-4(5-10)11-14

48    Lamb of God most holy * G5
89    Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands (esp v 3) * G5
112    Hail Thou once despised Jesus (vv 1,2) G3 (mod TIS 373)
847    The Lamb’s high banquet called to share (alt tune 227) G5
349    There is a Redeemer
364    Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands (does not contain original v 3)
373    Hail, our once-despised Jesus

Second reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-36

85    According to Thy gracious word G5
282    Draw nigh, and take the body of the Lord* (mod TIS 498)
285    To Thy most holy supper, Lord* G5
287    Deck thyself, my soul, in gladness* G5 (mod TIS 503)
291    Thy table I approach* G5
292    The death of Christ, our blessed Lord G5
320    I come to Thee, O blessed Lord* G3
837    Feed us now, Bread of life GS
839    I come, invited by your Word G7
846    The candles are lit GS
848    With deep humility, O Lord G5
69    Fill my house
71    The candles are lit
79    Feed us now
170    Take this bread
176    Take, eat, this is My body
279    And so we meet again
288    Take and eat
374    Always remember me
393    Real food, real drink
397    Before I take (These I lay down)
476    Here is bread
478    This is the body
479    For living, for dying
560   Can we break bread together?
571   On that final night
498    Draw near and take the body of our Lord
503    Robe yourself, my soul, in gladness
510    My God, your table now is spread
515    According to thy gracious word
538    Feed us now
540    Christians, lift your hearts and voices
707    Bread is blessed and broken

Gospel: John 13:1-17,31b -35

295    O Lord, we praise Thee* G3
344    Our God is love* G6
356    Lord of glory, who hast bought us* G3
381    O God our Father, throned on high G7
853    A new commandment GS (see TIS 699)
855    Brother, let me be your servant GS (mod TIS 650)
65    A new commandment
177    Love one  another
191    Brother, let me be your servant
261    The Servant King
310    Yesu, Yesu
340    Jesus was a servant
373    Bound by love
443    Like an angel
473    Bread for the world
571    On that final night
256    From heaven you came
434    Where there is charity and love
534    Love is his word (esp vv 1-4,6)
536    An upper room did our Lord prepare
640    Yesu, Yesu
648    Help us accept each other
650    Brother, sister, let me serve you
699    A new commandment

The following songs in the ‘All Together’ books are suitable for this day:

Individual absolution
38    One by one you call us home
225    Why do you love me?

For the foot-washing
65    A new commandment
177    Love one another
261    Servant King
340    Jesus was a servant

For the Lord’s supper
71    Face to face
77    God and man at table are sat down
79    Feed us now
167    I am the Bread of life
170    Take this bread
176     Take, eat, this is my body
179    Come let us eat
183    Look beyond the bread you eat
279    The Lord’s Supper
374    Always remember me
393    Real food, real drink
397    These I lay down
472    As we take this bread
473    Bread for the world
476    Here is bread
478    This is the body of Christ
479    For living, for dying
571    On that final night
658   Jesus, You are the Bread
659   Remember now, my children

Stripping the altar
275    In our darkness
287    Stay here
395    Stay with me

Other songs with a Maundy Thursday theme
135    Bitter was the night
139    Christ humbled himself
147    When our life began again
184    Love is the law
197    When I needed a neighbour
310    Yesu, Yesu, fill us with your love
344    The New Road (esp v 6)
538   They went to the garden

340    Before the cock crew twice
434    Where there is charity and love
501    Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory
524    Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest
528    The Son of God proclaim
536    An upper room did our Lord prepare
608    Where cross the crowded ways of life
640    Kneels at the feet of his friends

Taize songs are simple chants which are designed to be sung as aids to prayer and meditation. For this reason, they are short, but are designed to be sung continuously for reasonable periods of time (eg two to five minutes each), either with or without accompaniment by keyboard and other instruments. Between the chants, periods of silence are left for silent prayer (again, of reasonable length, eg five minutes).

Two or three chants, selected from the list below, may be very appropriate at the point of the stripping of the altar. Since it is dark, it will be necessary to have a cantor who can clearly sing the words if the congregation does not know them by heart. After the chant has been sung through completely once or twice, the congregation may join in.

Music from Taize, volume II
My heart is breaking with grief
My peace
Stay here
Stay with me
Stay with us
The Spirit is willing

Other appropriate songs from Taize for Maundy Thursday are:
For the footwashing (from ‘Music from Taize’, volume I)
Mandatum novum
Ubi caritas

For communion (from ‘Music from Taize’, volume II)
Eat this bread

See the document ‘Holy Week’, under ‘Iona songs suitable for Holy Week’, in the ‘General and seasonal’ folder. The following songs are suitable for Maundy Thursday.

John L Bell & Graham Maule, Wild Goose Songs vol. 2 Enemy of Apathy
page 34    The song of the supper

John L Bell & Graham Maule, Wild Goose Songs vol. 3 Love from Below
page 92    Jesus calls us
page 102    Come, Lord, be our guest
page 104    Among us and before us
page 106    These I lay down
page 110    Bread is blessed and broken
page 112    O taste and see

PSALM 116: 1,2,12-19
The following paraphrase of Psalm 116:1-4,12-19 by David Schütz may be sung either to the tune Melita (LH 400, TIS 138) or to the tune of the Song of Mary in the Modern Vespers of Worship Today. If reproducing this version, please put ‘Words (c) David Schütz’ at the beginning or the end of the psalm.

I love the Lord! He hears my prayers,
so all my life I’ll call on him.
When snares of death entangled me,
and pangs of hell laid hold of me,
I called upon God’s holy name:
‘I beg you, Lord, to save my life!’

What shall I offer to the Lord
for all his goodness shown to me?
I will lift up salvation’s cup
and call upon God’s holy name,
I’ll keep my promises to him
among his people gathered here.

O Lord, how dearly you are pained
when one of your true people dies!
I am your slave, your slavegirl’s child,
so, Lord, I’ll serve you all my days.
For you have freed me from the chains
that made me captive to the grave.

I pay my sacrifice of thanks,
and call upon God’s holy name.
I pay my vows unto the Lord
among his people gathered here,
here in the holy house of God,
here in your midst, Jerusalem.

Music Resources Vol. 3 – Psalm Settings : Psalm 116 p188 , Psalm 116 p189

While the LCA does not necessarily endorse the content of these websites, you may find them helpful in your worship planning.
Small Church Music: You can download mp3 and midi files of popular hymn tunes from this site.
Together to Celebrate: lectionary based song and hymn suggestions from a variety of sources.
Singing from the Lectionary: has song and hymn suggestions based on the RCL from other hymnals.
Song Select: you can search for more contemporary songs by theme. If your congregation has a paid subscription you can also download sheet music.
Hymns Without Words: mp3 downloads of hymn tunes.
Song and Hymn Index. Contains all the indexes of the LHS and AT books in one Excel file. Download the file (zip file) here.
Metrical Psalms
by Dale Schoening : Psalms set to well known hymn tunes.

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