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Maundy Thursday Liturgy

Today Waypoint people are celebrating Maundy Thursday with a meal in homes throughout the area. This is the first year we are practicing it this way. So, we wanted to share the liturgy with everyone in case you are unable to attend one of the dinners.

Liturgy for the Maundy Thursday Meals

What Does Maundy Thursday Mean?

Christ's "mandate" is commemorated on Maundy Thursday---"maundy" being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means "command." It was on the Thursday of Christ's final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said this commandment to His disciples. Jesus and his disciples had just shared what was known as the Last Supper and he was washing their feet when he stated:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

What Was the New Commandment Given on Maundy Thursday?

One thing it did, was to raise the definition of love to a new and higher standard. A new standard that is a fixture in the new kingdom that Jesus brought. He describes it as a ‘new commandment’. Love, of course, is central in many parts of the Old Testament. The book Leviticus (19:18) commanded the Israelites to love their neighbors as themselves. But the newness isn’t so much a matter of never having heard words like this before. It’s a matter of the mode of this love, the depth and type of this love: love one another in the same way that I have loved you.

It has been hard for the disciples up to this point even to appreciate what Jesus has been doing on their behalf; now he’s telling them to copy him! As Jesus is washing their feet at this meal, they are to look back at his whole life, his whole way and manner of life, and to find in it a pattern, a shape, an example, a power. To wash someone else’s feet, you have to think of yourself as only a slave. That, as we saw, can feed all the wrong kind of thinking: it can produce a sort of inverted pride, a pride at one’s own humility. But with love there’s no danger of that. Love is all about the other person. It overflows into service, not in order to show off how hard-working it is, but because that is its natural form.

Jesus sacrificially met His followers' deepest need---that of new spiritual life and the forgiveness of sins. He even loved His enemies, and He calls us to show love to those who don't appear to deserve it. Just as Jesus loved sinners "to the end" (or "to the max" John 13:1) when He had nothing to gain from them, so must we. The Bible says that there was nothing attractive about sinful mankind that drew Him to love us. God loved us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). Salvation is not only a wonderful gift that protects us from the penalty that we deserve (Romans 6:23), but by the finished work of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit we are granted spiritual strength that motivates godly action in us so we obey Christ's new command to love---to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and even to love those who we think deserve it least.

And now we will read 1 John 1:7-12, as Jesus’ disciple John, teaches local churches about Jesus’ new commandment to love,

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Take a moment to reflect on these words and the new commandment Jesus gives us.

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