MAUNDY THURSDAY SERVICE

1ST APRIL 2021

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SENTENCE OF SCRIPTURE

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our resurrection, our salvation and our life.

HYMN

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS

sung by Annabelle Guthrie

COLLECT

God our Father, as you invite us to share in the supper that your Son gave to his Church to proclaim his death until he comes:

inspire us by his service, and unite us in his love;

who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Catholic hymn: One Bread, One Body

FIRST READING

PSALM 116: 1, 10-17 read by David Kerr

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.

The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my consternation, “Everyone is a liar.”

The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.

The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

O Lord, I am your servant;
 I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord

The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

SECOND READING

1 CORINTHIANS 11. 23–26 read by David Kerr

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For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING

JOHN 13. 1–17, 31b–35 read by Rev Janice Aiton

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John chapter 13 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to

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wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 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.”

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord.

SERMON

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Whilst this past year has brought many blessings, it has also stirred up longings within me. How I have longed for Holy Communion- to eat the bread and drink the wine. How I have longed for a meal with a friend or family member. There is something about eating together that creates an intimacy, a sense of love and belonging. Tonight, we see that intimacy as Jesus shares his last supper with his disciples.

This intimacy is palpable, as Jesus draws near to his disciples and washes their feet. I can imagine with what tenderness Jesus touches the disciples’ feet, looks into their eyes, calls each by their name and says a special word to each one. When Jesus speaks at the meal, he speaks to them all. He does not have a personal contact with each one individually. But as he kneels humbly before each one and washes their feet, he has a personal contact with each one. He reveals to each one his love. He reminds them that they are his beloved; that they are precious to him; that they are his friends; that they are one with him. What intimacy there must have been as Jesus lifts the disciples’ feet onto his knee; as he pours gently water over their feet, as he washes with tenderness their feet and as he completes the task by drying their feet with his towel. A simple act and yet oh so powerful.

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This action symbolises for us a gentle humble serving Christ. This gentle humble serving Christ kneels before us tonight and offers to wash our feet. The intimacy of it is startling.  The Son of God, come to meet our needs, to show us how we are to be with one another. This is love in action. Not a powerful love that sways nations and brings down mountains, but a humble serving heart, longing to minister to each of us, to meet our simple needs and to teach us how to meet those needs in others, so that we can become a community that loves and cares for the world.

I wonder, can we allow Jesus to wash our feet? Can you see Christ kneeling at your feet, gently ministering to you, feel the water, the towel, the sure hands and generous heart? Can we receive that tender love or do we like Peter take down our guard? Do we bluster and protest that you can’t wash my feet because I’m the one that looks after others, or ‘there are many more deserving than me’, or ‘I’m alright by myself’, or ‘I’m sure you don’t have time for me’, or ‘I’m ashamed of my dirty feet and the way they are bent and crooked and out of shape’, or ‘I feel too vulnerable to put myself into your hands because I don’t know what will happen to me, whether I will be able to bear the touch and gentleness of your love’.  And then we hear Jesus’s words to the disciples ‘Later you will understand.’ All we are asked to do is to place ourselves in his hands and trust his loving purposes for our lives. The disciples did not know what was fully to happen and neither do we.

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Jesus knew all that was to happen. He knew all things had been given into his hands. He knew that his hour of humiliation was near, but he knew that his hour of glory was also near. Such a consciousness might well have filled him with pride; and yet, with the knowledge of the power and the glory that were his, he washed his disciples’ feet. At that moment when he might have had supreme pride, he had supreme humility. Love is always like that. When, for example, someone falls ill, the person who loves him will perform the most menial services and delight to do them, because love is like that. Sometimes people feel that they are too distinguished to do the humble things, too important to do some menial task. Jesus was not so. He knew that he was Lord of all, and yet he washed his disciples’ feet. One by one, Jesus kneels on the floor in front of each disciple. One by one, the water of his love washes over the feet of each disciple. No one is left out. Judas. Peter. The ones who say nothing. All are washed. All are loved. The King kneels before his subjects; the Master washes the feet of his disciples.

This is not how the world works.  In the world there is a pyramid of power.  At the top are the rich, the powerful, and the intelligent.  They set the standards and enforce the rules.  At the bottom are the weak, the poor, the powerless, the vulnerable: the immigrants and refugees, the unemployed and destitute, the mentally ill and physically disabled, the uneducated, the exploited and oppressed, the excluded and marginalized, those without power and without a voice.  This is true of every human culture.  In every human culture there is a pyramid of power.

Jesus subverts the pyramid of power by taking the place of the least and the lowliest.  He stoops to align himself with those at the bottom; those in the last place, the place of servants and slaves. “I have set you an example.”  Seek out the broken and the lost.  Listen with compassion to those whose dignity has been trampled upon; listen with compassion to those who have come to see themselves as failures in the world; listen with compassion to those who have forgotten – or never have really known – what it is to be loved, truly loved, just as they are.  What a contrast this is to the ways in which the powerful so often act to promote their own interests!

Tonight’s liturgy holds before us a choice like no other liturgy in the church year. That choice is about vulnerability, intimacy, and love. It is, in some ways, more challenging, more real, than many of us are comfortable with.

Jesus chose to love. Not some, but all. That is the choice before us. We cannot choose to love only those whom we like, whom we deem deserving, for whom we have good feelings, those who look, think, or act like us. It is all or nothing. If we do not love all, we love none. Love, for Jesus, is not about feelings and emotions but about a choice. In Jesus’ teaching your feet get washed, regardless of where those feet have been or where they are going. That is the example and commandment he sets before his disciples and us.

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This past year we have seen this example of love lived out in so many ways. Have you seen the masked faces of doctors and nurses who continue to show up knowing they are putting themselves and their families at risk? Those are faces of love.

Do you hear a different tone, a deeper sincerity, when someone now asks, “Are you ok? Do you need anything?” That’s a voice of love. 

I continue to see social media posts about people who are sewing masks at home, delivering groceries to neighbours, organizing food distributions for their community, or making funny videos about life today. Every one of those is an act of love. 

Are you noticing and saying thank you more often to the essential and often anonymous workers who keep things going – restaurant chefs, shop assistants, police officers, utility workers, postal workers, and delivery drivers? The eyes of love don’t miss a thing.

Do you still smile at others even when your face is covered by a mask? “Love never ends.” Even if it’s not seen or recognized it makes a difference.

I’ve had strangers on the same side of the street stop, turn to me, and chat “Hi. How are you?” And in that moment, there is a connectedness, a bond, an intimacy, a feeling of love.

Have you listened to the news, read the latest statistics, or heard someone’s story about what’s happened, and you just broke down and wept? Love can break your heart. 

Does it feel to you like creation is more beautiful, life is more wonderful, and people are more precious than ever before? Love changes everything. 

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All throughout the world, this country, this city, your life and mine, feet are being washed in a thousand different ways. And it only took a pandemic to remind us of what really matters. Let’s never forget again. Let’s never, ever, stop loving. Let’s take up the commandment Jesus gives: “Love one another as I have loved you”.

It is these words that Jesus utters afresh to us tonight “Love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus loved his disciples as his own and he loved them to the end. This very same love is ours in Christ. Tonight, Jesus kneels before us individually and tells us how much he loves us – we are his beloved, we are precious, we are dearly loved by him. Amen

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AN ACT OF HUMILITY, REPENTANCE, AND RENEWAL

Dear friends in Christ, the Lord Jesus suffered for us, leaving us an example that we might follow in his steps. In his incarnation he took our human flesh and lived among us for a time. He came not to be served but to serve, and to give up his life for us. Christ died for us, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, in whose image we have been created.

In Baptism we have died in the flesh and been made alive in the Spirit. We have been buried with Christ, that we might share in his resurrection.

As we celebrate the mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection, let us come before God in penitence, praying that God’s image in us may be restored, and that we may be renewed in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I ask you, therefore:

Do you place your faith in God, who created the world, and in whose image you are made?

We do.

Do you place your hope in Jesus Christ, who died for you and was raised from the dead?

We do.

Do you place your trust in God’s Holy Spirit, who empowers and directs your life in accordance with God’s will?

We do.

Do you repent of the sin which has separated you from God, and marred God’s image in you?

We repent.

Do you accept again the cleansing from the power of sin, which you first received in your Baptism?

We do.

Will you model your life on the example of your Lord, Jesus Christ?

With the help of God, we will.

Will you take up your cross, and follow Christ?

With the help of God, we will.

Will you seek to serve God and God’s people, and not only to be served?

We will, after the example of Christ.

Will you recognise in others the image of God in which you and they are made?

We will, after the example of Christ.

Will you be faithful in worship, in reading holy Scripture, and in prayer?

We will, by the grace of God’s Holy Spirit.

Will you use your gifts in the service of Christ’s Body, the Church?

We will, by the grace of God’s Holy Spirit.

ABSOLUTION

You have been baptised into the death of Christ, and called to a life of humble and loving service to God and to others. All have sinned, and fallen short of God’s will for us. You have turned to God in penitence and faith, and promised to follow in the way of the cross. Receive this water as a sign of forgiveness of your sin, restoration of God’s image in you, and of the renewing and restoring power of God’s Holy Spirit. Amen

HYMN

INTERCESSIONS

Faith is my guide | Spiritual prayers, Faith, Faith in god

Father, on this the night that he was betrayed, Your Son Jesus Christ washed his disciples’ feet.

We commit ourselves to follow his example of love and service.

Lord hears us

and humble us.

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On this night, Jesus prayed for his disciples to be one.

We pray for the unity of your church, for St John’s, for other churches in Dumfries and for the wider church family nationally and globally.

Lord hears us

and humble us.

On this night, Jesus prayed for those who were to believe his message.

We pray for the mission of your church at home and abroad.

Lord hears us

and humble us.

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On this night Jesus commanded his disciples to love but suffered rejection himself.

We pray for the rejected and unloved.

Lord hears us

and humble us.

Religious Persecution - The Ever-Growing Threat To Us All

On this night Jesus reminded his disciples if the world hated them, it hated him first.

We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith.

Lord hears us

and give us your peace.

Father, accept the prayer of your Church on this day when Christ, our high priest, gave himself to us; and taught us to say,

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,

now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

BAIRSTOW LAMENTATIONS

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PRAYER

Almighty God, source of all love, whose only-begotten son, on the night of his betrayal, gave his disciples a new commandment, to love one another as he loved them:

write this commandment in our hearts; and give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, who gave his life and died for us, yet is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

VIGIL

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Every service held in St Johns involves the use of artistic expression spanning thousands of years of Church history. Some of the events we run however specifically seek to experiment with new forms of artistic expression and to embody the tradition we have received to express it in fresh and creative ways.

Examples of this have been using the whole building (rather than just the sanctuary) for worship, changing the seating arrangement and sit in a circle with the communion table at the center, collaboratively working on banners seeking out you tube clips and popular music and, well many more examples can be found on this page.