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Maundy Thursday Communion Liturgy

submitted by Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, New York

This liturgy was written for an informal service of communion following a potluck meal.

Invitation to the Table

The night may have been much like tonight;
the room, much like this one;
the people, much like us, too.

Matthew tells it like this:

On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Remembering this last and first meal,
we move from this incredible feast to another glorious meal.
So let us sing as we make our way to this feast.

(sing a hymn, perhaps “An Upper Room Did Our Lord Prepare”)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of all time and all creation,
we thank you for your work in our world,
for good food and good friends,
for the time to share a bountiful meal
and the space to worship you.
All that we have and all that we are comes from you.

Most of all, this night we thank you for Jesus Christ,
for the faithful and righteous life that he lived,
for the journey he made during this week that we celebrate from exalted king to crucified lord,
and for the meal that he shared with his disciples before he was killed,
where he revealed and shared his full self with those who cared for him.

Be present with us now, by the power of your Spirit,
that once again this meal might be a chance for us to share in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May this bread be for us the body of Christ,
this cup be the blood of our Lord,
and the sharing of this feast our participation in that meal of so long ago.

Strengthen us by this meal for the journey ahead,
that we might continue to walk with Christ along the road of his passion and death
as we await his rising on Easter and to the fullness of new life.
Through Christ, who shares this table with us even now, we pray. Amen.

Sharing the Meal

Among friends, gathered around a table, as they shared a meal as we have done,
Jesus took bread, gave thanks to God, and gave it to his disciples,
promising that as they ate they would share in his life and death and resurrection.
As we share it now, we join in the feast of all creation, now and always.

And he also shared a cup of wine, offering them a taste of the new covenant of life sealed in his life.
As we share it now, we join in the feast of all creation, now and always.

So come on this holy night.
Share this holy meal.
Remember our Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep the feast now and always.

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