Celebrating Maundy Thursday: A Guide

Apr 1, 2020

Though we are not able to gather in each other’s homes this year, we hope that remembering the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday will be a time of knowing God’s solidarity with us in suffering. If you are at home with family or roommates, we encourage you to take part together. If you are on your own, we encourage you to reach out to others for a video-chat to share the meal virtually. For families with younger children, kid-friendly options are offered throughout the guide.

Dinner Script and Instructions

This is a suggested order of worship for the night, but you do not have to follow it in every single way. ​We hope your celebration will be casual, worshipful, and intentional.

Preparation

The dinner can be led by one person or by several participants; our recommendation is to simply plan in advance who is doing what so that everyone knows their role. 

If participants would like to follow along during Communion, have the passage (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) ready in your Bible or Bible app.

 

Meal Time

Pray for the meal

Let’s pray together for this night and for the food.

Introduce the Celebration

“We’re here to celebrate Maundy Thursday. This is the night where Jesus gave the command to his disciples to love one another as He loved them. So in the same way, that’s why we’re here.”

Conversation Points

  • Have you done anything special for Lent? How has that affected you?
  • Has there been a verse or picture of who God is which is comforting, strengthening, or helping you right now?
  • What has stood out to you about the way you have been relating to God in this time of social distancing?
  • For Kids: ​Ask the kids what stories they’ve been talking about in Kidsrock at Home this month.
  • For teens: Ask them what they’ve been doing in youth group online hangouts. Where have they noticed their spiritual lives connecting with their daily lives?

Optional Activity: Origami Dove Notes

If you've participated in the dove origami project this week, we invite you to continue the art project by writing or drawing your hopes, dreams, or thoughts and reflections from the Lenten sermon series onto your origami paper before refolding it into a dove. As a reminder, here are folding instructions for adults and kids.

God is making something new in you in this season, and your paper dove can be a symbol of that reality. Decorate your home with many doves to remind you of the many blessings of God, or consider displaying many doves on your porch, front yard, or front window to bless those who pass by with something beautiful.

Communion can seem like an inward practice for church-people, but we receive Jesus in order to turn and give (or embody) Him to the world. How can your practice of communion at home spill over into the world around you?

Communion

At the conclusion of the dinner, communion is served.

Fill one cup with wine, grape juice, or another simple beverage like milk or water. In addition to bread, you can choose something similarly basic and simple, like a cracker, if that is what you have on hand.

Opening Prayer

"O Lord Jesus, on this night you began to show us how deep your love is, and how much you were willing to sacrifice for us. We gather to mirror your great love for us, you have given us this joyful and new commandment: that we ought to love one another, as you have loved us. Be with us now as we celebrate your love for us, and our love for one another as we share this meal.”

  • Kid-Friendly Option: “Kids, if you’ve never seen communion or don’t know what it’s all about, you can enjoy watching it and then talk to your parents afterward about what it means. I also have a blessing I’d be happy to give to you as well after we’re done (see below). If you understand communion as a chance to show your faith in Jesus and want to join in with us, you are absolutely welcome to. Either is great!”
The Bread

Take the ​bread​ (or cracker), break it, and say, “Tonight we remember that on this, the night Jesus was betrayed, our Lord took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”

Distribute a piece to each person saying, “​(NAME) ​This is Christ’s body given for you.”

The Wine

Lifting your cup of wine or juice, say, “After supper he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, ‘Drink of it, all of you. This is my Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.’”

Instruct people to dip the bread in the cup and then pass the Cup saying, ​“(NAME) This is Christ’s blood shed for you.”

After everyone has dipped their bread, you can say, “Take and eat, the body and blood of Jesus.”

Silent Prayer

“Let’s spend some time in silent prayer thanking Jesus for his work and/or asking forgiveness and/or just enjoying being in the presence of God. We’ll do this for a short time and I’ll close us in prayer.” (Allow for some quality time here. Do not be too hasty to fill silence).

  • ​Kid-Friendly Option: If your children are not receiving communion, you can offer this blessing. Place your hands on their heads, saying, "May you know how high and wide and long and deep is the love that Jesus has for you. May that love fill your life as you come to understand the fullness of God's grace for you, his precious child."
Closing Prayer

“​Lord Jesus, we love you. Hear our prayers. Receive our confessions. Assure us of your presence and forgiveness. With incredible anticipation, we await the day when we will share this table together with you at the Great Wedding Feast. Until then, help us to grow in love for each other and in love for the world. And tonight, as we love one another as you love us, give us a taste of that great Feast to come. This we pray in your wonderful Name, Amen.”

Closing

Choose one or two questions below, and ask each person to share at least ​one word or phrase​ that reflects their answer.

  • What does remembering God’s love look like to you right now?
  • What has God been inviting you to unlearn?
  • Is there something specific you feel God is inviting you to take hold of in place of what you are unlearning?

Pray to close the gathering.