Come Worship with Us on Maundy Thursday

What is Maundy Thursday?
Dear Friends

Maundy Thursday is the first of the Three Great Days (Triduum,) the second is Good Friday, and the third is Easter Vigil, which is the celebration of the Resurrection, which we do on Sunday morning. Historically in the Church, Maundy Thursday was when the penitents, restricted from the Eucharist during Lent, were forgiven and reinstated to communion.

It marks the end of the Lenten period, which began on Ash Wednesday. Some churches do not have an absolution (declaration of forgiveness of sins) during this time, so the congregation hears the words of absolution for the first time since Ash Wednesday. Individual absolution is offered during the service, as well as communal absolution.

In the Gospel passage from John for this day, Jesus gives his great commandment – to love each other as he has loved us. He demonstrates his love by washing his disciples' feet. Many churches reenact this by having clergy or others wash the feet of representatives of the congregation.

But the true fulfillment of this first day of the Three Days is the Eucharist. Our second reading is Paul's recalling of Jesus' Words of Institution when Jesus instituted Eucharist: This is my body. . . This is my blood. We receive Jesus in bread and wine, the ultimate sign of Jesus' love for us. After communion, the altar is stripped of its paraments, and other adornments symbolizing Jesus becoming completely deserted and made vulnerable to death on the night of his betrayal.

There is no benediction to represent the Three Days' connectedness. You are invited to resume worship on Good Friday. As the altar is stripped, Psalm 22 is chanted, starting with the words Jesus prayed from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me. . ." All are encouraged to leave in silence to meditate on the meaning of this service.

Pastor Mark Sundberg
Holy Week Services:
Maundy Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 pm
Good Friday, April 15 at 7:30 pm
Easter Sunday, April 17 at 9:30 am
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