Maundy Thursday Agape Meal
Agape meals were part of the worshipping life of the early church. They took up the banquet imagery present in a number of Jesus’ parables. They were occasions of joy and festivity as the community celebrated the gift of life through Christ. Tonight we gather at many tables in many homes to remember that meal so long ago when Jesus gathered with his dearest friends, his disciples. You may choose to share this liturgy at 7pm when many from our churches are praying together. Feel free to make this your own, perhaps including more silence or appropriate music such as Idina Menzel – At This Table, (which we played at our last St. David’s Uniting Church evening Communion) or a favourite hymn. You will need some bread, a cup of wine/juice and perhaps a candle. You are invited to read the whole script and say aloud the words in bold italics.
We gather where we are. We gather as we are. We gather with God.
Tonight we remember the wilderness around us: physical separation, quarantine, illness, unemployment, deployment of health care workers, fear, uncertainty and grief. We also remember the wilderness to come for Jesus: betrayal, denial by his closest friends, suffering and death.
Let us seek God’s nourishment, strength and hope to face the wilderness.
A Ritual of Washing
Gather at the sink. Read John 13:1-9.
Water has always been a sign of creation, life, birth and rebirth.
We remember the water of baptism, a symbol of our dying and rising in
Christ. Tonight, at Christ’s invitation, we share this water of service and love. With this water may God bless us as we wash our hands and prepare to eat.
At the table
Read Mark 14:12-26
Jesus gathered around tables just like yours. When Jesus poured wine, and bread was broken; when everyone could eat – the outcast and the beloved; the arrogant and the gracious; the wrong-doer and the wrongly done by – the table became a foretaste of love made real and a world made whole.
Tonight, we welcome Christ around our home tables.
Light a candle to symbolize Christ’s presence.
So if you have burdens you need to lay down, welcome to the table. If you need to hear words of forgiveness, welcome to the table. If you need the strength to forgive, to believe, to grieve, to love, or simply to carry on, welcome to the table where Christ is guest and host. For this and so much more, let us give God our thanks, let us pray…
Give yourselves a few minutes – out loud or in silence – to offer your own prayers to God – perhaps saying ‘thanks’, ‘sorry’, ‘help me’ or ‘hold me’… End by saying The Lord’s Prayer
We remember the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples – a meal which celebrated God’s liberating power.
Living God, for the food before us, for the community surrounding us
and the love around and within us, we say thank you! Amen
At that last supper with his friends, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it and shared it with his disciples saying, “Take and eat, this is my body broken for you. Do this and remember me.”
(Break the bread)
We remember how, after the meal, He took the cup of wine, gave thanks for it and then passed it around with these words: “This is my blood shed for you. Drink this and remember Me”. And now, every time we eat bread like this, and every time we drink wine like this, we remember Jesus, and His everlasting love.
(Share the bread and wine followed by a time of stillness)
The meal is over but the journey continues…
As we look to the cross, as we feel the wilderness closing in around us,
we trust in God, who promises to fill the void of shadow with light and the emptiness of death with life.
Let us leave this time with trembling hearts, to receive and sow the seeds of God’s beloved community – and to all our friends, gathered and scattered, near and far, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us this night and evermore. Amen.
After this meal, Jesus spent some time in the Garden of Gethsemane. If warm enough, you might want to sit in your garden and read Mark 14:32-50.