Maundy Thursday – In this time and space

By Uniting Church Canberra Region Presbytery

From around your home, gather these items:
» a light – either a candle or a torch
» some coins
» a towel
» a plate and a cup

In this time and space we shall spend time with each item.

A time to begin
Sit in a place that is quiet. If you are with others, sit so you can see each other. Sit in the quiet. Take four deep breaths—slowly in, slowly out.
Then pray: Gracious God, we sit in your presence. Wherever we are, there you are also. In the quiet of this evening, we seek to draw close to you. Bless us with the gift of peace as we sit, reflect, and pray.

A time for reading
Read through the story: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

A time for singing
Were You There is a hymn that takes us through the story of the death of Jesus. It asks us if we were there, when that death took place.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;
were you there when they crucified my Lord?

What verses could you add to the song from this story?
Take some minutes to jot down your thoughts.

If you are familiar with the song,
you might like to sing your new verses. 

A prayer for meditation
In the midst of it all –
the foot-washing servanthood,
the salivating wolves, the knives
from friends poised to cut,
the presence of mind still to trust
this Sacred work of glory – in all
of this he paused to see
our fears, and speak
that reminder of law, of all
he’d come to teach us:
love. Look to each other
and love, that is what you can
do for me, must do with me
to show the Way to life: love.
Written by the Rev. Dr Sarah Agnew, from Pray the Story

A time for reflection
Take up the items you collected earlier.
Take some time to hold each item,
to focus on what it represents.
You may wish to pray in the silence,
or to use words that come to mind,
or to use the prayers offered below.

A plate and cup
Jesus had shared an important meal with his disciples.Give thanks to God for the times you have shared important meals with others.
Jesus, humble and strong, on the night you were betrayed, you took bread and wine, signs of the covenant. Take us; consecrate, break and distribute us, to be for all people a means of your grace and vehicles of your love. Amen.

A towel
Jesus washed the feet of each of his disciples.
When have you shown service to others?
Ask God to be with those you know are in need of care today.

You might like to wash the hands or feet of those in your house. Pray for each other. Or if by yourself, as you feel the water or the towel, be assured of God’s presence with you in this time.
Jesus, humble and strong, on the night you were betrayed, you knelt before your disciples and washed them clean. Wash us by your word, that we may serve your sisters and brothers.

Some coins
Judas betrays Jesus. He was given some coins. Hold the coins and recall the part of the story where Judas betrays Jesus. You might like to bang the coins around in your hand. Imagine what it might have been like for both Jesus and Judas in that moment of betrayal.

Pray that God will forgive us for times when we hurt others.
Jesus, humble and strong, on the night you were betrayed, one of your disciples gave you up for thirty coins of silver. Hold us close to yourself, that we may know your presence and reach out to serve others around us.

A light
Turn all the lights off in the room.
Imagine the night in the upper room, with low lights burning.
Imagine the garden where a light burns before chaos erupts and Jesus is arrested.

Ask God to hold the pain of the world in this moment.
Turn off the light.
Sit in the silence.

Closing Prayer
Holy God, on this, the night he was betrayed,
your Son Jesus Christ washed his disciples’ feet.
We commit ourselves to follow his example of love and service.
Lord, hear us … and humble us.
On this night, he prayed for his disciples to be one.
We pray for the unity of your Church…
Lord, hear us … and unite us.
On this night, he prayed for those
who were to believe through their faith.
We pray for the mission of your Church…
Lord, hear us … and renew our zeal.
On this night, he commanded them to love,
but suffered rejection himself.
We pray for the rejected and unloved…
Lord, hear us … and fill us with your love.
On this night, he reminded them
that if the world hated them, it hated him first.
We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith…
Lord, hear us … and give us your peace. Amen.

Prepared by Rev. Dr John Squires, Presbytery Minister,
Canberra Region Presbytery; adapted from resources
shared by Rev. Denise Savage, Presbytery Minister,
Presbytery of Tasmania, April 2020

Photo of Uniting Church Canberra Region Presbytery

Written by Uniting Church Canberra Region Presbytery

The Canberra Region Presbytery is a group of 30 congregations which, along with agencies such as Greenhills Conference Centre, live out the mission of Jesus and the call to enter into the unity which Jesus prayed for in John 17. Canberra region Presbytery has three geographical regions: Country, Coast and Capital.

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