Love Feast

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
April 5, 2012
Maundy Thursday              7:00pm

Preparing the Way

Gathering Music

Video clip of Last Supper



Hymn                                 "Here in our upper room"                                  450

Unison Prayer of Preparation                                                                      781

Moving Onward  (take a hymnal with you)

The Way of Tub  and Towel

Reading Together                        John 13:2b-17                                         843

A Litany                                                                                  (back of bulletin)


Washing one another’s feet                                         (hymns sung as needed)
                       "I heard the voice of Jesus say"                         493
                       "Will you let me be your servant"                      307
                       "Lord, I want to be a Christian"                        444
"Have thine own way"                                      504
"Spirit of the living God"                                   349

Moving Onward

The Way of Love

Reading Together                         John 15:9-11                                          845
                                                    John 15:12-17                                        846


Blessing the meal with a song                   "Lord, bless the hands"                   93

Eating together

The Way of Communion

A Song                                     "Take our Bread"                                   (insert)

Scripture                                    Mark 14:22-25


Blessing the Bread                                                                                    785a


Blessing the Cup                                                                                        785b


Hymn                                 "Go to dark Gethsemane"                                  240

The Way of the Cross

The Story continues                    Mark 14:26-42


*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Video clip of Last Supper




Shalom! Please turn to the persons around you and quietly say to them, “God’s peace be with you.” … You have just acknowledged our connection with one another in the Lord - that we are here together as God’s people living out the promise of Jesus that “wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.


We have come on this night to remember. However, unlike watching a video, we participate in this remembrance. We are not merely observing. We are not watching from the outside, like a voyeur might look in through a window upon someone else’s life. In all honesty, that is how we often come to the Bible, observing from the outside a story that does not really include us… But it does!

When Jesus said, “do this in remembrance of me,” he was inviting us to come in from the cold and dark, and to join in what is being remembered, to participate – which means to become a part of it all, such that we are empowered through God’s Spirit to affirm that (as the old hymn sings out) “this is my story, this is my song.” We are involved. Using the hands and hearts of our deacons, our shepherding Lord has prepared a table before us – perhaps even in the presence of  enemies that seek to steal our time or our sense of well-being. We trust that this evening, God will anoint us, and will fill our cup full to overflowing with his goodness and mercy, both of which will stay with us long after this feast is over.

            We do not simply watch. We participate. In just a bit, we will journey to circles of chairs, where each will be invited to stick our bare feet into a tub and experience the cleansing touch of a brother or sister-in-the-Lord as we sing gospel songs. Each will then be invited to get down on our own knees (as we are able) and wash the feet of someone else. This we will carry out because Jesus said, “I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” We know this is symbolic of larger things – the sanctifying touch of God upon our lives, and the call of Christ to humble service for others. Our participation now etches upon our hearts and minds that we are to be the hands of Jesus wherever we go, to participate with him in God’s work outside the walls of this building.

            We do not simply watch. From the circles of chairs, we will then journey to the meal table, where we will eat together. That’s what God’s people do. It was in the middle of a meal that Jesus set an example by washing feet. It was in the middle of a meal that he broke bread and shared a cup of communion. It was from a meal that headed on to the cross. We don’t “watch” a meal. We participate and enjoy the goodness of it. We talk with those around us, and barriers come down, and we realize we are in this together with Jesus. The big words are “fellowship” and “community.” With all our faults, together we are the body of Christ. No one can experience community from the outside looking in. Sometimes it takes your breath away, sitting across from someone and realizing how your lives together are intertwined in Christ, even if for but a moment in time.

We do not simply watch. We participate - coming, then, to that central part of the meal where we are called to remember, and to “do this,” to break bread and drink from the Lord’s cup. As we eat and drink, we sit at the foot of his cross as surely as we sit at his table. The phrases, “broken body” and “shed blood,” burn in our hearts and minds, as we bring bread and juice to our lips. Yes, the old Dunker recipe for unleavened communion bread is better than tasteless wafers. However, the holes in it are meant to remind us of the pain and suffering and sacrifice that led to our salvation. We are reminded that we did not, and do not save ourselves. Of course, we do receive and we do join in our salvation. It is not something done to us without our willing participation. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, the apostle Paul said, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

            This is our purpose this evening, to do as Jesus instructed, and through our actions to participate in the old, old salvation story, and to “show” (as the King James Version translates the Greek word for “proclaim”) Jesus’ death through what we do. For you see, he died for me and for you!

            Let’s begin with a hymn, followed by a prayer to prepare us.


Unison Prayer of Preparation

How can we discern our errors, O God?

Clear us from hidden faults.
Let the words of our mouths
    and the meditations of our hearts
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, our rock and redeemer.
Look graciously on our remorse;
    help us to turn from evil.
We offer you ourselves,
    body and soul, to be cleansed.

As we drink the cup,
    give us assurance of forgiveness
    through the blood of Christ.
Accept our promise to be true to you
    and give us power to fulfill it.
Let us find strength in the breaking of bread
    to live and to die,
    for Jesus’ sake. AMEN

Hymnal #781
from Johann Wickert's prayer book
translation & adaptation
©1991 by John D. Rempel

Reading Together
John 13:2b-17

And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord - and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Hymnal #843, from the New Revised Standard Version
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A Litany

Leader:    We do not understand how to respond to daunting needs that come with economic downturn, natural disaster, and war and rumor of war.

People:    Tonight, we "get up from the table," thinking later we will understand.

Leader:    We do not understand what can relieve crowded calendars, strapped finances, and rising expectations.

People:    Tonight, we "take off the outer robes" that so easily define and confine, intending that later we will understand.

Leader:    We do not understand where we will find energy to move from robe and slippers to breastplates of righteousness and shoes befitting the gospel of peace.

People:    Tonight, we tie on a towel, hoping later to understand.

Leader:    We do not understand the way to healing rivers, where weary spirits and broken hearts may be renewed.

People:    Tonight, we pour water into the basins we have, trusting later we will understand.

Leader:    We do not understand the way to live in holy harmony, when public discourse deepens division and threatens the fabric of our nations, churches, and homes.

People:    We do not understand apparent double-talk about love, grace, and forgiveness, until we find ourselves going eye-to-eye more than hand-in-hand.

Leader:    So tonight we wipe feet and tears with the towels we have, knowing later we will understand.

by Sandy Bosserman
Peace Valley, Missouri
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"


Like Thomas in the Bible, O Lord, we have our doubts. Shortly after washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus spoke of going to prepare a place for them, and Thomas wondered out loud, “we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” … Help us, Lord God, to believe, to trust you enough to do what you have called us to do in the here and now. Yes, we have heard and come to believe (though sometimes by barely a thread) that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life, and that we come to you through him. Yes, we understand (though it stretches our prayerful imagination) that in knowing Jesus, we know you, and that in following him we are headed to you. Still, like Thomas, we wonder.
            In washing feet, you have shown us the way. And so, on this evening of evenings, we put our faith into this action. In so doing, wonder of wonders, you make us a part of your sanctifying, cleansing, healing work. We participate in what you have done and are still doing. Yes, we understand (though our grasp of it all in only partial) that what we do just now is symbolic of a lifestyle of serving to which you have called us. Help us to truly “stand under” what we do “understand.” As our own feet are washed, may we feel your touch in the hands of another. As we bend our own knees (as best we can), empower us to sense your presence in and through what we do. Bless this time. Amen

(refers to John 14:1-7)

Reading Together
John 15:9-11

In Unison:

            As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Hymnal #845, from the New Revised Standard Version
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reading Together
John 15:12-17

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.

I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Hymnal #846, from the New Revised Standard Version
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


            We shift now from seeing ourselves as servants to beholding each other as friends. That may not be a stretch for many of us, for we already relate in that way. However, the church of Jesus Christ is not made up only of people who are already friends. If the truth be told, there are folks in the body of Christ who are not our “buddies,” persons to whom we would naturally gravitate. In fact, some may be closer to the category of enemy rather than friend. So be it.

            When the apostle Paul challenged the believers in Philippi to live in harmony with one another, he was not envisioning a church made up of people who saw everything in the same way. Rather, he invited all to seek the mind of Christ. As I hope we all know, Jesus was neither a Republican nor a Democrat, a Liberal nor a Conservative, a traditionalist nor an iconoclast. In Christ, scripture says, there is no male or female, no slave or free. Race, ethnicity, orientation, language – all the things that threaten to tear us apart are meaningless at the foot of the cross, because (as the song goes) “what a friend we have in Jesus.” Simply put, if Jesus is your friend, you are my friend, no matter who you are.

            I invite you now to this simple meal. Yes, there’s meat and bread and broth (sorry, no vegetables) on the table, but what’s really on the menu is the love we share in Christ. We may not agree on many things, but we are called to lay down our disagreements, to lay down our very lives, even, for those who, in Christ, are now friends. In so doing, we participate in the good news of the One who came to tear down the barrier between us and God. You see, once upon a time we were God’s enemies. Now, it’s a completely different story, because of Christ Jesus, who laid down his life for us.

(refers to the above scriptures and to Philippians 2:1-11)


            So now we turn to the heart of this feast, and step into the way of communion with God. We do so together with the other followers of Jesus in this room, his disciples all, along with a host of characters past and present around the world who have responded to the invitation of Christ to “do this in remembrance of me.” Around this table have been those who have done great things in Jesus’ name. Around this table have also been those who, like Judas Iscariot, have betrayed with a kiss.

            At this point, we may say something like “All of us who are in love and fellowship in the family of God, who do truly and earnestly repent of our sins, who humbly put our trust in Christ, and who desire his help that we might walk in newness of life, are invited to draw near to God and receive this holy communion to our comfort, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Having said that, however, make no mistake. Our love and fellowship are incomplete. Our turning from sin is not what it should be. Our trust in Christ is full of holes at times. Our desire is half-hearted. It was so back in that first upper room time. It remains so tonight.

And yet, he still beckons us to come and partake, saying, “this is my body” and “this is my blood.” … Please turn in your hymnal to #785 in the back, a 2 part prayer of blessing. I invite you, along with the person on the other side of the table from you, to pick up the bread before you. There are two parts to each piece of unleavened bread. Together, you will break it as you speak your portion of the prayer. Together we will then eat. Let’s us pray this blessing.

Blessing the Bread

Leader:  Blessed are you, O God.
                     You made bread to strengthen us.
                     You set aside this bread
                            as a sign of your Son's broken body.
                  In breaking it, may we participate
                       in the reconciliation of Christ.
 People:  May Christ's body be the bread of our souls,
                   to give us strength to continue our pilgrimage,
                   being made worthy to sit with all the redeemed
                        at the marriage feast of the Lamb.

 ALL:     Hear us, O God, through our mediator, Jesus Christ. AMEN

Hymnal #785a
by Reinhard Rahusen, 18th c.
translation ©1992 John D. Rempel.

Blessing the Cup

Leader:  Blessed are you, O God.
                     You made the vine to strengthen us.
                     You set aside this cup
                            as a sign of your Son's shed blood.
                 In drinking the cup,
                       may we participate in the blood of Christ.
 People:  May Christ's blood make us strong
                     to drink the cup of suffering
                           without complaint, for Jesus' sake,
                     in the hope that we shall drink new wine
                           in your kingdom.
 ALL:  Hear us, O God, for the sake of your eternal love. AMEN

Hymnal #785b
by Reinhard Rahusen, 18th c.
translation ©1992 John D. Rempel.


Please quietly rise… We have gathered to “do this in remembrance” of the One who stepped forward from the garden of Gethsemane upon the way of the cross. Jesus drank from that bitter cup, doing what his “Abba, Father” asked. Here we stand under it all, barely comprehending what we have just done, only scratching the surface of what the crucifixion of our Lord is all about. However, this is our story, this is our song. At this point, let me simply say: 

It’s Thursday. But, remember, Sunday is coming!
Go, blessed by the One who invited you to this table.
And remember:
The lamb who was slain has begun his reign.
Alleluia. Amen.


(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)



©2012 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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