Love Feast

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
Maundy Thursday
April 5, 2007            7:00pm

"Examine yourselves"

Quiet meditation            read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (pew Bible p. 998)
                                           then personally pray #781 in the Hymnal,
                                                 preparing yourself to pray it together

Unison Prayer                                                                                           781

Hymn                             "Just as I am, without one plea"                           516

Scripture                                     Luke 22:7-16

Invitation and Instructions

"I have set you an example"

Scripture                                     John 13:3-20


Feetwashing                                                  (hymns sung as needed)
                         "When I survey the wondrous cross"     259
                         "Will you let me be your servant"           307
                         "My Jesus, I love thee"                          522
                         "Have thine own way"                           504

Unison Prayer                                                                                         783

"so that you may eat ... at my table"

Scripture                                    Luke 22:24-34

Hymn                        "Marvelous grace of our loving Lord" 151


Listening as we eat                  Luke 22:39 - 23:56

"Do this ... in remembrance"

Hymn                                       "Were you there"                                    257

Scripture                              1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Litany                                                                            (see back of bulletin)

Blessing the bread and cup

Song                           (vs. 1) "Let us break bread together"                      453

Eating and Remembering

Song                           (vs. 2) "Let us break bread together"                      453

Drinking and Remembering

Song                           (vs. 3) "Let us break bread together"                      453



* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

         You are invited to stay and help clean up from our meal. Thanks to all who prepared the meal, baked the bread, led music, read scripture, cared for children, and otherwise made this special time possible.

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Unison Prayer

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 the bread
     to live and to die,
     for Jesus' sake.  AMEN

Hymnal #781
from Johann (John) Wichert's collection of prayers, 20th c.,
based on the prayers of Jacob Janzen,
translation and adaptation ©1991 John D. Rempel.

Invitation and Instructions

         We are gathered this night to remember, to return to and re-enact what happened in that upstairs guest room, and in the process to be reformed and restored by the One who washed his disciples feet and broke bread with them around the Passover table. I invite you to fully enter into this time, to immerse yourself in the Bible story and make it your own story.

         As is our practice, from here we will journey to the feetwashing circles, the men on this side of the wall between sanctuary and fellowship hall, the women on the other side, the separation being simply for the sake of modesty as we wash feet. When we have finished, we’ll then head to the tables in the other room, first sharing a simple meal, then sharing communion. I forewarn you the agape meal portion will be slightly different than in the past.

         For this evening you will need only a hymnal from the pew in front of you and yourself. Come. "I have eagerly desired," Jesus said, "to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.."


         "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." So instructed Jesus. As we follow his example, we do so not with pride over our ability to serve, but with humility that begins with our own need. If the disciple Peter had a hard time allowing himself to be washed, what makes us think we are any different? As anyone in Alcoholics Anonymous would affirm, it begins with a simple, "Hi, I’m Peter, and I’m a sinner." I need the cleansing, healing hands of others. That’s what then gets me down on my knees to try to help somebody else.

         Which is harder, giving or receiving? Depends. But Jesus calls us into the process, the tub and the towel, and says, "do this," and the doing of this - the receiving and the giving - does something to us. That is, if we allow ourselves to be transformed. Oh, we can place ourselves at a distance from all of this. We can make it a ritual without any personal meaning, like everything else we may do in "church." The key comes in opening ourselves to what God can do in and through the hands of the person beside us, or even through our own hands toward another.

         I encourage you not to put a barrier up between you and your neighbor. Don’t allow the signing, for instance, to keep you from eye contact as feet are washed. Let the tough and tender love of God in Christ wash over you. Even if you must refrain from washing for medical or other reasons, and simply observe, or if you watching because you are still deciding when you will be ready to follow Jesus, allow the Lord to touch you during this service - whether around these circles, or later around his table.

         After we have finished washing feet, we’ll pray together and move on in this evening’s journey of worship. Sisters and brothers in Christ, let’s follow his example.

Unison Prayer

Lord Jesus,
     we have knelt before each other
          as you once knelt before your disciples,
     washing another's feet.
We have done what words stammer to express.
Accept this gesture of love as a pledge
     of how we mean to live our lives.
Bless us, as you promised,
     with joy and perseverance in the way of the cross.  AMEN

Hymnal #783
©1991 John D. Rempel



         It was during the Passover meal that Jesus got up from the table and washed the feet of his disciples, as we have just enacted. It was during this same meal that he spoke of the hours ahead in terms of bread and wine, literally feeding his disciples with symbolism they did not yet understand. In the center of our Love Feast lies this meal. This evening, instead of making small talk around the tables as we eat, we will also feast on scripture.

         This meal is like no other. Long ago, Brethren cooked lamb for this time in order to remember that Jesus was the Passover lamb, sacrificed - like the lamb in the Exodus story - in order to save God’s people. While we have since shifted from lamb to beef, the symbolism remains. This is a simple meal intended to help us remember. As you quietly eat, you are encouraged to listen to the passion story as it is read from the gospel of Luke. Save the blessed table conversation we normally share during this time for after Love Feast is over, when those of us able to stay will participate in the fellowship of cleaning up.

         Now, before we eat from our bowls and from God’s Word, let’s ask the Lord’s blessing upon this meal. Please pray with me.

         We do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from your mouth, O Lord. Bless this simple meal, and bless the reading of your Word. May the fellowship of quiet reflection around these tables empower our remembrance of your passion, O Christ, that your continuing work become our passion. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Listening as we eat
Luke 22:39 - 23:56

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

         He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

         While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’

Peter Denies Jesus

         Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, ‘Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’ At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.

The Mocking and Beating of Jesus

         Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ They kept heaping many other insults on him.

Jesus before the Council

         When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. They said, ‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’ He replied, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ All of them asked, ‘Are you, then, the Son of God?’ He said to them, ‘You say that I am.’ Then they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!’

Jesus before Pilate

         Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.’ Then Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He answered, ‘You say so.’ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’ But they were insistent and said, ‘He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.’

Jesus before Herod

         When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.

Jesus Sentenced to Death

         Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.’

         Then they all shouted out together, ‘Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!’ (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ A third time he said to them, ‘Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.’ But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

         As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, "Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed." Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us"; and to the hills, "Cover us." For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’

         Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

         One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’

The Death of Jesus

         It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus

         Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.

         On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

from the NRSV


One: Whenever you gather to eat this Bread and drink this Cup, I want you to remember both my life and my death. Will you do this?

All: Yes, Lord, we will do this.

One: Remember how I have come to you, come as one of you, born of a woman. Remember my helpless, newborn body. Will you remember?

All: Yes, Lord, we will do this.

One: Remember me as an adolescent boy, full of energy and questions, ready and willing to learn my Father s business. Will you remember?

All: Yes, Lord, we will do this.

One: Remember my work as a humble laborer. Remember the simplicity of my baptism in the Jordan. Remember my tire less ministry of healing and teaching. Will you remember?

All: Yes, Lord, we will do this.

One: Remember my humble submission to death on a cross. I did all this for love of you. Will you remember?

All: Yes, we receive this Bread and Cup with thanksgiving for both your life and your death, dear Lord of Love.

- by Tilman R. and Nancy Kettering Frye Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Blessing the bread and cup

         Before I give thanks for this the communion, let me share a few instructions for what will happen physically as we break bread and drink from the cup of Christ. This night marks the beginning of a time of darkness in the story of our salvation. We have heard the Word spoken, how after this meal we are enacting, Jesus and his disciples stepped out of the warmth of the upper room into the chill of night, walking to the garden of Gethsemane. Prayer there all-too-quickly shifted to the seeming madness of his arrest, torture, trial, and execution. It was a time of darkness.

         The songs we have yet to sing are familiar, and can be sung by heart, without the need of sight. As we sing the first verse of "Let us break bread together," a deacon will turn off the one bank of lights that are still lit in this room. After we break and eat the bread, then sing the second verse, "Let us drink wine together," those who have been scripture readers are asked to gently blow out the candles on the tables. If a candle is missed near you, please extinguish it. Make sure, however that you have your hand on your communion cup, ready to partake. The only light in this room at that time should be the Christ candle on the center table. By only this light, after we drink from his cup, we will sing the third verse, "Let us praise God together," immediately followed by the Doxology.

         As part of the Benediction, I will quench the Christ candle, and we will stand in darkness. Remember the darkness of that night long ago, a darkness that penetrated the souls of even those closest to Jesus. There is darkness and despair in this world today. Some in our fellowship have been through some very dark days since the last Maundy Thursday we celebrated Love Feast together. The message of Easter is for those who walk in darkness. Like all mortal flesh, the Son of man himself died. He was crucified. That fact lies at the heart of all our creeds. His body was broken, his blood was shed. That’s what we are remembering in these moments. Like his friend Lazarus, Jesus was laid in a tomb, and those closest to him walked away in deep sadness. Good Friday, Holy Saturday - the Sabbath, and then... But we are not at the "and then" yet. However, without that "and then," what we are about tonight is folly.

         After a time of silence at the end of the Benediction, Rob will begin singing a very simple chorus, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom," which we will repeat as a sung prayer over and over in the dark. Join in as you catch this simple tune. How it will end, I’m not sure. I hope it will reside in your heart as you move on from this moment. At a certain point, the kitchen lights will be turned on as a reminder that life goes on and there is clean-up to be done. Other lights will gradually be turned on. I encourage you, however, not to quickly move into jovial fellowship. Take your time. Respect the quiet of others as we restore this place to its other purposes. Eventually we’ll get there, just like "on the third day, Jesus..." Well that message is yet to be spoken ... on Sunday. Would you join me in a prayer just now that will conclude with the prayer Jesus taught us?

Blessed are you, God of heaven and earth.
In mercy for our fallen world you gave your only Son,
         that all those who believe in him should not perish
         but have eternal life.
We give thanks to you for the salvation
         you have prepared for us through Jesus Christ.
Send now your Holy Spirit into our hearts,
         that we may receive our Lord with a living faith
         as he comes to us in his holy supper.
                           Our father, who art in heaven....

Hymnal #788
©1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, c/o Augsburg Fortress.



Remember also what Jesus also said (Luke 6:20-23)

         "‘Blessed are you who are poor,
                    for yours is the kingdom of God.
          ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
                    for you will be filled.
          ‘Blessed are you who weep now,
                    for you will laugh.
          ‘Blessed are you when people hate you,
                    and when they exclude you, revile you,
                    and defame you on account of the Son of Man.
                              (Quench the Christ candle)
                    Rejoice on that day and leap for joy,
                              for surely your reward is great in heaven;
                    for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets."


          then "Jesus, remember me" #247

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


To learn more about Love Feast, click here.


©2007 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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