04.01.2021 Maundy Thursday


We gather with Christians around the world in celebrating the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This year, we cannot do these important services together in a church.  While Easter is a joyful festival, we approach the day in a time of difficulty and world-wide sorrow.  Still we believe that Christ is with us in God’s word.  We are drawn together by God’s Spirit and believe that the gospel of Christ gives us strength amid distress and comfort in the face of our sufferings.

Opening Song                     
Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

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Jesus, keep me near the cross, there’s a precious fountain; free to all, a healing stream flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever; till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me; there the bright and morning star sheds its beams around me. 

In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever; till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God bring its scenes before me; help me walk from day to day with its shadow o’er me.

In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever; till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever, till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever; till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

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Together, we remember God’s forgiveness. God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ.  By grace we have been saved.  Our sins are forgiven in the name of Jesus Christ.  Almighty God strengthen us with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in our hearts through faith.  Amen. 

Prayer of the Day

Let us pray.  Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us. Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as he was servant of all, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Exodus 12:1–14 

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The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

Gospel and Message                 
John 13:1–17, 31b–35

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1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then 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. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus 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.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12After 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? 13You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

31b“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, 
 “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Hymn of the Day                              
Ah Holy Jesus

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Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?   By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?  Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.   ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered; for our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God interceded.

For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee; think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.


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United with Christians around the globe on this Maundy Thursday, let us pray for the church, the earth, our troubled world, and all in need. 

Blessed are you, O God, for the church. Strengthen your people, gathered around the globe on this holy day in homes, in churches, and outside under your sky. Bless the church’s ministries.  Lord, hear our prayer.

Blessed are you for our world. Protect all people throughout the world who flee violence and oppression. Establish wise and just leadership in every place and peace where there is violence and fear.  Lord, hear our prayer.

Blessed are you for caring for those in need. Feed those who are hungry. Give jobs to those who are unemployed. Embrace all who are isolated and lonely. Comfort those living with guilt and those who mourn.  Lord, hear our prayer.

Blessed are you for accompanying the sick. Bring an end to this pandemic, and restore healthy and hearty connections between persons. Empower medical personnel.  Lord, hear our prayer.

Blessed are you for generations of the faithful who have proclaimed our Lord’s death and lived in service to others. Unite us with them in hope until we join with them at your everlasting banquet.  Lord, hear our prayer.

Hear these and all our prayers, O God, in the name of the one who loves us to the end, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.  Amen.

What Is Stripping the Altar?

Stripping of the altar – removing all ornaments, linens, candles, plants, etc. – is an ancient custom of the Church. Congregations mark the way Christ’s life was stripped from him by stripping the altar of all signs of life and beauty during a special service. This almost-bare worship space reminds us of the bareness of life without the hope of Christ that we have through his resurrection.

The Three Days continue tomorrow with the service for Good Friday.

Closing Song & Stripping the altar                     
Beneath the Cross of Jesus                                                   

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Beneath the cross of Jesus I long to take my stand; the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land, a home within a wilderness, a rest upon the way, from the burning of the noontide heat and burdens of the day.

Upon the cross of Jesus, my eye at times can see the very dying form of one who suffered there for me.  And from my contrite heart, with tears, two wonders I confess:  the wonder of his glorious love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, your shadow for my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face; content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss, my sinful self my only shame, my glory all, the cross.

Worship Assistants

Music: Lori
Message:  Pastor Kristin
Readers:  Ruth & Leslie

From Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2005 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.  Reprinted and streamed by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS002432.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, 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.  Hymns reprinted and streamed with permission. CCLI#1162147.