A few days ago Emily and I had the idea to invite some friends over to hang out Thursday, tonight, to kick off Emily’s spring break (she rarely stays up past 9pm on a school night). Then I thought that because it was Maundy Thursday it would be great to do a little service with our friends, some of whom I rarely have an opportunity to worship with. I really enjoyed our time together this evening and wanted to share a little of what we did this evening and why we did it. You can also download our service at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in seeing what we did.
For me Maundy Thursday has been an important day in the church calendar for a number of years because it represents the time in which I began to become more cognizant of the church calendar. Back when I was a youth pastor, Brian Cowan the senior pastor of the church I served at, invited us to be a part of a Maundy Thursday service; up to that moment it was an practice I was completely unaware of. I was instantly drawn into the somber, meditative nature of the service and it marked a new beginning for me. It was the time when I began to really think about the importance of the church calendar, and the importance of Lent. As I’ve written earlier, I’ve tried to be more intentional about participating in Lent this year than I have in past years, so it felt natural then to so this practice as a way to express creative worship to God.
We invited a number of friends over earlier this week and asked them to bring some thought, bible verse, poem, prayer, image, song, object or whatever that represented their experience of God from this Lenten season. I thought about reading Dylan Thomas’ “This Bread I Break.”
This bread I break was once the oat
This wine upon a foreign tree
Ploughed in its fruit;
Man in the day or wine at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy.
Once in this wine the summer blood
Knocked in the flesh that decked the wine
Once in this bread
The oat was merry in the wind;
Man broke the sun’ pulled the wind down.
This flesh I break, this blood you let
Make desolation in the vein
Were oat and the grape
Born of the sensual root and sap;
My wine you drink, my bread you snap.
But instead I found a glass bowl and filled it with ash from the grill to represent my experience of God on Ash Wednesday. The other things shared ranged from new understandings of Maundy Thursday to the My Sweet Lord sculpture and the importance of peace as an integral part of the upcoming days. For the other parts of the service, we used bits and pieces of the “Book of Common Prayer,” silence, and Quaker queries. We also broke bread and shared a cup of wine while reading Luke 22. For the benediction we did a reading from a Mennonite song book called “Sing the Journey.” It reads,
This is the Welcome Table of our Redeemer,
and you are invited
Make no excuses, saying you cannot attend;
simply come, for around this table you will find your family.
Come not because you have to,
but because you need to.
Come not to prove you are saved,
but to seek the courage to follow wherever Christ leads.
Come not to speak but to listen,
not to hear whats expected,but to be open to the ways the Spirit moves among you.
So be joyful, not somber,for this is the feast of the reign of God,
where the broken are molded into a Beloved Community,
and where the celebration over evils defeat has already begun.
I really enjoyed sharing this with my friends and also enjoyed putting the whole thing together, it helped me to remember just how much I really love all this stuff.
If you’d like to download the service here it is in .pdf format.