Maundy Thursday

Hello St. Thomas’

Maundy Thursday is a special day in the Christian year. It celebrates the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples and causes us to look deeper into our Communion Service. The Communion Service is an important gift our Lord Jesus gave us. It helps us to understand, enter into, enjoy, and partake of the salvation he won for us.  Communion is a reenactment of Jesus’s “Last Supper” with his disciples.  This was a Passover meal (seder) that the Jewish people celebrated to remember their rescue from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12). Therefore, for us to understand Communion, we must understand the seder. The best way to do this is to participate in a seder meal, and this is what this worship service does.

It is offered as an acceptable model for use by Believers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who desire to be part of this great tradition, and yet truly focussed on the Scriptures. It is my regret that so many of the seders used by Believers are either identical with that of non-Believers, or are seemingly "brought up to date" with the mere addition of New Testament references. I believe that the seder must be unashamedly reconstituted with Jesus at its centre, the place of honor insisted upon by the New Testament.

Passover is an act of worship, a celebration of the grace and power of God. Therefore, no matter how informally your evening is planned and structured, remember that you are gathering to glorify and honour God in worship.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

This is a feast of symbols, to be enjoyed and deliberated upon. In a family, one set of the following will be sufficient around one family table. Many of the symbolic foods have been left out of this seder as it is not possible for many to purchase them during the quarantine.

FOOT WASHING

  • A large bowl with warm water
  • Two towels

SEDER MEAL

The following items are needed for the seder celebration. The food items must be prepared and placed on the table beforehand. Please note that the first part of the seder service occurs before the meal.

  • Unleavened Bread. This can be tortillas, crackers, etc.
  • A large white cloth, or pillow case, in which to wrap, separately, the 3 pieces of unleavened bread. They are stacked on top of one another in the folds of cloth.
  • A smaller white cloth, or large handkerchief, in which to wrap half of the middle piece of matzah at the appropriate time.
  • A reward for the child who finds the Afikomen (pronounced “ah-fee-KOH-muhn”).
  • Two candles. Matches.
  • Leaves from a Leafy vegetable (parsley, celery, lettuce, etc). If you do not have any edible leaves, feel free to skip the parts where these leaves are used.
  • A dish of salted water
  • A wine goblet or glass per person.
  • Enough red wine or juice (red in color if possible) for at least 4 toasts per person. Water is fine if neither of these items is available.

PEOPLE REQUIREMENTS

LEADER:  

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:67

So let us come together before our Lord and God and confess our sinful nature.

ALL:

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe. How unworthy we are to be called living witnesses to your power and love and purposes. O Lord, send your Holy Spirit upon us now, upon each of us, to dethrone ourselves and enthrone Yeshua as Lord of our lives. And as we eat the bread without leaven tonight, inspire our hearts with gratitude to Yeshua, who made himself nothing for our sake. Amen.

"Yeshua" is the Hebrew pronunciation of the name "Jesus". It is in fact Jesus's name.

MOTHER lights candles and prays:    

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who did at first create light: and who did sanctify us by your commandments, and in whose name we light the candles on this Passover night; and who did send us Yeshua, your Son, our Messiah, and Lord, and Redeemer, to be the light of the world, and to be our fullest Passover. Amen!

LEADER:   

Passover is possibly Israel's oldest festival, and it is clearly commanded in Scripture. And of course Yeshua's Last Supper was a Passover seder. We do this in remembrance of Him. And of course Yeshua's Last Supper was a Passover seder. We do this in remembrance of Him.

Let us listen to the mystery of God's election and redemption of his people, and let us confess him as Lord.

ALL:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord! Let us listen to the mystery of God's election and redemption of his people, and let us confess him as Lord.

ALL:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord! Let us listen to the mystery of God's election and redemption of his people, and let us confess him as Lord.

ALL: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord!

DEUTERONOMY 6:4

LEADER:  

Please be seated.

THE LEADER POURS THE 1ST CUP — Do not drink yet

LEADER:  

Not only dare we not forget what God has done for us, we do not dare take it for granted! Therefore, brothers and sisters, each of us must drink each of the 4 cups of the evening.

We shall drink 4 cups tonight to remind us of the 4 kingdoms in the book of Daniel which tried to oppose God, and of how they failed. But mostly to celebrate the greatness of God. Read Exodus 6.67 and you will find 4 distinct verbs used for what God did at the Exodus. We rejoice in each nuance of God's redemption.

The tradition is that if you can't afford to buy enough wine then you must sell something to get the money; or borrow money; or even hire yourself out to get enough money. As a last resort the community must band together and buy wine for the destitute.

Why? Because not to drink each cup is to fail to identify fully with the Passover and the Exodus. It is, therefore, to scorn or take for granted the acts of God.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

ALL:

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has given us this day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; the Season of our freedom; a holy assembly; a memorial of the Passover and of the Exodus from Egypt; and a promise and a memorial that Yeshua came and died for us; that His blood was shed for us.

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who through the crucified and resurrected Lord has kept us alive and sustained us, and in Yeshua has given us eternal life. Amen.

LEADER:  

For the Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.

1 CORINTHIANS 5:7

ALL NOW RECLINE ON THEIR LEFT SIDE

This position symbolizes leisure, ease, security, and  plenty.  It is particularly suggestive of the way that the Roman oppressors (and they were the oppressors at the time of the composition of much of the traditional seder) used to relax and enjoy a leisurely meal. So it symbolizes the fact that the Lord has freed His people from bondage. We see it in practice in Jesus' last Passover. (John 13:23)

LEADER:  

We now lift our cups. By drinking this we set apart this time and place and people as belonging to the Lord, and dedicated to His holy purposes.

(This 1st cup is known as the QIDUSH Sanctification, and is drunk also at the start of every Sabbath.)

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe.

ALL DRINK THE 1ST CUP

THE LEADER NOW PREPARES THE LEAVES FROM A “LEAFY” VEGETABLE AND SALTED WATER.

LEADER:  

As we take these leaves and dip it in the salted water let us remember the tears of the Hebrews in bondage; and let us remember the suffering of Yeshua on our behalf. We dare not take for granted what God has done for us. Let us remember the hyssop that was dipped in the Lambs' blood for wiping on the doorposts and lintels; and let us remember Yeshua's blood shed for us. Let tears of repentance never be far from us.

Blessed are You, our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the earth.

ALL DIP AND EAT.

LEADER:  

Praise God for these 3 pieces of unleavened bread!

The 3 pieces are heavily symbolic. The top and bottom pieces represent the 2 loaves found  on every Sabbath table. Why?  Because they symbolise the double portion of manna provided by God in the wilderness after the Exodus, on the Sabbath. Read Exodus 16:4-5. They, therefore, speak of God's sovereign grace and providence.

The middle piece is called "the bread of affliction" (see Deuteronomy 16:3 for the phrase), and serves to remind us of the fact that many of our brothers and sisters are still slaves in some sense, whether to oppressive governments or to poverty, etc.

THE LEADER NOW BREAKS THE MIDDLE PIECE OF UNLEAVENED BREAD INTO 2 PIECES. ONE PIECE IS KEPT HERE. BUT THE OTHER ONE IS WRAPPED IN A CLOTH AND HIDDEN BY SOMEONE FROM THE TABLE. WE WILL RETURN TO IT LATER

The reason for this is lost away in the past, but we believers believe we know the reason.

The 3 pieces refer to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of these, only the Son died on the Cross. The hiding of the broken piece speaks of Yeshua's broken body buried after death. Its return later on speaks of His resurrection.

For the Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed: 1 Corinthians 5:7.

ACTS 4:27 + 29

This is "the bread of affliction" which our fathers ate in the Land of Egypt. It was also eaten by Yeshua at the Last Supper, and in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the Cross.

Let anyone who is hungry come in and eat! Let anyone who is in need of love and forgiveness and new life come in and celebrate the Lord's redemption!

This year we are here. Next year we hope to be in the Kingdom of Heaven!

LEADERS POUR THE 2ND CUP. DO NOT DRINK YET.

LEADER:  

This 2nd cup will be a "toast" to the richness of life offered to us because of what God had done for us, the story of which is about to be narrated.

Passover is not only a memorial service, but an opportunity, and, in fact, a duty, to "pass over" to coming generations the story of what God has done for us.

READER:  

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord."

EXODUS 10:1

LEADER:  

Therefore the youngest child among us who can speak will ask us the 4 questions of the seder.

YOUNGEST CHILD:

Why is this night distinguished from all other nights, in that on all other nights we may eat either leavened or unleavened bread, but on this night only unleavened? In that on all other nights we may eat any type of herb, but on this night only bitter herbs?

In that on all other nights we do not dip herbs even once, so why on this night do we dip them twice?

In that on all other nights we eat and drink either sitting or reclining, so why on this night must we recline?

ALL:

Why? To remember that we were all slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and that if the Lord had not brought our fathers out, they and we and all our children would still be there in bondage.

READER:  

The Lord said "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

EXODUS 3:7-8

LEADER:  

There are 4 classic types of response to the telling of God's work. Firstly there is the "wise child".

WISE CHILD:       

What do these testimonies and laws and judgements mean to us?

LEADER:  

This child desires to learn, and has identified himself with the worshipping people. Tell him all that can be known about the Passover. Then there is the "wicked child".

WICKED CHILD:   

What can all this possibly mean to you?

LEADER:  

This child is cynical. Speak firmly to him and let him know that he is in danger of 'separating' himself from God and the worshipping people. Then there is the "simple child".

SIMPLE CHILD:   

What is this all about?

LEADER:  

Simply tell him the story of the Passover and the Exodus. He will learn as he grows. Finally there is the son who is just too young to understand or even talk for himself.

A PARENT HOLDS HIGH A BABY— If one is available.

LEADER:  

Just show him/her the symbols and let him love them and enjoy them. His time will come to ask and learn.

LEADER:  

Our own hard hearts can separate us from God's rich blessings ~ though not from his love - if we refuse to submit to Him in love and obedience. The Lord comes in judgement on people as He did on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. As we remember the 10 plagues, for each plague mentioned we dip a finger into our wine of life and spill that drop of wine on our plates. Why? Because even the suffering of our enemies pains us. God himself is grieved at the wickedness of, and therefore the need for judgement on, those who oppose him.

There is even an ancient Jewish midrash which portrays God as rebuking His angels for rejoicing at the death of the Egyptians at the Sea of Reeds. God says:  "The creation of my hands  is sinking in the sea, and you are able to sing a song?"

We are called by God to be like Him, and to love our enemies.

ALL:

These are the 10 plagues which God brought upon the Egyptians:

At each one we dip a finger into our wine and drop the wine on our plates

  • Blood
  • Frogs
  • Gnats
  • Hail
  • Flies
  • Petilence
  • Boils
  • Hail
  • Locusts
  • Darkness
  • Slaying

LEADER:  

O Lord, we grieve with You over the sin of this world, and the need for Your judgement. We bless and thank You, that by Your grace and mercy we have been redeemed. Inspire us by Your Holy Spirit to constantly bless those who curse us, and pray for those who persecute us for righteousness sake. Amen.

LEADER:  

In every generation, each person must consider that he or she personally came out of bondage.

LEADER:  

And this same Redeemer redeemed us all fully and freely in Yeshua, so that we must bear testimony that we gather here because of what the Lord did for me at Calvary.

LEADER:  

How much then we thank, praise, laud, glorify, extol, honor, bless, exalt, and adore Him!

ALL:

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine!

ALL DRINK THE 2ND CUP — FOOT WASHING

THE LEADER THEN WASHES THE FEET OF THOSE AT HIS TABLE

Traditionally, only the leader's hands are washed again. But in the light of, and in the spirit of the following reading in the main text, feet are also washed. Remember, people were leaning on their sides, and so  their  feet were tucked in behind them to the outside of the table. So Jesus could easily wash their feet.

AS THE LEADER WASHES THE PEOPLE’S FEET THE READING IS READ.

READER:      

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, "Lord, are You going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand." "No," said Peter, "You shall never wash my feet."  Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body Is clean.  And you are clean, though not every one of you." For He knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not everyone was clean. When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" He asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord', and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

John 13:1

THE LEADER LIFTS THE TOP PIECE OF UNLEAVENED BREAD

LEADER:  

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who brings bread from the earth.

THE LEADER TAKES THE REMAINING HALF OF MIDDLE PIECE OF UNLEAVENED BREAD

LEADER:  

Blessed are You, O Lord, Our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and commanded us to eat unleavened bread.

THE LEADER TAKES A PIECE OF EACH AND EATS THEM TOGETHER. THEN HE SERVES THE TABLE IN THE SAME WAY.

THE LEADER BREAKS 2 PIECES OFF THE BOTTOM PIECE OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, DIPS THEM IN THE SALT WATER, AND THEN EATS ONE AND GIVES THE OTHER TO THE LEADER’S NEIGHBOR. THEN ALL ARE SERVED, WITH EACH PERSON GIVING TO HIS OR HER NEIGHBOR.

This is an ancient symbol of giving the dipped bread as a token of love. It is part of the poignancy of Judas Iscariot's treachery that he accepted this token from Yeshua before betraying Him. Read John 13:18-30

As we have dipped the bread into the salt water, and have passed it to one another, we give the pledge of love and forgiveness to one another for the problems that we all, as sinners, do cause each other.

THE MEAL

The family now engages in their dinner. Please note: In Jewish tradition, the blessing is said after the meal.

ALL ARE CALLED BACK TO THE SERVICE.

THE CHILDREN NOW SEARCH FOR THE HIDDEN PIECE OF UNLEAVENED BREAD.

LEADER MUST READ THIS:

The leader announces  that  he who finds it will receive the reward. While they search, he tells them that the name of the hidden half is called AFIKOMEN  (pronounced ah-fee-KOH-muhn), which is not a Hebrew or a Semitic word, but traditionally taken to be a Hebrew version of a Greek word for the dessert after a meal. Now after the meal comes the search for it because the dessert is the final part of a meal, and the AFIKOMEN which will be eaten soon is to be the last piece of food eaten AT ALL tonight.. Why? The sages say it represents the Passover lamb, and the taste of this AFIKOMEN must be the last taste in the mouth today, as symbolic of the ideal that the grateful memory of the lamb that died and saved us will be on our minds until we fall asleep.

All are encouraged to eat no other thing after the sharing of the AFIKOMEN.

The leader reminds them that he spoke earlier of the interpretation of the AFIKOMEN representing the death and resurrection of Yeshua. There is, in fact, a Greek verb meaning "to come", which, in one of its past tenses gives a word very similar to AFIKOMEN for the phrase "I have come". Isn't it a marvelous thought that this piece of matzah does refer to Yeshua who came for our sakes?

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

THE SUCCESSFUL CHILD IS NOW REWARDED.

THE BLESSING AFTER THE MEAL

LEADER:  

Brothers and sisters, let us give a blessing.

ALL:

Blessed be the Name of the Lord for ever and ever'.

LEADER:  

Build up Jerusalem, Your holy city, with speed, in our days.'

ALL:

Blessed are you, O Lord, our God, who is building up Jerusalem in Your mercy'. Amen'.

LEADER POURS THE 3RD CUP — Do not drink yet

LEADER:

In tradition, this cup is known as "the cup of redemption". Brothers and sisters, we move into this part of the seder aware that at about this stage Yeshua began to move into the deepest mystery of all. He must have shocked his disciples with His interpretation of this 3rd cup and the Afikomen.

Let us move forward with Him.*

When Jesus took the Afikomen and said, "This is my body", He was making a definite statement that he was the Messiah. It speaks of the Messiah to come, and some Jewish communities continue in this understanding to this day. It also speaks of the Passover Lamb, since these Jewish people who could not travel to Jerusalem in the days of the temple saw it as symbolic of the Lamb. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb and Messiah.

READER:  

When the hour came, Yeshua and His apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

LUKE 22:15-20

LEADER:   

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:.23-26

LEADER:  

Brothers and sisters, our risen Lord Yeshua is with us, and we are concentrating on him. Here is the Afikomen (pronounced ah-fee-KOH-muhn), the broken body of Yeshua. We break it, in this seder, remembering him. Here is the 3rd cup of wine, the cup of redemption. And so it is. This is the cup Yeshua raised to signal the New Covenant. We drink it, in this seder, remembering him.

THE LEADER BREAKS THE AFIKOMEN AND SERVES HIMSELF AND THE TOP TABLE. HE THEN PLACES THE REMAINDER ON TOP OF A STACK OF UNLEAVENED BREAD.

ALL NOW DRINK THE 3RD CUP TOGETHER AT THE LEADER'S SIGNAL.

LEADER:  

Father, we thank you for drawing us to yourself in Yeshua, even while we were still sinners. We thank you that we belong to one another in him. As we shared this bread and this wine, may we live his risen life and be lights in this dark life. Amen!

LEADERS POUR THE 4TH CUP. DO NOT DRINK YET.

LEADER:  

We fill the last cup, known as "the cup of hope". We dare not meet as Believers at this celebration and not hope for the return of Yeshua, and the final redemption of all Israel.

READER:  

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

1 CORINTHIANS 11:26

ALL NOW DRINK THE 4TH CUP TOGETHER AT THE LEADER'S SIGNAL

ALL:

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe.

READER:  

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new'." Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Revelation 21:1-5

LEADER:  

Maranatha!

ALL:

Our Lord, come!.

LEADER:           

Maranatha!

ALL:

Even so, Lord Yeshua, come!

LEADER:  

Amen! Lord Yeshua, come!

ALL:

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine!

LEADER:  

Let the final word come from Scripture:

May the God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Yeshua, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Yeshua, the Messiah, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!

HEBREWS 13:20-21