Special services

Maundy Thursday Bulletin

Thank you for joining us for worship this evening. Wherever you are, we invite you to create space for worship, both in your physical space and in your heart — perhaps light a candle or fill a bowl with water to remember your baptism, or grab a bible or hymnal, or do whatever helps you most to feel worshipful.

Thursday, April 6, 2023 • Maundy Thursday
Ministers: the people
Pastor: Day Hefner
Organist: Betty Herde
Lector: Lori Benesch
Usher: Karen Henry
Communion assistant: Rick Fendrick
Bulletin slideshow:

This evening our Lenten observance comes to an end, and we gather with Christians around the world to celebrate the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Tonight we remember Christ’s last meal with his disciples, but the central focus is his commandment that we live out the promise embodied in this meal. As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so we are called to give and receive love in humble service to one another. Formed into a new body in Christ through this holy meal, we are transformed by the mercy we have received and carry it into the world. Departing worship in solemn silence, we anticipate the coming days.

The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.

Friends in Christ, in this Lenten season we have heard our Lord’s call to struggle against sin, death, and the devil—all that keeps us from loving God and each other. This is the struggle to which we were called at baptism. Within the community of the church, God never wearies of forgiving sin and giving the peace of reconciliation. On this night let us confess our sin against God and our neighbor, and enter the celebration of the great Three Days reconciled with God and with one another.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

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

At this time, everyone is invited to come forward and receive individual laying on of hands and forgiveness of sins.  This ancient practice at the start of the Three Days is meant to prepare our hearts to remember once again the death and resurrection of Christ. If you are watching this with others, you may lay hands on one another and say the following words; if you’re watching alone, know that Christ forgives you all your sins.

In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.

Let us pray.

Eternal God, in the sharing of a meal your Son established a new covenant for all people, and in the washing of feet he showed us the dignity of service. Grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit these signs of our life in faith may speak again to our hearts, feed our spirits, and refresh our bodies, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

FIRST READING: Exodus 12:1–14 
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell 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. If 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. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 

They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This 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.  For 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. The 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.

This 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.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

PSALM 116:1-2, 12-19
I love the Lord, who has heard my voice, and listened to my supplication,
for the Lord has given ear to me whenever I called.

How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things God has done for me?
I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people.
Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your servants.

O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people,
in the courts of the Lord ‘s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. 

SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

We are turning, Lord, to hear you; you are merciful and kind — slow to anger, rich in blessing, and with love to us inclined.

GOSPEL: John 13:1–17, 31b–35
Now 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. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. 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. He 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.

“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little 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.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ


HYMN OF THE DAY (ELW 338) Beneath the Cross of Jesus

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.

Everyone is invited and encouraged at this time to take part in the ancient Christian practice of footwashing. This practice was instituted by Christ himself and is still as uncomfortable today as it was for his first disciples. Yet we are called to serve and be served in this way, to experience both the discomfort and the blessing of God’s all-encompassing grace.

If you are gathered with other people to participate in this service online, you are encouraged to wash one another’s feet at this time. If you are by yourself, take this time to meditate on the gospel story; imagine yourself as Peter or Judas or one of the other disciples, Jesus kneeling before you with love, knowing all you have done, and freely loving and forgiving you.

There is time enough for all who wish to participate in the practice of foot washing; this part of the service will take the time it takes, without rushing anybody.

Sustained by God’s abundant mercy, let us pray for the church, the world, and all of creation.
Silence for reflection

You make a new covenant with your people. Gather your church around word and table in love and promise as these three holy days enfold us. Open us to behold the mystery of our salvation. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

You give us our daily bread, fruit of the earth and work of human hands. Bless those who labor and tend to their crops and those who prepare our meals. Strengthen us to advocate for food justice and a fair distribution of resources. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

You, our Savior and Teacher, stoop down to us in servant love. Inspire national and local leaders (especially) with a renewed sense of public service. Increase in them a humility to serve with equity and fairness. Teach us to pray for our enemies. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

You incline your ear to us in every need. Befriend all who are lonely. Comfort those who grieve. Soothe any who are anxious. Console all who are distressed. Graciously tend to the hurts of your children who suffer in body, mind, and spirit (especially). Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

You inspire your people to praise in word, song, and art. We give thanks for artists (especially Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach) whose gifts enrich the church’s worship. Kindle in us appreciation for all who beautify our worship space throughout the changing seasons. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

Precious in your sight is the death of your faithful ones. We remember and give thanks for the those who have died (especially). With them, we trust your promise to love your own until the end. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We lift our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your steadfast love and your promise to renew your whole creation; through Jesus Christ our Savior.

The peace of Christ be with you always.  
And also with you.

God feeds us with the presence of Jesus Christ.

There are many ways to make your offering:

  • Checks may be mailed or dropped off at the church
  • Ask your bank about setting up automatic giving
  • Make a secure offering online by clicking on the button below (opens up our Tithe.ly giving page in a new window)


Let us pray.

God of good gifts, receive these and all our offerings as we present them in faithful service for the sake of your gospel. Prepare our hearts to receive you in this meal as you pour out your very presence through Christ Jesus, the wellspring of eternal life.


The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.


It is indeed right, our duty and our joy… we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heav’n and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest, hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you, O God of the universe… we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

O God of resurrection and new life… grace our table with your presence.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Reveal yourself to us… send us forth burning with justice, peace, and love.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


All are welcome at the Lord’s table, whether Lutheran or not.  Ushers will invite you forward by pew.  Wine and juice are available.  To receive a blessing, please come forward with arms crossed across your chest.

In response to feedback, we’re trying something different. Rather than juggling with a hymnal and trying to jump in with the singing at the right place, we invite you to simply receive the gift of this music and to take this moment to reflect on the word and the sacrament.



Let us pray.

Lord Jesus, in a wonderful sacrament you strengthen us with the saving power of your suffering, death, and resurrection. May this sacrament of your body and blood so work in us that the fruits of your redemption will show forth in the way we live, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

As we contemplate the lamenting words of Psalm 88, the worship space is stripped of all its adornments, just as Christ was stripped and beaten and mocked.  Now that the supper has come to an end, we remember how Christ was handed over to be arrested and executed.  This service ends in silence and darkness, as all hastily leave this space.


O Lord, my God, my Savior, 
by day and night I cry to you.
Let my prayer enter into your presence; 
incline your ear to my lamentation.
For I am full of trouble; 
my life is at the brink of the grave. 

I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I have become like one who has no strength;
lost among the dead, 
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more, 
for they are cut off from your hand.

You have laid me in the depths of the pit, 
in dark places, and in the abyss.
Your anger weighs upon me heavily, 
and all your great waves overwhelm me. 

You have put my friends far from me; 
you have made me to be abhorred by them;
I am in prison and cannot get free.
My sight has failed me because of trouble;
Lord, I have called upon you daily; 
I have stretched out my hands to you. 

Do you work wonders for the dead? 
Will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?
Will your lovingkindness be declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
Will your wonders be known in the dark
or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?
But as for me, O Lord, I cry to you for help; 
in the morning my prayer comes before you. 

Ever since my youth, I have been wretched 
and at the point of death;
I have borne your terrors and am helpless.
Your blazing anger has swept over me; 
your terrors have destroyed me;
they surround me all day long like a flood; 
they encompass me on every side. 

My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me,
and darkness is my only companion.

All depart in haste and silence.

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