holy week at home
(Any guesses as to why it’s called “Maundy Thursday”? If not, you’ll find out soon).
Take a minute or two to center yourself by praying Psalm 130:7 as you breathe:
With the Lord
there is unfailing love;
His redemption overflows
CALL TO WORSHIP
I lift my eyes up to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Ask that God would reveal himself in this time and in this place.
If you’re in a group, consider asking different people to pray each day.
Thursday of Holy Week is called Maundy Thursday because it is on this day that we remember Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which is like our English word “mandate” or “command”. After Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he told them, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34).
Today's scripture text:
select one (or all) of the following formats:
John 13:1-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
John 13:1-17 (NLT)
After the text is presented, someone says:
The Word of the Lord
and everyone responds:
Thanks be to God!
Response to the Word
Build Your Family Altar.
Can you recall a specific time when you experienced the love of God? What was it like? If you’re in a group, share this out loud.
Find a towel, or a wash cloth, and place it on your family altar. May it symbolize God’s humility, his love, and his cleansing work.
Can you think of a place where there might be an absence of love right now? How might you serve someone (i.e. metaphorically “wash their feet”) who is in that scenario? How might their situation change if you did this?
Want more to do?
WASH EACH OTHER'S FEET
It may seem rather foreign to you, but in some faith traditions it is common to participate in a foot-washing ceremony, just as Jesus did to his disciples. This act is a sign of humility, servanthood, and love. Want to give it a try? All you need is:
#1. a basin, or bowl, of warm water, and
#2. a towel to dry the person’s feet.
Those that want to participate can gather together having already removed their shoes and socks. The person washing can kneel while the person whose feet are being washed sits in a chair.
The person washing simply cups their hands to pour water over the feet of the one sitting and then drys their feet with the towel.
Once finished, it is common for the two to hug or to pass the peace of Christ (“The peace of the Lord be with you,” says the first, “And also with you,” the second responds). Then the person whose feet were just washed kneels to wash the next person’s feet.
Typically, you’d simply wash the feet of the person next to you. But there are times when it is appropriate to intentionally choose to wash a particular person’s feet. Perhaps there is tension, hurt, or remorse in a certain relationship and there is a need to signify a lowering of one’s defenses or one’s new found devotion and commitment. For those in this situation, may washing this person’s feet be a means of redemption and the beginning of restoration.
A DEEPER LOOK
Jesus replied to Peter’s protest, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me” (John 13:8b). What does it mean to belong to God? What actually happens when we are touched by the Holy One?