Psalm 116, Psalm 117, Mark 14:12–52, Ephesians 5:15–21
Many churches observe Maundy Thursday through a communal recreation of the Last Supper (or the First Communion). It is an especially poignant time to do it, as the shadow of Good Friday sits right there…waiting.
John 13–18:27 is a much longer version of Maundy Thursday, and well worth reading. Luke and Matthew have their pieces of the story to tell, as well. The differing pieces are always an interesting thing to ponder.
Instead of the usual Last Supper and foot washing, there is a piece that is often—but not always—overlooked: the singing of hymns. Matthew and John both mention singing of hymns (like Mark). It was part of the ritual. The tradition that evolved was that Psalms 115-118 (sometimes Psalm 114, too) were sung during Passover. These are songs of triumph and God’s glory. Psalm 117 even talks about the “cup of salvation,” which makes it quite appropriate for Maundy Thursday (or any communion service).
Do you sing at meals? Most people probably don’t. If you have teenagers or young children, the thought of having any meal be longer feels like a headache. Yet, there is something to this that we should think on. It isn’t customary to sing at every meal, but how about symbolically important ones? While Passover does not have the same weight for most Christians as those of Jewish descent, it still should be very significant in our religious observances.
The power of Passover and Maundy Thursday is that as much as humanity had a part in it, God was the star. There are huge and powerful things that happen on Passover and Maundy Thursday, the response of the faithful should be awe, amazement, and a whole lot of singing.
1) Have you ever been to a Maundy Thursday service? If so, what were your takeaways from the experience? If not, why might it be powerful to wash the feet of others, have your feet washed, and to experience communion?
2) Singing is often part of many worship services. Why do you think that is? Have you have been to a service where there is no singing? If so, do you know why, and what was your reaction?
3) It is not coincidental that Maundy Thursday is a Passover meal. Why do you think it’s important? What is different between the two?