THE COMMANDMENT TO LOVE A REFLECTION FOR HOME WORSHIP ON
MAUNDY THURSDAY APRIL 1, 2021
When I was a little girl in a big church, the ushers all wore dark suits and ties and dark expressions on their faces. The ministers–always men–wore dark suits as well, even during worship. We usually had Communion just a few times a year, on certain holidays. The holiday that was most traditional for us to observe Communion was Maundy Thursday. Why wouldn’t we celebrate Communion then? That is when Jesus gave future generations of followers the “meal” that would bind them together in remembrance.
The Sunday before Communion we were encouraged to examine our hearts and our lives so that we did not “Eat and drink damnation on ourselves.” (1 Corinthians 11:29). I was afraid of Communion for a great many years, because of those sour-faced saints who warned about the possibility of damnation by “doing it wrong”.
It was so many years later that I learned why Paul even said those words and what he was warning the Corinthian Church about. In the Corinthian Church, those who were wealthy had all of the leisure time in the world; they arrived at worship first and they ate and drank however much they wanted. When the poor arrived later, the meal that was left to them was often dribbles of wine and crumbs of bread–a mere pittance left for those who truly needed to be fed. This is the self-examination that Paul was asking them to do: “Why are you treating your fellow believers so horribly? Why have you deprived them of the Holy Meal?”
It took me another couple of years to understand that the word Maundy comes from the Latin word Mandatum which means commandment. The commandment of Maundy Thursday is to love each other as Jesus has loved us. I know that I have told you this before, but it bears repeating, because many of us still look at Maundy Thursday as being dark and dismal. Let us reframe our understandings of what it means to love as Jesus has loved us. In love there is pain; we honor the love of Jesus on Maundy Thursday when we remember that it was a painful time for Jesus. But in love there is also joy; it is not one or the other–it is both at the same time. The love of Jesus was so intense that he was willing to risk physical, mental, and emotional pain in order to show love to us. This we must remember! This we can believe! This will bring us joy!
So for your Maundy Thursday “meal”, set a place at your table for those who shared your life, but are now on the other side of eternity. Picture those that you loved most in your life who have gone on to glory as being at the table with you. Make your “meal” as simple or as complex as you would like, maybe something that you ate with your loved ones all the time, maybe a favorite snack. Communion doesn’t have to be bread and wine (but it can be if you choose that). Communion is the act of interacting; communion is shortening the distance between you and those that you love until the divide melts away.
Do this in remembrance of Them…
Do this in remembrance of Jesus…
Do this in remembrance of Love…
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS A REFLECTION FOR HOME WORSHIP ON GOOD FRIDAY APRIL 2, 2021
- Jesus is condemned to death.Jesus was accused of many crimes he didn’t commit. He didn’t defend himself. He was willing to die for our sins.
Pray for those who are in prison..whether they are falsely accused or not.
- Jesus accepts the cross.The cross was big and heavy. It was hard for Jesus to carry it. Jesus carried the heavy cross without complaining once.
Pray for those who are carrying heavy burdens; pray about the burdens you carry.
- Jesus falls the first time.Jesus was already badly wounded when he fell the first time. It must have hurt very much. Jesus got up and kept on going.
Pray for those who have fallen ill because of the Corona Virus.
- Jesus meets his mother.Jesus knew that his mother was sad to see him suffering so much. But he was so happy she came to him. Mary loved Jesus very much.
Pray for those who are particularly lonely as they stay at home for their health.
- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus.Simon didn’t come to help Jesus but to see what was going on. Then he was ordered by the soldiers to carry the cross, because Jesus was having such a hard time.
Pray for those who are risking their own lives to take care of others now.
- Veronica wipes Jesus’ face.Veronica loved Jesus very much. When she stepped out to wipe his face, she risked getting in big trouble from the soldiers. Her love and kindness overcame her fear.
Pray for those “good neighbors” who are checking on others every day.
- Jesus falls a second time.Jesus fell again because he was so weak and tired from all his wounds. He still didn’t give up. He got back up and continued on.
Pray for those who dragged down by sadness and sorrow.
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.A lot of people were against Jesus, but a lot of people followed him. They were his faithful friends.
Pray for all of those who have been faithful friends to you in times of need.
- Jesus falls a third time.It’s unbelievable that Jesus fell again and the soldiers didn’t help him. They only yelled louder for him to get up and continue on. Jesus didn’t get mad at them; he forgave them.
Pray for those who have thought only of themselves and their needs in this crisis.
- Jesus is stripped of his clothes.To be without clothes in front of everyone is a humiliating thing. Jesus wasn’t ashamed because he knew his Father in heaven loved him and everyone who was there.
Pray for those whose resistance is low, who are not clothed in bodily strength.
- Jesus is crucified.The soldiers drove nails through Jesus’ hands and feet. They lifted up the cross and put it in place. Jesus was in a lot of pain.
Pray for those who inflict pain on others (the prayer that Jesus prayed for those who killed him).
- Jesus dies on the cross.When Jesus died, the sky got dark and the ground started to shake. This made some people very scared. They saw that Jesus was innocent and that they had made a big mistake.
Pray for those who have died because of the Corona Virus; pray for their families.
- Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross.Joseph of Arimathea gave Jesus his own burial cave because Jesus didn’t have a place to be buried. Joseph was another one of Jesus’ friends who took a risk to help him.
Pray for Funeral Directors, who have been working harder during this epidemic.
- Jesus is laid in the tomb.Even when things look very difficult and sad, there is always hope that God can bring new life.
Pray a prayer of thankgiving that you can have new life because Jesus gave of himself so fully and freely.
This “Stations of the Cross” was written by Theresa Difato; it was adapted by Pastor Kathy for Good Friday of 2021.