Maundy Thursday Worship - 7pm
The Day: Just as Ash Wednesday begins Lent, so Maundy Thursday marks the end of Lent proper and the beginning of the Three Holy Days of Christendom (called the Triduum). The theme of the celebration is the Lord’s new command (mandatus, Latin, became Maundy in Old English) to his disciples of all time to love each other as he has loved. The institution of the Lord’s Supper sets forth the depth of Jesus’ love and gives power to the church to live out his command. As with Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday occupies a unique place in the church calendar. It is a festival in which reconciliation is solemnly expressed and in which the congregation makes its transition from preparation for the celebration of the mystery of the Passion and Resurrection, to the celebration itself.
The Stripping of the Altar: The post-communion action of stripping the altar has its roots in the early Church. The congregation sings a hymn as the communion vessels, cross, and candles are carried from the chancel. Once the communion vessels and appointments are removed, the altar, which represents the body of Christ, becomes the focus. The altar is solemnly stripped of its vestments in token of the abandonment of Jesus in Gethsemane. The altar is left completely bare for Good Friday.
The Dismissal: The service concludes after the stripping of the altar. There is no closing blessing or closing hymn. Rather, the services of the Three Days flow into one another, as the congregation leaves to reassemble tomorrow for Part II: Good Friday, for our Service of the Cross.