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April 1 — Maundy Thursday: Family faith formation @ home

You have two options for Faith Formation @ Home for Maundy Thursday. You may want an experience that walks your family through the whole story of Maundy Thursday, which includes Passover, the Last Supper and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. That in-depth celebration is centered around a meal and the reading of Scripture.   This session includes all the instructions you will need to share that family experience.

The second option is a shorter version that focuses on the Last Supper becoming the Lord’s Supper. If you choose this option, you will need the following items placed in the middle of the table where you gather:

  • A loaf of leavened/yeast bread
  • A piece of unleavened bread (saltine crackers, matzo, tortilla)
  • Grapes and/or juice

You may want to explain why tonight is different, especially if you have children in your midst. Here are some teaching points that may help:

  • Maundy Thursday is the day we celebrate Jesus’ last supper with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion.
  • While it is not the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, it is the event on which the sacrament of Communion is it is founded.
  • Maundy, in Latin, means commandment. It is the night Jesus commanded us to “do this in remembrance of him.”

Welcome

One:    On this night so long ago, Jesus invited his disciples to share a meal with him and
All:      Remember God’s love and give thanks.

One:    The disciples celebrated the Passover and told the story of how God rescued them from slavery and how the people did
All:      Remember God’s love and give thanks.

One:    On that night, Jesus shared his last supper with friends knowing he would rescue them from all they had done wrong so they could
All:      Remember God’s love and give thanks.

One:    On this night, we, Christ’s disciples, gather around a table and
All:      Remember God’s love and give thanks.

One:    On this Thursday, we do as Christ commanded and
All:      Remember God’s love and give thanks
One:    For Jesus, who is God’s give of love.

 Opening prayer

God in heaven and God present with us, we gather around this table tonight to remember your greatest gift of love, Jesus our Savior. We give thanks that you sent your Son to walk among us, to teach us how to live and to show us how to love as you love. Open our hearts and our minds that we may experience your grace in a powerful and transforming way. Amen.

 Connecting with Scripture              

Passage 1: The Passover meal          Mark 14:12-16

 Read the first Scripture in the NRSV or CEB as it sets the stage for Jesus’ last supper.

Teaching points that may be helpful for this section:

  • The meal Jesus shared with his disciples on that last night was a yearly celebration of the Jewish Passover.
  • A Passover Meal tells the story of the night God used Moses to deliver the people from enslavement. Moses told Pharaoh to let God’s people go, but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he said no. God sent plagues, but still Pharaoh resisted. The last plague was the worst and God instructed the Hebrews to put a sign over their door so the plague would pass over their homes. Finally, Pharaoh said, “Okay, fine! Go! Leave!” and they did. Of course, Pharaoh changed his mind, but God didn’t and led the Hebrews out of Egypt and put them on the road to the Promised Land. This is the story Passover celebrates.
  • This year, when Christians celebrate Maundy Thursday, our Jewish siblings will be celebrating Passover (March 27 – April 4.) The dates don’t always perfectly align but this year they do.

Watch this fun explanation of the Passover our Jewish siblings are celebrating this week. Invite people to take some grapes and/or juice and some unleavened bread to eat as they watch.

(The Hebrew word “chametz” is used in this video. It means any bread or crumbs from bread baked with yeast or leaven. This is forbidden during Passover to remember the ancient Hebrews who had to flee without time for yeast to leaven their bread.)

 

 

Passage 2: The preparation of the Passover      Luke 22:7-20

Read the second Scripture in the NRSV or CEB.

Click here to view a mural of the Last Supper painted by Maximino Cerezo Barredo, a Latin American priest who preaches liberation through art. Invite those gathered to study the painting as they listen to someone reading the Luke’s account of the Last Supper.

Engage in dialogue:

  • What do you notice about this painting?
  • What do you see that is consistent and what is different than the picture you paint in your mind about the Last Supper?
  • In what ways does this picture influence how you hear the Scripture?
  • How does this change your understanding or perspective?
  • In what way did Jesus come to liberate people?
  • What did people need to be liberated from then and now?
  • How might the Last Supper be a meal of freedom — a meal celebrating liberation?

Teaching points that may be helpful for this section:

  • The Passover story is a story of liberation — of being set free from enslavement.
  • Jesus was Jewish and the Passover story from Exodus was the story of his people and their relationship with God. It was his story, too.
  • It was very important to Jesus that he, and those around him, remember who God was and all that God had done for them — to take the time to give God thanks for the wonderful, mighty works of goodness God did and continues to do.
  • He took this night, to share a meal with his closest friends, to give thanks and praise to God.
  • As Christians, our liberation story – the story that defines our relationship with God – is told in the story of Jesus.
  • On that night so long ago, the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested, he gathered his disciples, who were also Jewish, and shared the Passover meal.
  • He then did something very important: He shifted the evening to be about what would happen that evening, on Friday and then on Sunday.

Passage 3: The Lord’s Supper          1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Read the third Scripture from the NRSV or CEB.

Teaching points that may be helpful for this section:

  • In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus took bread, and after he blessed it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples telling them to take and eat. He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
  • He then took the cup and said, “This is the cup of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins, do this in remembrance of me.” He gave it to them to drink.
  • With his words, “do this in remembrance of me,” he commanded us to take time on special occasions like this evening to remember who he was and what he did for each of us.
  • He commanded us to remember that we are God’s children, forgiven and free, because God loved us so much that God’s own son was sent to bring us the gift of salvation.
  • In our remembering, we give thanks for God’s gift of love made known to us in Jesus. 

Watch this clip from the movie “The 100-Foot Journey.” Invite each person to share the leavened bread, grapes and juice and consider:

  • What is your favorite memory about Jesus?
  • What helps you remember Jesus?
  • Why does bread and wine/juice help us remember Jesus?
  • Why is it important that we remember him?

Close with a prayer of thanksgiving by asking each person to complete this sentence:

I remember Jesus did __________________ and give thanks to God for ________________.

 

REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.

 

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