Reflections on Maundy Thursday

            Thursday of Holy Week has always been a day of great significance in the Church, primarily because it commemorates Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper for us.   The name by which it is most commonly known, Maundy Thursday probably comes from the Latin Dies Mandati, “Day of the Commandment.”   It refers to our Savior’s words,  spoken during that evening when He inaugurated what we call The Sacrament of the Altar, mandating that humility and love would be defining characteristics among the brotherhood of believers (John 13:34).   An ancient custom connected to this day was the practice of bringing gifts to the poor in hand baskets which were called “maunds.”

            Throughout this Lenten season, swiftly drawing to its close, we have been reminded of how our Lord Jesus Christ, in the face of opposition from His enemies and rejection by His people, nevertheless  walked the path of suffering and sorrow which led Him to the cross for our forgiveness and salvation.    We have also heard our Lord’s call to intensify and to be more faithful in our personal struggle against sin and Satan…..a struggle which too often hinders us from loving God and each other as we ought.    It was to this struggle that we were committed in our Baptism, with the firm reliance upon God’s forgiveness and the power of His Spirit, now dwelling within us, to amend our sinful lives and to live more humbly, obediently, and joyfully in the glow of His love for us in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

            When we confess our sins collectively this evening and hear God’s absolution from our pastor, may none of us doubt – but rather firmly believe – that our sins are fully forgiven forever before our God in heaven, and that through faith alone in Christ our eternal salvation is assured.

            Then, having been reminded once more of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, may we all gratefully recognize that we have been called to love our Lord above all else, to be faithful and obedient to Him even to the point of death, to love one another as He has loved us, and to be servants to each other, just as Jesus humbly chose to become our Servant and Savior. 

            Furthermore, in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, which many of us will be taking part in this evening, we have the privilege of proclaiming our unity of faith in Christ and the comprehensive commitment we have made together to uphold everything that God gives us and teaches us (His doctrines) from His Word.    In addition, let us all be mindful that, in the eating of the bread and drinking of the cup, miraculously we will be experiencing a real, intimate, physical connection with Christ’s body and blood (His “Real Presence”), for the purposes of reassuring us that our sins are all forgiven, as well as for the strengthening of our faith. 

             Finally, please bear in mind that in the Lord’s Supper we also find the promise of that greater, heavenly banquet in which we will share with all the faithful when our Lord returns for the end of this sinful word, and for the deliverance and glorification of His Church, on the Last Day.


For those preparing to receive the Lord’s Supper

  1. Do You believe that you are a sinner?

Yes, I believe that I am a sinner.

  1. How do you know this?

I know this from the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.

  1. Are you sorry for your sins?

Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.

  1. What have you deserved from God because of your sins?

I deserve His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation.

  1. Do you hope to be saved?

Yes, such is my hope.

  1. In whom, then, do you trust?

I trust in my dear Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, true God and man.

  1. How many Gods are there?

There is only one God; but there are three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  1. What has Christ done for you that you trust in him?

He died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

10        Did the Father also die for you?

He did not; for the Father is God only, the Holy Spirit likewise.  But the Son is true God and true man.  He died for me and shed His blood for me.

11        How do you know this?

I know this from the holy Gospel and from the words of the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

12        Which are those words?

The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, gave it to His disciples and said, “Take eat.  This is My body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.”  In the same way, after supper He took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you.  This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

13        Do you  believe, then, that the true body and blood of Christ are in the Sacrament?

Yes, I believe it.

14        What moves you to believe this?

I am moved to believe this by the words of Christ, “Take, and eat.  This is My body….Drink from it, all of you.  This cup is the new covenant in My blood.”

15        What does Christ want you to do when you eat His body and drink his blood in the Lord’s Supper?

Christ wants me to remember and proclaim His death and the pouring out of His blood as He taught me:  “Do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

16        Why does Christ want you to remember and proclaim His death?

He wants me to do this so that: (1) I learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for my sins, but only Christ, who is true God and man could and did do that; (2) I learn to look with terror upon my sins and regard them as great indeed; (3) I find joy and comfort in Christ alone and believe that I have salvation through faith in Him.

17        What moved Him to die and make a complete payment for your sins?

He was moved to do this by the great love for His Father and for me and other sinners, as the Scriptures teach (John 14:31; Romans 5:8; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2).

18        Finally, why do you desire to receive Holy Communion?

I desire to do this so that I learn to believe that Christ out of great love died for my sins and that I also learn of Him to love God and my neighbor.

19        What admonishes and moves you to receive Holy Communion frequently?

The command and the promise of Christ my Lord admonishes and moves me.  Also, the burden of sin which lies heavy upon me causes me to feel a hunger and thirst for Holy Communion.

20        But what can a person do if he is not aware of the burden of sin and does not feel hunger and thirst for         Holy Communion?

To such a person no better advice can be given than that, in the first place, he put his hand into his bosom and feel whether he still has flesh and blood, and that he by all means believes what the Scriptures say about this (Galatians 5:17,19-21; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 7:18).   Secondly, that he look around to see whether he is still in the world and keep in mind that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say (John 15:18-25; Matthew 24:9-13; Acts 14:22).  Thirdly, he will certainly have the devil also about him, who with his lying and murdering, day and night, will let him have no peace, as the Scriptures picture him (John 8:44; I Peter 5 8; Eph 6:10-12; 2 Timothy 2:26). 


21        What can you do if you are sick and are unable to come to Holy Communion?

Then I can send for my pastor to pray with me and to give me Holy Communion privately.

22        When is the proper time to do this?

The time to do this is not only when death is at hand, but earlier before all physical and mental power is gone.

23        Why would you want to do this?

I would want to do this to receive the assurance through Holy Communion that my sins are forgiven and that salvation is mine.

Silent Prayer

We Ask Our Lord To Bless This Service


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship

The Invocation

We begin our service this evening, in the name of the Father,

 and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.

Tonight’s Opening Hymn                                                                                                                  Psalm 51

                                                                                                                                 to:  Rock of Ages,   cwh 2019


                                                                                                1 God be merciful to me                                     3  For my sins before me rise,

                        On Your grace I rest my plea;                            Ever present in my eyes.

                        In Your vast, abounding grace,                          I have sinned ‘gainst You alone.

                        My transgressions all erase.                               In Your sight I’ve evil done;

                        Wash me wholly from my sin;                            Lord, Your judgment fair must be —

                        Cleanse from every ill within.                            Hell I’ve earned…..yet, pardon me!

                        2  Lost I was, brought forth in sin;                     4  Lord, with hyssop sprinkle me,

                        When conceived, I was unclean.             That from sin I clean might be.

                        Surely, You, Lord ought to find                         Wash me from its stain, that so…

                        Truth sincere within my mind;                          I shall whiter be than snow.

                        Gracious God, within my heart                          Let me hear joy’s cheering voice

                        Wisdom unto me impart.                                   Make my broken bones rejoice.


                        5  From my sins, Lord, hide Your face;               6  Give salvation’s joy again,

                        My iniquities erase.                                           And a willing heart sustain.

                        O my God, renew my heart,                               Then Your faithful ways I’ll show

                        And a spirit right impart.                                  That transgressors them may know.

                        Cast me not from You away                               Save their souls eternally….

                        Nor Your Spirit take, I pray.                              Savior, by Your grace, so free..


7     Free me from my guilty blood,    Grant me Your salvation, Lord;

Then with joy my tongue shall raise    Songs,  Your righteousness to praise.

Open now, my lips, O Lord;    That You might be e’er adored.   Amen.


We Join in Confession of Our Sins


P:         Let us confess our sins to God our Father and humbly seek His forgiveness for all our sins.


C:         Almighty God, merciful Father,   +    I confess to You that I am a poor, miserable sinner   +    in my deeds, words, and thoughts.   +    I have not loved You with all my heart.   +    In what I have done and left undone,     +   I have pursued too often my sinful desires   +    instead of Your righteous ways.   +     I have not faithfully     and selflessly loved You with all my heart the way I should,   +     nor have I loved my brothers and sisters          as myself.   +     For these and all of my other sins, +   too many for me to recall,   +  I admit that I deserve        nothing less than your punishment   +    both now and for eternity.   +    But…


I am truly sorry for my sins. +    And  do sincerely repent of them.    +   And now I beg You,   +   in Your boundless mercy, O Lord,   +   for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior:   + 


Forgive me all my sins.   +      Release me from the burden of my guilt.   +      Give me again the assurance

             that I am at peace with You. +   And Grant me Your Holy Spirit to reform my sinful life.

Silence for meditation.


P:         The almighty God has been merciful to us and has sent His one and only Son as our Substitute in holy living      and to die sacrificially for all our sins – indeed, for the sins of the whole world.    For Jesus’ sake, our         Heavenly Father has forgiven us all our sins and calls us now to live obediently, faithfully and joyfully in            response to His marvelous grace.   In order to provide you, personally, with that reassurance and          encouragement, as a called servant of Christ and by His command and authority, I now forgive you all your        sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.    May the peace of God be with you all.

C:         Amen.


We Receive Instruction from God’s Word


Tonight’s Old Testament Lesson                                                                             Exodus 11 & 12, selected

11:1Now the LORD had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely……
4So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.

Exodus 12:1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household…6Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts… 11This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.


12“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt……
29At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
31During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. 32Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                        I Corinthians 11:23-32

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after the meal, he also took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Lord’s body and blood. 28 Instead, let a person examine himself and after doing so, let him eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For if anyone eats and drinks in an unworthy way because he does not recognize the Lord’s body, he eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 Because of this, many among you are weak and sick, and quite a few have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be undergoing judgment. 32 However, when we undergo judgment, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we may not be condemned with the world.

After which the Congregation will rise for

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Mark 14:12-26


12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and there a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house that the Teacher says, ‘Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”   16 His disciples left and went into the city and found things just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.   17 When it was evening, he arrived with the Twelve.  

18 While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, “Amen I tell you: One of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”  19 They began to be sorrowful and said to him one by one, “Surely not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping bread with me in the dish. 21 Indeed, the Son of Man is going to go just as it has been written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread. When he had blessed it, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take it.  This is my body.”  23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. They all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the new testament,[c] which is poured out for many. 25 Amen I tell you: I will certainly not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 After they sang a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Following this, the Congregation will be seated for

The Public Confession of our Beliefs

Regarding the Sacrament of the Altar


The First Part of the Lord’s Supper                               The Institution of Holy Communion

Pastor              What is the Sacrament of Holy Communion?


Congregation              It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,   +   together with the bread and wine, 

                                                             +   instituted by Christ   +  for us Christians to eat and to drink.


Pastor              Where is this written?

Congregation              The Holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the Apostle Paul tell us:   +   The Lord Jesus

Christ,   +  On the  night He was betrayed   +   took bread;   +  and when He had given thanks,  +   He broke it,   +  gave it to His disciples and said:  +   “Take and eat.   +    This is My body, which is given for You;   +   do this in remembrance of Me.”

            In the same way,   +   after supper He took the cup,   +  gave thanks,  +  gave it to them and said:  +   “Drink from it, all of you.   +   This cup is the new covenant in My blood,   +  which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.   +  Do this, whenever you drink it,   +   in remembrance of Me.”



The Hymn Response                                                                                    “An Awesome  Mystery Is Here”


An Awesome mystery is here   To challenge faith and waken fear:

The Savior comes in food divine,   Concealed in earthly bread and wine.


In consecrated wine and bread    No eye perceives the myst’ry dread;

But Jesus’ words are strong and clear: 

 “My body and My blood are here.”


The Second Part of the Lord’s Supper                            The Blessings of Holy Communion


Pastor              What blessing do we receive through this eating and



Congregation  That is shown us by these words,   +   “Given and poured out for you   +   for the forgiveness of sins.”


Pastor              Through these words we receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation in this Sacrament.

Congregation  For where there is forgiveness of sins,   +   there is also life and salvation.

The Hymn Response                                                                     “Here O My Lord, I See You Face to Face”


Mine is the sin but Yours the righteousness;

Mine is the guilt but Yours the cleaning blood.

Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace.

Your blood, Your righteousness, O Lord, my God.

The Third Part of the Lord’s Supper                                      The Power of Holy Communion

Pastor              How can eating and drinking do such great things?


Congregation  It is certainly not the eating and drinking that does such things,  +   but the words, “Given and

                                     poured out for you  +   for the forgiveness of sins.”


Pastor              These words are the main thing in this sacrament, along with the eating and drinking.


Congregation  And whoever believes these words has what they plainly say,  +   the forgiveness of sins.



The Hymn Response                                                                                                 “Your Table I Approach


1 Your table I approach;  Dear Savior, hear my prayer.

Let not an unrepentant heart  Prove hurtful to me there.


2 Lord, I confess my sins   And mourn their wretched bands;

A contrite heart is sure to find   Forgiveness at Your hands.



The Fourth Part of the Lord’s Supper                            The Reception of Holy Communion

Pastor              Who, then, is properly prepared to receive this Sacrament?


Congregation              Fasting and other outward preparations may serve a good purpose,    +  but he is properly

                                                            prepared who believes these words,   +   “Given and poured out for you for the forgiveness of

 sins.”  +   But whoever does not believe these words   +   or doubts them   +   is not prepared,   +   because the words “for you”  +   require nothing but hearts that believe.

The Hymn Response                                                                       “Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared”


1 Lord Jesus Christ, You have prepared  this feast for our salvation;

it is Your body and your blood,   and at Your invitation

as weary souls, with sin oppressed,   we come to You for needed rest,

for comfort, and for pardon.


6 Lord, I believe what You have said;   help me when doubts assail me.

Remember that I am but dust,    and let my faith not fail me.

Your supper in this vale of tears    refreshes me and stills my fears

and is my priceless treasure.


After which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED

We Meditate On God’s Word

The Pre-Sermon Salutation

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ!  And grace and peace to you from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come.  Amen.

The Sermon Text                                                                                                           I Corinthians 10:16-17

16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

United We Stand

  1. United With Christ II. United in Christ


The Post-Sermon Blessing

Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen.

We Bring Our Offerings and Prayers To The LORD

As we gather the offering for this evening, we will pass offering plates throughout the chapel.

For those watching this service online, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to our church address  (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745);   OR

2) You can go online to our website (   and use the giving option there.

The Offering

Tonight’s Prayers                  

concluding with….

All these things and whatever else You see that we need, grant us dear Father, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, Who, though He was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we might be rich in Him, and Who, with You and the Holy Spirit, lives and rules as the one true God, now and forever.     And in Whose name we also join in praying:


Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.


The Sacrament of the Altar


Consecration of the Elements – Pastor


The Distribution of the Elements



TO OUR GUESTS:                            


            We ask that only “Confirmed, Communicant” members of this congregation, or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod congregations come forward to receive the Lord’s Supper at this time. 

To us the Lord’s Supper is both an expression of our common faith in

Christ (which we share with all our fellow worshipers this evening), and also a public expression of our complete doctrinal agreement as a congregation (as I Corinthians 1:10 and 10:17 requires of us).

Accordingly, we are not, in any way, judging your Christian faith by

respectfully aasking you not to join us in the Lord’s Supper this evening.  Rather, we pray that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage all those Christians who are not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of their church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. It is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the doctrines of our congregation, so that you might one day join with us at the Lord’s altar in this public expression of full unity of doctrine and practice. Until then, please know that we are most grateful for your participation as a fellow Christian in this worship service, and that we appreciate your patience and understanding of our Communion practice. 



The Distribution Hymn                                                                      Hymn 135 “The Death of Jesus Christ”

                                                                                                                    sung in 3 increments: vs 1-3; 4-6; 7-9


Following the distribution of the elements,

            the Congregation will rise for the closing prayer

We Leave With the Lord’s Blessing

The Closing Prayer


We give You thanks, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this saving gift.   We pray that through Your mercy You would strengthen us in our faith in You and in sincere love for one another.    We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.   Amen.


For Your consoling Supper, Lord, Be praised throughout all ages!

Preserve it,  for in every place The world against it rages.

Grant that this Sacrament may be A blessed comfort unto me

When living and when dying.    Amen.

The Benediction

Pastor                          Receive now, with believing hearts, the benediction of your Lord.

The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make His face to shine upon you

 and be gracious unto you.

And the LORD look upon you with favor,

 and grant you His peace. Amen 

The Closing Hymn                                                                                        “In Peace, Lord, at Your Word”

                                                                                                                                                                                                    sung to the melody of Rhosymedre


                        In peace, Lord, at your Word,                        Eternal praise and fame

                        Now let your servant go;                                            Be to our God alone!

                        For I have seen and heard                                           We proudly bear His name,

                        What all the earth must know                                   Proclaim what He has done.

                        Salvation for the world is here!                                 For our redemption, full and free

                        And Israel’s Light shines bright and clear                 To Father, Son, and Spirit be

                        Upon the nations far and near.                                  All praise and thanks eternally.       

                                                                        .                                   Amen.



Silent prayer