Maundy Thursday Service at Home
Below is a guide to help your family practice Communion and Foot Washing. The words in bold are what you can read to your family as you go through the activity. There are notes throughout to address different ages, alternative options, etc. As always, this is a resource for you, a guide, and you should adjust this to your family’s needs. All scripture has been included in this guide using the NIrV (New International Reader Version). You are welcome to use your favorite version as well. We suggest playing some quiet worship music while you spend this time with Jesus and your family.
Read Matthew 26:17-30
The Lord’s Supper
17 It was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The disciples came to Jesus. They asked, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?”
18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover at your house with my disciples.” ’ ” 19 So the disciples did what Jesus had told them to do. They prepared the Passover meal.
20 When evening came, Jesus was at the table with his 12 disciples. 21 While they were eating, he said, “What I’m about to tell you is true. One of you will hand me over to my enemies.”
22 The disciples became very sad. One after the other, they began to say to him, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord, do you?”
23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will hand me over. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But how terrible it will be for the one who hands over the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Judas was the one who was going to hand him over. He said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Teacher, do you?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup. He gave thanks and handed it to them. He said, “All of you drink from it. 28 This is my blood of the covenant. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many people. 29 Here is what I tell you. From now on, I won’t drink wine with you again until the day I drink it with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Before Jesus and the disciples took communion they prayed and gave thanks for it. Before we take communion, let’s spend some time in prayer. I would encourage you to do two things in your prayer. First, ask God for forgiveness for the sinful choices you have made this week. Secondly, thank God for the sacrifice He made on the cross.
As we take communion we are remembering God’s biggest gesture of love toward us. We are remembering how He died on the cross, to pay the price for our sins. He did this so we could be in a relationship with God the Father. As we eat the bread we remember how Jesus’ body was broken for us and as we drink from the cup we remember how Jesus’ blood was the blood of the covenant that forgives all of our sins.
So, before we take communion together let’s get our hearts right with God. As you pray quietly to yourself, reflect on these questions:
How have I sinned?
How have I thought about myself before others this week?
Have I lost my temper this week?
Have I used my hands to express my anger and hurt someone this week?
Have I obeyed my parents or talked disrespectfully this week?
Have I talked to God this week? Or have I ignored Him?
After you have reflected on these questions ask God to forgive you for your sins and then thank Him for His sacrifice on the cross for your sins. When you are finished, take an additional minute to listen and let God’s presence cover you during your time of prayer.
- You (the parent) may want to pray out loud to set the example for your children.
- Your child may want you to pray with them or “help” them pray. Give your children prompts. Sometimes younger children need you to give them the words.
- Encourage your older children to pray quietly to themselves. It is so important for our children to own their faith and develop their individual relationship with God.
Praying silently to themselves allows for them to freely reflect and repent without feeling like someone is watching them.
- Do not offer your observations on their sins unless they ask you. Allow the Holy Spirit to prompt their hearts as they sit quietly during your time of prayer.
- Don’t make the prayer time super long. Remember a child’s attention span is their age + 5 minutes. We are going for quality time with God not quantity time with God during this exercise of communion.
- Do not force anyone to take communion if they don’t feel ready.
- Since we are in a pandemic please do not share a cup. Even with your own family. ;)
Let’s take communion.
Once everyone has finished praying pass out the bread and the cup. Encourage everyone to quietly take it when they are ready. We want to set the example of reverence during this biblical practice but have grace with your children. They are learning!
Taking communion helps us strengthen our relationship with God!
Now that our hearts are right before the Lord, let’s look at Jesus’ example for another biblical practice, foot washing.
Read John 13:1-17 (NIrV)
1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world. It was time for him to go to the Father. Jesus loved his disciples who were in the world. So he now loved them to the very end.
2 They were having their evening meal. The devil had already tempted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. He had urged Judas to hand Jesus over to his enemies. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put everything under his power. He also knew he had come from God and was returning to God. 4 So he got up from the meal and took off his outer clothes. He wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a large bowl. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter. “Lord,” Peter said to him, “are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t realize now what I am doing. But later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter. “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you can’t share life with me.”
9 “Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet! Wash my hands and my head too!”
10 Jesus answered, “People who have had a bath need to wash only their feet. The rest of their body is clean. And you are clean. But not all of you are.” 11 Jesus knew who was going to hand him over to his enemies. That was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When Jesus finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes. Then he returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You are right. That is what I am. 14 I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. 16 What I’m about to tell you is true. A slave is not more important than his master. And a messenger is not more important than the one who sends him. 17 Now you know these things. So you will be blessed if you do them.
Jesus set a wonderful example for us when He washed His disciples feet. He set an example of servant leadership. When Jesus was alive and living in Jerusalem the streets were very dusty and people would walk all around town in their sandals. I bet you could imagine how dirty their feet would get walking on those dusty roads all day. When people got home they would take off their sandals and the servant of the household would wash their feet before they walked around the house. It was a common custom for people to have their feet washed by a servant but washing the feet of guests was not the job of the leader, host, or rabbi.
When Jesus tied the towel around His waist and filled the bowl with water the disciples must have been so confused! Let’s look back at verse 6. Peter asked Jesus, “‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’” Jesus’ actions surprised Peter because Jesus was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords yet he humbled himself to the position of a servant.
What I love about this story is that Jesus didn’t just TELL the disciples they should serve each other, He SHOWED them how to serve each other. He set the example. Let’s Reread verses 14 & 15.
14 I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you.
God set the example to us to follow. Nowadays washing someone’s feet isn’t the sacrifice of service it was in biblical times. But serving those around us is just as important today as it was then.
Let’s brainstorm some ways we can serve each other.
Clean up someone else’s mess.
Do the dishes.
What are ways you can serve the family during this quarantine?
Make someone laugh when they are sad.
Do someone else’s chores.
Those are great examples! As a commitment to each other we are going to humble ourselves like Jesus did and wash each other’s feet.
Wash each other’s feet.
Fill a large bowl with water. Place a large towel under the bowl of water. Take turns washing each other’s feet. With your hand or a small cup, carefully pour water over the person’s feet. Use a small towel to dry their feet when you are finished.