Maundy Thursday C April 14, 2022

Maundy Thursday C April 14, 2022
John 13:1-35
“The New Commandment”


One: Come, let us join at the table
Many: Let us join at the table. Let us be set free
One: Come, a place is set for each of us
Many: Let us join at the table. Let us be set free
One: Come, join the misfits, thieves, and liars
Many: Let us join at the table. Let us be set free
One: Come, young and old, from near or far
Many: Let us join at the table. Let us be set free
One: Come, where shame is no longer welcome
Many: Let us join at the table. Let us be set free
One: Come, where forgiveness and mercy triumph
Many: Let us join at the table. Let us be set free


One: Come, a new commandment has been given
Many: From before the foundation of the world
One: Come, that we may love one another
Many: That our joy may be full and we may be set free

The following litany consists of twelve stanzas and has been written to be led by children with ease. The leaders’ portion consists of only two simple phrases: “We gather”(the first ten) and “When we gather” (the last two). The litany can be divided up or rearranged in any number of ways, e.g. alternating parents and children, dividing three stanzas among four children, assigned to twelve adults, etc. If a shorter version is desired, some stanzas may be omitted, e.g. the first and last stanzas can be used as a Call to Worship or Invocation.

Leader 1: We gather
Many: At the threshold of
new creation

Leader 2: We gather
Many: As created beings
To be one with each other
To be one with Creation
To be one with God

Leader 3: We gather
Many: Where the groaning of the heart finds harmony
Where the Creation’s cry is a consecrating fire
Where the yokes of bondage are broken
Where the chains of oppression are torn
Where the wounded are made whole
Where the ground underfoot is holy

Leader 4: We gather
To commune with neighbors
In the company of saints

Leader 5: We gather
To sing hallelujahs
In the presence of our enemies

Leader 6: We gather
Many: To remember the wanders of you
To speak your name
To celebrate you
And you
And you

Leader 7: We gather
Many: For the mysteries:
For the bread and wine
For the Word made flesh
For the Cup of the New Covenant

Leader 8: We gather
Many: In the borderland of sacred spaces,
Where heaven meets Earth.

Leader 9: We gather
Many: Where roots grip the soil
On the banks of the River of Life
That flows through the city of God.

Leader 10: We gather
Many: Where the dreams of Eden grow
Sprouting leaves for the healing of the nations.

Leader 11: Where we gather
Many: Where we gather,
You are welcome.
You are loved
As you are.

Leader 12: Where we gather
Many: May your heart
Find a home
Among us


Merciful, Mighty, Matchless One,
You have loved us to the end.
There was betrayal in our heart,
Yet you loved us anyway.
You knew we would deny you,
Yet you loved us anyway.
In our selfishness, we balked, we objected, we disapproved,
Yet you loved us anyway.
We sought to point the finger at anyone other than ourselves,
Yet you loved us anyway.
Forgive us we pray.
Renew our healing convictions,
Restore our call to service,
Rekindle our flame for justice,
That we may once again become your people of peace.


One: Hear and receive the good news.
The One who created us has called us.
There is now no condemnation,
No shame at the table of God.
Only the love that makes us whole again.
Only the love we offer others.
In God’s name we are forgiven.
Many: In God’s name we have been set free. Amen.


One: A new commandment you have given us
That we give ourselves for each other,
Just as you gave yourself for us.
That we love one another,
Just as you have loved us.
Let us gather our gifts together and offer them to God.


May the gifts we offer today
Build your Beloved Community among us,
That the world will know we are yours,
That we love because you first loved us.


It is common in communion liturgy to include a statement of inclusion that the table is open all. An excellent example of a participatory Litany of Inclusion, written by Rev. Kenneth L. Pennings, can be found on the website of the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ ( The leader statements are short enough that they can be led by children and adults, young and old.


One: May the Giver of Peace be with you.
Many: May God’s justice burn in you.

One: Our hearts are wounded and wandering.
Many: We lift them up to God.

One: Give thanks to God, for God is good.
Many: God’s love endures forever.

It is right and a good and joyful thing,
Always and everywhere to give thanks to You,
Creator, Maker of Heaven and Earth.

At the dawn of Creation,
You breathed life into dirt,
And glory sprung from the ground.

God’s love endures forever.

From the fury and flood, you protected Noah.
As many children as the stars, you promised Abraham.
In the dreams of a slave named Joseph, Israel feasted during famine.
With the rod of Moses and the songs of Mariam, you delivered Israel from slavery.

Many: God’s love endures forever.

In our need of forgiveness, you gave us Jesus.
He could speak to the wind and the waves.
He could heal with mud and dance on water.
He preached good news to the poor.
He blessed the lowly.
He opened the way to God.

Many: God’s love endures forever.

When he had been crucified,
When he was dead and buried,
You lifted Jesus from the grave,
And gave us resurrected life.

Many: God’s love endures forever.

With the roaring of your love,
You set us aflame.
Your justice became our joy.
Your peace became our promise.
Many: God’s love endures forever.

Through the waters of baptism, you made us your own.
In our lives together we cary your witness,
And your love comes to life among us.

Many: Give thanks to God, for God is Good. God’s love endures forever.


On the night when Jesus was betrayed,
He gathered with his disciples in the upper room
Where an ordinary meal became an instrument of God.
At this table, Jesus broke bread those who would betray him.
At this table, Jesus drank wine with the one who denied him.
At this table, Jesus communed with those who would abandon him.
At this table, Jesus gave a new commandment
At this table, we learn to love one another as God loves us.
At this table we sit at the table of God.

Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to you,
Broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over, Jesus took the cup,
Gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Drink from this, all of you;
The is the cup of the new covenant,
Poured out for you and for many
For the forgiveness from our failings
And hope for the new life to come.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
In remembrance of me.

And so,
in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus our Messiah,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a holy and living sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
“Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”

Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts of bread and wine
That they might be for us the presence of the living Christ.
Pour your Spirit upon us also
That we may be one with Christ,
One with each other,
And one in ministry to all the world,
Until we arrive at the heavenly banquet of God.

Through Christ, with Christ and in Christ,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
And the bond of peace.
All glory and honor are yours, Creating God, now and forever.


With this one loaf,
We who are many, become one.

With his one cup,
What was before has been renewed.


The body of Christ, given for you. Amen.
The cup of our salvation, given for you. Amen

Our Creator, our Savior, our Sustainer
In this holy mystery, you have given yourself to us.
We are eternally grateful.
Empower us, that we may go into the world
in the strength of your Spirit,
to give ourselves to each other
in the name of Jesus Christ who gave his life for us.


Now, may the love of God go with us. May God’s face shine upon us. May we carry God’s love into the world, loving one another as God has loved us. May our lives bear witness to the never-ending love of God. Amen.

The New Commandment: Service Prayers for Maundy Thursday was written by Michael Anthony Howard, who serves as Minister of Faith in Action for the Living Water Association, Ohio NorthEast, of the Heartland Conference, United Church of Christ.