Hosted by the Faith To Go team in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, David Tremaine and Charlette Preslar, and joined the each week by a special guest, the Faith To Go Podcast highlights themes from the Sunday Gospel reading for you to take into your faith discussions and reflections throughout the week.
Views and Qs: In Service to Others
Watch this video together and then use the discussion questions below to reflect as a family (watch from 3:07 to 8:34).
1) When does your family gather for "big fancy meals?" What emotions come up when
you remember these meals together?
2) What do you think it means to be willing to "hurt" for someone else?
3) Does your family have chores that no one wants to do? How do you decide who does
4) If someone does one of these chores for you, how does it feel? How does it feel to do
some of the chores for someone else?
5) How is being gentle with others a sign of love? How is it a sacrifice and an act of
6) Have you ever been with someone when they were struggling or in some kind of pain?
What was that experience like for you?
Feast and Faith: Hand Washing and Agapé Meal for Maundy Thursday
Today our meal time takes on a special shape. This is an Agape meal, structured after the meal that Jesus shared with is disciples. Agape means "love" in Greek, so it is a meal in which we express our love for one another in a very specific way; through service to them. Below is an outline for the hand washing and meal from the Book of Occasional Services 2018, adapted/edited by the Rev. Dr. James Farwell and Dr. Lisa Kimball.
Usually on Maundy Thursday we would engage in the important symbolic act of washing each others feet. This is a symbol not of sanitizing or cleanliness, but of being in humble and intentional service to others. In this moment, we are being asked to wash our hands not only as a means of cleanliness, but as a service to others, especially those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Keep this in mind as you wash your hands, not as an act of cleaning, but one of service to those most vulnerable in our communities.
Notes for the meal: A meatless meal is to be preferred. The setting should be austere and the foods sparse and simple. Appropriate foods include soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, bread, and wine. If there are several persons present, one will lead.
Prior to beginning the meal decide who will be the leader and who will read the readings. Immediately after the meal is over you are invited to go down to the Stay and Pray section to do a stripping of the altar with your home altar you build together.
Everyone starts in the kitchen by the sink. Make sure there is enough soap for everyone to wash their hands.
+ The Hand Washing +
The leader opens with this prayer, as all are gathered in the kitchen:
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, gave freely of himself to his beloved in the washing of feet and in instituting the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that as we gather in our households we may remember these great gifts of love by Jesus Christ our Lord, and follow his great command to love one another as he eternally loves us all; who has given himself for the whole world, and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The appointed person read this section of John chapter 13
John 13:1-15 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
After the reading everyone moves to the sink for the washing of the hands. Before the first person washes their hands the leader reads this prayer:
We begin by washing, as we were washed in our baptism. We cleanse our hands as we were cleansed in the waters of new birth. We do this not because we are afraid, but because we were commanded to love, and to cleanse our hands, and gather in spirit, is how we love the vulnerable, whom Jesus loved. May we be instruments of love. May the sacrifices we make be for the good of our human family near and far.
Each person present then washes their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Once washed each should help with setting the table as they are able.
Leader: Blessed be our God. All: For ever and ever. Amen. Leader: The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples and had washed their feet, said to them, "Do you know what I, your Lord and Master, have done to you? I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done." People Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. Leader: I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. People Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. Leader By this shall the world know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another.
When the prayers have been said, all gather around the table, standing as able. When people have regathered at the table, this excerpt from the Gospel of Luke by an appointed reader Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
‘But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this. A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.’
+ The Blessings +
After a time of silence, the leader offers the following blessings over whichever of the following elements are present
. Over Wine Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe. You create the fruit of the vine; and you refresh us with the cup of salvation in the Blood of your Son Jesus Christ. May the time come quickly when we can share that cup again, even as you are with us now in our very thirst for you. Glory to you for ever and ever. Amen.
Over Bread Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe. You bring forth bread from the earth; and you have fed us on our way with the bread of life in the Body of your Son Jesus Christ. Let us be fed again soon with that bread of life. And as grain scattered upon the earth is gathered into one loaf, so gather your Church in every place into the kingdom of your Son. To you be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Over the Other Foods Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe. You have blessed the earth to bring forth food to satisfy our hunger. Let this food strengthen us in the fast that is before us, that following our Savior in the way of the cross, we may come to the joy of his resurrection. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.
All are seated for the meal
+ The Meal +
The meal is now eaten. If several are gathered, they first serve one another, then dine.
+ The Word and the Prayers +
At the end of the meal, the seventeenth chapter of the gospel of John is read.
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
An appropriate simple or family favorite hymn or song can be sung.
The following psalm is then said. If there is more than one voice, it is said in unison.
1 O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a barren and dry land where there is no water. 2 Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place; that I might behold your power and your glory. 3 For your loving-kindness is better than life itself; my lips shall give you praise. 4 So will I bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your Name. 5 My soul is content, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips. 6 When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches. 7 For you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. 8 My soul clings to you, your right hand holds me fast. Leader: The Lord be with you All: And also with you Leader: Let us pray Leader: O God of the crucified and risen One, from whom no trial or trouble can separate us: you feed us with your Word and soothe us with your Spirit, closer to us than breath itself.Make us glad this night for the life of your servant Jesus; Make us servants of all for the sake of Jesus; who for our sake gave his life for the salvation of all. In the Name of Jesus, your Son, our Lord. Amen. Once the meal has ended and the table is cleared and cleaned proceed to the Stay and Pray ceremony below.
Stay and Pray: Stripping our Home Altar (from Building Faith) Materials Needed: Bible or Prayer Book, Storage box or bin, Dark cloth, Towels/cleaning supplies
How To Do It:
After you have finished your meal, all gather in front of the home altar you have built together.
Read together Psalm 22: 1-5
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
Share about the custom of stripping the alter. Is this something that you do at your church every year? The stripping of the altar is not meant to symbolize Jesus being taken away from us, but rather the desolate, empty, lonely feeling that we imagine Jesus felt throughout the painful experiences he underwent after he finished his last meal with his disciples and washed their feet.
Take turns removing items from the altar and putting them in the box. As you remove them, think for a moment about the emotion that goes along with each one. Do it slowly and silently so that everyone has a chance to be intentional about their reflection on each object.
Discussion Questions: After all the icons have been packed away take a moment to notice how your altar looks and feels. Invite everyone to make the connection between the emptiness and desolate feeling of the altar and what Jesus may have felt alone in prayer in the garden, especially after he had been betrayed by his friend:
1) What does it feel like to look at this empty altar that you worked on together?
2) What was it like to put everything away into the box in silence?
3) When else do you have feelings like this in your life? Put the box away in a silent and solemn manner. Consider turning off all electronics for the rest of the night.
Share some of your conversations in the comments below: