Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy (Maundy) Thursday Divine Service - Evening

What an absolutely beautiful Holy (Maundy) Thursday Divine Service tonight!  We began by Processing in to "O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken" (stanzas 1-5; we sang stanzas 6-10 as the first Distribution Hymn and stanzas 11-15 as the Closing Hymn).  Then, we had Corporate Confession and Absolution wherein the penitents came and knelt at the altar to be absolved individually and by name.  We continued with the Introit, Kyrie, and Gloria.  Always great to resurrect the Gloria on Holy Thursday!  Then, the Salutation and Collect of the Day (same as at Noon - one of my favorite collects of the year) and onto the Readings from God's Holy Word, beginning with the Old Testament Reading (Exodus 24:3-11 - verse 11b "they beheld God, and ate and drank" is a sermon all in itself), then the Gradual (Ps. 111:4-5; Isaiah 52:15), the Epistle (1 Corinthians 11:23-32 - must to discern the Body!), the Lenten Verse (from DS 1, the Order we followed this evening), and finally the Holy Gospel (John 13:1-15, 34-35).  We confessed our faith in the words of the Apostles' Creed (we use that throughout Lent; the Nicene returns at Easter), and sang the Hymn of the Day ("O Lord, We Praise Thee" - man, I love that hymn!).  Then, the Sermon (I concentrated this year on Jesus' response to St. Peter:  "If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me").  After the Sermon, we prepared ourselves for the reception of our Lord's Body and Blood in the Sacrament by running through Dr. Luther's "Christian Questions with Their Answers."  Then, the Prayer of the Church and Service of the Sacrament (is it me, or is the Proper Preface for Holy Week the best in the Church Year?  Gonna miss it when we put it to rest after Holy Saturday Divine Service).  Then, the Nunc Dimittis, Post-Communion Collect, and Closing Hymn.  No Benediction.  We'll not hear the Benediction until the conclusion of the Easter Vigil.  Then, the dramatic conclusion to the Service with the Stripping of the Altar while Psalm 22 is read and eerie music is heard in the background - always a very moving ceremony!

As I said, absolutely beautiful!  The Lord is good!  It's our looooooongest Divine Service of the year, but one of the most special at the same time.  Love it!  Now, onto Good Friday . . .

The Homily:  

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