Audio and Text are available below for the Maundy Thursday

April 1 2021


Welcome and Announcements

Opening Hymn

Invocation - Kyrie


Salutation and Collect of the Day

Old Testament Reading


Verse - Holy Gospel

Hymn of the Day


Offertory - Offertory Prayer

Prayer of the Church

Preface - Proper Preface - Sanctus

Lord's Prayer

The Words of Our Lord

Fraction - Agnus Dei

Music During Communion Distribution

The Dismissal

Stripping of the Altar












Welcome to First Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.  We are very glad you joined us for worship today, and we hope you will come again.  Our congregation is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, a worldwide Christian denomination in the tradition of the German Protestant Reformation.  Central to our faith is the biblical doctrine that we are justified by grace through faith.  That is to say, God forgives our sins and puts us right with Him by His great love for us, made manifest through Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection, which we receive through faith in Him. 
Communion Statement: At our Sunday worship services we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.  We believe and teach that the Holy Communion is the true body and blood of Christ, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins.  If you are a baptized adult Christian who shares this belief, you are welcome to receive Holy Communion this morning.  Children and adults not receiving Communion may come forward for a pastoral blessing.  If you have any questions about Holy Communion, we encourage you to talk with the Pastor or an Elder.   We are eager to share our Confession (statement) of faith and Communion instruction with you.

Today’s Worship:  This service is the first part of the Triduum (from the Latin for “three days”) liturgies.  There will be no benediction today, and tomorrow’s Good Friday service will include neither invocation nor benediction.  The worship we begin today ends with the service on Easter morning.  Festive elements, such as the Peace and the Creed are omitted from tonight’s solemn service.  At the conclusion of tonight’s portion of the Triduum service, the chancel and altar are stripped of their vessels and adornments, reminding us of our Lord’s humiliation and to begin preparing our worship space for Good Friday and Easter.

Ringing of the Bell
The bell rings as the call to worship, reminding us to discontinue conversation and reverently prepare for worship.


Welcome and Announcements


440 Jesus, I Will Ponder Now                                                    LSB 440

Text Box: 6	Graciously my faith renew;      Help me bear my crosses,  Learning humbleness from You,      Peace mid pain and losses.  May I give You love for love!      Hear me, O my Savior,  That I may in heav’n above      Sing Your praise forever.  Tune and text: Public domain    5       If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let Your cross my fear disarm;
Peace of conscience give me.
Help me see forgiveness won
By Your holy passion.
If for me He slays His Son,
God must have compassion!

P:  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C:  Amen
P:  For everything there is a season.
C:  and a time for every matter under heaven:
P:  a time to be born,
C:  and a time to die;
P: a time to love,
C: and a time to hate;
P: a time for war
C: and a time for peace.

P:  In this Lenten season we have heard our Lord’s call to intensify our struggle against sin, death and the devil – all that keeps us from loving God and each other.  This is the struggle to which we were committed at Baptism; God’s forgiveness and the power of his Spirit to amend our lives continue with us because of his love for us in Jesus, our Savior.
Within the community of His Church, God never wearies of giving peace and new life.  In the words of absolution we receive forgiveness as from God himself.  This absolution we should not doubt, but firmly believe that thereby our sins are forgiven before God in heaven, for it comes to us in the name and by the command of our Lord.

We who receive God’s love in Jesus Christ are called to love one another, to be servants to each other as Jesus became our servant.

It is, however, in the Holy Communion that the members of Christ’s body participate most intimately in his love.  Remembering our Lord’s last supper with his disciples, we eat the bread and share the cup of this meal.  Together we receive the Lord’s gift of himself and participate in that new covenant which makes us one in him.  The Eucharist is the promise of the great banquet we will share with all the faithful when our Lord returns, the culmination of our reconciliation with God and each other.
Let us make confession to God.


P:  O almighty God, merciful Father
C:  I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess to You all my sins in thought, word and deed with which I have offended You.  Although I justly deserve Your punishment in time and eternity, I am truly sorry for them and sincerely repent of them.  In Your boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, be gracious and merciful to me, forgive me all my sins and direct me to walk in Your loving ways.
P:  God be merciful to you and strengthen your faith.
C:  Amen.
P:  Do you believe that the forgiveness I speak is not my forgiveness but God’s?
C:  Yes.
P:  Let it be done for you as you believe.
P:  In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C:  Amen
Kyrie                                                                                       LSB 186

Psalm                                                                             Psalm 116:12–19
What shall I render to the Lord
    for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

Salutation and Collect of the Day
P     The Lord be with you.
C     And with thy spirit.

P     Let us pray.
O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C     Amen.


Old Testament Reading                                                    Exodus 24:3–11
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the just decrees. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

A     This is the Word of the Lord.
C     Thanks be to God.

Epistle                                                                     1 Corinthians 10:16–17
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

A     This is the Word of the Lord.
C     Thanks be to God.


Verse (Lent)                                                                            LSB 157

Holy Gospel                                                                      Mark 14:12–26
P     The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark, the fourteenth chapter.
C     Glory be to Thee, O Lord.

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, [Jesus’] disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of 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.”
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

P     This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C     Praise be to Thee, O Christ.

436 Go to Dark Gethsemane                                                     LSB 436
Text and tune: Public domain


P     The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
C     Amen.


Offertory                                                                                 LSB 192


Offertory Prayer
Holy God, accept and bless these gifts which you have given us to honor your name.  In this Eucharist, take away our sins and prepare us for the celebration of the Death and Resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Prayer of the Church
(each Petition ends with the following response:  P:  Lord, in your mercy
C:  Hear our prayer.


Preface                                                                                    LSB 194




Proper Preface (Full)
P     It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who accomplished the salvation of mankind by the tree of the cross that, where death arose, there life also might rise again and that the serpent who overcame by the tree of the garden might likewise by the tree of the cross be overcome. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:

Sanctus                                                                                    LSB 195

Lord’s Prayer                                                                           LSB 162
P     Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray:
C     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 Words of Our Lord                                                                 197
P     Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, broke it and gave it to the disciples saying:  “Take, eat; this is My T body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also after supper, He took the cup and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My T blood, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. This do in remembrance of Me.”

P:  This is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Happy are they who are called to His feast.

C:  O Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I will be healed.  Amen. 

Agnus Dei                                                                                LSB 198




The pastor and those who assist him receive the body and blood of Christ first and then distribute them to those who come to receive, saying:

The true body of Christ, given for you.

The true blood of Christ, shed for you.


In dismissing the communicants, the following is said:

The Dismissal                                                                           LSB 199
P     The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen and preserve you in body and soul to life everlasting. Depart T in peace.
C     Amen.

Stripping of the Altar
P:  Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him,” just after Judas had left to betray Him.  Jesus, in His good time, washed the disciples feet, inaugurated a new commandment to love one another, and instituted the Lord’s Supper for the life of the Church; now the time for Jesus’ death was drawing near.  As we hear the psalm, which Jesus prayed and fulfilled on the cross, we strip the altar, removing vessels, paraments, ornaments, and altar candles from the chancel, symbolizing the abuse and abandonment our Lord endured in the hours that follow.

Psalm 22 (read in unison)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

[As the chancel is cleared and the Psalm ends, all unneeded lights will be dimmed.]

Our worship continues tomorrow with Tenebrae: The Service of Darkness on Good Friday at noon. 

Please observe silence while departing.








Maundy Thursday   April17, 2014  Trinity, Wellsville

The Sin Eater

Few people remember a made-for-TV movie about 30 years ago called The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel.”  It was the story of a Harvard educated woman physician who in the 1930s went to Appalachia to tend the poor mountain folk.  The tension in the drama grew out of the conflict between her modern medical cures and the mountain people's attachment to their old home remedies and superstitions.  One of the superstitions involved a person called the Sin Eater.

When a person died, the Sin Eater, who lived alone in the wilderness as an outcast, was called to the home of the deceased.  There the Sin Eater would pawn his own soul by eating a loaf of bread to which the dead person's sins had been supernaturally transferred somehow, while the townspeople chanted, “Devour, devour, within the death hour!”  This sin eating ritual was believed to release the deceased from their sin, freeing him to enter heaven, but leaving the Sin Eater full of sins.  When I saw the movie, I just assumed the whole sin eating concept was the work of some screenwriter's imagination. 

As it turns out there really was a tradition of sin eating practiced in Europe in the Middle Ages.  Sin eating was introduced into America with European immigration, and it was still practice in some regions of England late into the 19th century.  Originally a piece of bread was placed on the chest of the corpse for the Sin Eater to consume.  The sin eating tradition has evolved such that in some places in Europe today, pall bearers or other mourners will eat cookies with the deceased's initials marked on them or drink beer passed over the coffin, not to take one’s sins away but just to honor the deceased.  The Biblical precedent for sin eating (and it's an unwarranted stretch) comes from the Book of Leviticus where the sins of the people are symbolically transferred to a goat, called the scapegoat, that is chased off into the wilderness, presumably to be eaten by a demon.

About ten years ago there was another movie, called The Order, which was also based on the idea of sin eating.  In this story a priest pursued a contemporary Sin Eater who was taking on the sins of notorious and wealthy international criminals such as drug kingpins and arms dealers.  The criminals had found a way to beat God's system of repentance and salvation, and enjoy not only a carnally pleasuarble life, but eternal life.  In this movie, the sin eater didn't live alone in the wilderness, he was well paid and lived fabulously for putting his immortal soul at risk. 

A point made by the movie The Order, which is true, is that the Church has always opposed the sin eating superstition because 1.) It attempted to provide salvation outside the church and the usual means of confession and absolution, and 2.) Because sin eating just isn't real; it doesn't work.  Sin eating in any form doesn't actually remove sins.

Jesus' institution of the Lord's Supper, which we recall tonight, is a sort of sin eating in reverse.  The Old Covenant between God and His people was a covenant based on Law and animal sacrifice.  The New Covenant is a covenant of Grace.  Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is the once and for all sacrifice that pleases God and makes satisfaction for all our sins.  Unlike the animal sacrifices that were repeated and repeated again and again, no other sacrifices for atonement are necessary on our part ever – Jesus did it all!

However, Jesus does command us to “Do this,” that is to celebrate the Holy Communion in remembrance of him.  The Greek word used for remembrance there means something more than remembering a fallen hero.  Remembrance in the sense it is used here means to make the past present.  Jesus is saying he will be with us whenever we celebrate Holy Communion; and wherever Jesus is, there is forgiveness of sins and new life.

Holy Communion is the opposite of sin eating in that when we eat the bread that is Christ's body we don't gain sins, we lose them.  The sacramental bread doesn't put sin into us; it infuses us with God's righteousness.  Jesus took all our sins into himself and drank God's cup of wrath to make atonement for us.  Jesus allowed himself to be the bait, the pawn, in the trap God set for the devil.  We who know and love Jesus take up our crosses and suffer with our Lord.  The Holy Communion is God's gift to us for our forgiveness and to build us up in faith unto eternal life.  The Lord's Supper is a memorial of Jesus' death and more – it is the presence of the living Christ among us.

We don’t need Sin Eaters or scapegoats of superstitions to get us right with God.  We have Jesus; he is all we need.  Since our sins are and will be forgiven, let us keep the feast and proclaim Christ’s atoning death until he comes again.  Amen.