Maundy Thursday – Passover Agape / Lovefeast

Passover Agape / Lovefeast for Maundy Thursday (From the book Nothing Too Religious by Marjorie Dobson and Andrew Pratt - click to see)


Explanation: An Agape or Love Feast is a meal celebrated in some traditions which is similar to communion, but which has the potential to be more inclusive. Bread and water are used rather than bread and wine. The atmosphere is informal, more like an ordinary meal.
The order of service which follows uses this idea, but is also inspired in part by the Jewish Passover. It is based on a service for ecumenical worship which was held during Holy Week which, because of its informal nature, attracted some people from the fringe of the church, who came out of curiosity.

The following hymn or ‘Alleluia! Sing to Jesus’

This is the point of our faith for the future

This is the point of our faith for the future,
pooling our knowledge of love and of life,
bringing together the world and its people,
working for freedom, an ending of strife.

This is the God that we share, that we worship,
source of all cultures, the ground of all peace,
God in a unity dwelling within us,
growing between us and bringing release.

This is the way we will walk with each other,
walk hand in hand to the end of the way,
sharing each moment, each hope for the future,
bringing to being this dawning new day.

11.10.11.10
Tunes: EPIPHANY HYMN or IN THE BEGINNING GOD PLAYED WITH THE PLANETS
Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2007 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Introduction: This is the season of Passover, Pesach. Today we meet as Christians, but we remember our heritage and shared inheritance with the Jewish people. As we share this Agape, this Love Feast, this communion, it is appropriate that we identify with them and so our words are formed from our own scriptures, but also as an echo of the liturgy for the Passover. For Jews, memory is all important. In memory they are united with those who suffered and lived, loved and rejoiced before them. We echo this as we ‘do this in remembrance’ of Jesus. And so we share:

We remember tonight that long ago, on a night like this, the people with whom we share our tradition set out on a journey.
They knew enslavement and oppression, but they remembered a happier past.
God called them from slavery and offered them the courage to seek freedom.
Boldly they left Egypt, crossed the Sea, and headed into a desert. They believed that God would bring them to a far off Promised Land.
The memory of this journey they recounted and we share. It has been passed down from generation to generation. The story was told to children and to children’s children, reiterated and re-enacted from year to year.
We, too, give thanks for our freedom; we, too, imagine or remember what it means to be a slave.
And so we pray for all who are still in slavery, still denied their human rights.
As we meet at this table, we affirm that there is a place at God’s table for all people of all ages and all nations.
Here we share a cup of blessing, which speaks of deliverance, here we eat the bread of life, which speaks of freedom and unity.
May we be united with our neighbours of whatever race or creed.
May all people be free from bondage
and from oppression,
from hunger
and from want,
from hatred
and from fear;
may we all be free to think
and to speak,
to learn
and to love;
may God give us hope
and the reason to rejoice;
soon, in our days.
Amen.

This is the story that they recounted:

Exodus 12.21–27

The following hymn or ‘Sanna, sannanina’

The sacramental waiting Hymn

The sacramental waiting
for love that is to come
is like God's constant heart beat,
the thrumming of a drum.

The things that really matter,
that keep us safe or sane,
are like God's bread that's broken,
like rainbows after rain.

The hope that holds us captive,
the grace that seals our worth,
are God's firm confirmation
that love is ours on earth.

We watch the sunbeams scatter.
The shadows flicker fast.
Yet God's love is a constant,
we know that love will last.

7.6.7.6
Tune: KNECHT
Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2007 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Those people continued their reflection. Whether or not this is our experience, we continue to identify with the Jews as we pray:

Our ancestors were wandering Arameans;
they went down into Egypt and lived there as aliens,
few in number.
In time they became a great nation.
The Egyptians treated them harshly and afflicted them,
by imposing hard labour on them,
they cried to God and God heard their voice and saw their oppression.
God brought them out of Egypt with a terrifying display of power,
and with signs and wonders.
He brought them to freedom and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. (based on Deuteronomy 26.5–9)

Since then our parents in faith have been wanderers, without a home. Again and again, they have been fugitives and refugees.
Through them we share the pain of the outsider, the hopelessness of the oppressed, the distress of the homeless, the dislocation of the refugee.
They have experienced the fear that we see in those around us who come to our shores for refuge.
They were used and abused.
And now we pray to God to help us to remember our own heritage as we meet our neighbours in the strangers on our streets.
We pray for courage to trade fairly and to work for freedom.
Help us to be trustworthy and just in all our relationships and dealings with every person.
Fire our hearts with your love, that we might always strive for freedom and justice.
We make our prayer for the sake of our neighbours and in memory of all who have suffered. Amen.

The following hymn or ‘Be known to us in breaking bread’

I vow to love my neighbour, whatever race or creed

I vow to love my neighbour, whatever race or creed,
to join her in her suffering, to plead with him in need.
This love will always question, will search out right and wrong,
will give itself for justice, for those who don't belong.
This love will never falter, till every soul is free,
till nations held in bondage can sing of liberty.

Through scenes of devastation, through famine, drought and war,
we'll work in ways of gentleness, work hard till we restore
the vision of the people, the hope of human grace,
till nations dwell in peacefulness together in this place;
till all the world together can sing in joyful praise
till all have found communion together in our days.

13.13.13.13.13.13
Tune: THAXTED
Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2004 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

And we now move to our remembrance:

Mark 14.10–25

The following hymn or ‘Author of life divine’

Bread of life and cup of blessing

Bread of life and cup of blessing,
taken in humility,
help us stand in need together,
strengthened by humanity.

Here the bread is taken, broken,
while our broken lives display
need of love from one another,
need of comfort in this day.

As the wine is poured in blessing,
common cup to pass and share;
equally, we offer gladly
patient love, attentive care.

Held by bonds that can't be broken,
strong in solidarity;
bread of life and cup of blessing,
symbolize our unity.

8.7.8.7
Tune: ALL FOR JESUS
Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2009 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.


The sharing – Bread and water are shared with people serving one another.

The following hymn or ‘Because thou hast said’

The stranger is welcomed, the enemy blessed

The stranger is welcomed, the enemy blessed,
a scandalous gospel that Jesus professed;
but can we adopt such a dangerous stance,
forgetful forgiveness, love caught in a glance?

We harbour resentment and hatred is rife;
the past shades the present and fractures each life;
we love to be certain, to cage or constrain,
the people who challenge we view with disdain.

God let us be Christ to the ones that we meet,
as willing to serve as to sit at your feet.
God give us the courage to see in each face,
the Christ who has shown how to live with your grace.

11.11.11.11
Tune: DATCHET
Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2009 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

May God who has led his people through the ages lead us on the paths of peace out into the world to serve and to work in his name. Amen

After the blessing an ordinary informal meal may be shared while conversation continues.

Published by

Andrew Pratt

Andrew Pratt was born in Paignton, Devon, England in 1948.

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