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Maundy Thursday Devotional
Tonight we gather to remember Christ’s “mandate” (“Mandatum” in Latin, hence the term Maundy) that we are to love one another and share the Holy Supper together. As we lift up the “cup of Salvation and call on the name of the Lord,” eight young people will come forward to receive the gifts of bread and wine for the first time. These young people, along with their parents, have gone through three weeks of preparation for this meal. They have read scripture, Luther’s Small Catechism, talked as family and done homework assignments together, all in an effort to help them understand the gift they are given this evening, Christ’s very body and blood.
We love the Lord because of what God has done for us. We love one another, and serve one another, because of what God has done for us. God is the one who has loosed our bonds and as such we offer thanksgiving (literally “Eucharist” in Greek) to God. This thanksgiving doesn’t “earn” God’s love, it is done completely and totally out of response to God’s gift of grace given for us. That is why we come to the table with open hands, ready to receive. That is why we give bread and wine to all who come, regardless of church membership, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, mental capacity, health, education: whatever barriers the world would put up, in this meal God tears them down. All who desire are welcome to come and receive God’s forgiveness freely, given and shed for us. And then all are sent out, to fulfill the mandate of Christ, to love and serve one another.
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
116:1 I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. 116:2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 116:12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me? 116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, 116:14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. 116:16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds. 116:17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the LORD. 116:18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 116:19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!