Book of Alternative Services
These readings are from the Anglican Church of Canada’s adaptation of the Revised Common Lectionary. On Sundays and feast days there is a link to the full readings.
Maundy Thursday (Red or White)
Day of discipline and self-denial
Thursday, April 9th, 2020
Maundy ThursdayThere should normally be only one celebration of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, in the evening. The Triduum, or the great Three Days, the heart of the church’s liturgical year, begins with this liturgy and ends with Evening Prayer on Easter Day. This means that the three days are treated as one liturgy. Thus, Maundy Thursday has an opening rite but no closing rite, Good Friday has no opening or closing rite, and the Easter Vigil has no opening rite but has a closing rite.
“Tone” of the Service: There is some debate about the “tone” that should be adopted for the Maundy Thursday observances. In a tradition familiar to many, the colour is white and Glory to God in the Highest is sung to the accompaniment of bells, after which the organ and bells are silent until Glory to God reappears at the Great Vigil of Easter. This approach, when carefully planned, deepens our response to the mysteries we celebrate in Holy Week, evoking a kind of restrained joy in thanksgiving for the Lord’s gift to the church of the Holy Eucharist as his Passion begins. Those who find that this approach to Maundy Thursday interrupts the tone of Holy Week and anticipates the liturgical announcement of the Resurrection on Saturday night at the Vigil adopt Passiontide Red as the colour for the celebration, and the singing of Glory to God in the Highest and the use of bells are omitted. Whichever option is chosen, the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the church can be celebrated with unrestrained festivity on the feast of Corpus Christi, which is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (usually transferred to the Sunday following).
Stripping of the Altars: After the liturgy, it is customary to “strip” the altars in preparation for Good Friday. This removal of ornaments and cloths from the church may be accompanied by the reading of Mt 26:30-46 and/or Ps 22.
Altar of Repose and the Vigil of Maundy Thursday: In some places, especially if Holy Communion is to be administered from the Reserved Sacrament on Good Friday, bread (and wine) for this purpose are consecrated at the Maundy Liturgy and at the end of service may be processed to an “altar of repose” where a watch is kept until midnight or longer (representing the Garden of Gethsemane).
Chrism Mass: In some dioceses the bishop presides over a “Chrism Mass” in the cathedral earlier on Maundy Thursday at which the oils of chrism and the sick are blessed and (in some places) clergy (sometimes priests and bishops only, sometimes all three orders) renew their ordination vows, reflecting the tradition that the ministerial priesthood was instituted by Our Lord on this day. For practical purposes, this liturgy is sometimes transferred to another day in Holy Week or at an annual clergy conference. The Blessing of Oils is found in the BAS on p. 616.
Morning Prayer: Ps 102; Lam 2:10-18 1 Cor 10:14-17; 11:27-32; Coll 304
Holy Eucharist: Propers 304; Ex 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14; Ps 116:1, 10-17; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-17, 31b-35; Preface of Holy Week; “On this very night” for words of institution; no dismissal
Evening Prayer: Ps 142, 143; (Jer 20:7-11); Mk 14:12-25 Coll 304Link to full text for this day.
Lectionary citations are reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts, admin. by Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission.