I didn’t get around to posting yesterday about the Maundy Thursday service we attended, so I’ll do it now, and also include a few comments about our Good Friday service last night.
Rivermont EPC is a beautiful building… there is no argument about that. The building we normally meet in is old, and pretty cool, but it is worn down and not taken care of very well. You can tell it’s been around a while. So being able to worship at Rivermont is a privlege and joy in itself.
The acoustics of the sanctuary are great, and they also have a huge pipe organ installed there. Thursday was the first time I had heard it in action, and it was great.
There were several readings, each by a different pastor of a reformed church in our community. In total, there were five churches represented… Providence, Rivermont, Grace Assebly (a local, baptist non-denominational congregation), Redeemer PCA, and New Covenant Reformed Episcopal Church. There is an Orthodox Presbyterian Church in town as well, but they chose (for whatever reason – I do not know) not to participate.
In between readings, we sang songs. Most of them were simply printed in the bulletin (we only sang one or two verses of each), but some we needed to look up in the red trinity hymnals available. The singing was nice. And it was fun to sing some songs that we don’t usually sing.
We did celebrate the Lord’s Supper, which was sort of weird for us. At Providence, it is a very corporate event. The bread is passed out, and we wait for everyone to get their bread. Then Pastor Hurt gives a short supper homily followed by a prayer, and we partake together. And, when we are eating the bread (and then again with the wine) we look around at one another. It is a way that we recognize the body of Christ… who are our brothers and our sisters.
But at the Maundy Thursday service… there was no waiting for everyone to get their bread. You, apparently, were on your own. As the plate was being passed, we each took a piece of bread, and waited. I have developed a short catechism that I go through with the girls during this time, and Thursday night was no different. Then the wine was disributed. Well, “wine”. It was grape juice.
But, as I looked around, I didn’t see anyone else holding their bread. And most people had their heads down. I felt weird. It has been a while since I’ve experienced the Lord’s Supper “celebrated” in this way.
So, we all ate our bread and drank our wannabe wine. Like I said… it felt very strange. I felt like we weren’t really a part of one another. At least my family all ate together, and recognized each other. But looking around at others, we felt very isolated.
After the Supper, we received a blessed, and the service concluded. We didn’t stick around too long, because Megan was still recovering from her cold. It was pretty funny when we got the bread… It appeared to be plain white sandwich bread, cut into small, 1/2″ squares. Geneva looked at it and said, “this is small! And, when we got the juice, she and Ashley both commented that “this isn’t wine!”. I was reminded of that story David Chilton wrote about a conversation with his son.
Friday night, Megan stayed home with Fiona. She felt like she needed to rest, so that she would be well enough to attend church on Sunday. So Geneva and Ashley and I went. I was reading two of the lessons, so I was a little nervous about how the girls would behave while I was up, but I figured they’d do just fine. Turns out that As I went up, one of Pastor Hurt’s daughters went and sat with them, to keep them under control.
We sang from the Book of Psalms for Singing between lessons. It was pretty cool, actually. There was a reading from one of the gospels about a particular series of events leading up to the Crucifixion, and then we would sing a Psalm foretelling those events.
At the end of the service, we did receive a benediction. I’ve read some other descriptions of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, where the benediction was withheld until Sunday, at our Easter service. I plan to talk about that with my session, because it seems fitting. A stark contrast to our typical liturgy, which draws attention to what we are remebering… especially on Good Friday.
March 26, 2005 No Comments