We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Maundy Thursday, 2024

Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week, in which our worship flows in one continuous liturgy, beginning with the Maundy Thursday service. “Time is suspended as we ponder and celebrate the great mysteries of our redemption.” The word “Maundy” is derived from Middle English, Old French and from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”), the statement we hear from Jesus to his disciples in tonight’s gospel reading.

The service is known for:
1. The Last Supper and the institution of communion
2. Washing of feet.
3. Stripping of the altar in preparation of Good Friday.

Bulletin is here

1. The 2024 service – complete service

2. Video Segments
1. Processional Hymn and introduction
2. Collect and Readings
3. Hymn -“All in that upper room”
4. Gospel
5. Sermon
Written sermon is here.
6. Foot washing
7. Prayers of the People
8. Offertory and Communion
9. Stripping of the Altar
10. Meditations

3. Photos

(full size gallery)

4. Description of Holy Thursday with the Bible readings and commentaries here. 

5. 2024 Sermon – Catherine Hicks

6. The Foot Washing

The Commmunion -Jesus has come from God and is going to God, and so Jesus makes sure that even though we cannot go, in this life, to where he is going, that we will always be with him and he will always be with us, even as we wait for him to return. “And so he invites us to this meal at his heavenly Father’s table, the banquet table of God. “And he welcomes us as God welcomes us, with humility, and as one who serves, by washing our feet. So tonight, and every time we gather to eat this bread and to drink from this cup, we proclaim the fact that Jesus was here with us, that he is here with us now, and that we will be with him when he comes again in glory. This dinner and this footwashing remind us to look within and to look out beyond ourselves, into the world…

On that last night with his disciples, Jesus took away the “stethoscopes” of the disciples. As he washed their feet, he showed them, through his actions, that they wouldn’t need power, or prestige, or recognition, or wealth to be his disciples. They wouldn’t need to distance themselves from one another through a hierarchy. Not one of them needed to be first.”

Maundy Thursday was both a celebration of those times with friends but also acknowledgment that things would end quickly. The disciples did not always understand. At the Last Supper Jesus would be a server and servant – of the bread and wine and also washing feet and encourage the others to do the same. This was the worst – washing feet caked with dirt and grime made worse by the sandles they word. He was acting as a lowly servant so that they would understand the necessity to serve.

By this action Jesus would show God’s love and they would show it others also. “You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

The foot washing this year emphasized the above portion of the Gospel. Usually the priest washes the parishioners’ feet but we have encouraged parishioners to wash each others feet.

He provided them a new expanded commandment of love one another – “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This would be through prayer, care and action. This love is the Agape love where we provide for the well being of others. Love is transformed into giving and receiving for all including the sinner and tax collector. It is not just between friends but includes enemies.

7. Psalm 22 reading and Stripping of the Altar

Maundy Thursday is known for the stripping of the altar which is part of the preparation for Good Friday. After the Last Supper, less than 24 hours remained for Jesus. Indeed the plotters had to execute him before Jewish passover began on Friday evening at sundown. Our altar was stripped after Psalm 22 which starts out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Events moved rapidly – prayer in Gethsemane, betrayal by Judas, arrest, mock trial, painful beating, the trudge to Golgotha and execution. As His life was stripped from Him, so we strip our altar of the signs of life to symbolize His purposeful, redemptive suffering and death for us.

The candles are extinguished and removed. Candles represent the “Light of the World” Jesus said; “I Am the light of the World” in recognition of the darkness following the death of Jesus on the cross, the candles are removed from our presence.

We did have a period of silent prayer at the end with music medication in remembrance of Jesus time of prayer on the Mount of Olives and in solidarity with all who seek strength in time of prayer.

8. Meditations – Catherine Hicks, piano. Larry Saylor, guitar