Maundy Thursday is the night when Christians recall the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, immediately before his arrest and trial. It is a very special evening, when we turn our hearts and minds to the suffering of Christ.
Usually, we would mark this evening by coming together for a simple service, involving holy communion. This is not possible this year, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic. We are, therefore, returning to the oldest traditions of the Christian Church, and our Methodist denomination, and will be sharing in a Love Feast via Zoom.
What is a Love Feast?
The Early Church regularly celebrated 'Agape' or Love Feasts but they gradually disappeared in the fourth century, with holy communion (as we would now recognise it) displacing it completely.
The modern history of the Love Feast began when Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians in Germany introduced a service of sharing food, prayer, religious conversation, and hymns in 1727. It then became a feature of the Evangelical Revival and a regular part of Methodist society meetings in Great Britain, and became an important feature of Primitive Methodism. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote of his positive impression of the Moravians' pracitce in his journal for 8 August, 1737:
"After evening prayers, we joined with the Germans in one of their love–feasts. It was begun and ended with thanksgiving and prayer, and celebrated in so decent and solemn a manner as a Christian of the apostolic age would have allowed to be worthy of Christ."
Crucially, the Love Feast is not a sacrament, and therefore does not require an ordained person to be present - and can be celebrated over the internet! An excellent example of an ancient practice finding a new use.
What do I need to participate?
To participate, you will just need some bread and a glass of water. If you wished, you may also have a simple fruit cake, as many Primitive Methodists did. An example recipe is here. Traditionally, these items would have been shared among participants but sadly we shall all have to bring our own!
You will also need a copy of the Order of Service which may be downloaded / viewed here. It contains the words to the hymns, etc.
How do I join?
We shall be joining together via Zoom. This is an App that allows many people to join together to meet. You simply need to follow this link.
You may also need this information:
Meeting ID: 322 437 698
Please aim to 'arrive' by 7:25 pm. Anyone, from any tradition or church, is welcome to join us.