A Maundy Thursday Service (#4): Anointing

Click here to download a doc. file of this service.

Maundy Thursday Worship: A Service of Anointing

———— The Miracle ————



Leader: As children of God our Creator we come together.
All: Upon the invitation of Christ we gather at this table.
In the power of the Holy Spirit we who have been served by love
are led to serve in love.
Holy One, Holy Three, bless us this night with your love;
anoint us with your grace, that your joy may be in us,
and our joy may be complete.


SCRIPTURE — John 11.17-27, 43-44*

John 12.1
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

SCRIPTURE — Romans 6.1-11

All of our failure, O Christ, you bear,
you bear with love to the cross.
All of our losses, O Christ, you bear,
you bear with love to the cross.
Our world-weary clinging we surrender to you.
Our old lives we commit to you.
We die in you, O Christ;
raise us from our death.
Call us, with Lazarus, to new life.
Raise us with you, O Christ.





———— The meal ————

John 12.2
There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served,
and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.

SCRIPTURE — Mark 14.22-25

God of love, we hunger for your love.
In this meal we are fed by your promise to be with us in love.
You set us free, and bless us, body and soul.
You make of us one flesh, the Body of Christ for the world.
Fill us with your Spirit, that we may live by the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.


Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
baptized into his death and raised with him by your glory.


———— The anointing ————

John 12.3
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard,
anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.
The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

SCRIPTURE — John 13.3-11

O Christ, you bear the suffering of the world.
Help us join you in compassion.
You died in loving service to even the lowest among us.
Give us the faith to serve you humbly.
As you took the lowest place,
help us find our place of service.

Anoint us with the oil of your gladness.
Anoint us with the oil of healing.
Anoint us with your Spirit, who calls us to serve.
May we receive and share the love of Christ.


[You may receive anointing of your head, hands or feet. (For anointing feet, if you keep your shoes on, a few drops of water will be used.) You may remain to anoint another. Pray for those who come forward to be anointed.]SONG

——— The charge ———

John 12.4-8
Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii
and the money given to the poor?”

Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me

SCRIPTURE — John 13.12-17, 34-35

Creator God, you make us new each moment, raising us to new life.
Loving Christ, you have given yourself to us.
Holy Spirit, you have anointed us with your power and your grace.
In humility and gratitude may we go into the world
to love and to serve, in the spirit and the company of Jesus.




* Recent scholarship has revealed that “Martha” is a character invented and inserted into the original text in the 2nd or 3rd Century. In John’s original gospel it was Mary Magdalene who proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, as well as the one who first witnessed the risen Christ and proclaimed the Resurrection.

By the 2nd Century male church leaders sough to downplay Mary’s significance in relation to Peter by taking the the Messianic proclamation away from her and giving it to an invented character, Martha, likely lifted from Luke’s story of a Mary who has a sister Martha. In light of this, I read the passage according to John’s original story:

          When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
            … Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. … He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”


Suggested Songs

At Your Feet (original Song)

Jesus, at your feet I bow.
I am yours completely now.
By your mercy show me how
to be loving.

Jesus, Master, you who save,
you have served me as a slave.
This, the perfect gift you gave:
to be loving.

In each hurting one I meet
it is you, O Christ, I greet.
Make my faithfulness complete,
to be loving.

Your Cart
  • No products in the cart.