Reverend Ala Kavtaradze and and Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, are married to one another and serve the Evangelical Baptist Church of the Republic of Georgia. This Maundy Thursday service they entitle “The Taste of Freedom and the Power of the Towel.” Dwell with that name for a moment and then read forward into the service for the ways it can touch your fingertips, your tongue, your heart.
Taste of Freedom and Power of Towel Maundy Thursday Service with the Washing of Feet and the Eucharist in the Tradition of the Church in Georgia
(Wherever it is possible a circle of chairs is made with an altar in the centre. On it are twelve large white candles and one red or purple candle.. The red one is either in the middle of two sets of six candles or is placed separately in front of Christ’s icon, which dominates the altar. A white towel, a jar with water and a larger bowel, a cup of wine and paten with bread).
One: Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
All: And with your Spirit.
One: Let us lift our hearts.
All: We lift them to the Lord.
One: Let us give thanks to our Lord.
All: It is right indeed to worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
the Most Holy Trinity, one in essence and undivided.
One: It is right to hymn you, to bless you, to praise
you, to give thanks to you, and to worship
you here and in all your churches around the
world, for you are the true God: invisible,
inconceivable, incomprehensible, ineffable,
ever existing and eternally the same.
Another voice: You have brought us from nothing into
being. And when we had fallen away you
did raise us up again and did not cease to do
all things until you have brought us up to
heaven and did grant us your kingdom which
is to come. For all these things we give thanks to you,
to your only begotten Son and to your Holy
Spirit for all good things that have been
done for us, whether known or unknown,
whether manifest or hidden.
One: We thank you for the incarnation of your begotten Son
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Who during the last supper knowing
that you have given all things into his hands, and that he had come
from you and was going to you, got up from the table, took off
his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured
water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to
wipe them with the towel.
All: We beseech you to grant us the same mind that was in your
son Jesus Christ, who, though he was in the form of God,
empited himself, taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness. He humbled himself and became
obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.
One: Therefore you also highly exalted him
and gave him the name that is above every name.
All: So that at the name of your son Jesus Christ every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Washing of Feet (Here the celebrant takes towel and jar of water and starts washing feet and drying with towel being assisted by somebody who could help him or her moving the bowel, then the celebrant returns to the table and says:)
One: After having washed his disciples’ feet your son returned to the table and
said: you call me Teacher and Lord. So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed
your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
All: We thank you for your son Jesus Christ who set for us an example of humility and serving. Help us to follow his example in our lives and ministries.
One: We thank you also for this liturgy, which you have been pleased to accept from our hearts and minds. Therefore with thousands of archangels and tens of thousands of angels, the cherubim and seraphim and all the company of heaven we are singing, crying and shouting the triumphal and celestial hymn:
All: Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God Almighty, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
One: With all these powers, o Lord, we also cry aloud and say: Holy, are you, God, and all holy and magnificent is your glory; who so loved your world, as to gave your only begotten Son that all who believe in him should not perish but have eternal life; who when he had come and had fulfilled the whole dispensation for us, in the night in which he was given up or rather gave himself up for the life of the world: took bread in his holy, pure and blameless hands and when he gave thanks and sanctified and broke it, he gaveit to his disciples and apostles saying: Take, eat this is my body which is broken for, you, for the remission of sins.
One: In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup saying: Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.
One: Remembering therefore this commandment of yours and all those things that have come to pass for our sake: The cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the sitting at the right hand, and the second coming, O Lord we give you thanks.
All: We sing to you, we bless you; we give you
Thanks, O Lord, and pray to you, our God.
One: We ask you, we pray and we implore you: send down your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts and make them cure our soul and mind.
One: As this bread was harvested from different fields, brought together, grained, baked as one loaf, so bring all of us together at your wedding in your kingdom. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.
All: Come, Lord Jesus!
One:(Breaking bread): The body of our Lord Jesus Christ was broken for us.
One: (Elevating Chalice): blood of our Lord Jesus Christ as shed for us.
One: As we celebrate this Holy Communion, we remember those, who have gone to
their peace in faith: our ancestors, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, Mary the blessed
mother of Lord, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, and every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.
All: Grant us boldness, courage, endurance, heart for service and ministry after their example.
Second voice: To you, O Lord, we entrust our whole life and our hope. Count us worthy to consume this bread and wine at this sacred and spiritual table with a pure conscience for communion in the Holy Spirit and not for our condemnation.
One: We thank you, O Lord, for counting us worthy to call upon you, the God of Heaven and Earth, as Father, and say:
All: The Prayer of our Saviour
One: With reverence to God, with faith and with love to the neighbour draw near and receive this bread and wine as Disciples of Christ, remembering that the body of our Lord was broken for us, and the blood of our Lord was shed for us on Calvary.
After the Communion
One: We thank you O Lord, who loves humankind, for counting us worthy to participate in your Holy Communion. Make our path straight before you establish all of us in you. Watch over our lives. Make firm our steps, deepen our roots in the love of Christ so that we can overcome all the difficulties of our lives. For you are our sanctification and to you we give glory, Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.