Passover: A Maundy Thursday Poem

The preparations are made in the city of Jerusalem,
in an upper room, for a meal,
the Passover meal.
The feet coming up the stairs are dusty,

they’ve travelled far for this meal,
the Passover meal.
The friends recline together weary and hungry

as the teacher begins the meal,
the Passover meal.
He looks them in the eye and tells them

that he has eagerly desired this meal,
the Passover meal.
The teacher takes a loaf and blessing it, he breaks it

saying, this is my body which is for you,
the Passover meal.
He does the same with the cup, blessing it, sharing it,

saying this is my blood, the new covenant,
the Passover meal.
The teacher tells them that one will betray him,

one whose hand is on the table
at the Passover meal.
The teacher ties a towel around himself

and with a basin, he bows to serve,
at the Passover meal.
The teacher handles the dirty feet of his friends,

washing them in a basin, a humble act
at the Passover meal.
The disciples of this teacher watch, aghast

at this stooping, this lowliness,
at the Passover meal.
The one named Peter pulls his feet away

rejecting completely this washing,
at the Passover meal.
The teacher tells them that the greatest

must be a servant to all, in this new order
at the Passover meal.
Bread broken, wine shared, feet washed,

they leave the room together
after the Passover meal.
In the garden the teacher asks them to watch and pray,

but the disciples are too sleepy
after the Passover meal.
The teacher vigils alone, in tears and agony 

until soldiers come with swords and clubs,
they will not pass over this teacher.
The body will be broken

and the cup of suffering will be emptied
at the Passover this year.


(I wrote this for one reader, but I think it would be an effective responsive reading, so I am showing the parts.)

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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