Songs for a Foot-Washing Service on Maundy Thursday
Greg Scheer, friend at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, has this suggestion:
Andy Piercy (producer of albums by Delirious? and now worship director of Anglican Mission in America churches) suggests using a song by Graham Kendricks, “Love Each Other.”
Here’s one from Ghana, suggested by Greg and others:
"Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love." Verse 1: “Kneels at the feet of his friends, silently washes their feet; Master who acts as a slave to them”. (From Ghana; collected and translated by Tom Colvin; published in “World Praise” (HarperCollins).
My own take on that song: good English lyrics, usually sung sweetly and gently in American churches. I think that Ghanaians would hardly be able to recognize the song as coming from Ghana, says I … who has studied musics from Ghana for decades, lived there for 7 years, and got my doctorate in African Music Studies/Ethnomusicology from the University of Ghana.
So, it can be used in a Maundy Thursday service and counts at least on paper as a “global hymn” … but I wish to heaven that someday we’ll make it sound like an African song. There’s my soapbox for today.
My own second favorite song for a Maundy Thursday Service is "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris.
Greg Scheer recommends a hymn text called “Jesus, Greatest at the Table.”
Greg composed a great tune for those lyrics; find the PDF score and mp3 demo at
A friend points out that this hymn text can also easily be sung to the tune ‘Picardy’ used for “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.”
And David Lee has made 2 musical settings of relevant lyrics:
Timothy Dudley-Smith text: “As in that upper room you left your seat, and took a towel and chose a servant’s part”:
and his version of the Stephen Starke text above: “Jesus, greatest at the table”:
Here’s the biblical scene as contextually painted by an artist in Ethiopia: