Holy Week at Home- Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)

Washing feet by Leszek Forczek

Washing of Feet by Leszek Forczek

Below you’ll find a guide for worshipping at home on Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday. It includes some scriptures from the Last Supper plus some prayers.

The service also includes a time for you to wash one another’s hands or feet, and a time to serve one another Holy Communion.

Our Bishop has given us permission to have “virtual Holy Communion” in this extraordinary time.  This is done in community while participating in an online worship service.

Join us on Facebook Live on Thursday, April 9 at 6:30pm as we worship together
https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota/

If your faith tradition has not given this permission, or you’re unable to worship with us live, consider replacing the communion portion of the service with a Love Feast. Instead of serving each other Holy Communion, share testimonies of God’s grace and goodness as you share sweet rolls and drinks. After the sharing, pray for one another and our world.

Here are some questions to get you started if you are having a Love Feast:

  • Where have you seen the goodness of God lately?
  • How did you come to faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior?
  • How are you growing in God’s grace?

What you will need for Holy Week at Home, Maundy Thursday:

  • A candle and something to light it with
  • A large bowl, a pitcher of water, soap, and a hand towel for each person
  • Copies of this resource for each person (optional if you’re joining us for online worship)
  • For Holy Communion- Plain bread, pita, crackers, or matzo. A small cup(s) of grape juice or red wine for each person
  • For a Love Feast- A sweet roll for each person. A cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate for each person.

To begin:

  • Gather all you will need for the service
  • Gather your household in a quiet place. Silence all electronics.
  • Join us for the live online worship service.
  • If you are not joining us for the live online worship service, distribute copies of this resource and decide who will lead each prayer and scripture reading.

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF OF THIS RESOURCE

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OPENING PRAYERModeled after a Jewish Sabbath prayer
PASTOR
Light the candle

Let’s pray this prayer together. Repeat after me

Merciful God, our Rescuer and Redeemer
Open wide our minds, to receive your Holy Word
sweep hands around to forehead
Open wide our hearts, to receive your saving love
sweep hands around to the chest
Open wide our spirits, and fill us full of light
sweep hands around to a cupped position in front of your chest

JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES’ FEET
– John 13:1-17, 34-35 NRSV
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him.

During supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God, 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 that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

WASHING ONE ANOTHER’S HANDS OR FEET
Pastor: As a sign of Christ’s love at work in us, we serve one another and are vulnerable to one another.

One person places their hands or feet over a bowl. Another person pours water over the hand/feet and uses the soap to wash. Take your time and express your care. The hands/feet are rinsed and dried. Repeat for every person present.

THE SERVANT SONG – read or sing
Brother, Sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, Sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

CCLI Song # 72673
Richard Gillard
© Words: 1977 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) Music: 1977 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
CCLI License # 686715

JESUS REVEALS THOSE WHO WILL BETRAY AND DENY HIM
– John 13:21-30, 36-38 NRSV
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.

One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter, therefore, motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Later Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Denial, by Steve Garnaas Holmes

ALL:
I deny you, Christ when I deny my own divinity.
I deny you when I deny the divinity of those I condemn.
I deny you when I do not hear you in the oppressed and rejected.
I deny you when I turn from my glorious giftedness.
I deny you when I am afraid to stand with those at risk.
I deny you when in my guilt I doubt your love.

And still, you love.

Let remembering’s bitterness awaken me.
Let my weeping be my wisdom.
To the frightening, to the infinite,
to the compassionate, to the holy,
help me say yes.
Let me die with yes on my lips.

Moment of silence

If you are choosing the Love Feast option, begin now.
When you are finished, read the closing scripture and read/sing the closing song.

THE LAST SUPPER
PASTOR:
After the meal, Jesus prayed a prayer of thanksgiving.
Please repeat after me:

Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who has saved our ancestors from Egypt
and who is saving us
May your will be done
so your name is glorified in all the earth
and so all people
may be moved to worship you with one accord

Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth

Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the universe,
who creates the fruit of the vine
Amen. (end echo)

Then Jesus took the bread, broke it, gave it to those seated around the table and said, “Take, eat, this is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Then he took the cup, gave it to those seated around the table and said, “Drink from this all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant. Poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us gathered here
And on these gifts of bread and wine
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world, the Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
The Seat of Greatest Grace by Steve Garnaas Holmes

ALL
Jesus, my Friend, my Beloved, my Person,
I love you, and I will falter.
I will deny you. I will betray you.
Three times, ten thousand times, I will deny you.

The silver pieces lie in my pocket
I have the nails

And you, knowing, invite me to your table,
to the place of honor even,
this seat of greatest grace, beside you,
to share your bread with me,
and lay down your body for me

I can hardly look into the sun of such forgiveness,
Love’s empty tomb that defeats me, re-makes me.

I confess. I return.
Knowing, I follow,
drawn in your grace,
this burden that is light.

HOLY COMMUNION
Persons serve each other.

JESUS PRAYS FOR HIS FOLLOWERS AND US
John 17, NRSV

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

PASTOR:
After supper, they sang a hymn and left for Gethsemane

OH, HOW HE LOVES YOU AND ME
Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me;
Oh, how he loves you and me.

Jesus to Calvary did go,
His love for sinners to show.
What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me;
Oh, how he loves you and me.

CCLI Song # 15850
Kurt Kaiser
© 1975 Curb Word Music (Admin. by WC Music Corp.)
CCLI License # 686715

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Service conceived and compiled by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2020
You are welcome to use this service with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Three Reflections on Betrayal, Denial, and Forgiveness (Matthew 26)

peter judas betray deny

Extended Quote from Destination: Known, Readings for Holy Week in the Upper Room Disciplines (2012) by Thomas R. Steagald
Sometimes in our familiarity and haste, we bypass verses of scripture. Because we already know the story of who “betrayed” Jesus, our attention in this passage [John 13:21-32] jumps quickly ahead to the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter, the piece of bread, and Judas’s leaving the meal to meet with the religious officials.

But what of verse 22: “The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking?” …

Could it be that each of the disciples is humble enough, uncertain enough, to know that given the right set of circumstances or stressors, any one of them has it within him to do what Judas would in fact do?…

For only those who love Jesus can betray him. His enemies might hate him; others might disregard or ignore him, but only those who sit at the table can get up and leave, and only those close enough to kiss him can give the kiss of death. That Judas is the one who guided the soldiers to Gethsemane on fresh-washed feet, his breath smelling of sacrament, is a particular instance of what is possible for all disciples.

It is unfortunate that we so quickly rush to blame Judas, so quickly leave him and this verse of scripture behind; for indeed, this Holy Week calls us to examine ourselves, to hear Jesus’ prediction, uncertain of whom else he might be speaking.

Forgive me, Lord, when I turn away from you and your purposes. Amen.

Matthew 26:21-35
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” … Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night.” Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

The Seat of Greatest Grace by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Jesus, my Friend,
my Beloved, my Person,
I love you, and I will falter.
I will deny you. I will betray you.
Three times, ten thousand times
I will deny you.
The silver pieces lie in my pocket
I have the nails
And you, knowing, invite me to your table,
to the place of honor even,
this seat of greatest grace,
beside you,
to share your bread with me,
and lay down your body for me
I can hardly look into the sun
of such forgiveness,
love’s empty tomb
that defeats me,
re-makes me.

I confess. I return.
Knowing, I follow,
drawn in your grace,
this burden that is light.

Matthew 26:74-75
Then Peter began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Denial, by Steve Garnaas Holmes
I deny you, Christ,
when I deny my own divinity.
I deny you when I deny
the divinity of those I condemn.
I deny you when I do not hear you
in the oppressed and rejected.
I deny you when I turn
from my glorious giftedness.
I deny you when I am afraid
to stand with those at risk.
I deny you when in my guilt
I doubt your love.
And still, you love.

Let remembering’s bitterness awaken me.
Let my weeping be my wisdom.

To the frightening, to the infinite,
to the compassionate, to the holy,
help me say yes.

Let me die with yes on my lips.

I am grateful for the writing ministry of Steve Garnaas Holmes. His work inspires me, challenges me, and draws me close to God. Find more of his work at www.unfoldinglight.net and consider subscribing. 

Interactive Holy Thursday Service

Holy Thursday collage 2ITEMS IN THE CENTER OF EACH TABLE

  • Candle with matches
  • Towel, empty bowl, small pitcher of water
  • Pita bread, cup of grape juice (Pastor will also need a large bunch of grapes)
  • Bowl of earth with small stones
  • Large nail
  • Small bowl of scented oil (frankincense and myrrh)

ROOM

  • Consider offering this service in the round with the tables around a large cross in the center and plenty of room for folks to pray at the cross.
  • The service begins with the cross covered. We used a large piece of black fabric.

SERVICE PROGRAM

  • Click Here for a pdf sample program
  • Place one at each place setting
  • The program includes the order of worship with lyrics for each song and some simple instructions

FULL SCRIPTS

  • Click Here for a pdf of the full script
  • As persons arrive, ask them if they would be willing to do a reading. If they say yes, exchange their program for a full script.
  • Each reading part is highlighted in a different full script
  • The Narrator may be the same person throughout the entire service or change with each scene of the story
  • Persons stand and read from where they are seated

WELCOME

OPENING PRAYER
Modeled after a Jewish Sabbath prayer

PASTOR
Please light the candle in the center of your table. Look at the candle as we pray. Repeat after me.

Merciful God, our Rescuer and Redeemer
Open wide our minds, to receive your Holy Word
sweep hands around to forehead

Open wide our hearts, to receive your saving love
sweep hands around to chest

Open wide our spirits, and fill us full of light
sweep hands around to cupped position

JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES’ FEET – based on John 13:1-17, 34-35 (NIV)
SOLOIST OR ALL SINGING:
The Servant Song, The Faith We Sing #2222, verse 1
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

NARRATOR
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.

SOLOIST OR ALL SINGING:
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

NARRATOR
Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,

SIMON PETER: Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

JESUS: You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.

SIMON PETER: No! You shall never wash my feet.

JESUS: Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.

SIMON PETER: Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!

JESUS
A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.

NARRATOR
For Jesus knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.

SOLOIST OR ALL SINGING:
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

JESUS
Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

WASHING ONE ANOTHER’S HANDS
As a sign of Christ’s love at work in us, we serve one another and are vulnerable to one another
Option- offer a foot washing instead of washing hands. Instrumental music during the washing

THE LAST SUPPER
PASTOR:
After the meal, Jesus prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. Please repeat after me:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who has saved our ancestors from Egypt
and who is saving us.
May your will be done
so your name is glorified in all the earth
and so all people may be moved to worship you with one accord.

Speaks while picking up a piece of bread
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth.

Speaks while picking up some grapes
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the universe,
who creates the fruit of the vine.
Amen. (end echo)

Then Jesus took the bread, broke it, gave it to those seated around the table and said, “Take, eat, this is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Then he took the cup, gave it to those seated around the table and said, “Drink from this all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant. Poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us gathered here
And on these gifts of bread and wine
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world, the Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.

HOLY COMMUNION
One person at each table lifts the pita bread as the pastor does. One person lifts the cup as the pastor does. Following the consecration, share the bread and juice with each other at the table.

ALL SINGING- What Wondrous Love is This, United Methodist Hymnal #292 (vs 1-2) or a solo/ensemble selection of your choosing
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, that caused the lord of life to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul, to lay aside his crown for my soul.

BOWL OF EARTH
Share, touch and smell the bowl of earth with each other. Take a stone and hold it during the next reading.

JESUS PRAYS IN GETHSEMANE- Matthew 26:36-45 NRSV
NARRATOR:
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated.

Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

ALL SINGING- What Wondrous Love is This, United Methodist Hymnal #292 (vs 3-4) Or a solo/ensemble selection of your choosing
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on.

THE ARREST AND CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS- based on John 18-19 NRSV
NARRATOR:
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them,

JESUS: Whom are you looking for?

ALL READERS: Jesus of Nazareth.

JESUS: I am he.

NARRATOR:
Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them,

JESUS: Whom are you looking for?

ALL READERS: Jesus of Nazareth.

JESUS: I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.

NARRATOR:
This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

JESUS:
Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?

NARRATOR:
So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter,

WOMAN: Are you not also one of this man’s disciples?

PETER: I am not.

NARRATOR:
Now the slaves and the officials had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered,

JESUS:
I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.

NARRATOR:
When he had said this, one of the officials standing nearby struck Jesus on the face

OFFICIAL: Is that how you answer the high priest?

JESUS:
If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?

NARRATOR:
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him,

OFFICIAL: Are you not also one of his disciples?

PETER: I am not.

NARRATOR:
One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked,

SLAVE: Did I not see you in the garden with him?

NARRATOR:
Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said,

PILATE: What accusation do you bring against this man?

OFFICIAL: If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.

PILATE: Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.

OFFICIAL: We are not permitted to put anyone to death.

NARRATOR:
This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him,

PILATE: Are you the King of the Jews?

JESUS: Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?

PILATE:
I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?

JESUS:
My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.

PILATE: So you are a king?

JESUS:
You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

PILATE: What is truth?

NARRATOR: After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them,

PILATE:
I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?

ALL READERS: Not this man, but Barabbas!

NARRATOR:
Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe.

Pause while someone presents a crown of thorns and/or purple robe to the congregation.

They kept coming up to him, saying,

SOLDIER: Hail, King of the Jews!

NARRATOR: and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them,

PILATE: Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.

NARRATOR:
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them,

PILATE: Here is the man!

NARRATOR: When the chief priests and the officials saw him, they shouted,

ALL READERS: Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE: Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.

OFFICIAL:
We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

NARRATOR:
Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus,

PILATE: Where are you from?

NARRATOR: But Jesus gave him no answer.

PILATE:
Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?

JESUS:
You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.

NARRATOR: From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out,

OFFICIAL:
If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.

NARRATOR:
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon.

PILATE: Here is your King!

ALL READERS: Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!

PILATE: Shall I crucify your King?

OFFICIAL: We have no king but the Caesar.

NARRATOR: Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

THE CROSS IS UNCOVERED
Pass the large nail to one another during the next reading

NARRATOR:
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,

OFFICIAL:
Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’

PILATE: What I have written I have written.

NARRATOR:
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another,

SOLDIER: Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.

NARRATOR:
This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother,

JESUS: Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother.

NARRATOR: And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture),

JESUS: I am thirsty.

NARRATOR:
A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said,

JESUS: It is finished.

NARRATOR: Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

PRAYER AND REFLECTION
You are encouraged to come forward and pray at the cross.

ONE OR ALL SINGING DURING PRAYER TIME:
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, United Methodist Hymnal #298
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

BURIAL OF JESUS
NARRATOR
Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

If possible, have someone play a military snare drum as the cross is covered.

THE CROSS IS COVERED

SIGN OF THE CROSS
Smell the anointing oil and use it to make the sign of the cross on a neighbor’s forehead
Please leave in silence when you are ready to exit

**********
Service conceived and compiled by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2015
You are welcome to use this service with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Three Reflections on Betrayal, Denial, and Forgiveness (Matthew 26)

peter judas betray deny

Extended Quote from Destination: Known, Readings for Holy Week in the Upper Room Disciplines (2012) by Thomas R. Steagald
Sometimes in our familiarity and haste, we bypass verses of scripture. Because we already know the story of who “betrayed” Jesus, our attention in this passage [John 13:21-32] jumps quickly ahead to the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter, the piece of bread, and Judas’s leaving the meal to meet with the religious officials.

But what of verse 22: “The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking?” …

Could it be that each of the disciples is humble enough, uncertain enough, to know that given the right set of circumstances or stressors, any one of them has it within him to do what Judas would in fact do?…

For only those who love Jesus can betray him. His enemies might hate him; others might disregard or ignore him, but only those who sit at the table can get up and leave, and only those close enough to kiss him can give the kiss of death. That Judas is the one who guided the soldiers to Gethsemane on fresh-washed feet, his breath smelling of sacrament, is a particular instance of what is possible for all disciples.

It is unfortunate that we so quickly rush to blame Judas, so quickly leave him and this verse of scripture behind; for indeed, this Holy Week calls us to examine ourselves, to hear Jesus’ prediction, uncertain of whom else he might be speaking.

Forgive me, Lord, when I turn away from you and your purposes. Amen.

Matthew 26:21-35
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” … Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night.” Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

The Seat of Greatest Grace by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Jesus, my Friend,
my Beloved, my Person,
I love you, and I will falter.
I will deny you. I will betray you.
Three times, ten thousand times
I will deny you.
The silver pieces lie in my pocket
I have the nails
And you, knowing, invite me to your table,
to the place of honor even,
this seat of greatest grace,
beside you,
to share your bread with me,
and lay down your body for me
I can hardly look into the sun
of such forgiveness,
love’s empty tomb
that defeats me,
re-makes me.

I confess. I return.
Knowing, I follow,
drawn in your grace,
this burden that is light.

Matthew 26:74-75
Then Peter began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Denial, by Steve Garnaas Holmes
I deny you, Christ,
when I deny my own divinity.
I deny you when I deny
the divinity of those I condemn.
I deny you when I do not hear you
in the oppressed and rejected.
I deny you when I turn
from my glorious giftedness.
I deny you when I am afraid
to stand with those at risk.
I deny you when in my guilt
I doubt your love.
And still, you love.

Let remembering’s bitterness awaken me.
Let my weeping be my wisdom.

To the frightening, to the infinite,
to the compassionate, to the holy,
help me say yes.

Let me die with yes on my lips.

I am grateful for the writing ministry of Steve Garnaas Holmes. His work inspires me, challenges me, and draws me close to God. Find more of his work at www.unfoldinglight.net and consider subscribing. 

Interactive Holy Thursday Service

Holy Thursday collage 2ITEMS IN THE CENTER OF EACH TABLE

  • Candle with matches
  • Towel, empty bowl, small pitcher of water
  • Pita bread, cup of grape juice (Pastor will also need a large bunch of grapes)
  • Bowl of earth with small stones
  • Large nail
  • Small bowl of scented oil (frankincense and myrrh)

ROOM

  • Consider offering this service in the round with the tables around a large cross in the center and plenty of room for folks to pray at the cross.
  • The service begins with the cross covered. We used a large piece of black fabric.

SERVICE PROGRAM

  • Click Here for a pdf sample program
  • Place one at each place setting
  • The program includes the order of worship with lyrics for each song and some simple instructions

FULL SCRIPTS

  • Click Here for a pdf of the full script
  • As persons arrive, ask them if they would be willing to do a reading. If they say yes, exchange their program for a full script.
  • Each reading part is highlighted in a different full script
  • The Narrator may be the same person throughout the entire service or change with each scene of the story
  • Persons stand and read from where they are seated

WELCOME

OPENING PRAYER
Modeled after a Jewish Sabbath prayer

PASTOR
Please light the candle in the center of your table. Look at the candle as we pray. Repeat after me.

Merciful God, our Rescuer and Redeemer
Open wide our minds, to receive your Holy Word
sweep hands around to forehead

Open wide our hearts, to receive your saving love
sweep hands around to chest

Open wide our spirits, and fill us full of light
sweep hands around to cupped position

JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES’ FEET – based on John 13:1-17, 34-35 (NIV)
SOLOIST OR ALL SINGING:
The Servant Song, The Faith We Sing #2222, verse 1
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

NARRATOR
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.

SOLOIST OR ALL SINGING:
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

NARRATOR
Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,

SIMON PETER: Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

JESUS: You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.

SIMON PETER: No! You shall never wash my feet.

JESUS: Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.

SIMON PETER: Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!

JESUS
A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.

NARRATOR
For Jesus knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.

SOLOIST OR ALL SINGING:
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

JESUS
Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

WASHING ONE ANOTHER’S HANDS
As a sign of Christ’s love at work in us, we serve one another and are vulnerable to one another
Option- offer a foot washing instead of washing hands. Instrumental music during the washing

THE LAST SUPPER
PASTOR:
After the meal, Jesus prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. Please repeat after me:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who has saved our ancestors from Egypt
and who is saving us.
May your will be done
so your name is glorified in all the earth
and so all people may be moved to worship you with one accord.

Speaks while picking up a piece of bread
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth.

Speaks while picking up some grapes
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the universe,
who creates the fruit of the vine.
Amen. (end echo)

Then Jesus took the bread, broke it, gave it to those seated around the table and said, “Take, eat, this is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Then he took the cup, gave it to those seated around the table and said, “Drink from this all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant. Poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us gathered here
And on these gifts of bread and wine
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world, the Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.

HOLY COMMUNION
One person at each table lifts the pita bread as the pastor does. One person lifts the cup as the pastor does. Following the consecration, share the bread and juice with each other at the table.

ALL SINGING- What Wondrous Love is This, United Methodist Hymnal #292 (vs 1-2) or a solo/ensemble selection of your choosing
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, that caused the lord of life to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul, to lay aside his crown for my soul.

BOWL OF EARTH
Share, touch and smell the bowl of earth with each other. Take a stone and hold it during the next reading.

JESUS PRAYS IN GETHSEMANE- Matthew 26:36-45 NRSV
NARRATOR:
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated.

Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

ALL SINGING- What Wondrous Love is This, United Methodist Hymnal #292 (vs 3-4) Or a solo/ensemble selection of your choosing
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on.

THE ARREST AND CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS- based on John 18-19 NRSV
NARRATOR:
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them,

JESUS: Whom are you looking for?

ALL READERS: Jesus of Nazareth.

JESUS: I am he.

NARRATOR:
Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them,

JESUS: Whom are you looking for?

ALL READERS: Jesus of Nazareth.

JESUS: I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.

NARRATOR:
This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

JESUS:
Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?

NARRATOR:
So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter,

WOMAN: Are you not also one of this man’s disciples?

PETER: I am not.

NARRATOR:
Now the slaves and the officials had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered,

JESUS:
I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.

NARRATOR:
When he had said this, one of the officials standing nearby struck Jesus on the face

OFFICIAL: Is that how you answer the high priest?

JESUS:
If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?

NARRATOR:
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him,

OFFICIAL: Are you not also one of his disciples?

PETER: I am not.

NARRATOR:
One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked,

SLAVE: Did I not see you in the garden with him?

NARRATOR:
Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said,

PILATE: What accusation do you bring against this man?

OFFICIAL: If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.

PILATE: Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.

OFFICIAL: We are not permitted to put anyone to death.

NARRATOR:
This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him,

PILATE: Are you the King of the Jews?

JESUS: Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?

PILATE:
I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?

JESUS:
My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.

PILATE: So you are a king?

JESUS:
You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

PILATE: What is truth?

NARRATOR: After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them,

PILATE:
I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?

ALL READERS: Not this man, but Barabbas!

NARRATOR:
Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe.

Pause while someone presents a crown of thorns and/or purple robe to the congregation.

They kept coming up to him, saying,

SOLDIER: Hail, King of the Jews!

NARRATOR: and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them,

PILATE: Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.

NARRATOR:
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them,

PILATE: Here is the man!

NARRATOR: When the chief priests and the officials saw him, they shouted,

ALL READERS: Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE: Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.

OFFICIAL:
We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

NARRATOR:
Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus,

PILATE: Where are you from?

NARRATOR: But Jesus gave him no answer.

PILATE:
Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?

JESUS:
You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.

NARRATOR: From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out,

OFFICIAL:
If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.

NARRATOR:
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon.

PILATE: Here is your King!

ALL READERS: Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!

PILATE: Shall I crucify your King?

OFFICIAL: We have no king but the Caesar.

NARRATOR: Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

THE CROSS IS UNCOVERED
Pass the large nail to one another during the next reading

NARRATOR:
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,

OFFICIAL:
Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’

PILATE: What I have written I have written.

NARRATOR:
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another,

SOLDIER: Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.

NARRATOR:
This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother,

JESUS: Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother.

NARRATOR: And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture),

JESUS: I am thirsty.

NARRATOR:
A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said,

JESUS: It is finished.

NARRATOR: Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

PRAYER AND REFLECTION
You are encouraged to come forward and pray at the cross.

ONE OR ALL SINGING DURING PRAYER TIME:
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, United Methodist Hymnal #298
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

BURIAL OF JESUS
NARRATOR
Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

If possible, have someone play a military snare drum as the cross is covered.

THE CROSS IS COVERED

SIGN OF THE CROSS
Smell the anointing oil and use it to make the sign of the cross on a neighbor’s forehead
Please leave in silence when you are ready to exit

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Service conceived and compiled by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2015
You are welcome to use this service with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.