Opening Music: Flutes and drums.
Leader: Why do we gather together in Holy Week?
Narrator: Today we remember Jesus’ last days with his friends. Jesus remembered with them the sacred history of the Jewish people and offered them a living reminder of how God would have people of faith behave. Jesus received a blessing with oil for burial, a gift of love from a nameless woman. Jesus washed his friends’ feet. Jesus shared a symbolic meal with his friends and gave them the mandate for new community, a mandate to love and to serve each other and ourselves. Jesus moved from being afraid to knowing the power of being vulnerable. Jesus prepared for death so that we might live in hope. Let us remember the gift of Jesus.
Music: “Said Judas to Mary” (v.1-3), Voices United #128
Leader: Why do we remember the woman who blessed Jesus?
Drama 1: Mark 14:3 – 9
Narrator: While Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an beautiful jar of very perfume, and she broke open the jar and poured the oil on his head. But some were there who were angry and scolded her.
Disciple: “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred dollars, and the money given to the poor.”
Jesus: “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. You always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
Music: “Said Judas to Mary” (v.4-6)
Leader: Blessed are those who seek God in simple acts of kindness.
All: Blessed is the beauty of creation, God’s caring community gathered here. Loving God, may we recognize your will in the actions of others and celebrate a holy understanding that leads us to love and peace. Thanks be to God.
Music: “Jesu, Jesu” (refrain, v.1, refrain), Voices United #593
Leader: Why did Jesus wash his friends’ feet?
Drama 2: John 13:1-15
Narrator: Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his time of trial had come. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, had already decided to betray him. During supper Jesus got up from the table, took off his jacket, and tied an apron around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with a towel that was tied at his waist. He came to Peter.
Peter: “Are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus: “You don’t know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Peter: “You’re never going to wash my feet.”
Jesus: “Unless I wash you, you won’t be a part of me.”
Peter: “Then, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”
Jesus: “This isn’t about a bath, but about a pure heart. It’s a metaphor, Peter!”
Narrator: After he had washed their feet, and put on his jacket, he returned to the table.
(Members at each table wash the hands of those beside them.)
Leader: Let us pray.
All: Healing God, grant us the grace to serve each other and you, that we may live together with mutual respect, compassion and a sense of holiness for all life that you have made. Amen.
Leader: Why do we break bread together?
Narrator: And when the time had come for Jesus to be handed over, he gathered those he had travelled with around him. He was at supper with them when he took bread, gave thanks to God for this gathering of family and friends, and broke the bread. He gave this bread to his disciples.
Jesus: “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
Leader: Blessed is the One who feeds not only our bodies but our souls with this bread of community.
All: Blessed are those who hunger for the God of community and family, may your gift of celebration in the life of Christ move us to the work of reconciliation and hope. Amen.
Leader: Why do we share a cup of blessing?
Narrator: And after supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he blessed the cup and gave it to them saying, “ Drink this, all of you: this is the sign of a new and eternal covenant, a gift of myself for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink from the cup of blessing, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Leader: Blessed is the fruit of the vine, uniting and making us one.
All: Blessed is God for adopting us into this family.
(Wine and juice are poured out and all have a sip.)
Leader: Let us pray.
All: Merciful God, forgive us for the times we have betrayed your trust and have not loved the Christ in each other. May this cup of blessing be a celebration of joy and solidarity. As Jesus taught us, let us pray, Our Father in heaven…. Amen.
(People eat the food at their table. The children may use the colouring pages and puzzles or colour on the table cloths. (When you hear the music, the service resumes.)
Music: One Bread, One Body (refrain, v.3, refrain), Voices United #467
Leader: Blessed are our tears and laughter.
All: Blessed is the love shown as we grow together as a community of Christ.
Leader: Why do we remember Jesus’ tears?
Drama 4: Mark 14:32-42
Narrator: After they had sung a song and said a prayer, they crossed the Kidron ravine to a garden called Gethsemane where they often met.
Jesus: You my friends are all going to abandon me and run away. What will happen to our work! You will not see me again until Galilee after I have been raised.
Peter: Everyone else may fall away, but I will never leave you. You can be sure of that!
Jesus: Before you hear the rooster crow and see the sun rise tomorrow, you will have denied even knowing me, three times.
Peter: Even if I must die, I will never deny that you are my friend.
Narrator: And all the disciples said the same. Then Jesus took Peter and James and John, apart from the others and began to be distressed and agitated.
Jesus: “Sit here while I pray.”
“I am scared to death about what is coming; stay here on guard, and keep awake.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
“Dear God, for you all things are possible; remove this trial from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”
Narrator: He came and found them sleeping;
Jesus: (to Peter) “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep awake for even one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not have to answer yourself; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Narrator: And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.
Jesus: “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The time has come; I am betrayed! Get up. Let’s get going. My betrayal is at hand.”
Narrator: Judas knew where jesus would be and so he brought with him some soldiers equipped with lanterns and weapons and made his way to the garden.
Jesus: “Who is it that you are looking for?”
Soldiers: “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus: “You have found him, then.”
Narrator: Then the soldiers drew back and looked unsure.
Jesus: “Again I ask you: for whom are you searching?”
Soldiers: “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus: “I told you that I am he. If I am the one you want, let the others go.”
Narrator: Then Peter pulled a hidden sword and tried to cut off one of the servant’s ears, but Jesus stopped him.
Jesus: “Sheathe your sword. This is the destiny I have chosen and for which god has prepared me. Shall I run away now?”
Narrator: The soldiers summoned up their courage and roughly arrested Jesus and took him away.
Music: Bitter was the night (sung by choir members, vv1, 2, 6, 7), Voices United #132
Narrator: After Jesus was arrested, Peter and another disciple followed the soldiers until they came to the courtyard of one of the conspirators. Peter stopped outside the door abruptly so the other disciple knocked. A servant came to the door:
Maid: Are you another one of this man’s disciples?
Peter: I am not. The servants and the soldiers had made a for because it was a cold night and Peter stood with them to get warm, but the other disciple stood apart, watching.
A soldier: You have the same accent as this guy. Are you a friend from home?
Peter: I am not!
A soldier: Didn’t I see you in the garden? You are one of his disciples aren’t you?
Peter: I am not. You have mistaken me for someone else.
Narrator: And then Peter heard the rooster crow and saw the sun begin to rise.
Music: one chorus of “Bitter was the night.”
Leader: Let us pray
All: Caring God, may we be gentle and encouraging friends, sharing joy and sadness as your family here on earth. Holy One, forgive us for the many ways we have betrayed your trust and have not loved each other. On this holy night, may we be filled with the power of Christ’s love that is strong enough to banish fear and doubt. Grant us the vision to see beyond death and despair to your promise of resurrection so that we may become the people of your Beloved. Amen.
Music: “An Upper Room Did Our Lord Prepare,” Voices United #130
(We leave in no order. Some can sit in vigil Thursday night as a sign of a willingness to watch and witness for Christ in the world.)