Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday Service

Maundy Thursday Service
Gordonsville Presbyterian Church
April 5, 2012

Call to Worship:    

Leader:      Jesus said: I give you a new commandment that you love one another.
People:      Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another

Opening Prayer

We gather together tonight to witness to the amazing love that is the sacrifice of the cross. We remember the love that is nailed to the cross, and sealed in the tomb, realizing that the nails could not hold and the tomb could not trap the power and love of God, the God who created us, sets us free, and shows us the amazing possibilities of love. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

 *Hymn #92                  “Beneath the Cross of Jesus"               ST. CHRISTOPHER

Unison Prayer of Confession:
Eternal God, whose covenant is never broken, we confess that we fail to fulfill your will. Though you have bound yourself to us, we will not bind ourselves to you. In Jesus Christ you serve us freely, but we refuse your love and withhold ourselves from others. We do not love you fully or love one another as you command. In your mercy, forgive and cleanse us. Lead us once again to your table and unite us to Christ, who is the bread of life and the vine from which we grow in grace.

Canticle (Sung):
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Assurance of Pardon
The mercy of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting
I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ
you are forgiven.

May the God of mercy
who forgives you all your sins
strengthen you in all goodness,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit
keep you in eternal life.

Prayer for Illumination:
Eternal God,
whose word silences the shouts of the mighty:
Quiet within us every voice but your own.
Speak to us through the suffering and death of Jesus Christ
that by the power of your Holy Spirit
we may receive grace to show Christ's love
in lives given to your service.

Old Testament Reading:       Exodus 12: 1-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

New Testament Reading:     1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Reflection on Remembrance

            We get the idea of needing something to help us to remember in the earliest stories of the Bible. God sends us rainbows, and signs, and rituals, but somehow we always seem to forget. Even surrounded as we were in the Garden of Eden by the wonders of the freshness of God's creation, and we forgot. In that case one lie clouded our minds. And the greatness and wonders of God's creating love is swept away by the doubt that our forgetful minds made manifest.

Tonight's Old Testament Lesson tells us of another means of remembering. The Israelites newly set free are going to be prone to forget. God knows this because God knows His children so well. The Israelites in their new freedom forget a lot. When they run into struggle they forget that God has led them thus far. They forget how hard their bondage was and seem to have nostalgia from their chains. They forget so quickly out of the moment that the struggles is where they are closest to God. And this is what the Passover meal is about: remembering the amazing works that God has done to set them free as a people.

And it is a part of this sacred and holy tradition that Jesus institutes His Holy Supper. In the tradition of God's work with the Jews in the Old Witness, the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, the New Witness, the New Covenant, the New Testament is marked with this Holy meal. A holy sacrament set aside purely so that we do not forget because we do forget and we will forget again. Let this holy meal be for us a reminder that God loves us, God created us, God leads us out of bondage, God became one of us, in an amazing act of love, and died for us, because we were unable to understand the vastness and potential of God. May this Remembrance help us to experience the love of God, and help us to become more close, seeking, moving closer and closer, to the understanding, and full open armed relationship that God desires to have with us.

It is for this Holy purpose that we perform this Holy sacrament. Amen. May it be so. . .

Hymn                                                  "In Remembrance"

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

And so we come to the table,
This is not my table, nor is it the table of Gordonsville Presbyterian Church
but is the table of our Lord Jesus Christ
And all who are baptized in the faith are welcome to participate in its full communion
Come not because you must but because you may
Come not because you are worthy but because you are not
The blessing of this holy sacrament be upon us each and all this night.

Let us pray together the great Prayer of Thanksgiving found in your bulletin

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our greatest joy. . .
to give you thanks and praise,
O Lord our God, creator and ruler of the universe.
You bring forth bread from the earth,
and create the fruit of the vine.
You made us in your image
and freed us from the bonds of slavery.
You claimed us as your people,
and made covenant to be our God.
You fed us manna in the wilderness,
and brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey.
When we forgot you, and our faith was weak,
You spoke through prophets,
calling us to turn again to your ways.

Therefore we praise you,
joining our voices with the celestial choirs
and with all the faithful of every time and place,
who forever sing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
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.

You are holy, O God of majesty,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
whom you sent to deliver us
from the bondage of death and slavery to sin.
In humility he descends from your heights,
to kneel in obedience to love's commands.
He who is boundless takes on the bondage of our sin.
He who is free takes our place in death's prison.

In the deserts of our wanderings, he sustains us,
giving us his body as manna for our weariness.
The cup of suffering which he drank
has become for us the cup of salvation.
In his death, he ransomed us from death's dominion;
in his resurrection, he opened the way to eternal life.

Remembering all your mighty and merciful acts,
we take this bread and this wine
from the gifts you have given us,
and celebrate with joy
the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ.
Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy offering of ourselves,
that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen.

Great is the mystery of faith

Christ has died.
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

Gracious God,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and the blood of Christ.
By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ
and with all who are baptized in his name,
that we may be one in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ's body for us,
Send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

Lead us, O God, by the power of your Spirit
to live as love commands.
Bound to Christ,
Set free for joyful obedience and glad service.
As Jesus gave his life for ours,
help us to live our lives for others
with humility and persistent courage.
Give us strength to serve you faithfully
until the promised day of resurrection,
when, with the redeemed of all the ages,
we will feast with you at your table in glory.

Through Christ,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty Father,
With the Holy spirit in the holy church,
now and forever.


Hear the words of the institution
of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, too bread,
and after giving thanks to God,
He broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take, eat.
This is my body, broken for you
Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same manner he took the cup, saying:
This cup is the new covenant, sealed in my blood,
Shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it,
Do this in remembrance of me.

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the saving death of the Risen Lord,
until He comes.

With thanksgiving
Let us offer God our grateful praise.
These are the gifts of God
for the people of God.

Prayer after Communion

Jesus, Lamb of God.
have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.

God of grace,
your Son Jesus Christ
left us this holy meal of bread and wine
in which we share his body and blood.
May we who have celebrated this sign of his great love
show in our lives the fruits of his redemption;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever.

Light and Darkness

In this great vigil of remembrance we light the candles of hope remembering the time that God spent with us as Immanuel.

We light again the candle of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, remembering the child of Promise who was born so lowly in a manger.

We light a candle remembering the his baptism in the Jordan River

We light a candle remembering his amazing stand against temptation while fasting in desert.

We light a candle remembering his holy teachings on the Mount and on the Plain where he told us of the possibilities and responsibilities of love

We light a candle remembering how he healed the sick, offering hope and presence to the faithful, who came to him.

We light a candle remembering how he asked the children to come to him,  remembering also that to welcome a child in his name is the way to be truly great.

We light a candle remembering the miracles he performed, like feeding the multitudes and walking on water, showing us that our thoughts of limitation are invalid.

And finally we light a candle for the triumphant entry he made into Jerusalem, which seemed to be the high water mark of his work and the beginning of the end. . . as he upset more than just the tables in the Temple.

And now we say a prayer in the light of his teachings as he taught us to pray saying. . .

Our Father
Who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven,
Five us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom
And the power and glory forever.

And then we betrayed you Jesus, and we need to remember.

And then we denied you Jesus, and we need to remember

And then we tried you Jesus, and we need to remember

And then we demanded that you be crucified, Jesus, and we need to remember

And then we beat and whipped you Jesus, and we need to remember

And then we mocked you with a cross of thorns Jesus, and we need to remember

And then we nailed you to a tree, and we need to remember

And you said, I thirst, and all we gave you was vinegar, and we need to remember.

And you said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, and we need to remember

And you said, My God, my god why have you forsaken me, and we need to remember

And you said, Into thy hands I commend my spirit, and we need to remember

And you said, it is accomplished, and we desperately need to remember.

Special Music (acapella)                                 "Were You There?"                               

Closing Prayer
God, the amazing thing is this, that you love us, and Christ's sacrifice proves that you do. What wondrous  love is this. that you can love us so much, that you gave your only begotten son, so that we shall not perish but have eternal life in the bosom of your grace and steadfast love. Amen.

Hymn #80                               "Jesus Walked that Lonesome Valley"

And in three days he rose again from the dead, and is risen, proving that the words of that last hymn are incorrect. We do not have to walk that lonesome valley by ourselves, but that Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is walking it with us. Go in Peace to walk that lonesome valley with Jesus, and with each other, brothers and sisters in Christ. May it be so, Amen.