The following is a Holy Week Devotional Guide organized by Hillary Ann Golden via asacredjourney.net. The opening prayers for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are taken from prayers previously posted on this blog. May God continue to bless you through this Holy Week as we prepare to praise the Risen Christ! You can download this free devotional guide here.
Christine Sine blogs here where you can find other wonderful liturgical resources. God who created us Suffers because of us god who died upon the Cross suffers for us God who dwells within us Suffers with us And in God’s suffering we find hope God, our suffering God Your story brings us salvation Without you the horrors of human suffering Would be unbearable Your story of life, death and resurrection gives life meaning Because of your suffering a new world has broken into ours Your suffering frees us from prison Your suffering fills the hungry with good things your suffering frees us to live in love, joy and peace In your eternal resurrection world
Another wonderful prayer by Christine Sine. You can view her blog here. Jesus you took bread and broke it, You shared it with your friends. As you were broken to feed us with the bread of life. Jesus you took wine and poured it out, Grapes crushed and drained of life. As you were crushed and drained of your life blood. Jesus you prayed fervently in agony of spirit, That God’s cup of suffering might pass away. Your sweat fell like drops of blood yet you endured the pain. You hung upon a tree and were crucified for us, But looked in compassion on your murderers. Look too in compassion on we who caused your suffering and your death. Jesus you died for us and fell as a seed into the ground, Knowing that your death would produce a plentiful harvest of new life. May we too be willing to die to ourselves that others may find true and eternal life.
I found the following poem at http://www.bruceprewer.com/DocB/BGOODFRIDAY.htm. AT GOLGOTHA
Today I dared to step much closer to the man on Skull Hill than ever before.
I elbowed past the curious crowd, beyond the high priest’s mob, and stood near Mary and John.
The soldiers leered at me and one said: “Take a good look mate, it may be you tomorrow.”
Determined I went and stood about five paces from that central cross and looked up.
Hideous scene; smell of blood, sweat and urine. I wanted to throw up; the soldiers chuckled.
Then I braced myself and took a long searching look at the crucified son of Mary in his agony.
O his eyes! They turned this way and that wildly searching for something that never came.
An undertaker once told me that employees who take too much notice don’t last long at the job.
Here things are different; today I took a lot of notice and saw the eyes of God searching for God.
I’ll love him forever; by the sheer grace of this Lord who was forsaken that we might never be so. A Poem by B D Prewer 2002
This communion prayer includes sung congregational responses using three verses of the hymn “What Wondrous Love Is This.” It is submitted by Andy James via LiturgyLink.Net. The Lord be with you. And also with you. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Eternal God, it is right to give our thanks and praise, for your love marks the expanse of creation, your justice stretches out into the farthest land, and your peace makes all things complete.
You are worthy of praise.
Yet we fall short. We have stepped away from your love. We have ignored your call for justice. We have sowed conflict rather than peace.
Yet you know no boundaries. Nothing we say or do can keep you away from us. Even amidst all our brokenness, you kept calling us back, with prophets and messengers and kings to guide us in your ways.
And in the fullness of time, you sent your own son, Jesus, to intervene in our world, to call us to know your love, to show us that we are worthy to bring you praise.
And so we join our voices with the multitude of the ages, singing joyfully of your wondrous love:
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 heavy cross for my soul, for my soul, to bear the heavy cross for my soul.
Your love in Jesus Christ is wondrous, almighty God. In him you stepped into our world; in him you taught us how to live in harmony with one another; in him you healed and made whole; in him you challenged us to journey a new road together.
In his death, you took on the fullness of our pain and suffering, and in his resurrection, you showed us that death will never have the final word.
So just as he did with his disciples on the night of his arrest, so we too gather, sharing a meal, receiving the bread of his body, welcoming the cup of his salvation, and trusting that we too will be made whole.
And so we sing our praise to you for the wonder of this gift:
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 so gather us with those millions, loving Lord.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and cup, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
By your Spirit, make us one with Christ and one another, united in faith, hope, and love with all those who share this feast as we reach out and serve the world with your grace, mercy, and hope until your kingdom comes and we are free to sing with all creation forever and ever:
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.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York
The following prayer is by Thom Shuman. On this day, God of all tears, you call us in the midst of our busy lives to look at the suffering and death of the One who came to carry the pain of the world into your heart. Give us eyes to see your love this day.
On this day you would gather everyone to your side, Grace of Calvary, but we leave you to carry the cross alone. You came simply as love incarnate, but hate and bitterness were the gifts we offered to you. You poured out your love so our emptiness might be filled. Give us ears to her your pain this day.
On this day, you would pray for us, for we cannot find the words on our own, Shattered Spirit. Hear the cries of those in need. Listen to the lament of the lonely. Cradle the whispered hopes of children. Set free the dreams of prisoners and captives. Give us hearts to pray with you this day.
God in Community, Holy in One, we lift our prayers to you in the name of the One who suffered and died for us this day and who teaches us to pray, saying, Our Father . . .
Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.
The following Good Friday prayer is by MaryAnn McKibben Dana. O Holy God, the hosannas have died away, the palm branches have turned brittle.
Now, today, there is only this – each of us, all of us, sitting in the darkness, the hymns of lament in the air, the mumblings of our own feeble confession, on this Friday which we tremble to call Good.
What is good about Good Friday?
What is good about the innocent one nailed to a cross? What is good about the darkness of war that persists today? What is good about our devastation of the planet? … about people living in poverty? … about the fog of addiction, depression, disease and despair? What is good about the crushing weight of hunger, racism, scapegoating, apathy?
No, there is nothing good and desirable in these things.
Yet you, O God, are Good.
When suffering reigns, yours is the first heart to break.
When despair lurks about, we remember that you were there first, peering into the abyss and crying out, incredibly: “Father, forgive them.”
When we feel forsaken, we remember that in your last moments, you cared for your mother and your beloved disciple, binding them to one another as a new family.
When we feel overcome by guilt, we remember that you spoke grace to a thief: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Your love for us is just that boundless, and ever-present, and Good.
Thank you. What else can we say here, in the dimness, in the darkness, but thank you.
MaryAnn McKibben Dana is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Falls Church, VA.
The following call to worship is by Thom Shuman via LiturgyLink. In remembrance, we gather: to be with the One who teaches us the meaning of faithfulness. In remembrance, we worship: lifting our voices to the One who calls us to love one another. In remembrance, we feast: breaking the Bread which makes us whole, drinking the Cup which fills us with grace.
The following confession sequence is by Thom Shuman. Call to Reconciliation How is it people will recognize us as followers of Jesus? Simply by how we treat one another. Let us confess how we have not loved as Christ loves us.
Unison Prayer of Confession Creator and Loving God, you kneel to wash our feet, yet we are reluctant for you to see all the places we have gone in our attempts to escape you. You would bathe us in the warm, living waters of your love, and though wesplash and play in the puddles of temptation. We have received all thegifts you have to offer, yet we are tempted to think they are only for us, rather than sharing them.
Forgive us, Holy One, and have mercy on us. What can we give you for all your wonderful graciousness towards us? As you have broken your heart for us, may we open ours in service to others. As you have given your life for us, may we offer ours to bring healing to the world. As you have called us together around your Table, may we go forth to feed a world hungry, not only for food, but for that Spirit which brings peace and reconciliation. This we pray as servants of Jesus Christ, who came to serve us in life, in death, in resurrection hope.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon On this holiest of nights, we have received the good news: God has come in Christ Jesus, to fill us with hope and peace, to bathe us in grace and mercy. In remembrance, we go forth: to bring hope where despair resides; to be servants to those who are broken; to love as selflessly as we are loved by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies, via LiturgyLink.
The following prayer is by Teri Peterson. Gracious God, we give you thanks this night for the privilege of gathering together to remember, to celebrate, and to share. We give you thanks for the journey we have been on with you—from manger to Temple, from Egypt to Galilee, from darkness to light. Tonight we feast, as you did on a night like this so long ago, remembering your promises, your mighty deeds, your rescue of your people, your saving grace. As we share this meal tonight, make us mindful of those who are hungry. As we celebrate together, make us mindful of those who sorrow and those who are alone. As we remember once again all you have done and all that you are, form us once again into your people.
May all who hunger come to rejoice in the feast of your kingdom. Let all the human family sit at your table, drink the wine of deliverance, and eat the bread of freedom. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL via LiturgyLink.
The following invitation to the table is by Scott Cervas. The parade is in the past… the hosannas have hushed… and Jesus has retreated to an upper room to quietly dine with his disciples.
We’ve been invited to the table to share in the mystery of broken bread… of a cup of wine… and of feet humbly washed, challenging us to eat, drink, and remember…together, and to love and serve one another just as Jesus loves and serves us.
We’ve been invited to the table to see Judas get up from his seat and walk out the door… challenging us to look into our hearts, and glimpse the signs of our own acts of betrayal.
So let’s take our place at this table… where we sense our brokenness and experience God’s grace all at once.
Let us pray…
Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY) via LiturgyLink.
On this dark night, as the shadows deepen,We come to be present with Jesus. With the glory of Palm Sunday behind us and the victory of Easter not yet come, We will sit together in this space with our breaking, our broken hearts. In this world that is at once beautiful and holy and tragic, We seek to be present with all who suffer. In the dark valleys of life, when sorrow threatens to overwhelm, We long for a safe and sacred space to sit with our grief and our questions. Jesus Christ, holy friend, we know that you are here with us. Let us be here with you. Amen.
Submitted by Joanna Harader via SpaciousFaith.com.
Holy God,Architect of our grace: from your house we praise you. Your love is never taken from us; your goodness is the constant in our lives. We worship you.
Jesus Christ, Sorrow of our salvation: you dared to listen to God instead of the cheers of the crowd and the jeers of your enemies. We walk with you.
Holy Spirit, Glory of God: you give us light so we might see the One who comes; you open our ears, so we might hear the whispers of hope; you sustain the weary, so we might journey through this week. We welcome you.
God in Community, Holy in One, hear us as we pray as Jesus taught, Our Father . . .
Submitted by Thom Shuman via lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.com
We believe in the God who is the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud.We trust in our Holy Parent who judges and shows mercy. We hope in our Creator who is faithful to all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in the Jesus who rode in triumph into Jerusalem. We trust in the Messiah who was crucified, died, and was buried. We hope in the living Christ who walked out of the tomb.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, giver of faith and formation. We trust in the Breath of Life who stirs, sustains, and sanctifies. We hope in our Advocate who brings to us, and through, us the gift of God’s peace.
Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK via LiturgyLink.
From the United Church of Christ. Loving God, at this time, we remember that going up to Jerusalem cost Jesus his very life. So we come before you, conscious of the way religious words and holy phrases can slip so easily from our lazy lips and our hardened hearts. What do we really know of your mountainous truth, your rock-hard integrity, the depth of your suffering for love of us all? Forgive us for the shallowness of our faith and the timidity of our following: forgive us for the ready excuses we make for going our own way and claiming it as yours.
Turn us round again, we pray, by your Holy Spirit, active within us and among us. Show us how to be open again to your faithfulness and to your freedom, that we may live new lives and be again bearers of the seeds of the realm of Jesus.
From the United Church of Christ. From the perspective of Jesus.... This time there will be no flight into Egypt. This donkey has too much to carry, and too far.
The shadows wait for me, around the table at Passover, among those in high places in the condemned cell, on the hill outside. Fear haunts my waking moments and I cannot sleep. Why has God forsaken me?
The crowd today is with me, but not for long. They are the powerless ones (the ones who matter). The ones who count are counting.
Time is running out. This time there will be no flight into Egypt.
The following is a benediction from the United Church of Christ. Before this week ends, the Palm branches will be drying on the roadside. The joyful crowd will become an angry mob, and Jesus will replace robes of victory with a crown of thorns. So then, go in the knowledge that whatever comes to you in this week, you are held in the hand of God, hugged tight, held close, and may God, the Three-in One, bless you, uphold you and give you strength for the journey ahead. Amen.
The following Call to Worship is by Thom Shuman, submitted via LiturgyLink. We come to prepare for the holiest of weeks. We will journey through praise, with joy on our lips; we will travel through betrayal and death, cradling hope deep in our hearts Jesus leads us through this week, and we will follow, for he is the life we long for, he is the Word who sustains us. We wave palm branches in anticipation, we lay our love before him, to cushion his walk Setting aside all power, glory, and might, he comes: modeling humility and obedience for all of us. Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the One who brings us the kingdom of God.
Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.
The following Prayer for Illumination is by Scott Cervas, submitted via LiturgyLink. Holy God, in the midst of the loud “Hosannas!”, as the waving palm leaves rustle in unison, quiet our pre-conceived notions… and hush our sure grasp of your truth… so that we may, perhaps, discover something about your vision…your hope…your purpose for our life… that changes the way we think, act, and do. Amen.
Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)