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.
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 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.
Abundant God, in this Lenten wilderness you take, break, and bless. You take the bread, that holy manna of God, and give it to us, your beloved. You break the bread, your very body, and give it to us, your servants. You bless the bread, which is given for us, and share it with all that we might be sustained for the days ahead.
God of the covenant, fulfill the promise that you have made with us; the promise that you have made and kept with those that have gone before us. Gather us around this blessed table that we might go forth in the difficult days ahead assured of your unshakeable grace and your steadfast love. In the name of the One who takes, breaks, and blesses, we pray. Amen.
From Feasting on the Word - Worship Companion, edited by Kimberly Bracken Long. [allow a lengthy silence between biddings.]
Holy and gracious God, our sin is too heavy to bear. Trusting in your mercy, we lay before you the truth of who we are.
We confess our failure to love as Christ loved...
We confess our covetousness and greed...
We confess our weakness before temptation...
We confess our frailty before the challenges of this world...
Merciful God, forgive us. Heal us, and make us whole, for the sake of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.