March 28, 2021
Son of David, you entered Jerusalem with a triumphal procession that left you alone and in humiliation on the cross. We thank and praise you…
For your selfless sacrifice
For the redemption of creation
For those who offer their lives in Christlike service around the world
For your work as it continues in our community
For the sacrificial love of those who serve us in your name
For our redemption
The cries of “Hosanna!” soon turned into cries of “Crucify him!”
Today too there are those who refuse to recognize you as King.
The effects of sin continue to be felt in all of life. So we pray…
For the nations of the world
For our nation and its leaders
For this community and those who are in authority
For the church universal as it works on your behalf
For this local church in its ministry
For persons with particular needs
With the angels and all of creation we look forward to the day when we will join in declaring
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Source – The Worship Sourcebook Second Edition
March 29, 2021
Praise! Praise God in the temple, in the highest heavens!
Praise! Praise God’s mighty deeds and noble majesty.
All that is alive, praise!
Praise the Lord.
Christ, in this hour of worship lift us out of the routine of our daily lives and set us up on your holy mountain. Let our worship come from our hearts, that it may be genuine. Let our praises for you leap from our mouths, that we may be alive with faith and joy. Make us fresh again!
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
Create In Me A Clean Heart
Save Me O God
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons.
For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.
I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant,
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies.
You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you.
Reproaches have broken my heart,so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.
They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
Pour out your indignation upon them,and let your burning anger overtake them.
May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents.
For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high.
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it; the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.
In This Holy Place
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”
And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of
the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.
Often, O holy and righteous God, we dare your justice, mock your mercy, jeer your patience, slight your power, and show contempt for your love. We even say “I’m sorry” insincerely and confess our sin flippantly. We plead your help to own up carefully to how we have wronged you, to admit honestly how we have grieved you, to plead penitently for your mercy and pardon. We beg your forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Based on a prayer by John Bunyan (1628-88, author of Pilgrim’s Progress)
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
God of justice and mercy, your grace and truth shine forth through Jesus Christ, our Lord. In a world clouded by injustice, violence, and revenge, we pray for the strong work of your Holy Spirit.
As you end this time May God’s love sustain you, and may you love those who surround you. May God’s Spirit empower you, and may you empower all those you meet. May God’s joy fill your hearts, and may this joy overflow to the ends of the earth for God’s glory, now and forever.
March 30, 2021
God of light and truth, you are beyond our grasp or conceiving. Before the brightness of your presence the angels veil their faces. With lowly reverence and adoring love we acclaim your glory and sing your praise, for you have shown us your truth and love in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Dear God, help us to worship you today. May we listen carefully, pray honestly, and sing joyfully. Send your Holy Spirit so that our words will bring you glory. Thank you that Jesus makes our worship perfect for you. Help us remember that when we worship you, we are part of your family; we join everyone who loves you around the world and throughout history. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The servant of the Lord
Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God.”
And now the Lord says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength—
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel, I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
I Exalt Thee
Forsake Me Not When My Strength is Spent
In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you. I have been as a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.
For my enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together
and say, “God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him.”
O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!
May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt.
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! Help us now to hear and obey what you say to us today. Through Christ, our Lord.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
Grant to us, O Lord, to know that which is worth knowing, to love that which is worth loving, to praise that which please you most, to esteem that which is most precious unto you, and to dislike whatsoever is evil in your eyes. Grant us true judgement to distinguish things that differ and above all to search out and do what is well pleasing to you, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
March 31, 2021
I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
Happy are those who take refuge in him.
Today, we reflect on Judas betraying You. You invested countless hours in that relationship. He was part of the core twelve disciples.You brought him close, knowing the pain that he would inflict on You.
So, we take time to pause today because we come face to face with the Judas in us.
Our consumerism begs what’s in it for us.
Our pride makes us the captain of our ship.
Our sin leads us away from You.
Father, forgive us. Create in us clean hearts. Purify our motives and desires. We are beggars for Your grace and mercy.
Your prayer reminds us, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…” On this Spy Wednesday, You forgiving us provides power to forgive others. We can take time today to consider those You’ve called us to reconcile.
This Holy Week stops us in Your radical love for us and to each other. Our hearts are grateful that You willingly chose to forgive us. Now today, give us the strength to forgive each other.We hold on to the promise that You bring beauty from ashes.
A Prayer for Spy Wednesday 2020 by Peter Englert
Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience
The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.
I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary?
Love That Will Not Let Me Go
O Lord, Do Not Delay
Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!”
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay!
The Plot To Kill Jesus
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.
God’s Word assures us:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In humility and faith let us confess our sin to God.
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
You, Lord, are patience, and pity, and sweetness, and love; therefore we sons of men are not consumed. You have exalted your mercy above all things, and have made our salvation, not our punishment, your glory; so that there, where sin abounded, not death, but grace superabounded. Accordingly, where we had sinned beyond any help in heaven or earth, then you said, “Lo, I come!” Then did the Lord of life unable of himself to die, contrive to do it. He took flesh, he wept, he died; for his enemies he died; even for those that derided him then, and still despise him. Blessed Savior! Many waters could not quench your love, nor no pit overwhelm it. But, thou the streams of your blood were coursing through darkness, grave, and hell, yet by these your conflicts, and seemingly hazards, did you arise triumphant, and therein made us victorious.
Written by George Herbert
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
April 1, 2021
On this day Christ the Lamb of God
gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him.
On this day Christ gathered with his disciples in the upper room.
On this day Christ took a towel and washed his disciples’ feet, giving us an example that we should do to others as he has done to us.
On this day Christ our God gave us this holy feast, that we who eat this bread and drink this cup may here proclaim his holy sacrifice and be partakers of his resurrection and at the last day may reign with him in heaven.
Source – The Worship Sourcebook Second Edition
Holy God, your Son Jesus came as a servant to wash away our pride and feed us with the bread of life. We praise you for inviting us to serve one another without pride, to forgive one another as we have been forgiven, and to feast at his table as members of one household.
The New Covenant
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord of hosts is his name:
“If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”
Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”
Though You Slay Me
I Love the Lord
I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.”
What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
The Passover with the Disciples
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Communion Elements are needed for this prayer
Merciful God, we have not loved you with all our heart and mind and strength and soul.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
We have not loved our neighbors as you have taught us.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
We are indifferent to the saving grace of your Word and life.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Forgive and heal us by your steadfast love made known to us in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Now take of the bread and the cup.
God is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
O Jesus, our ever-living Teacher, Friend, and Lord:
We have heard your new command to love one another;
We have seen your example of how to serve humbly — you, their leader and Lord, bent down to wash your disciples’ feet; we have received bread and wine, signs of your presence and power within us.
By your Spirit, prompt us now, we pray, to do as you command, to imitate your willingness to serve, and to live as your children, fed and nourished for the journey by Jesus, our Lord.
Draw us closer and closer, our Savior, to your cross.
Help us to ponder with wonder your great sacrifice.
Move our hearts to love you more and more.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, remain with you always.
April 2, 2021
Thank you, loving God, for sending to us your Son, Jesus, for his redeeming death that we commemorate this night, that we might stand forgiven at the cross.
Thank you, loving God, for sending to us your Son, Jesus, to whom we belong — body and soul, in life and in death — and who bore our infirmities, carried our sorrows.
Thank you, loving God, for sending to us your Son, Jesus, who became sin for us and suffered the punishment due to us, that we might stand forgiven at the cross.
April 3, 2021
Call to Worship:
Too often, O God, we pray, “Listen, Lord, for your children are speaking.” Today help us to pray, “Speak, Lord, for your children are listening.” Help our ears to hear your Word. Help our hearts to trust what you say. Help our hands and feet to do what you call us to do.
Death Comes Soon To All
“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.
He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
And do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me into judgment with you?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.
Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you,
and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.
“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth,
and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put out branches like a young plant. But a man dies and is laid low;
man breathes his last, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake
and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and rises not again;
till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep.
Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,
that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait,
till my renewal should come.
Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit
In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my
enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
Guard the Tomb
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Stewards of God’s Grace
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Father, we offer you this time of silence, we invite you into our fear and grief. May we hear Your still small voice in the quiet. May we experience your comfort in our suffering.
(Spend a few minutes in silence)
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
April 4, 2021
Seven Stanzas at Easter by John Updike
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
Stay with us, Lord Jesus, for the day is almost over.
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus,
We face times of depression, hopelessness, and fear.
Just when we think we understand your plan,
We are again baffled by an unforeseen series of events.
Dwell with us. Teach us more about you.
Feed us with your holy bread. Reveal yourself to us.
Lead us with your light and truth to such exceeding joy
That we respond in praise
And eagerly proclaim your good news.
In your holy name and in the power of your Spirit we pray.
Source – The Worship Sourcebook Second Edition