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April 16th, 2014

The Week That Changed The World

The Week That Changed The World

As we all prepare for the Holy Week, the week that changed the world, the following reflections are for you to use and to share with others.

Palm Sunday

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38)

On Palm Sunday we commemorate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. On this joyful day He was surrounded by throngs of people singing His praises and marveling at all the miracles He had performed. Here, at the beginning of Holy Week, let us take some time to focus on the things we wanted to accomplish during Lent. Have we made improvements in our prayer life? Have we offered sacrifices to God? Have we given alms or service to those in need?

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially the Lord’s Passion and Death, let us renew our commitment to a deeper relationship with our Savior.

Monday Of Holy Week

“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Monday of Holy Week is a day of waiting. Just as in the Christmas carol we sing, “Let every heart prepare Him room”, we must also prepare our hearts for the sorrows of the Triduum. Even though Monday can be the most hectic day of the week, don’t forget to carve out some quiet time for yourself today. Get up a little earlier to do the readings for the day. Find a quiet place to sit at lunch and read your favorite spiritual book. Gather your family to pray at the end of the day. These are all excellent examples for integrating the spirit of Holy Week into your day.

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially when Our Lord raises Lazarus from the dead, let us ask Jesus to raise us above any obstacles that prevent us from drawing nearer to Him.

Tuesday Of Holy Week

“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

Today we continue our waiting and preparation as we approach Good Friday. Just as you did yesterday reserve some time to “Be still and know that (He) is God” (Psalm 46:10). If possible, make a Holy Hour today and visit with Our Lord in Adoration. During His agony in the garden on Holy Thursday Jesus asks His disciples to pray with Him. If you don’t have a lot of time, or if you find an hour is too long to stay focused, try going for 15-20 minutes. You will be amazed to find that even this brief break in your day can refresh your soul!

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, let us search our own lives to identify weaknesses or temptations that may cause us to betray Our Lord if we are not careful.

Wednesday Of Holy Week

“See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive!” (Psalm 69:33)

As we reach the middle of our Holy Week our waiting turns to anticipation. Spending a little time in prayer each day has helped us to identify some of our weakness and times we need to turn quickly to Christ for help. Spend some of your daily prayer time doing an examination of conscience.

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially Isaiah’s words foretelling Our Lord’s suffering, let us seek forgiveness for times we have caused others to suffer.

Thursday Of Holy Week

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the “source and summit” of our Faith – The Holy Eucharist.

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples: “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially Paul’s remembrance of the Last Supper, let us ask for the Graces we need to truly believe in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and to approach the altar with reverence and awe.

Good Friday

“But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)”

One of the most beautiful traditions of this day is the Veneration of the Cross. “While we bend down in body before the cross we bend down in spirit before God.”

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially John’s recount of Christ’s Passion, let us try to keep an awareness of Our Lord’s suffering in our hearts throughout the day.

Holy Saturday – The Easter Vigil

“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6: 4)

On Holy Saturday our sorrow and emptiness begin to be replaced with a growing joy and anticipation.

As we reflect on all of the readings and responsorial psalms, let us rejoice and give thanks to God for our wondrous Salvation History.

Easter Sunday – The Resurrection Of The Lord

“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matthew 28: 5-6)

Alleluia! He is risen! This is the most joyous feast of the year. Christ’s death and resurrection is the foundation of the Christian Faith. The church is now filled with the spirit of Jesus and with His Light. It is no longer silent as we join our songs of praise with the choirs in heaven. We are reminded of Christ’s promise “I will give you a joy which no one will take from you.” (John 16:22). Easter is the beginning of our new life with Christ. Although our Lenten Journey is complete, don’t forget to create times of prayer in your daily lives where you can spend time with our Risen Lord.

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially the Gospel, let us ask the Risen Christ for courage and strength we need to take His Light into the world.

April 1st, 2010

Maundy Thursday Worship Service

Maundy Thursday Worship
The Opening

Welcome

Welcome to this Maundy Thursday celebration. On this night we remember and celebrate the final supper Jesus shared with his disciples in the context of the Passover, when the people of Israel observed their liberation from Egypt. The Last Supper was Christ’s observance of the Seder—the Passover Eve Service. Hear this instruction that God gave to the people of Israel:

Scripture: Exodus 12:1-7, 12-14

Hymn: “Lift Up Your Hearts unto the Lord” PsH 309, SFL 63, TWC 771 (st. 1, 2, 4)

Call to Worship

Return to the Lord, God of all mercies,

for a feast of love has been prepared for his own.

I will bless the Lord at all times.

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

O taste and see the goodness of the Lord

Happy are they who take refuge in God.

Solo: “O Magnify the Lord” (Praise and Worship Songbook, Integrity/Hosanna Music)

Opening Prayer

The Call to Wash One Another’s Feet

Reading: “He who would be great among you” (see box)

The Footwashing

(The simplest tradition is for the pastor to wash the feet of a few leaders in the congregation, either elders or representatives from different ages or groups. They remove their shoes and sit in a place visible to all. The pastor kneels, pours water from a pitcher into a basin, and then wipes their feet with a towel.)

Hymn: “Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love” PsH 601, PH 367, SFL 251, TWC 436 (Sung during the footwashing.)

The Meal

Opened with the ancient Jewish table prayer:

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Creator of the Universe. Through your work, all things were made, and by your goodness we have this food to share. Blessed be God forever. Amen.

Confession and Assurance

The Call to Confession: 1 John 5:8

Prayer

Most holy and merciful Father, we confess to you and to one another, that we have sinned against you by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ.

You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways, by forgetting your love. Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father, and free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son, our Savior, Amen.

Hymn: “Just As I Am” PsH 263, PH 370, RL 468, TH 501, TWC 445

Declaration of Pardon

To all who confess themselves to be sinners, humbling themselves before God and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation, I declare this sure promise: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The Word of the Lord

Hymn: “As We Gather at Your Table” SNC 245 (st. 1)

Scripture: Matthew 26:17-30

Sermon: “At the Table”

The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

(The elements are distributed by tables; each person is invited to pass the bread and cup to the next, saying, “The body of Christ was given for you”; “The blood of Christ was shed for you.”)

Our Response of Prayer and Gratitude

Hymn: “As We Gather at Your Table” SNC 245 (st. 2-3)

Reading

Reader 1: God may be speaking to us individually, asking whether we have fully and freely accepted his offer of freedom at the Festival of Redemption. Have we, for example, sprinkled the Blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of our hearts in the face of human and spiritual opposition, clearly trusting in God to deliver us?

Reader 2: This is the time when we must receive God’s gift freely, to give God his due. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5). “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve” (Matt. 4:10).

Reader 1: We are bound to thank, praise, glorify, extol and adore God who did all these wonders for our ancestors and for us. God brought us forth

Reader 2: from slavery
Reader 1: to freedom,
Reader 2: from anguish
Reader 1: to joy,
Reader 2: from mourning
Reader 1: to festivity,
Reader 2: from darkness
Reader 1: to great light,
Reader 2: from bondage
Reader 1: to redemption.

Hymn: “There Is a Redeemer” SNC 145

Closing

Prayer

Scripture Readings: Revelation 21:6-7;

Jeremiah 31:33; Revelation 21:1-4

Parting Hymn: “You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd” SNC 182 (Sung unaccompanied, very simply.)

Benediction

———– Wish you all the blessings of the Holy Week —————–

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