- Hymn 78 Oh set ye open unto me (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
- All age time
- Reading Matthew 26: 17-19, 26-30 (Good News Bible)
- Prayer for others
- Communion (although we cannot celebrate it together, the words are included as a reminder of what would be said were we together celebrating it)
- Hymn 376 Twas on that night (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)*
Welcome and let us worship God
‘Our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5: 5
1 Oh, set ye open unto me
the gates of righteousness;
then will I enter into them,
and I the Lord will bless.
2 This is the gate of God, by it
the just shall enter in.
Thee will I praise, who answered me
and hast my safety been.
3 That stone is made head corner-stone,
which builders did despise:
this is the doing of the Lord,
and wondrous in our eyes.
4 This is the day God made, in it
we’ll joy triumphantly.
Save now, I pray thee, Lord; I pray,
send now prosperity.
5 Thou art my God, I’ll thee exalt;
my God, I will thee praise.
Give thanks to God, for he is good:
his mercy lasts always.
All age time (for 0-100 years)
- Over the week: let’s make a kind of model or frieze of the Holy Week story, with something added each day to reflect that part of the story. There will be a short service each day telling the story of Holy Week, with suggestions for what to do.
If you have a tray that is spare, use it, adding something to it each day
If you have a large sheet of paper cut things out/ colour them, stick them on
- Today’s Bible story is about the special meal that Jesus and his friends ate together on the Thursday evening. Before they started he washed his friends’ feet
- Something to make: if you are using a tray, put a towel or facecloth and plate with glass or tumbler on it. If you are making a frieze, put on pictures of a table, bread, wine cups and people
Long ago when people were living in slavery and oppression
you heard their cries and you rescued them
not because they deserved to be saved
not because they were worthy of salvation
but because of your great love
and your faithfulness to your promises
You led them through ways unknown to them
along paths they had not travelled
you were with them in danger and difficulty
and in your generous grace provided all they needed
Long ago a group gathered in the upper room of a city building
some were full of hope
some were wracked with fear and doubt
within hours their world would be shattered
what they had been expecting would not happen
what they had not been expecting did happen
but in the pain and loneliness
of that dark night and sorrowful day
your Son saved and rescued them
and not only them
but people of every land and age
that all might know your love
your call to follow
Come close to us
accept our praise and worship
cleanse the unclean things of our hearts
bring healing and wholeness to our lives
and send us out to serve you
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Matthew 26: 17-19, 26-30
On the first day of the Festival of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Where do you want us to get the Passover meal ready for you?”
“Go to a certain man in the city,” he said to them, “and tell him: ‘The Teacher says, My hour has come; my disciples and I will celebrate the Passover at your house.’”
The disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal.
While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take and eat it,” he said; “this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and gave it to them. “Drink it, all of you,” he said; “this is my blood poured out for money for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Reflection (what Jesus might have thought before the Last Supper)
I’ve always had a good appetite – I suppose it comes from living in the hills, doing heavy manual work and walking everywhere. We don’t eat fancy food: unlike the tales you hear of the palaces in the West End of Jerusalem. But I enjoy soup, stew, vegetables, fruit, beans, fish and bread – especially newly baked bread. And if Martha ever makes any of those little honey cakes, I could eat the lot!
I’m not a foodie who will sit and discuss the relative merits of this or that type of onion, nor will I sniff and sample wine to think of suitable adjectives to describe the aroma. On the other hand I don’t just gulp food down, paying no attention to it. I appreciate its taste and flavour, but I also appreciate the kindness of God in providing for us, and I appreciate the hard work of all who harvest and prepare the ingredients for a meal.
I don’t get much opportunity to eat alone – I’m struggling to remember when I last did so – but I’m glad about that. However good the food is, it is always more enjoyable being able to share it with others. I have been to lavish banquets where the host is really only interested in showing off, but I much prefer occasions where it is the company, the people, the chat that are at the centre of the meal – and some that I remember best were outdoor picnics or everyone squeezed round the kitchen table. Even if the food is everyday, and the setting is very plain, it is the welcome and the people who make it a memorable occasion.
He we are gathered for the meal at Passover. In terms of what we eat it’s a special meal – roast lamb is a treat reserved for high days and holidays. But it is special in other ways too. I am eating with friends and family. And it is a day with special customs and practices, packed with symbolism and significance. They aren’t just what we’ve ‘aye done’: they have meaning and relevance for today. They remind us that what happened long ago matters for us now. WE are part of that scene long ago, and that scene is transported here to our situation and circumstances. Promises made by God to people then about the future, still apply – and we await their fulfilment, as people did long ago.
We gather around this table with different thoughts and ideas, different hopes and memories, but we all come knowing that as we share in this food we enter into communion with God, we reaffirm what he did for us in the past, and what he promises us for the future.
I have celebrated a fair number of Passovers over the years, but I am sure that this one is going to be different. As the lambs were slain for the feast, so I must be slain. Their deaths are a reminder to the Jewish people of what God did to set them free and make them his holy people. I believe that my death will do the something similar, but for everyone, and they will become holy not by keeping rules in the Law, but by the Spirit working in their hearts and lives. After today, when we next share bread and wine together, the world will have changed and the Kingdom will be coming.
Prayers for others
As we recall your response to the slaves who cried to you for release
we ask you to respond to all who are in need this day
those who feel the hand of oppression or abuse
those who look for release from pain or infirmity
those who long to go home, but cannot
those who are wracked by fear or doubt
those who long to be forgiven and accepted
those who feel desperately lonely, or simply desperate
those who are very much in our thoughts at this time
and whom we name in silence before you
We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us
And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give 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,
the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen
We gather on the Thursday of Holy Week. It was on this evening that Jesus gathered with his friends to celebrate the Passover meal, a celebration that we know as the Last Supper, and which became the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper.
Images from the Passover meal were taken up by the church in the way we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and they resonate for us as we hear the story of our Lord’s suffering, death and rising again. To us Jesus is the Lamb of God, who sacrificed himself for us, and enables us to pass over from death to eternal life.
As St Paul said:
Christ, our Passover,
has been sacrificed for us.
As at Passover Jewish people envisage themselves among the slaves in Egypt, sharing their experience, sharing their pain, to share in the joy and excitement of being led to freedom, so we envisage ourselves in the Upper Room in Jerusalem where Jesus and his friends gathered.
However we gather here after Easter, after Jesus’ rising from the dead. Our Risen Lord is with us here and is the head of the feast. It is his table, and he invites us to share with him at it.
Narrative of the institution
Let’s remind ourselves of Paul’s account of the Last Supper:
The tradition which I handed on to you
came from the Lord himself:
that on the night of his arrest
the Lord Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God
he broke it and said:
“This is my body, which is for you;
do this in memory of me”
In the same way, he took the cup after supper and said:
“This cup is the new covenant
sealed in my blood.
Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.”
For every time you eat this bread
and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Taking the bread and wine
As Jesus took bread and wine, we take this bread and wine, and set it apart for this holy use and mystery.
As he gave thanks to God, so now let us bring our prayers of thanks and praise to him.
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.
Blessed are you LORD God of all creation,
through your goodness we have this bread to eat.
Blessed are you LORD God of all creation;
through your goodness we have this wine to drink.
You have chosen us through your grace;
you have made us holy by your Spirit;
in your love you have given us this great feast,
as a celebration of our becoming free,
a memorial of our release from sin and death.
You have chosen us for your service.
You have kept us alive and sustained us.
You have brought us to this holy place
In the face of your love and goodness
in the face of Jesus’ commitment
in the face of his suffering
what can we say?
No words are adequate
especially in the light of our own shortcomings
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
We rejoice and celebrate
that Jesus, who suffered and died,
rose from the dead
and lives for ever
bringing new life, new hope
bringing the assurance that victory
lies with goodness, love and truth
not death, not hatred, not indifference
Send down your Spirit upon us now
and upon this bread and wine
so that as we eat together
we may know that the risen Jesus is here with us
we may receive his new life
and remain his glad and faithful people
until we feast with him in glory
- Lord’s Prayer
Breaking of Bread
Jesus took bread
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said:
“This is my body which is for you;
do this in memory of me”
In the same way he took the cup and said:
“This cup is the new covenant
sealed by my blood.
Whenever you drink it,
do this in memory of me.”
This is the bread of Christ’s affliction
Let all who are hungry come and eat!
Let all who are in want come
and celebrate the feast with us!
God bless to us this bread
sign of his body broken on the cross for us
sign that each of us belongs to Christ
sign that we are made one in him
sign that he himself meets us and feed us here
Let us share in the bread of purity and truth
God bless to us this wine
sign of the Lamb of God
sign of his blood shed
that the sins of many might be forgiven
He gives us cause to rejoice
and celebrate in this season and every season
God bless to us the cup of the new covenant
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Lord we give you thanks
because around this table
our hearts have been fed
our thirst has been quenched
our strength is renewed
and we are filled
with a new longing for justice
and a new spirit of hope.
Around this table
we have been made one
with all your people in heaven and on earth
We look forward to the day
when all the earth is nourished by your bread.
We look forward to the day
when with all the company of your people
we eat and drink
in the glory of your eternal kingdom
through Jesus Christ our Lord
1 ‘Twas on that night when doomed to know
the eager rage of every foe,
that night in which he was betrayed,
the Saviour of the world took bread;
2 And, after thanks and glory given
to him that rules in earth and heaven,
that symbol of his flesh he broke,
and thus to all his followers spoke:
3 ‘My broken body thus I give
for you, for all; take, eat, and live:
and oft the sacred rite renew
that brings my wondrous love to view.’
4 Then in his hands the cup he raised,
and God anew he thanked and praised,
while kindness in his bosom glowed,
and from his lips salvation flowed.
5 ‘My blood I thus pour forth,’ he cries,
‘to cleanse the soul in sin that lies;
in this the covenant is sealed,
and heaven’s eternal grace revealed.
6 ‘With love to man this cup is fraught,
let each partake the sacred draught;
through latest ages let it pour
in memory of my dying hour.’
Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honour and glory and blessing.
Go out, fed by Christ
Go out, saved by Christ
Go out, to watch with Christ
Go out, to share the love and Good News of Christ
and the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
rest and remain with you,
today, and every day, and for ever. Amen