Daily Worship for Holy Week, Wednesday 31 March 2021

Holy Wednesday   

Watch today’s service here:

Welcome

The LORD is strength to his people, a safe refuge for his anointed one.

Psalm 28: 8

All age time (for 0-100 years)

For today’s symbol, put a piece of bread in a dish

Opening Prayer

Almighty God

We gather in worship thinking on the last days of Jesus

 before his death on the cross

 marvelling at the scale of your love

you invested your all in him

 through him you accepted pain suffering and death

 to redeem and restore your world

 to bring it healing and wholeness

 to make us forever your own

in the face of such love we marvel

 but are also ashamed

 because of the way we live

 the way we take things for granted

 the way we go against your express commands and guidance

we have behaved in ways that caused hurt

 we are sorry and ask your forgiveness

Fill us anew with your spirit

 that we may faithfully and truly respond to you in all that we do

Through Christ our Saviour we pray. Amen

Bible reading John 13: 21-32

Hymn 378 Praise to the holiest in the height

Reflection

Judas has left the Upper Room, and gathers his thoughts standing outside

It’s good to get out of there and close the door behind me. I could hear my heart pumping, my stomach was churning over, my pulse was racing, and my hands are all clammy. I know there are a lot of people in there, and there’s not a lot of ventilation, but that’s not the trouble. I just keep going over and over in my mind, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Will I get caught? Should I hand the money back and say that I can’t do it?’

The others are so full of life, having a great Passover party, lubricated by a fair bit of wine. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t have any conversation, I didn’t laugh at the jokes. They wondered what was up, but I just said that I wasn’t feeling well. To be honest I feel absolutely terrible.

At one stage I thought the whole plan was going to unravel when Jesus said that he thought that someone would betray him. Was he just talking generally? Was he having another go at me, especially after Monday night? I’m getting neurotic about him not trusting me, pushing me to the side, having a go at me. Or does he really know about the plot to arrest him? If he does, I’m surprised he didn’t announce it to everyone at the table – and they would have lynched me there and then, never mind what he has said before about loving your enemies and turning the other cheek. If he does, then he may not go to the garden after all, and if I turn up with the soldiers, and he isn’t there, then they might lynch me.

I’m still in two minds about whether to go ahead with this. A little voice somewhere inside me says it’s not just risky, it’s wrong. But what is right and wrong? Isn’t it just about what’s best for me? To be honest I’ve lost faith in Jesus. I hoped that he would lead a revolution that would overthrow those in power, and we would become the new leaders, we would live in the palaces, we would have all that money. But more and more he churns out this mamby-pamby stuff about loving enemies, being the servant of all, suffering for the rest of humanity, giving away your wealth to the poor.

I’m fed up being one of the poor. I’m fed up struggling to get by, worrying about paying bills or where the next meal will come from. I want the security and comfort of the great and the good, and I’m going to do every thing I can to get it. The lifestyle he talks about would make life even worse than it is now. Thirty pieces of silver isn’t a lot, but it’s better than nothing, and if this exercise works they may take me onto their payroll permanently.

I feel let down by Jesus. The hopes I pinned on him are shattered, my dreams are shattered. I feel as if I’ve wasted all the time I’ve spent following him. There’s still a knot in my stomach about doing it. Will I regret it? Will I feel guilty? Will anyone hold it against me? You only get one shot at life. You’ve got to go for it, and tough on anyone who gets in the way. It’s my life, I’m going to do what I want to do, and don’t let anyone try to stop me. I’m going. I’m going now, and what will be will be. 

Prayers for others

Loving God

Heavenly Father

We want to be with Mary offering you our devotion and commitment

but all too often we are like the other disciples, and back off

or we’re like Thomas and sceptical about things

or like Judas, arguing with you in our hearts

Kindle anew in us the flame of commitment

that we might be wholeheartedly ready to do what you want of us

We pray for all who like Judas feel cut off from those around them

and particularly for those who feel so cut off that they wish to cause harm to others

We pray for those like Jesus who feel isolated and alone

those who feel let down or betrayed

Jesus spoke of the poor being always with us

We pray for those in need in our community, our country and our world

those who do not have enough to eat

those who do not have a home of their own

those worried about work or money

those who do not have access to education, healthcare, safe sanitation and the like

those who long to live in peace and safety

help us to remember that bringing in peace and justice

 is not just something to be left to you, or to others

 but involves us

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

Blessing

Secure in God’s love

 be steadfast in his service

 and the blessing of God Almighty,

 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

 rest and remain with you,

 today, and every day, and for ever. Amen

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