Special services

Maundy Thursday Bulletin

Thank you for joining us for worship this evening. Wherever you are, we invite you to create space for worship, both in your physical space and in your heart — perhaps light a candle or fill a bowl with water to remember your baptism, or grab a bible or hymnal, or do whatever helps you most to feel worshipful.

Thursday, April 14, 2022 • Maundy Thursday
Ministers: the people
Pastor: Day Hefner
Organists: Betty Herde, Chrissi Bywater
Lector: Lori Benesch
Usher: Randy Plummer
Communion assistant: Karen Henry
Bulletin slideshow: Jalaine Vavricek


This evening our Lenten observance comes to an end, and we gather with Christians around the world to celebrate the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Tonight we remember Christ’s last meal with his disciples, but the central focus is his commandment that we live out the promise embodied in this meal. As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so we are called to give and receive love in humble service to one another. Formed into a new body in Christ through this holy meal, we are transformed by the mercy we have received and carry it into the world. Departing worship in solemn silence, we anticipate the coming days.

GATHERING
The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.

CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
Friends in Christ, in this Lenten season we have heard our Lord’s call to struggle against sin, death, and the devil—all that keeps us from loving God and each other. This is the struggle to which we were called at baptism. Within the community of the church, God never wearies of forgiving sin and giving the peace of reconciliation. On this night let us confess our sin against God and our neighbor, and enter the celebration of the great Three Days reconciled with God and with one another.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith.
Amen.

At this time, everyone is invited to come forward and receive individual laying on of hands and forgiveness of sins.  This ancient practice at the start of the Three Days is meant to prepare our hearts to remember once again the death and resurrection of Christ. If you are watching this with others, you may lay hands on one another and say the following words; if you’re watching alone, know that Christ forgives you all your sins.

In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.

GREETING
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray.

Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us. Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 
Amen.

WORD
God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

FIRST READING: Exodus 12:1–14 
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 

They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

PSALM 116:1-2, 12-19
I love the Lord, who has heard my voice, and listened to my supplication,
for the Lord has given ear to me whenever I called.

How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things God has done for me?
I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people.
Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your servants.

O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people,
in the courts of the Lord ‘s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. 

SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Return to the Lord, your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

GOSPEL: John 13:1–17, 31b–35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ

SERMON

HYMN OF THE DAY (ELW 323) God Loved the World

God loved the world so that he gave
his only Son the lost to save,
that all who would in him believe
should everlasting life receive.

Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,
who was made flesh and suffered death;
all who confide in Christ alone
are built on this chief cornerstone.

If you are ill, if death draws near,
this truth your troubled heart can cheer:
Christ Jesus rescues us from death;
that is the firmest ground of faith.

Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son
forgives all sins that you have done,
and justified by Jesus’ blood,
your baptism grants the highest good.

All glory to the Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To you, O blessed Trinity,
be praise now and eternally!

FOOTWASHING
Everyone is invited to come forward to have their feet washed and to wash the feet of the next person in turn.  This practice was instituted by Christ himself and is still as uncomfortable today as it was then.  Yet we are called to serve and be served in this way, to experience the discomfort and the blessing of God’s all-encompassing grace.

FOOTWASHING HYMN (ELW 642) Where True Charity and Love Abide / Ubi Caritas et Amor

Where true charity and love abide,
God is dwelling there; God is dwelling there.

Ubi caritas et amor,
ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
In these holiest of days, we offer prayers for ourselves, our neighbors, and our world.
Silence for reflection

We pray for the church around the world. Write your new commandment of love on the heart of every believer and strengthen pastors, deacons, and lay leaders in humble service for your people. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We pray for the good earth you have made. Protect fields, orchards, local farms, and gardens. Inspire us with the new life budding around us, that we show more care for plants and all living creatures. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We pray for leaders in every land. Kindle compassion and equity in all who are called to administer justice. Guide all in positions of power away from the temptations of abuse and toward work for the common good. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We pray for all who are in need, especially those who are incarcerated or unjustly accused. Illuminate paths to end oppression and form supportive communities gathered around a common commitment to justice and peace. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We pray for this congregation and all who gather to receive your body and blood this night. Fill us at this shared table and nourish us well to heed your example of grace. Send us in love to those who cannot be with us due to illness (especially). Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We give thanks for those who have died in the faith (especially). Teach us by their example and comfort us as we mourn. Renew us by the promise of life together with you. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.

We offer to you these petitions and those we carry in our hearts, trusting in your abundant and ever-present mercy.
Amen.

PEACE
The peace of Christ be with you always.  
And also with you.

MEAL
God feeds us with the presence of Jesus Christ.

OFFERING
There are many ways to make your offering:

  • Checks may be mailed or dropped off at the church
  • Ask your bank about setting up automatic giving
  • Make a secure offering online by clicking on the button below (opens up our Tithe.ly giving page in a new window)

OFFERING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Extravagant God, you have blessed us with the fullness of creation. Now we gather at your feast where you offer us the food that satisfies. Take and use what we offer here, come among us, and feed us with the body and blood of Christ, in whose name we pray.
Amen.

GREAT THANKSGIVING

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.

PREFACE

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy… we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, Lord God of power and might, heav’n 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.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER / WORDS OF INSTITUTION
For as often as we eat… the Lord’s death until he comes:
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

Therefore, O God… to share with us the great and promised feast.
Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Send now, we pray… receive our inheritance with all your saints in light.
Amen.  Come, Holy Spirit.

LORD’S PRAYER
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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

INVITATION TO COMMUNION
Here is food and drink for the journey. Take and be filled.

COMMUNION
All are welcome at the Lord’s table, whether Lutheran or not.  Ushers will invite you up by household to take communion at the table. Wine and juice are available.

COMMUNION SONG (ELW 494) For the Bread Which You Have Broken

For the bread which you have broken,
for the wine which you have poured,
for the words which you have spoken,
now we give you thanks, O Lord.

By this promise that you love us,
by your gift of peace restored,
by your call to heav’n above us,
hallow all our lives, O Lord.

With the saints who now adore you,
seated at the heav’nly board,
may the church still waiting for you
keep love’s tie unbroken, Lord.

In your service, Lord, defend us;
in our hearts keep watch and ward;
in the world to which you send us
let your kingdom come, O Lord.

POST-COMMUNION BLESSING

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus, in a wonderful sacrament you strengthen us with the saving power of your suffering, death, and resurrection. May this sacrament of your body and blood so work in us that the fruits of your redemption will show forth in the way we live, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

STRIPPING OF THE ALTAR
As we contemplate the lamenting words of Psalm 88, the worship space is stripped of all its adornments, just as Christ was stripped and beaten and mocked.  Now that the supper has come to an end, we remember how Christ was handed over to be arrested and executed.  This service ends in silence and darkness, as all hastily leave this space.

PSALM OF LAMENT: PSALM 88

O Lord, my God, my Savior, 
by day and night I cry to you.
Let my prayer enter into your presence; 
incline your ear to my lamentation.
For I am full of trouble; 
my life is at the brink of the grave. 
(refrain)

I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I have become like one who has no strength;
lost among the dead, 
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more, 
for they are cut off from your hand.
(refrain)

You have laid me in the depths of the pit, 
in dark places, and in the abyss.
Your anger weighs upon me heavily, 
and all your great waves overwhelm me. 
(refrain)

You have put my friends far from me; 
you have made me to be abhorred by them;
I am in prison and cannot get free.
My sight has failed me because of trouble;
Lord, I have called upon you daily; 
I have stretched out my hands to you. 
(refrain)

Do you work wonders for the dead? 
Will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?
Will your lovingkindness be declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
Will your wonders be known in the dark
or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?
But as for me, O Lord, I cry to you for help; 
in the morning my prayer comes before you. 
(refrain)

Ever since my youth, I have been wretched 
and at the point of death;
I have borne your terrors and am helpless.
Your blazing anger has swept over me; 
your terrors have destroyed me;
they surround me all day long like a flood; 
they encompass me on every side. 
(refrain)

My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me,
and darkness is my only companion.

All depart in haste and silence.

Christian Education

Let Us Pray: Week 5

Training Disciples
Lent 2022: Let Us Pray

Week 5: April 6, 2022, 6pm

Greeting
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Opening Prayer
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life.  In Christ’s name we pray.
C: Amen.

A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance. 
C: We come carrying the weariness of these past years. It feels like so much has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed.

L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance. 
C: We come, feeling at times like we are lost in the wilderness, uncertain of who we are now or where we are going. 

L: We come to you Author of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: We come, burning with a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, yet we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.

L: People of God, no matter where you are – or how you come this evening – our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, welcomes you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.

L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.

Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:

  • What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
  • How do you see God moving in this text?
  • What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?

Reading: Luke 23:26-56
26 As they led [Jesus] away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, 51 had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.


Prayer practice: Praying with God – Here I Am / Prayer of the Heart
(Adapted from prayers in 50 Ways to Pray by Teresa A. Blythe)

The process of this contemplative prayer practice is described below, but if you are watching the video, I encourage you to close your eyes and listen to the instructions.

Sit comfortably and say to yourself, “Here I am, seated, doing nothing. I will do nothing for the next several minutes.”

Begin noticing your own bodily presence – how your body feels sitting on the chair; how your feet feel against the floor. Let your body relax. Notice what you feel inside. Notice the rise and fall of your breath, in and out.

Now notice the presence of all that is around you. Say to yourself, “Here I am in the presence of this room.” Be aware of the furniture and the walls and the other people in the room. Be aware of the sounds and smells you experience. Just be present and silent in your environment. Relax even more.

Now say to yourself, “Here I am in the presence of God.” Repeat silently to God, “Here I am.” Let yourself simply bask in the presence of the Holy One.

(You may choose to simply stay in this space for a time, basking in the presence of God, and end your prayer time here)

Gradually let your mind grow quiet. Inhale the peace of God’s presence, and with every exhale, let the worries and tension of this day flow out.

Look within yourself and ask: What is your deepest, truest longing for life with God at this moment? If you find that your longing feels too “worldly” or superficial or silly, try suspending your judgment and looking instead at what is at the base of that desire. When you check in with your deepest and truest self, what is it that you seek from God? 

Give that longing a short phrase. For example, if your deep desire is inner freedom, then your phase might be “freedom” or “inner freedom.” Make sure your phrase is not too long.

What is your favorite name for God? How do you imagine the Creator? Choose whatever name seems to fit best for you. Some examples include: Jesus, Wisdom, Father, Mother, Mystery, Savior, Almighty, and so on. Be as creative as you want to be. Just keep the name relatively short.

Now combine your name for God with your longing. For example, if my phrase is “freedom” and the name I choose for God is Christ, my prayer of the heart might be “Freedom, in Christ.” Early Christians used to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” in this fashion – this was their deep longing, for Jesus to physically return and be among them. 

Begin to say your phrase, either quietly or silently. You may inhale on the name for God and exhale on the desire or vice versa. Keep breathing your prayer. Make it your own. Allow God to inhabit your prayer.

After you’ve repeated this prayer for several minutes, sink into contemplative silence. Allow the love of God to fill you and surround you. Rest in the loving presence of the great “I Am.”

(You may consider writing down your phrase and praying it throughout the day)


Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.

All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. (You are welcome to add your own prayers in comments on this post or on the video)
Please end your petition with: 
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.

L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
C: Amen.

L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Dismissal
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.


Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! We invite you to join us — online or in person — at our upcoming services for Holy Week and Easter:

  • Palm Sunday — April 10, 9:30am
  • Maundy Thursday — April 14, 6:30pm
  • Good Friday — April 15, 6:30pm
  • Easter Vigil — April 16, 6:30pm, with reception following
  • Easter Sunday — April 17, 9:30am
Christian Education

Let Us Pray: Week 4

Training Disciples
Lent 2022: Let Us Pray

Week 4: March 30, 2022, 6pm

Greeting
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Opening Prayer
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life.  In Christ’s name we pray.
C: Amen.

A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance. 
C: We come carrying the weariness of these past years. It feels like so much has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed.

L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance. 
C: We come, feeling at times like we are lost in the wilderness, uncertain of who we are now or where we are going. 

L: We come to you Author of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: We come, burning with a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, yet we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.

L: People of God, no matter where you are – or how you come this evening – our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, welcomes you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.

L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.

Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:

  • What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
  • How do you see God moving in this text?
  • What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?

Reading: Luke 22:14-23, 39-42, 45-53, 66-71
14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of 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.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”

45 When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

47 While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” 49 When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” 50 Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!”

66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. 67 They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I question you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”


Prayer practice: Praying with our Neighbors — the Braiding Prayer
(adapted from prayer by Lyle Griner, Peer Ministry Leadership)

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

The interweaving and braiding of strands brings three parts into one stronger whole.  Similar to a braid, we are stronger when we work and walk alongside each other in community, bound together by the love of Christ.  This braiding prayer is a tangible, meditative way to lift up others in prayer.

To prepare:
Choose three different colors of yarn/cord/string and cut pieces of each that are twice as long as you’d like your braid to be.  

Fold the pieces of yarn/cord/string in half and tie a knot so that you end up with a loop at one end and six strands hanging down (you’ll hold the two strands of each color together as one).  

Use the loop to anchor your braid as you weave.

To pray:

  • Pick up two of your colors. Think of a relationship between two people/organizations/nations/etc. that you would like to pray for. This may be a relationship in conflict, a broken relationship, or even a relationship you admire.
  • Pick up the third color – this is your prayer strand. This strand represents peace, comfort, grace, strength, thanksgiving, forgiveness, hope, and/or whatever else you might pray for this particular relationship.
  • Pray as you weave all three together, envisioning your prayer surrounding those for whom you pray with the healing, life-giving, transformative love of Christ.  Tie a knot at the end as your “amen,” if desired.

Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.

All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. (You are welcome to add your own prayers in comments on this post or on the video)
Please end your petition with: 
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.

L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
C: Amen.

L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Dismissal
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.


Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! Please be sure to join us for our last Lenten Wednesday evening — in person or online — next Wednesday, April 6. Meal starts at 6pm, with prayer following.

We will also have several opportunities to worship during Holy Week and Easter, all of which will be live-streamed:

  • Palm Sunday — April 10, 9:30am
  • Maundy Thursday — April 14, 6:30pm
  • Good Friday — April 15, 6:30pm
  • Easter Vigil — April 16, 6:30pm
  • Easter Sunday — April 17, 9:30am
Christian Education

Let Us Pray: Week 2

Training Disciples
Lent 2022: Let Us Pray

Week 2: March 16, 2022, 6pm

Greeting
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Opening Prayer
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life.  In Christ’s name we pray.
C: Amen.

A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance. 
C: We come carrying the weariness of these past years. It feels like so much has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed.

L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance. 
C: We come, feeling at times like we are lost in the wilderness, uncertain of who we are now or where we are going. 

L: We come to you Author of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: We come, burning with a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, yet we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.

L: People of God, no matter where you are – or how you come this evening – our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, welcomes you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.

L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.

Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:

  • What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
  • How do you see God moving in this text?
  • What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?

Reading: Luke 20:1-17
One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. 10 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. 12 And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” 17 But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?


Prayer practice: Praying with Beads
The Catholic Rosary is the most well known form of praying with beads, but it is not the only form. With the Rosary, a series of memorized prayers are said for each bead along the string with times of reflection on the mystery of salvation found in Jesus Christ. (50 Ways to Pray by Teresa A. Blythe)

You can create your own prayer beads with beads and prayers of your choosing. Below are some suggested prayers, but you can use any prayer or scripture you like.  

For your string of beads, choose a mix of small and medium/large beads. There is no right or wrong order, but traditionally prayer beads have several small beads in between a few larger beads. (If you don’t have beads on hand to make your own string of prayer beads, no problem! You can use a rosary if you’ve got one; you could use small stones; you could draw a string of beads with lines and circles on a piece of paper and trace it with your finger; you could even count off prayers on your own fingers.)

For your prayers, if you’d like, you can choose a different prayer for every bead, or you can choose a few prayers or scriptures to repeat. This can be a fun, tactile, meditative way to memorize and pray with scripture.

Small bead prayers

The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 

The Doxology
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. Amen.

Luke 23:42
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 46:10
Be still and know that God is God.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Medium bead prayers

from Evangelical Lutheran Worship p304
O God, you have calld your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Large bead prayers

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. You restore my soul, O Lord, and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, and my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be shaken;
God shall help it at the break of day.
The nations rage, and the kingdoms shake;
God speaks, and the earth melts away.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come now, regard the works of the Lord,
what desolations God has brought upon the earth;
behold the one who makes war to cease in all the world;
who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, then, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations; 
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.


Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.

All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. (You are welcome to add your own prayers in comments on this post or on the video)
Please end your petition with: 
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.

L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
C: Amen.

L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Dismissal
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.


Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! Please be sure to join us for the remaining Lenten Wednesday evenings — in person or online — March 23, 30, April 6. Meal starts at 6pm, with prayer following.

Christian Education

Let Us Pray: Week 1

Training Disciples
Lent 2022: Let Us Pray

Week 1: March 9, 2022, 6pm

Greeting
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Opening Prayer
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life.  In Christ’s name we pray.
C: Amen.

A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance. 
C: It feels like these past couple of years are a blur. It feels like in these past couple of years that everything has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed. 

L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance. 
C: It feels at times like we may be lost in the wilderness, the dark of night, uncertain of who we are now and where we are going. 

L: We come to you Giver of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: It feels at times like we have a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, and we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.

L: People of God- No matter where you are, our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.

L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.

Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:

  • What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
  • How do you see God moving in this text?
  • What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?

Reading: Luke 19:29-48
29 When [Jesus] had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

41 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

45 Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; 46 and he said, “It is written,

‘My house shall be a house of prayer’;
but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.


Prayer practice: Praying with GRASE
This kind of prayer, called a “collect” prayer, has a five-part structure that dates back to the early centuries of Christianity.  While it’s typically used for prayer in community, it can also be used in your personal prayer life (or on the spot if someone asks you to pray!).  Collect style prayers are very common in our own Sunday worship life – see if you can spot a prayer with all five parts the next time you’re in church (pro-tip: start with the prayer of the day)!

To follow along, grab a blank sheet of paper and trace the outline of your hand. Write the letters G, R, A, S, E by each finger, starting with your thumb.

  • G (thumb): Start your prayer by addressing God in some way – we express and experience relationship with God in many and specific and wonderful ways.
  • R (index finger): Remember good things that God has done – we remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and offer thanks and praise
  • A (middle finger): Ask God for what you or someone else needs – Jesus urges us to “take it to the Lord in prayer”; we lift our concerns to God with trust and hope
  • S (ring finger): “So that…” desired outcome – we try to enter into God’s imagination for the world and name how what we pray for will help bring that about
  • E (pinky finger): End the prayer in the name of Christ – Jesus told his followers to ask for anything in his name, and by faith we take him at his word

Your turn: try writing your own collect-style prayer.  Pray about whatever it is that’s on your heart in this moment.  Don’t worry about making it sound any particular way.  This is just another way of opening up conversation with God. 


Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.

All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. 
Please end your petition with: 
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.

L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
C: Amen.

L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Dismissal
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.


Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! Please be sure to join us for the remaining Lenten Wednesday evenings — in person or online — March 16, 23, 30, April 6. Meal starts at 6pm, with prayer following.