[This service is an extended Eucharistic prayer, interspersed with scripture readings. It may include a homily at any point, and it may include foot-washing.]
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“This is my command: love one another.” — John 15.17
O God, in this Holy Week we proclaim the mystery of our faith as we behold the great love of Christ, and contemplate his call for us to love one another. As Jesus faced his death with humility, compassion and grace, help us now to watch with him in his passion. Set us free from our bondage to self, that by your grace we may enter into the fellowship of his suffering, trusting in your grace alone. Grant that in his spirit we may freely serve one another in all lowliness, for the sake of your will. Amen.
The Four Questions … Reflections
[Asked by a young person:
Why is this meal different from all other meals? We often eat together, but this meal is special. Why do we have these special festivities?
All other meals have no name. But we call this meal communion, or the Lord’s Supper. Why do we call this meal by a special name?
In all our meals we have all kinds of foods. Why in this meal do we eat bread together?
In all our meals we may drink many things. Why in this meal do we share a common cup?]
Exodus 12. 1-5, 11-14
God of Creation, God of our liberation, God of salvation, it is your will that all people be freed from hatred, violence, servitude and poverty. We pray that we may be freed from the bondage of all sin. We pray for all those who suffer injustice and oppression. We confess our complicity in injustice, and pray for courage to be set free ourselves. We pray for those of other faiths, that we may honor and learn from one another, and that there be no hatred between us. God of mercy, set us free, and free all your beloved children. Amen.
Holy God, Creator of this world and all that is to come,
we give thanks for your mighty acts of mercy.
For you have brought Creation out of chaos, light out of darkness.
You have formed us in your image
and breathed into us the breath of life.
You have brought us up out of slavery
and made your Covenant with us, to be our God.
You have spoken to us through your prophets,
and made us your people, the church.
Even when our love failed, you have remained steadfast;
you have loved us and redeemed us
in the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
And so with all the saints on earth and in heaven, we praise you:
Luke 22. 24-37
Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, who, though he was divine,
did not cling to equality with God,
but in radical self-emptying, took the form of a servant,
becoming humble to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Gentle Christ, we thank for your great love,
for which you suffered the injustice of the cross.
In your suffering you are one with all who suffer.
We pray for all who suffer, that you may be with them.
In your presence may they find hope and consolation,
and come to know the true promise of resurrection.
You make all things new; free us from our fear of suffering,
that in the spirit of Christ’s compassion,
we may offer ourselves for justice and the healing of the world,
according to your will.
Luke 22. 21-23, 31-34
Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, we confess that we do not love you perfectly, nor our neighbors as ourselves. We confess the injustice of our world, the greed and violence at the heart of our society. We confess that we are part of it: we are dominated by fear and selfishness, helplessly entangled in powers of death and injustice. We cannot wash our hands of the suffering we have caused, benefited from, or been party to. By the grace of your Gentle One, Christ Jesus, have mercy upon us. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and put a new and faithful spirit within us. Heal us, forgive us, renew us, and lead us, that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Silent Confession … The Word of Grace
Gracious God, in Christ you have renewed your Covenant
to be our God and to be with us in blessing eternally.
You have brought about your new Passover:
for Christ is our Paschal lamb, whose blood proclaims
that the power of death shall pass over us.
In your wiling suffering at the hand of our sin,
and your loving forgiveness, all condemnation is destroyed.
In the Covenant of your grace, we receive new life.
Dying, Christ destroyed our death.
Rising, Christ restores our life.
Christ shall come again in glory.
By your grace, as we take into ourselves the Body of Christ,
Grant that we may become the Body of Christ,
that by your Spirit in us, we may proclaim in our lives,
as we do in this meal, the blessing of your Covenant with us.
John 14. 15-20, 26-27
Renew your Holy Spirit within us, O God,
and unite us with all who share in this meal:
grant us communion with all your beloved,
and solidarity with all who suffer,
who know violence or injustice.
Pour out your Spirit upon us, and grant us the peace of Christ,
that we may enter into the brokenness of the world,
and, bearing the light of your resurrection,
live as signs of the Realm you have promised.
Grant that we may be taken as your beloved,
blessed as the body of Christ in your Covenant,
broken, crucified for the healing of all people,
and given, raised, for the building of justice
and the redemption of all Creation.
May your Word be made flesh by all your holy Church,
in the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sharing the Meal
Loving God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. God of Steadfast Love, grant that we may be drawn to Christ, who is the light of our life. Grant that we may receive the light of Christ into our hearts, and be transformed by your presence within us as children of light. Strengthen our faith, renew your Holy Spirit within us, that your name may be glorified through us.
John 13. 1-17
God of steadfast love, in Christ you have made us clean.
We give thanks, for you have served us faithfully,
led us as our teacher, called us as your servants,
and claimed us as your friends.
Grant us Christ’s hope in healing and justice,
and spirit of surrender and servanthood,
that in the name and companionship of Christ
we may live in love and humility,
for the sake of your will. Amen.
Washing of Feet
John 13. 34-35
Holy One, Triune God, Lover and Beloved
and the Flowing of Love,
grant by the life of Christ in us
that we may love one another,
not merely as we love ourselves,
but even as you have loved us.