Scriptures and prayers combined by the Prayer Writing Team. Art by Tim Bauer.
April 6, 2020
Monday of Holy Week
Reading From John 12:1-11
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” 9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
How can we ever understand the mystery of your love, O God?
How can we ever estimate the value of your compassion and mercy?
In our weaknesses and brokenness, in our strengths and wholeness,
we find the touch of your support and creative energy.
In our fears and suffering, in our joys and pleasures,
we find the comfort of your tears and the warmth of your laughter.
In our failures and despair, in our successes and dreams, we find peace in your forgiveness and the inspiration of your Spirit.
These are gifts beyond measure, and we can only respond with joyful praise.
You are the home we long for, the family where
we discover that we truly belong, the hearth where we are warmed and renewed,
and we worship you with our whole being, wonderful and loving God.
We praise you in the name
Of the Father,
Of the Son,
And of the Holy Spirit.
(John van de Laar)
April 7, 2020
Tuesday of Holy Week
Reading From John 12:20-36
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.”Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
The violence in the world is old,
Our place in the world is ever new.
Work in us, Good Shepherd, and
Give us the foresight to distinguish
The wolves beneath the willow;
Give us courage as you scatter
what prowls in wait.
The goodness in the world is old,
The threats to it seem ever new.
Guide our simple steps, high upon the cliffs,
Or low in the craggy plain.
Light the way to the valley’s end,
Sustain our flagging hearts as
Fears crowd out the hope within.
The call to find rest in you is old,
The barriers to that peace are ever new.
Forgive us our unbelief,
Forgive our desertion
Of the call upon us.
Redeem us out of the places you found us,
And refine us into a communal fire.
We ask in the name
Of our God our Provider,
Christ our Protector,
And the Holy Spirit, our Guide.
April 8, 2020
Wednesday of Holy Week
Reading From John 13:21-32
21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.
God, in ancient times you called your people out of captivity
and brought them to the land you promised. Throughout your story
we often fall and stumble in our walk to be your people, and hurt
not just ourselves but one another.
Lord, forgive us for the hurt we cause
both intentionally and unintentionally.
We confess that we allow our pain to live inside of us,
settling deep inside before it flares up in aches and discomfort.
God of healing, invite us into the practice of releasing the pain
that we carry inside of us, the sin embodied in our very flesh.
We confess that our frustration cripples our ability to love, as you loved us.
We would rather be mad for the sake of righteousness than be loving
for the sake of Christ who humbled himself.
towards you and your good creation.
We confess our pride and high mindedness
can make us lose sight of you Lord.
Humble us, God who brought Israel out of Egypt.
Christ who died, whose innocent blood was shed
to cover death, work us free from embodying captivity.
Release us by the power of your blood.
We turn our eyes and our hearts toward you, God, three in one,
(Naomi Ruth Jackson)
April 9, 2020
Reading from John 13:1-17, 31b-35
13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When you know something like the back
of your hand, you really, really know it.
But how often do you look at something familiar without love?
How often do you look at your face in the mirror with criticism?
How often do you see your body and feel shame?
How often do you consider your life choices and fear regret?
Our God is not a god of shame.
Our God is not a god of guilt.
The world is critical.
The world is shaming.
The world is hard.
Our God is not these things.
Our God is a God of Love.
It’s easy to dwell on the world’s messages,
and to internalize secret hate. We don’t even
know how often we direct that hate at ourselves.
Our God is a God of acceptance.
Our God is a God of Truth.
We bring our attention now, to this time and place,
and center ourselves on God’s goodness.
We pray in the name
of the Father,
of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
April 10, 2020
Reading John 19:1-30
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Loving God, you created all things to work together
in your Kingdom, and you call us to live as one Body.
We confess we often prefer to go our own way, and
we put ourselves at odds with your creation when
we are unwilling to love things we do not understand.
We pursue our own individual success, and we
miss the chance to celebrate your gift of community.
Forgive us, oh God. Open our ears to hear you
speaking, and our hearts to embrace your purpose.
We settle for homogeneity and fear diversity and difference.
We settle for social safety and fear authenticity. We settle for
efficiency and correctness and fear the voice of the other.
Forgive our short sightedness, and help us dream
of a more imaginative and inclusive community
in our liturgy, in our neighborhood, and in our city.
We ask in the name
of the Father,
of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit,
(Vox Prayer Team)
April 11, 2020
Readings from John 19:38-42 and 1 Peter 4:18
38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
1 Peter 4:1-8
4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
How sweet the sacred sign
Of mercy full and free,
Your dying love and quickening
power in mingled rays we see.
How rich the wondrous grace
Which brought salvation nigh,
Through Him who entered death’s
domain and rose no more to die.
With Him we die to sin,
The world and self disown;
And raised to share in glorious
life, we live to Him alone.
Jesus, our Risen Lord
We love this sacred sign;
Planted with Thee in death,
In life, we’re ever thine.
With Him we die to earth and sin.
His death alone has power to save; —
With Him we rise to life divine.
To wait our triumph o’er the grave.
Come, Gracious Spirit, from above;
Light and joy to us impart;
Speak with still-small voice of love,
And quiet our inmost hearts.
We pray in the name
Of the Father,
Of the Son,
(Vox Prayer Team)