Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hi, Friends-You could call this the Holy Week of experimentation!  Some things worked great.  Others, not so great.  We are learning so we extend these offerings to you with grace and humility.

Maundy Thursday-We were going to try a live feed of some kind for this, but ran into too many difficulties.  So, attached is a liturgy we composed for at home use.  Also, due to the situation we are in that does not allow us to be together for communion, our denomination has said virtual and at-home communion is allowed.  We invite you to participate as you feel comfortable with those parts.  We were planning on having the service at 6PM, but feel free to participate as your schedule allows.  Also, we recorded Laura singing the two songs that are part of the service.  The links are:
For those hesitant to click on links, go you Youtube and search "Laura sings they will know we are Christians FPC Maundy Thursday," and "Laura sings What Wondrous Love is This? FPC Maundy Thursday."

Good Friday-Here is our Ecumenical service!  We each had a last words of Christ that we gave a brief meditation on.  Again, some sound and visual issues but it came together pretty good.  This service was planned for Friday at 7PM, but again, watch as you feel free.
Youtube search "La Grande Ecumenical Good Friday Service"

Info about Easter will come soon!

May these days between now and Easter fill you with the mystery of Christ's saving grace.

Blessings,
Keith and Laura

Maundy Thursday Home Worship 4.9.2020

Please prepare for this service by gathering a candle and lighter; a bowl of water and a towel; enough small cups, juice, and bread which can be broken to be shared with all home participants. Decide which participant(s) will lead each prayer. Bold print indicates all participants speak together.

Light your candle at this time as a sign of Christ’s presence with you and our connection with each other in him. Leave it burning until the conclusion of the service.

Opening Words
In the growing darkness we gather.
Our Lenten journey has brought us here.
Jesus, our Teacher and Lord, sets before us
a towel, a bowl, bread, a cup.
He gives us an example
and a commandment ever new:
to love one another as he has loved us.
This is how everyone will know we are his disciples,
when we love each other.

Song: They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love v. 1-2  
(See the link in the email to a You-Tube recording of this song)

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
and we pray that all unity may one day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

All praise to the Father from whom all things come
And all praise to Christ Jesus, God’s only Son,
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.




Call to Confession
Even among Jesus’ closest disciples, not all were clean.
On this night of all nights, we confess the ways
we disappoint, deny, and even betray Jesus, our Teacher and Lord.
Our confession of sin is made in the sure knowledge
that Jesus is able to wash us in forgiveness and love.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Holy God, you have called us to serve others as Christ has served us, but we have not followed Christ’s example. We turn away from people in need. True humility eludes us, and we hide our vulnerability before others. You have commanded us to love one another as you have loved us, but we do not love so generously. On this Holy Thursday, we confess that we are capable of denying you and betraying you and one another, no less than the first disciples. Forgive us, merciful God, and cleanse us of all our sin; then guide us to walk with you always. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
Disciples of Christ, having loved his own who were in the world,
Jesus loved them to the end.
Jesus knows us fully
and offers love and forgiveness unconditionally.
In gratitude for the grace given to us,
and as a witness to our faith in Christ, we will love one another.
The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

Use bowl of water and the towel and to cleanse one another’s hands; participants with no available partners, simply dip your hands in the water and dry them off with the towel, in the awareness that you are joined in the Spirit to all others engaged in this hand-washing act today, as we remember Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and how Jesus cleanses us from sin.

Prayer for Illumination
Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, that we may see the light of your Word in the darkness of our lives. And seeing, may we understand;
understanding, may we do all that you ask. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



Scripture Reading: Scripture Reading: 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.
…Jesus said, ‘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.’

Meditation: What are You Hungry For?
The Passover Feast Jesus celebrated with his disciples was a remembrance of the deliverance from slavery in Egypt God had brought the Jewish people. It is significant that it was on that night when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet to offer them a new symbol of God’s radical, self-giving love. It is significant that it was amidst the Passover celebration that Jesus offered the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper, a sacrament of how that self-giving love brings our ultimate liberation. 
After nearly four weeks of social distancing and quarantining, I am hungry to be delivered from the captivity of the COVID-19 virus—I’m guessing you are, too.  I’m hungry to reconnect with you, the community of human beings through which I have known Christ’s love most profoundly. I’m hungry for the liberating love of Christ to be experienced by people all over the earth, not only that all people would receive the saving knowledge of Jesus, but also that human beings would learn to live each day, here and now, following the way of Christ’s radical love, serving one another with humility, generosity, and grace.
What are you hungry for? What message do you yearn for from Jesus? What assurance, what hope, what inspiration or encouragement does he have for you tonight?
Jesus invites us to love one another as we have been loved by God: in that love, all our hungers are met, and we are empowered to feed one another as Christ’s hands and feet on this earth. Amen.

Prayer of Intercession and Preparation for the Lord’s Supper
God of power and might, on the night of Passover, you commanded your people to be ready to go in a hurry; to be dressed, with sandals on their feet, and a walking stick in hand as they ate a special meal. We pray for people everywhere who long for freedom, who are ready, eager to do as you have commanded. Bring down oppression’s rule; overturn unjust laws; break the chains of those enslaved. Without delay, may we enter a new place where all lives are honored and all voices heard.
          God of tenderness and compassion, on the night before he died, Jesus set a table for his disciples. They took off their sandals and sat down in the presence of their Teacher and Lord, who washed their feet, one by one. We pray for people whose feet are tired and dusty from hard labor; for those whose backs are bent by care and worry; for those laid low by illness or guilt or grief. Wash away the tiredness of our bodies and souls. Hold gently in your healing hands the broken places in our lives and relationships. Be our company in isolation, our source of hope in despair, and the way forward at every dead end.
          God of all good gifts, thank you for setting a table of welcome for everyone; for making room whether we are faithful or faithless or failures. We pray that all who are hungry will find enough to eat and clean water to drink, as we share and live more responsibly. Teach us to sit down with enemies, sharing common meals and common hopes. Make us true servants of yours for the sake of the world. Teach us to love as you love for the sake of the world.
           Now, gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and these gifts of bread and cup that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ. May sharing them remind us that we are to be Jesus’ body for the world. Unite us through the Spirit with Christ and one another, all of us who celebrate alone/together that we are part of Christ’s body. Amen.

Invitation and Institution
This the Lord’s table and it is offered to you for strength. On the night when he was betrayed Jesus took the bread and broke it and after giving thanks he said,
“This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Please break the bread and pass it to each person. All eat together.

In the same way Jesus took the cup saying:
“This cup is the new covenant sealed in my  blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.” 
Remembering God’s boundless love revealed in Jesus Christ, we break this bread and share this cup and commit ourselves to live for Jesus in joy and praise.

Pour and share and partake cups of juice.

Closing prayer
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people. May we demonstrate your redeeming love to the world as we proceed with you through Good Friday and ponder your demonstration of courage that enabled the cross to be transformed from an instrument of punishment to an instrument of God’s love. Amen.

Song: What Wondrous Love is This
(See the link in the email to a You-Tube recording of this song)
1. What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul;
What wondrous love is this, O my soul.
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the heavy cross for my soul, for my soul
to bear the heavy cross for my soul!

2. To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I am
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing!

3. And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on!

Sending:
From this night we go into the days of Christ’s crucifixion and death.
Let us blow out our candles together as we depart,
awaiting the resurrection in grief and penitence, trust and hope. Amen.

All blow out their candles.


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