- First Reading Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14
- Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
- Second Reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
- Gospel John 13:1-17, 31b-35
CALL TO WORSHIP
One: Tonight we sit down to dinner with our Lord.
All: We remember the story of how God saved our people in a time of trial.
One: Tonight we sit with our Lord who is about to go to his death.
All: Let us walk with him on this journey. Let us not fight having our feet washed by the servant of all. Let us come and worship our servant Lord.
CALL TO CONFESSION
The Psalmist said: “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” Let us without fear confess our sins together.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Oh Lord, we are not paying attention. We do not fully see what you are doing for us – for the world. We are too busy taking care of tasks, saving our own skins, and living a life of distraction. We are too busy knowingly and unknowingly hurting others of your creation. Tonight we come to your table guilty. Yet we know that we must come here before you and bare our souls to be made clean. Oh gracious God, wash us and make us clean. Make us fit to be your people again. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Our Teacher and Lord, you have washed us and made us clean. We humbly thank you. And as those claimed by you, you told us that as you washed our feet we should wash one another’s. You said “just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Dear ones, in the name of Jesus Christ our Teacher, your sins are forgiven. Now go forth and love as you have been loved.
INVITATION TO THE TABLE
Tonight is the reason why we come to this table. This is the night when our Lord sat at table, loved others even when they would betray him, and changed the world forever. This is Christ’s table, made holy by his body and blood which he taught us to represent with this bread and cup. This is Christ’s table and no one can deny you coming to it no matter how worthy or ready you feel you may be. Come. Receive nourishment, and be made whole.
LIGHTING OF THE TENEBRAE CANDLES
SHADOW OF BETRAYAL
READING Matthew 26: 20-25
SHADOW OF DESERTION
READING Matthew 26: 30-35
SHADOW OF AN UNSHARED VIGIL
READING Luke 22: 39-46
SHADOW OF AN ACCUSATION
READING Mark 14: 43-65
SHADOW OF CRUCIFIXION
READING Matthew 27: 27-38
SHADOW OF DEATH
READING Luke 23: 44-49
SHADOW OF THE TOMB
READING John 19: 38-42
The Christ candle is removed, and remains out for 3 minutes, symbolizing Christ’s three days in the tomb. The light is returned to pierce the darkness with hope.
Following silent prayer, each worshiper is asked to observe silence when leaving the church.
[For the beginning of the bulletin to read before the service]
The Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” dates from medieval times. Tenebrae was originally a series of sung services in monastic communities constituting morning and evening prayer, held daily Wednesday through Saturday of Holy Week. In our observance, scripture, song, and silence lead us in a prolonged meditation on the events of salvation following the Last Supper through the entombment of Christ.
With each progressive step of the Passion, the candles are extinguished until only the one Christ candle remains. When it, too, is removed from sight for three minutes, we ponder the apparent victory of the forces of evil at the moment of Christ’s death. The Christ candle returns with it’s ray of promise for the third day.