Kitchen Table Holy Week Worship

Welcome!

With gladness, I invite you to join our church family in worshiping God during Holy Week at your own kitchen table. Below, please scroll down to find an Order of Service for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.

  • You’ll notice that each service begins with Preparing the Space. This is an invitation to clear off a space on your table. You might wish to light a candle. Please silence your phone and put it somewhere where it won’t bother you. I encourage you to wash your hands as an act of prayer.
  • Once the space is ready, you’ll need a Bible. If you don’t have a one and you do have the internet, please go to www.biblegateway.com and enter the scripture.
  • You can also visit the Church of Peace’s new YouTube channel to hear Holy Week hymns, songs, music, and the specific songs listed in these three services for home.
  • The earliest Christian churches met in living rooms of ordinary houses. It would not be wrong to say that our whole religion got its start at the kitchen table with the breaking of the bread, the pouring of the cup, the singing of the hymns! Whether you are sitting at the table with your human family, or your cats, or by yourself, may you find that your table becomes a holy site.

Blessed are its stains, and crumbs, and rings from coaster-less glasses!  Blessed is the food enjoyed at your table, the stories remembered, the music created! May God pour out blessing on our Kitchen Table Holy Week. Together we’ll follow the story of our faith from the parade to the table, from the garden to the cross, to the tomb.  In Christ’s Love, Pastor Mariah (773) 420-6426 or pastor@churchofpeaceucc.org

Palm Sunday

Preparing the Space

Play music from the Church of Peace’s YouTube channel for Worship

Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 118:26-28)
Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God and has given us light.
Join the festive procession! Bring branches to the altar.
You are my God, I will give thanks to you.
You are my God, I will extol you.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna!

Song: Praise the LORD on High! (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Praise the LORD on high!
Hear the people shout!
God is coming into town.
Come and help us out.

Introduction to the Scripture – This is the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. It was a strange parade! On the other side of the city, Pilate was coming into town via military parade. He probably rode on a war horse decked out in pomp and circumstance. But coming from the east was Jesus and his ragged band of disciples. Some people brought branches they had cut from the field. Some people threw their coats on the ground.

Hear the crowd shouting “Hosanna!” which means “God save us!” or as one scholar translates it: “God help us!” Imagine being there when the disciples explained that they needed to borrow the colt. “See, the Lord needs it, and he’ll give it back.” I don’t know… What would you have said to them?

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:1-11 “Some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’” (Mark 10:5)

Reflection – Just like the people who saw the disciples borrowing a colt because the Lord needs it, we all find ourselves getting confronted by someone who needs help. Maybe they need five dollars to get a sandwich. Maybe they need you to show them how to cross-multiply fractions. Maybe they need you to call an ambulance. When you woke up this morning, you did not know that your help would be needed like this, but now it is, and you have to decide what to do.

Certainly, there are times when all of us turn down the chance to help. There are occasions — and good reasons— to say no. But then there are times when we drop everything and help. You find yourself loaning your colt to these wild-eyed protestors. You might even join their parade. You’ll hear “God help us” coming out of your own mouth!

Imagine if we could become more open to these chances to drop everything and help, as though this is a skill we could learn and practice together. Imagine if this is exactly what the church is good at. Even today, the Lord needs help. We could say yes.

Song: Praise the LORD on High! (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Wave the branches high.
Lift your voice in song!
O Hosanna! Hear us sing:
Loud praises all day long.

Prayer – O Holy Spirit, This is the day we shout Hosanna!   Even if we are stuck in the house, even when we are alone,   there is something in us that yearns to join the parade.  Hear our sparkling singing!  Hear our silent prayers of thanksgiving… (silent prayer)

Alongside these prayers of praise, we’re also feeling the deep rumble of trouble.  This is the week that begins with celebration, but it ends with violence.  Still, there is violence in our world.   Hear our silent prayers for all the places and people in need of healing… (silent prayer)

O God help us!   Remind us that we can help turn the world toward love.   May we learn how to drop everything and help those who are in need.  Still, you are overcoming violence with compassion.  May we learn how to help you, O Holy Spirit. Amen.

Invitation to an Activity – On colored paper, trace your hands, then cut them out. On each hand, use words or pictures to express an act of kindness that you have received, or witnessed, or offered. You might wish to decorate your hands with designs, or stickers, or glitter. When we all come back to church, please bring your hands with you. We’ll create a glorious display with our hands of kindness!

Song: Praise the LORD on High! (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Bless the LORD right here!
Bless these days of prayer.
O God help us! Hear our cry.
We’ve come to serve and care.

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Maundy Thursday

Preparing the Space

Play music from the Church of Peace’s YouTube channel for worship

Call to Worship
Here we come to worship on this holy evening.  We gather in the shadow of the cross, for we know what is coming.
We gather at the table where meals get shared, and bills get paid, and cards get written, where bread gets broken and the cup gets poured.
In prayer, and story, and song, we come to encounter the presence of Jesus Christ.
We come to remember our own potential for mercy, our own longing for peace.
May we find God’s grace and peace at this table.

Song: Let Us Break Bread Together 
Let us break bread together on our knees.
Let us break bread together on our knees.
When I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun,
O LORD, have mercy on me.

Introduction to the ScriptureThis evening, the scripture reading begins at the table.
After sharing the Passover meal, Jesus teaches his disciples what to do. This practice has become established as communion. Then, after eating and singing, Jesus and the disciples go to the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asks the disciples to stay with him while he is praying, but they can’t manage to keep their eyes open! Even though they do not mean to let him down, that is exactly what happens.
At the same time, this passage invites us to wonder whether God is letting down Jesus as well. What do you think?

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:22-42 “And once more Jesus came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him” (Mark 14:40).

Song: Let Us Drink the Cup Together

Reflection – It’s a terrible feeling. It could be that your friend made an entirely reasonable request, and it could be that you had every intention of coming through. And even then, it could be that you failed to be there when your friend needed you most. If you have a story like this, you are not alone! We really do let each other down. We let down God, and we feel let down by God.

The first thing is to notice the dreadful distance between you and your friend, the chilling silence where we don’t know what to say. There are times when we might feel this same fracture in our faith, when God is too far away, when we can’t find any words of any prayer that will help.

Second Scripture Reading: Psalm 44:23-26 “Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love” (Psalm 44:26).

Prayer of Confession – Most holy and merciful God, we confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with all our heart, mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven. We seek your presence in the wilderness.
Hear our silent prayers of confession: (Silent Prayer)

Reflection – Noticing this fracture is the first thing. But it’s not the last thing. Jesus knew the disciples would betray him. Still, he teaches them —and us— what to do: Come back to the table. Taste and see the LORD is good. Share the new covenant for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus gives us communion so we always have a table to come back to. Now even when we have failed, even when our own hearts are not ready to forgive, the table gives us the place to come and see. We might find the mercy we didn’t even know we were missing. We might find that our guilt gets answered by grace. We might hear the promise of peace in our own soul and learn what to say…

Song: Let Us Break Bread Together

Invitation – Before your next meal or snack, let a prayer for peace rise up out of your own heart.
May God bless the bread that you break and the cup that you pour; may your next meal bring nourishment to your body and forgiveness to your spirit.

Something extra: Using a large piece of paper or a piece of fabric, make yourself a Peace Placemat designating your spot at the table as an official site of peacemaking.

Song: Let Us Praise God Together

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Good Friday

Preparing the Space

Play the music from the Church of Peace’s YouTube channel for this service

Call to Worship 
Here we gather in the bright light of day, in the beauty of this spring afternoon.
Yet we know what is coming…  We know the grief that spills into our gladness.
We know the day will turn into night. Still we come and worship God.
Still we come to remember the story of the day our savior was killed.
Life turns into death…  Death turns into life.  Sorrow lingers in the night…  Joy comes in the mourning.

Song: Were You There? 
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh—  Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble…
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Introduction to the Scripture – It is an act of courage to read the story of Jesus’s crucifixion. Sure, as Christians, we walk around knowing that Jesus was executed on a cross, but it is an act of courage to bring yourself to the Bible and find yourself showing up as the horror unfolds. In hearing this story, where do you imagine yourself? We might be in the crowd shouting “Crucify him!” We might be in the crowd comforting Mary or remembering the prayer from Palm Sunday that goes “God help us.” Where are you?

Scripture Reading: Mark 15:21-47 “When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.”  (Mark 15:33)

Song: Were You There?
(Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?)

Prayer – God of unbearable grief and unmanageable grace,  We remember how Jesus was arrested and betrayed by those whom he loved, shouted to death by the people, and you know, it could have been us in that crowd.   In their shame, we see our own shame.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We know that we deny you, O Christ, every time we overlook those who are hungry and thirsty, sick and in prison every time we seek revenge instead of healing every time we make our safety more important than compassion.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. 
Christ, your death on the cross long ago  did not bring an end to the violence in our world.  Still your sisters and brothers are captured, and tortured, and killed.  Still your sisters and brothers do the capturing, and torturing, and killing.  In this life where we are all interwoven, where we are all part of each other,  We are all guilty. We are all grieving.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. 
Hear all our prayers—  Take them and turn them into the beginning of our work for peace, O God of unbearable grief and unmanageable grace. Amen.

Song: Were You There?
(Were you there when the sun refused to shine?)

Reflection – Something in you compelled you to come to the cross today and remember the story. Something in the people of the crowd compelled them to leave their homes and come and see this act of violence. Still, there are acts of violence in our world. It could be that every act of violence breaks God’s own heart. It could be that violence is not any part of God’s plan or dream. Instead, God looks at the world, sees how it is broken, then with her own two hands, God picks up the horror, and turns it into something beautiful. God keeps on working to turn the world toward love.

After September 11th, Mister Rogers reminded us to look for the helpers. After every act of horror, there are always people helping, he told us. Even at the crucifixion, there were helpers. Simon of Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus; Joseph of Arimathea provided his tomb; the women went to anoint his body. Even in the worst moments, there are always people working to turn the world toward love. May we learn to look for the helpers, then cheer them on, then jump in to give them a break.

Invitation of an Activity – Think of someone who is helping to turn the world toward love. Make them a card or send them a note of encouragement and make a point to pray for them this week.

Song: Were You There?
(Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?)

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