WELCOME TO WORSHIP WITH THE OCEAN GROVE/BARWON HEADS CONGREGATIONS
This service was streamed live via Zoom on April 9th at 7:30pm.
Below is the entire text for a service of worship for home use while the ban on public worship is in place. Even though the service is streamed live, those who are unable to participate may use this material at any time for their private devotions. If “two or three” are gathered with you, you may choose a ‘leader’ in order to use the responsive prayers and readings as you would in church.
There are also links to YouTube files for music and, should you rather listen than read, sound files for most of the text. [I’m sorry about the commercials that sometimes come with YouTube clips. Be sure to click on the “Skip Ad” box when it appears in the lower right of the YouTube clip] When a YouTube clip has finished, simply click on the back button of your browser to return to this page. Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
A NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: Common churchy words like “God” are used freely, but those who have not been exposed to Rev. Bob’s use of such words may misunderstand. Though he is an old man, his theology is not. Traditional usage of those familiar churchy words in popular Christianity is often wide of the mark of a good theological understanding. To acquaint yourself with more up-to-date definitions (i.e. ones that actually make sense in our modern world), see “Words of the Word” on this website. (You might start with words such as “Prayer” and “G-O-D”.)
Welcome to this service of remembrance. Tonight, though we are separately isolated, we nevertheless will be together with each other, as Jesus was with the disciples on their last night.
You will need to have at hand before you begin:
- The elements for communion, i.e. bread and wine or an alternative.
- A candle to be lit later in the service
- If you are with someone at this time, a bowl or basin of water and a towel
CALL TO CELEBRATION
L: Welcome to you who call upon the name of Christ. We gather tonight to recall the story of the night Jesus was betrayed. Are you prepared to come to the feast of Jesus, the Christ, whose life was poured out for you?
R: By the grace of God, we are.
L: Are you able to watch with Jesus at prayer in the garden — indeed, to struggle yourselves to be in unity with God’s will for you?
R: By the grace of God, we are.
L: Then let us praise God, even in this hour of darkness!
This audio file does not include your response, so simply add it in your own time.
L: Tonight is a night of celebration. We are an extended family gathered around a table, celebrating the way in which God is, and has been, experienced among us. Our tradition also reminds us, on the night before he died, Jesus and his friends gathered in an upper room for the meal.
Some claim it was a Passover Meal. Others are not convinced a ‘special’ meal took place at all. But all agree meals played a significant and important part in Jesus’ relationships with others. Tonight we, too, remember as we tell our story.
We remember the great stories of Israel. We remember the stories from the early Jesus Movement communities. And we remember the stories from past and present traditions which have shaped us here in the Bellarine and in the many places from which we have come. During this meal and celebration we will use some words from the Jewish Passover Seder, and from the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
We begin with the celebration of the people of Israel. Remember, the Passover observance is a celebration of the saving of God’s chosen, and so it is joyful. Now in the presence of loved ones and friends, albeit virtually, and before us the symbols of festive rejoicing, we gather for our sacred celebration. With the household of Israel, its elders and young ones, linking and bonding the past with the future, we heed once again the divine call to service.
R: Living our story that is told for all peoples.
THE FIRST CUP
L: During this meal celebration wine is drunk several times, remembering both promise and hope.
You are invited to fill your glasses
L: And for God’s care and protection of the merciful and just throughout all ages.
R: Praised are you, O God, who gives this joyful heritage and who teaches us to know light from darkness. All drink
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
This audio file does not end the prayer, as it concludes with your own silent prayer, so move on in your own time.
As we prepare for this sacred act, let us remember who we are.
O Christ, in your presence we discover who we are. You wash our feet, and we learn how reluctant we are to serve one another and the world around us. We are so like your disciples, who looked to their own self-centred interests even as you prepared to give yourself. Our love scarcely suffices for those closest to us, and yet you invite us to join all creation at your feast. Forgive us, and help us treasure your presence more deeply, that we may find this night a celebration of overflowing joy.
Individual prayers of confession
This audio file does not include your response, so simply add it in your own time.
L: God reaches out to heal, and to reveal again the love that will not let us go. Know that you are forgiven to answer God’s love with your praise, devotion and service, and so I declare to you the door to life has been opened to us.
R: Thanks be to God!
We begin with the washing of each others hands, because what we do and celebrate here is a holy thing, drawing us into the presence of God. It has a special significance for us this year as a symbol of trial by pandemic. It is also a remembrance that on this night of nights, so our tradition says, Jesus laid aside his outer garments and taking the position of the servant of all, washed the hands and feet of his disciples, saying in actions as well as words: ‘Remember all I have been to you’. In that tradition let us wash the hands of those who are with us, and receive that act of service for ourselves.
Hands are washed, and while doing so, you may listen to…
Let us now eat and drink together, remembering all that this night holds for us.
SEDER PSALM Psalm 113
Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!
TEN DROPS OF WINE
Each drop of wine we pour is hope and prayer: (Ten drops are poured, one by one, as each hope is read)
- that people will cast out the plagues that threaten everyone, everywhere they are found, beginning in our own hearts;
- the making of war;
- the teaching of hate and violence;
- the despoliation of the earth, perversion of justice and of government;
- fermenting of vice and crime;
- neglect of human needs;
- oppression of nations and peoples;
- corruption of culture;
- subjugation of science, learning and human discourse;
- and erosion of freedoms.
THE SECOND CUP
People fill glasses a second time
R: Praised are you, O God, Sovereign of all Existence, who creates the fruit of the vine! All drink
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
This audio file does not indicate a conclusion, as it awaits your silent prayer, so move on in your own time.
Holy One, Holy Three, Holy Incarnate, Transcendent Spirit, we give you thanks for the many wonders of life in you. We ask you to open the eyes of our hearts, that we may know you. Discerner of every spirit, God of all that is.
We ask you also to remember the people present here, and those who are absent.
Preserve our households in peace and harmony; nourish the infants, instruct the children, console the elders.
Comfort those whose minds are troubled, collect the scattered, bring back the wandering, and unite them to your holy Body.
Free those who are captive, sail with those at sea, travel with the traveler, defend the widows, shield the orphans, preserve the prisoners, heal the sick.
Remember, O God, those who stand before tribunals, and those in exile and in all kinds of tribulations and accidents, and all who need your great mercy; those who love us and those who hate us, and those who have begged us to remember them in our prayers.
Preserve, O Great Mystery, this place and every city and country place from famine, earthquake, flood, fire, war, battle, invasion, riot and plague. Hear, now, our prayers of thanksgiving and intercession in the silence of our hearts.
(Silent personal prayer)
Please light the candle on your table. As it is lit, name those people who are not with us: family members near and far away we would want to include in God’s blessing. And then, if you are fortunate enough to have someone beside you at this time, welcome them, offering the blessing of God, for whose sake we gather. (The Peace is passed)
THE MEAL IS SERVED
We celebrate who we are.
The story of the Jesus Meal
On this night of nights we are also reminded of the story of the Jesus Meal.
Long ago, our tradition says, just prior to his arrest, the one we call Jesus took some bread from their common meal, offered a special thanks, and broke it: ‘This bread is broken, as my body will be’. And he handed it to his friends, inviting them to eat: ‘Remember all that I have been to you’.
Long ago, on that same night, our tradition also says Jesus poured a cup of wine, offered special thanks for it, and gave it to his friends: ‘This wine is poured out, as my life will be. Remember me and give thanks for all I have given’. In this tradition let us also remember and celebrate.
R: And we are the heartbeat.
L: May our hearts be filled with thanks and praise and songs of joy.
R: We rejoice in the miracle of life and delight in our participation.
L: Creating God, Source of Life, we offer our thanks. The smell of gums after rain, The surprise of ducks in flight, The taste of peach and plum and nectarine, For all gifts simple and profound, in country and city, in paddock, or back yard and on lake: We give thanks.
R: We give thanks.
L: We who hold all such good things in trust give thanks to you as Good Creator, joining in the praise of all your people:
R: Holy! Holy! Holy! Heaven and earth are holy and good.
L: Holy is peace.
R: Holy is truth. Holy is love.
L: In this season of transition, as the leaves begin their subtle change of colour, and our hearts cling to the warmth as the days shorten, once again we are reminded, that new possibilities can rise from our failures or disappointments or what has come to an end.
We give thanks for all the influences in our lives that have helped us to see beyond the present: that teach us to combine labour and rest, that bring us the cycles of time and season, that sustain us when we are in need.
R: God loves in us. God cares through us. God laughs in us. God cries in us, as nowhere else.
L: Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth, gatherer of folk, teller of stories, breaker of bread, pourer of wine, weaver of lives. In his life, wisdom, stories and social vision, we recall the words he spoke to call forth in us love, care and respect for one another:
R: And we believe the same Spirit of God that came to visibility in Jesus yearns for visible expression in us.
Blessings and Woes: A reading Luke 6:20-26
Congratulations, you poor! God’s domain belongs to you. Congratulations, you hungry! You will have a feast. Congratulations, you who weep now! You will laugh. Congratulations to you when people hate you, and when they ostracise you and denounce you, and scorn your name as evil, because of the son of Adam! Rejoice on that day, and jump for joy!Just remember, your compensation is great in heaven. Recall that their ancestors treated the prophets the same way.
Damn you rich! You already have your consolation. Damn you who are well-fed now! You will know hunger. Damn you who laugh now! You will learn to weep and grieve. Damn you when everybody speaks well of you! Recall that their ancestors treated the phony prophets the same way.
L: So now we take some of this bread and some of this wine. (You may raise the elements) May they be a constant presence of the Spirit of Life and Love, healing, renewing and making us whole.
R: Together we remember our past.
L: Together we discern our present.
R: Together we shape our future.
This audio file includes the ‘After Communion’ response.
Wine, fruit of the vine, nurtured, tended, harvested, and pressed out for us to drink. (Another cup of wine is drunk)
After Communion (all say together)
May the bread and the wine and the remembering be a blessing on us all. Amen.
REFLECTION: Maundy Thursday (Best read by a woman, if possible)
No men have stayed – too busy, called to this and that activity-this waiting business is women’s work. But Jesus waited, being holy, being God. He waited for the woman with the haemorrhage to pour out her story. He waited for Lazarus to be dead before calling him from his tomb. He waited for Judas to lead his enemies to him. He waited for the verdict of the people: Crucify!
He waited on the cross while his life blood left him, waiting in faith, in control of his death. He waits now for us to turn towards him. Longing for us to know he is waiting. And so, here we are, we women who wait. And as we wait we listen. Silence
L: We pray: Eternal God, Source of all Life, your days are without end, your mercies without number. We tell your story in ever generation. You are our familiar God. God of Abraham and Sarah, God of Abraham and Hagar, God of Moses and Ruth, God of Mary and Joseph, God of Jesus and Peter, John and James and Martha. God of Galileo and Darwin and Nightingale. God of Crossan and Armstrong, Fiorenza and Spong. God of (your name) and (your neighbours’ names). Your wisdom shines in all your works. Your glory is shown in your goodness to all people. Your grace and truth are revealed in all creation.
R: Therefore our God, we adore you, for ever and ever. Amen.
This time of meal and celebration has now concluded. We have remembered friendships. We have told our ancient stories. We have observed all our rites. Now we must leave this virtual place, returning to our enforced isolation, but never alone.
If Jesus had Zoom, this is what the last supper might have looked like: