Worship Connection: Holy Thursday 2022

September 2nd, 2021



For HOLY THURSDAY written by Rev. Nancy Townley

[A table is set up in the front of the sanctuary, within full view of the congregation. It is covered in a white cloth, which extends down to the floor. There needs to be a place set off to the side for the NARRATOR, who may also be the Pastor. Thirteen chairs are set up behind the table. [as you are looking at the table from the congregation’s standpoint] The chair in the center is for JESUS. The other disciples will fill the other chairs, with PETER and JOHN to the left of JESUS, JAMES to the rightof JESUS, and JUDAS at the end of the table on the right hand side. You may choose to wear long robes, or contemporary dress. However, it will be important for PETER to be wearing a pair of sandals. On this table place thirteen glasses (you may use chalices/wine glasses, or regular glasses), a bowl to the left of JESUS, within reach of JUDAS; a plate on which an uncut loaf of bread is placed. To the left of the table will be a chair and a stand on which a basin, pitcher, and towel have been placed (these should not be blocking the main table, but may be moved forward for the foot-washing sequence. When the foot-washing is complete, the chair, table, pitcher and basin may be moved to the side.]

GATHERING MUSIC “What Wondrous Love Is This” Instrumental only.

PASTOR: Tonight is a special night, for it is on this night that we gather to commemorate the Lord’s Supper, as it is known to us. Welcome to the table of the Lord.

*HYMN “Saranam, Saranam” UMH #523

UNISON PRAYER: Ever-gracious God, we gather in this evening hour as friends gathered with Jesus in an Upper Room long ago. We come bearing the marks and burdens of a bitter and broken world. We come from anonymous places, with dry and thirsty spirits. Remind us, in the breaking of the bread, of our need and of your great sufficiency. Refresh us and make us whole with the cup of forgiveness. Draw us nearer to each other in mutual service and closer to you in the covenant of faithfulness and thanksgiving. As the night advances, deepen in us a sense of your steadfast love for us in Jesus Christ, our friend and Redeemer. AMEN.


NARRATOR: The road to Jerusalem had been a long, dusty trail. They had willingly followed this man, this Jesus. Now was the time of his triumph, they felt. At last, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, God would make God’s Kingdom manifest.

[breaking the “freeze” position - PETER speaks, and when done, again “freezes”]

PETER: I’m the one that they call the “Big Fisherman”….Big, I guess, and definitely a fisherman. But He called me to become someone who fishes for people. And I left my nets, my boats, and my family and followed Him. I never thought I’d be here, in this place, with this man. He is God’s Son, there’s no doubt about that, and now we have gathered for a meal and enjoyed each other’s company. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I am sure that something incredible is going to happen.

[breaking from “freeze” position - JAMES speaks, and when done, again “freezes”]

JAMES: I remember the first time I heard Him speak. I had gone to hear Him with my brother, John. There was something so compelling about this man, something which seemed to touch my very soul. His words pierced my heart, and yet at the same time drew me in. Then one day, He came to the lakeshore and asked us to follow Him. My father, Zebedee, was not very happy about our decision to follow this wilderness preachers, as he called Him. But follow, we did…over hills, and through valleys, into cities and towns. The things we witnessed! We saw healing, hope restored, lessons taught, the loves of people were changed. It was exciting. Tonight, in this Holy City, we have gathered to share a meal together. I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I know it will be something exciting.

[breaking from “freeze” position - JOHN speaks, and when done, again “freezes”]

JOHN: Everyone else seems so calm, but there is an uneasiness in my soul tonight. Something is wrong, at least that is how I feel. Things have been rather hectic, and this should be a wonderful time to share a meal, but I can’t help the way I feel. I just don’t want this journey to end. I know there are wondrous things yet to happen, but somehow, this sense of foreboding is sneaking into my spirit.

[breaking from “freeze” position - JUDAS speaks, and when done, again “freezes”]

JUDAS: Well, it has been a nice meal, although I can tell you that it cost us a pretty penny to gather all the supplies. I am required to keep the treasury, to make sure that all the needs of these people are taken care of and that we have funds to do our work helping people. He, this Jesus, talks about the Kingdom of God being at hand, and He has done some miraculous things….but when is it truly coming? Am I the only one who really desires God’s intervention right now? We have been in the Temple every day. He preaches, and proclaims God’s presence. But we need to have action right here and now. I don’t know why He’s stalling….but maybe it’s my turn to do something to get this thing rolling.


NARRATOR: Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world and to 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 the 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 robed, and tied a towel at his waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel that has tied around Him.

[JESUS gets up from the table, comes over to the stand where the basin, pitcher and towel are placed. He takes a towel and fastens it to His waist (rope cinture if he’s wearing a robe; otherwise, tucking it in the belt of his slacks). He places the basin on the floor in front of the chair (which is to the right of the table), and pours water into the basin. He signals to PETER to come to the chair to have his feet washed. PETER comes over, but does not immediately sit in the chair]

PETER: Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

JESUS: Yes, Peter. But you do not know now what I am doing, later you will understand.

[PETER sits in the chair and removes a sandal. JESUS washes his foot, dries it and then places the sandal back on his foot. They both return to their places at the table]

[Note: if you desire, you may have the other disciples come forward and each of them receive a foot washing from Jesus, then return to their previous seats - this will depend on the amount of time available for this worship service]


NARRATOR: But Judas was disturbed by these things. As he reached to dip a piece of bread in the bowl, JESUS spoke to him.

JESUS: Do quickly what you must do, Judas.

[JUDAS looks startled and then puts the bread down - stands up and leaves the table.]

[After the litany of Confession and Assurance, the other disciples come out of the “freeze” positions and begin conversing quietly among themselves]



Pastor: God of mercy and love, when Judas went out that door, a part of each one of us went with him.

PEOPLE: We have all betrayed Jesus in one way or another.

Pastor: And when the disciples sat unmoving at the table, each waiting for the other to wash their feet, a part of each one of us sat there with them.

PEOPLE: We have all sat unmoving, waiting for someone else to do what we should be doing ourselves.

Pastor: And when Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet, a part of each one of us joined him in that rejection

PEOPLE: We have all resisted the new hierarchy of Jesus, where those who are greatest become loving servants to all.

Pastor: Forgive us for immobility, for our fear. Help us to again return to following Jesus who would lead us to hope, forgiveness and eternal life. AMEN.


NARRATOR: But the evening was not complete…..

[JESUS looks at His disciples. Then He takes an uncut loaf of bread. As He raises it, the disciples turn toward Him, watching intently, very serious]

JESUS: Blessed are you, O Lord God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth the bread. We give you thanks for the bounty of the harvest, for the hands which fashioned this bread, and for those it will nourish.

And now, I give it to you. Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

[JESUS breaks the bread and passes it to the disciples on either side of Him. Each disciple breaks a piece of bread and holds it, and passes the loaf to the one beside him. When it reaches the last one at each end of the table, it is placed on a plate. The communion for the congregation will be served from these plates.]

NARRATOR: Likewise, he took the cup…..

[JESUS takes the cup, raises it, and recites the blessing. Then he lowers it before he begins the second paragraph]

JESUS: Blessed are you, O Lord God, Ruler of the Universe. We give you thanks for the fruit of the vine, for those who have tended and harvested, for those who have prepared this wine, and for those it will nourish.

Drink from this, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. As often as you drink of this, do it in remembrance of me.

[JESUS takes the cup and passes it, first to his right and it is returned to h im, and then to his left, and the cup is returned to him. Each disciple dips his bread into the cup and then passes it to the one next to him. Upon completion of their communion, one disciple from the right of Jesus and one from his left, will co forward, prepared to hold the plate of bread while the communion is being offered to the congregation. The Pastor will hold the Chalice]

PASTOR: Come, all who labor and are heavy laden. Come to the table of the Lord. Here find refreshment for your soul. Hear find your healing. Here remember that Christ died for you and be thankful. Come forward in unbroken line to receive this gift.

This is the body of Christ broken for you.

This is the blood of Christ poured out for you.


UMH #614 “For the Bread Which You Have Broken“, Verses 1 & 2

UMH #432 “Jesu, Jesu”

FWS #2254 “In Remembrance of Me”

FWS #2198 “Stay With Me”

(You may opt to have the whole congregation sing these songs, or the choir only)

PRAYER: Patient God, we h ave received the elements of bread and wine. We have come to the table, imperfect, flawed. Yet You, In Christ, receive us and offer to us healing and hope. Forgive our waywardness. Heal our brokenness. Challenge us to live lives of faithfulness and discipleship. AMEN.

*CLOSING SONG: “Go to Dark Gethsemane” UMH #290


Go in peace, into the darkness of the night to await the dawn. AMEN.

[The service may end with just those spoken words, or it may end with somber music being played. There should be little or no discussion among the participants in order to create an atmosphere of solemnity]


The traditional color for this night is: PURPLE

[PLEASE NOTE: The directions for the Communion Table, the Footwashing stand are given in the beginning of the service. When you are preparing a bulletin, these directions and all stage directions should be omitted]


Although the traditional color for this night is purple, I am asking you to consider covering the worship center with the brown landscapers’ burlap, so that the coarseness of the fabric will set the tone for the weeks which are coming. The movement throughout Lent this year will be taking step toward the cross. Each week, there will be a representation on each step concerning the gospel message for that Sunday (also including Holy Thursday and Good Friday). Each week will be built upon the previous week. moving upward from the bottom step toward the cross. Follow the prompts in the directions below to see the suggestions for each step. The Sunday in Lent will be in italics and bold print.

LENT 1: This is the first step (Ash Wednesday begins with the display on the floor of the worship center, in front of the steps). The journey upward toward the cross begins here. Today’s representation will be THE WILDERNESS.

LENT 2: This is the second step. Today we move forward in commitment, being willing to deny ourselves, and take up our crosses and follow Jesus. Today’s representations will be THE CROSSES of DISCIPLESHIP

LENT 3: Our greed and selfishness have become the focus of today’s representation. Jesus’ overturns the tables of the money changers, for they have been cheating the people for their own profit, they have corrupted the house of worship by their avarice. Today’s representations will the COINS.

LENT 4: We often want God’s purpose for sending Jesus to be that of retribution for all the hurts and alienation we have felt; however, Jesus came to heal and restore us to a right relationship with God….”for God sent Jesus into the world so that the world through him might be saved….God did not send him into the world for condemnation…”

Today’s representation is A SMALL GLOBE or A PARTIALLY UNFOLDED MAP.

LENT 5: Discipleship requires a willingness to give totally of one’s self to the Lord. Holding nothing back, our deeds of mercy, justice and peace will bear a great witness to all, long after we have moved on in our journey. Today’s representation is a bundle of WHEAT.

PASSION/PALM SUNDAY or PALM SUNDAY: Although churches may choose to celebrate this as either Palm Sunday or Passion/Palm Sunday, the artistic representation may vary only slightly. Today’s symbol are THE PALM BRANCHES and CLOAKS (for those specifically celebrating Palm Sunday only). If you are celebrating PASSION/PALM SUNDAY, you may want to add A CHALICE, CROWN OF THORNS, BLACK FABRIC (however, you may add some palm fronds, if you choose)

HOLY THURSDAY: There is no change in the “journey” scene, however follow the directions for the Table, etc. at the beginning of the worship service.

SURFACE: You will be creating 11 steps, leading from the cross down onto the floor of the worship area. These steps should be about 8” high You will need to make each step about 2 feet wide and about 12” deep. This might mean building some additional steps to be placed on the worship center and extending the other steps well into the chancel area. If you are limited in space, make the steps slightly smaller and put them in a staggered format to the right and left of the main step, which should be the highest one. It is on this one that the Lenten cross will rest, to be replaced by an Easter cross

FABRIC: Cover the entire worship area with landscapers’ burlap, making sure that all risers are covered and that the fabric puddles on the floor in front of the worship center.

Take 3 3” wide ribbons or strips of royal purple cloth and place them on the center of the top riser, under the Lenten cross. Make sure that they are separated about 1-2” apart. Bring them forward down over the risers and onto the floor in front of the worship center.

Passion/Palm Sunday: Add a yard of black fabric to the step. Palm Sunday: Add several pieces of colored cloth to the step.

CANDLES: Ash Wednesday: On the top step, in front of the Lenten cross, place a 10” white pillar candle. Lent 1: Place a 3” white candle on the bottom step. Lent 2: Place a 3” white candle on the next step up from the bottom. Lent 3: Place a 3” white candle on the next step up from the previous week‘s step. Lent 4: Place a 3” white candle on the next step up from the previous week’s step. Lent 5: Place a 3” white candle on the next step up from the previous week’s step. (it should be placed behind the sheaf of wheat). Passion/Palm Sunday: No candle should be placed on this step. Palm Sunday: Place a white candle on this step and several votive candles.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: Ash Wednesday: If you can get cacti, or other large, spiky plants, place them on the floor on either side of the steps leading to the cross. Place some smaller spiky plants on either side of the cross, but make sure that there is about 8” between the cross and the plants. Lent 1: Place several cacti on the bottom step. Lent 2, 3, and 4: no additional cacti or floral pieces necessary. Lent 5: At a local craft store you may want to purchase a bundle of wheat or grain stalks, to represent the grains of wheat that Jesus describes in today’s Gospel lesson. Place the wheat, lying on its side on the step above the globe/map and in front of the candle on that step Passion/Palm Sunday: Place several palm fronds and a crown of thorns on this step. Palm Sunday: You may place a small bundle of palms, or some Ti palms (the kind used in funeral baskets and purchased at the local florist) in a small vase to be put on the step.

ROCKS/WOOD: Place piles of rocks on each of the steps, just to give some texture. Don’t use too many, but have some there for effect. Lent 4: If you choose, you may place a small pile of rocks by the globe or map. Passion/Palm Sunday: You may place a group of rocks near the crown of thorns.

OTHER: If it is possible, have someone create a rough, rugged cross, about the size of the brass cross that you might normally use on the worship center. This is known as the Lenten Cross. Place that Cross on the center of the uppermost riser, on top of the strips of purple ribbon/fabric. Lent 2: Place a collection of small crosses, about 6” high on the second step from the bottom. Lent 3: Place coins and other monies on the step (heaped up and spilling over from a basket. Lent 4: Place a small globe or partially opened map on the step (The map should be opened so that some of it is leaning against the next step up and a small portion of it is spilling down over the edge to the step below.). If you are using a globe, place the candle slightly in front of the globe. Passion/Palm Sunday: add a chalice to the step. Holy Thursday: Prepare the table as directed. You may decide to robe or wear contemporary clothing. Make sure that the bread which you have for communion at the Table is sufficient for the worshippers in the congregation. Additionally, have a spare pitcher of “wine” in case you need to refill the chalice.


Notes on Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday is such a powerful celebration and witness to our faith. I have presented two "almost" complete services to be offered in two differing locations. One is called THE SANCTUARY SERVICE and other is entitled THE FELLOWSHIP HALL. The time of these worship services is flexible, although generally we have them in the evening. The first service would be held in the main worship area or sanctuary. The format is contemporary, using music and visual display to enhance and support the liturgy. The Fellowship Hall service may be done in any large room in which it is permissible to have food. The idea is to provide a space in which a common meal can be shared. Note: this is not a Seder or a Love Feast. It is more like a Potluck supper. The liturgy for both these services is what I call "springboard" material, and I encourage you to use it for ideas to develop your own special liturgy. Within each of these services I have listed the supplies that you might need for both settings (Artistic Elements). At the end of each service there is a reprise of the Artistic Elements list, for your convenience. These services are designed for any size congregation.



THE FAITH WE SING p. 2002 "I Will Call Upon the Lord" (choir or small group)

UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL p. 432 "Jesu, Jesu", (vocal solo)

UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL p. 579 "Lord God, Your Love Has Called Us Here"



Leader: Welcome this evening to a celebration of hope and joy. On this dark night we have come to remember the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples. This Lenten Journey has brought us to this place, past many barriers, over difficult spiritual terrain. Now we are invited to the feast, the time of remembrance. Welcome, dear friends, welcome to worship and to the table of the Lord.


[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2265, "Time Now to Gather", offer the call to worship in the following manner]

[Have the musician, keyboardist, organist, play the song through once. ]

[As the choir is singing the first verse, have four people bring forward the following elements: a white cloth to cover the worship center, a chalice and pitcher, a basket with bread, a white pillar candle. The cloth should be placed first on the worship center, followed by the candle in the center of the table and the bread basket on one side of the candle and the chalice and pitcher with the wine/juice on the other side. When these have been placed, the servers step to the side of the worship center.]

Choir (singing): "Time now to gather, time now to feel, Christ’s holy presence gracing this meal. Grain from the harvest, fruit of the vine; simple the supper, sacred the sign.

L: Come, now is the time to gather for this meal.

P: We come, hearts ready to receive the gift of Christ.

Choir (singing): "Time to remember Christ who was sent. Time to say, "Thank you" for all he meant. Come to this table. Come, without fear. God will forgive you, welcome you here."

L: All is ready.

P: Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of this holy meal. AMEN.

**Song "Saranam, Saranam" UMH p. 523

Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19 [Paraphrased for inclusive language, this reading is done by several people]

Reader 1: I love the Lord, because God has heard my voice and my supplications. Because God has listened to me, therefore I will call upon the name of the Lord for as long as I live.

Reader 2: The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I pray, save my life!"

Reader 3: What shall I return to the Lord for all the bounty given to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

Reader 1: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of God’s faithful ones.

Reader 2: O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.

Reader 3: I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.

Reader 1: I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Reader 2: In the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of God, I will offer praise.

ALL: Praise the Lord!**Song "You Satisfy the Hungry Heart" UMH p. 629

[Note: either the scripture for the Evening may be read in usual form, and the traditional service of Holy Communion with the words of Institution may be offered, or you may use the following to incorporate both the scripture and the Sacrament]

Scripture in Dramatic Form John 13: 1-17, 31b-35, Mark 14: 22-24; Luke 22: 19-20

[Note: it is not necessary to have people in this drama dress in period costume. Regular clothing worn today is appropriate. If you do not have a lot of space, you may decrease the amount of disciples to 3-4 plus Peter and Judas. The disciples should vary in age and gender. They should be barefoot. They may have slippers or sandals which be slipped of and on with ease. Have the twelve disciples sit in this order, from left to right, Peter is in the 6th seat or near the middle of the small group. Judas is at the end on the right. You will need to have a narrator, who will remain off-stage. Other characters may use the scripts (Readers’ Theatre style) or they may memorize their parts. Articles you will need are chairs for each character, a pitcher [with water] and basin, towels, a small table with a loaf of bread and a cup/chalice and a glass pitcher of grape juice]

Narrator: 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.

[Jesus: takes off his sweater (cardigan), and taking the towel and the pitcher and basin, kneels at the feet of his disciples. He pours a small amount of water into the basin and begins to wash the feet of the disciples and dry them. When he gets to Peter, the following dialog appears]

Peter: Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

Jesus: You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.

Peter: You will never wash my feet.

Jesus: Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.

Peter: Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!

Jesus: 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.

(Jesus looks at the chair where Judas is sitting. Judas looks back at him and then leaves)

[Jesus continues to wash the feet - Note: have the organist or keyboardist play softly "Jesu, Jesu", under the action that follows Judas’ departure, until Jesus stands up and returns to his seat. ]

Jesus: 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.

[While the narrator is speaking, have two people bring to the center a small table (card table) covered in a white cloth and the loaf of bread, the cup/chalice, and the pitcher of grape juice (it should be about half full). Make sure that there is enough room between "Jesus" for some movement. The congregation will receive the sacrament from this table)

Narrator: Following the foot washing, Jesus ate supper with his friends. They were still puzzled about his actions and were thinking about the explanation and what he meant by it. Jesus stood up and went to the table, and took a loaf of bread in his hands.

[Jesus takes the uncut loaf of bread, lifts it heavenward and offers a prayer]

Jesus: Lord God of all, you have given to us the grain of the field from which this bread has been made. Make it a blessing for your people.

[Jesus tears the loaf of bread in half, with his hands outstretched, he looks at the disciples on his right and his left and offers the following ..].

Jesus: Look at this bread. This represents my body which is broken for you. Take and eat this bread in remembrance of me.

Narrator: Jesus passed the bread to his friends and each one took a piece, but did not eat immediately, for they were stunned at his words. What could he have meant by his body being broken?

[Jesus returns to the table and speaks as he pours the juice into the chalice. He lifts the chalice heavenward and prays the following prayer.]

Jesus: Lord God of all, you have given to us the fruit of the vine. May we be ever grateful for the nourishment which you continually pour into our lives.

[Jesus looks at the disciples on either side and then offers the following words]

Jesus: Drink from this, all of you, for this represents my blood, the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.

[Jesus goes to each of his disciples, and they dip their morsel of bread into the cup and eat the soaked bread. Jesus returns to the table.]

Jesus: Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God h as 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.

[All participants in drama remain in their place.]

The Pastor comes forward and invites the congregation to participate in the Eucharist.

Pastor: This is the night of remembrance. Christ calls you to his table. Come with expectant and penitent hearts and spirits. Receive the bread of life and the cup of salvation with thanksgiving. It is given and poured out for you that you may have life. All is ready. Come to the table of the Lord.

[The people are ushered forward in a single line, to the table, the Pastor and the person portraying Jesus offer the bread and the cup, silently]

[The organist may play soft music under the communion service]

[When all is complete, the people from the dramatic presentation leave the area and return to the pews/chairs offstage. The Pastor remains behind the table.]

Prayer following Communion:

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

**Song "What Wondrous Love" UMH p. 292


God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, has satisfied our hungry hearts and longing spirits. You have been given the nourishment needed to go into the world, proclaiming God’s eternal love. Go now in peace and may God’s peace be with you all. AMEN.

CLOSING MUSIC: (choice of the musicians - any relatively somber piece is appropriate)


Note: It is a good idea to write a brief description of the visual presentation in the worship bulletin describing the symbols and their meaning.

[The Lenten Services will be progressive in nature, that is, we will create a visual display that will move people through the services of Lent to the Easter Resurrection Celebration. There are several ways in which this visual display can be accomplished. The first way uses multiple levels, both on the worship center and in front of the worship center. Each Sunday and worship service during Lent, the symbols of a barrier and its "key word" will be placed on a riser. All symbols will remain on the riser to which they are assigned. The list will build as the Sundays progress. The second way, more simple than the first, will be using only two or three levels. The barrier for the week or worship service will be put in place each week prior to worship and then following the service it will be removed in preparation for the next week’s worship service. ]


SURFACE: The surface or structure of this display is created through the use of multiple risers. Create three levels with risers on the worship center. The center riser, placed near the back of the worship table, should be the highest, approximately 12" high. The two other risers should be about 4-6" high and should be to the left and right of the center riser. They should come toward the front of the worship center so that a gap of about 6-8" occurs. The other risers should be placed in front of the worship center. You will need a two risers that are 4" shorter than the level of the worship table. These should be placed in front of the worship table with a space of about 12" between them. The next two risers should be about 6" shorter than the previous risers and are placed in front of them, slightly off center so that they do not look like stair steps. The floor may suffice for the first level, although you may want to make risers about 2-3" high to create slight elevations from the main floor.

FABRIC: Purple is the traditional color for Lent. However it is very effective if you cover the entire worship area in burlap. Landscaper’s burlap, once it is aired out, is a great cover. It comes in 50 foot rolls and can be purchased at any landscape or home improvement store. However, do air it out! Using purple cloth, weave the cloth from the center riser, across the worship table and then down onto some of the other risers. Do not cover all the risers with purple cloth, but rather create a draping effect with it. Puddle both the remainder of the burlap and purple cloth on the floor in front of the worship center. Have a piece of dark material, black or very dark navy blue, approximately 1 yard in length, cover the brass cross on the top riser.

You will need white fabric to cover the card table which will be put in the center of the worship area.

CANDLES: Place a candle on each of the risers, with the exception of the top center riser, the riser on which the suitcase is placed, and the riser which will be used for the "coins". [The coins will be placed on the riser on Good Friday, or on Palm/Passion Sunday, whichever is your focus]. The pillar candle which was in place in front of the top riser is to remain there during most of the Lenten Services. These candles may be purple, the traditional color for Lent. They should be pillar candles about 4-6" in height. You may want a candle for the card table which is put in the center during the dramatic presentation, but it is not necessary.

FLOWERS/PLANTS: The palms which were placed in the worship center, remain in place. Do not add any flowers or other plants.

ROCKS/WOOD: Place some rocks in the setting, in the "valleys" of fabric. The larger rocks that were in place in the Ash Wednesday service may remain at the base of the worship center.

OTHER: Place a brass cross on the top riser and cover it with dark fabric. The cross remains hidden during the first portion of Lenten services. The other items remain on the risers on which they were placed. Place a loaf of uncut bread, a chalice, and bunches of grapes on the center of the worship area, in front of the center candle. This represents the Holy Communion. .




[This setting is unique in that it incorporates both a corporate supper with the congregation and the setting for the service of Holy Communion. The call to worship and the blessing for the meal are placed together. It is recommended that this service is done in a common room, a fellowship hall or such other church gathering place which is separate from the sanctuary. If a fellowship hall is not available, any large room in which food is permitted would be ok. Tables should be placed in a square, if possible so that all the people are seated outside the square. At the center of the table where the Pastor is, the covered centerpiece should be a loaf of bread and the chalice filled with grape juice. This will be used for the Sacrament. The center of the square contains a small table on which there is a purple cloth, a bible, a small loaf of bread, a bunch of grapes, and a candle. You may also place a cross on this table if you wish.]

L: Welcome to this celebration, this meal of gratitude.

P: We come here at Christ’s bidding.

L: Offer to each other words of welcome and greeting

[People will greet each other around the table]

L: Now let us return thanks to God who has provided us with such blessings.

L: Holy and gracious God, we thank you for this wonderful meal, provided lovingly by these people present. Bless this food to our good and bless us in your service, for we ask this in Christ’s Name. AMEN.


"Be Present at Our Table, Lord" UMH p. 621

THE SUPPER OF CELEBRATION: Let all gathered share the food and fellowship in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


[as the dishes are being cleared from the table, this prayer may be offered]

Pastor: Let us pray...

Pastor and People: We have gathered here in your presence, Lord Jesus, to share in a time of fellowship and remembrance. We have talked, laughed, and listened. Now you offer to us a time to truly remember the great gift you have given to us - the gift of yourself. AMEN.

"Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast" UMH, p. 616, verses 1 & 2

Pastor: This has been quite a Lenten journey for us. We began so long ago with the service of Ash Wednesday, the smudge of ashes as reminders of our need to look within and to repent of the many ways in which we betrayed and denied Jesus in our lives. There have been barriers and obstacles on our journey and we have worked diligently to overcome them. Now this night we have shared a fellowship meal, lovingly prepared by you all here. It has been a great time of feasting, but there is a greater feast yet to come.

[Have the pianist/keyboardist play some appropriate quiet music under the service of communion which is being offered].

Pastor: On the night in which Jesus gathered with his disciples, he ate a common meal, knowing that it would be his last meal with them before the hour of his death would come. He rose from the table and took a loaf of bread in his hands. He raised the bread, blessing it and thanking God for the bounty and the gift of finest wheat, then he offered it to his disciples, saying, "Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

[The Pastor breaks the bread and offers it to all the people who pass it from one to another around the table, but do not consume it until directed by the Pastor]

Pastor: Likewise, after supper, Jesus took the cup and he gave thanks to God for it and blessed it. He turned to his disciples and said "Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me."

As each of you receive the cup, dip your bread into the cup and eat the bread which is given and poured out for you.

[When all have received the sacrament, the Pastor and the people share the following prayer:]


Lord Jesus Christ, you have walked with us on our Lenten journey. You have been with us as we encountered each barrier and obstacles. It is by your guidance and help that we have overcome so much. We have been strengthened by you. Now we give you thanks that you have brought us to this holy meal in which we have shared and become one with you through receiving the morsels of bread dipped in the wine. Nourish our souls and spirits by your love, that having been empowered and inspired by your example, we may go into the world to serve, heal, and welcome all people in your name. AMEN.

Pastor: When Jesus had finished his supper with his disciples, he led them out to the Garden called Gethsemane, where he knelt in prayer to God. The time of trial was drawing near.

SONG: "What Wondrous Love Is This" UMH p. 292


Our Journey is not complete. There are more barriers that we must encounter. Remember this night and our meal together. Remember the witness of the disciples. Be prepared. The darkness of Good Friday awaits. You must continue the journey. Go in peace. Christ’s love is with you always. AMEN.

CLOSING MUSIC: (somber music, nothing spritely or bouncy. This is a time of reflection)



[The setting for this service is a fellowship hall or large room in which meals can be eaten.


SURFACE: The tables are set in a square in a large room or fellowship hall. There may be a side table for the food to be shared. A small table will be needed for the center if the square

FABRIC: The square tables may be covered in white cloth. The small table in the center of the square may be covered in purple cloth. You will need white cloth to cover the communion elements that are on the table where the Pastor sits.

CANDLES: A white pillar candle may be placed on the small center table

FLOWERS/PLANTS: Plants and flowers are generally not used. However, a bunch of grapes may be appropriate for the center table.

ROCKS/WOOD: None are needed for this setting

OTHER: Loaves of bread (one for the center table, and the appropriate number for the communion service; pitcher of grape juice, chalices (one for the center table and one at the Pastor’s table), a brass cross (optional). Music, either books or copied pages from the hymnal (if you have CCLI) for the worship service. Bulletins may be desired with the prayers printed in them.

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