Harvest Ministry Holy Week Singing and Praying Through the Wilderness

Harvest Ministry Holy Week Singing and Praying Through the Wilderness 2020

In this time of pandemic, we are facing challenges we never could have predicted as we move toward Holy Week and Easter. This service can be viewed as one Passion service for Holy Week and you may worship through each part of the service all in one day if you are drawn to that; however, this service is also designed to worship at your own pace, either using this page for reference or simply playing through the entire YouTube playlist that accompanies this service: Harvest Ministry Holy Week Singing and Praying Through the Wilderness

Or you may begin on Sunday night or Monday morning and go through a few portions of the worship service until you end with Jesus in the tomb on Friday night. To begin this worship service, here is an invitation: https://youtu.be/reDrWh1_2pE

A call to worship as we begin: 

One: Come, come, whoever you are,
All: Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
One: Ours is no caravan of despair.
All: Though we have broken our vows a thousand times,
One: Come, come again, come!

The Wilderness (Building on our Lent 2020 theme from Sanctified Art)

When trudging through the wilderness, songs give us strength and courage to keep moving. This service interweaves song and poetry within the passion narrative to keep us singing on the journey to the cross. This is intended to be a Holy Week service to experience the fullness of the story of the last days before the resurrection.

We begin as we move from the celebration of Palm Sunday where as I told the children, Jesus rides into town with a parade and we shout  —

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Here you may want to pause in that moment with the song Holy Hosanna.

Then we continue as we gather around God’s Word we are reminded that we are beloved children of God by Sanctified Art’s poem by Slats Toole:

you are made, my child, my Beloved
from water and dust
both holy
both mine.

Remembering Holy Communion, where Christ Jesus meets us with Grace

If you are worshiping alone or as a family, I invite you to prepare a meal and listen or watch this Remembrance video just before you begin your meal. The dining room table or kitchen counter is a reminder of the table of Christ Jesus where we are met with grace again and again. “Agape meals” or “love feasts” are ancient Christian traditions (giving birth to the church potluck!), and it is not uncommon for churches to come together for agape meals on Wednesday or Thursday of Holy Week. Participating in this together highlights the grace that the poem, “it begins with grace,”speaks to, and brings us together for fellowship.

“it begins with grace
and ends with grace
and it is so deeply important
to know that
we are carried through
by grace

this is grace.
the table that is spread for us
in the middle of the wilderness
the reminder that our job is not to suffer
but to love one another.
our call is not to loneliness
but connection
our fate is not death
but life.
so come to this table.
let this reminder
sink into your body:
there is nothing
no betrayal
no denial
no sin
that grace cannot cover.”
— excerpt from It Begins with Grace by Sanctified Art

Remembrance of Holy Communion, including reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

After listening or reading the 1st Corinthians reading, and the poem “it is the simple things” (read in the above video), you may want to reflect on the promises of God’s grace that you receive in holy communion and select your own music to listen to, or listen to At This Table as recorded here: https://youtu.be/acRAIkV7QDc

Then we continue our worship with the reading of John 13:1-17, 31b-35, on your own or as Pastor Tami recorded here. followed by a reflection on hand washing as it connects to us today in the midst of this viral pandemic as well as how it connects to servant leadership as demonstrated by Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet: Hand Washing Reflection.

I also invite you to participate fully by washing another’s hands or your own hands while listening to the reflection or afterwards. It’s deeply appropriate to spend some time thinking about washing in this moment when we are being encouraged to wash our hands frequently. You may meditate on this throughout the week as we continue through the wilderness this Holy Week.

“Jesus began the final days of his earthly life by washing the feet of his disciples. You are invited to take a moment to wash your hands where you are at home. As you feel the coolness of the water, may it be like a spring in the wilderness, a reminder of baptism, the assurance that no matter what happens, God will provide what you need. As you feel the touch of your hands, pray that your hands might be the hands of Christ—comforting, healing, and supporting all those you meet.”

If there is any time to stop and remember how we have fallen short, it is now as we begin our walk through Holy week and the passion of Christ. If there is any moment when we should be honest about what we have done and what we have failed to do, it is today and this week. As we sing, pray, listen, and reflect let our voices bring our prayer of confession to God.

Hymn of Confession: Just As I Am, without One Plea

followed by a poetic reflection and invitation to listen to the passion Gospel readings. 

A PRAYER TO KEEP AWAKE (Sanctified Art resource)
Broken and bleeding God,
do not let us turn away.
Do not let us fall asleep.
Do not let us fail to witness:
the road you walk for us
the pain you bear for us
the love you pour out for us.

SCRIPTURE READINGS alternated with musical reflections (click on each item to listen)

John 17: 1-5; 25-26

Musical reflection: Shine on us (Psalm 31:9-16)

John 18:1-12

Musical reflection: Ubi Caritas Taizé

John 18:12-27

Musical reflection: Kyrie: Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy

John 18:28-19:16a

Musical reflection: Taize – Stay With Me 

John 19:16b-30

In response to this reading, you may want to either hold a long silence (at least two minutes) or slowly toll one bell thirty-three times in order to signify the number of years of Jesus’ earthly life.

Musical reflection: Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) 

John 19:31-42

Musical reflection: In the Wake of Sorrow

Psalm 22

Musical reflection: Taize Stay With Me

We often leave our Good Friday services in silence and often in the dark. This service ends in a similar place; however, if you find that you need more hope to sustain you at this time, I suggest listening to some of your favorite hymns or other music, going for a walk outside (connecting with God’s creation), or returning to a favorite scripture reading outside of the Passion story. While it’s important for us to know this story that leads to Easter, it is also OK that we know the rest of the story, and in a year when we may be isolated away from others more than usual, I invite you to draw on the entirety of the scriptures and all of God’s grace at all times, including during this Holy Week.

Now is the acceptable time.
Now is the day of salvation.
Holy God,
speaking, spoken, and inspiring,
☩ bless you, unbind you,
and send you in love and in peace.