Holy Week 2012

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil

I will offer a couple of notes for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  I usually preach on Maundy Thursday and usually do some kind of liturgical observance on Good Friday.  In general, reading the scriptures for the day in worship and tying them to the regular liturgies works for me. I have used the Easter Vigil in some congregations, but I usually focus on Thursday and Friday services and work hard at pulling together Easter Day.

Scriptures for Maundy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14 
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35 
Psalm 116:1, 10-17 

  • Page of notes at TextWeek.com
  • This is a service made for visuals, actions and the senses.  Footwashing is a standard practice on this day.  Eucharist is an essential component.  I highly recommend reading the OT text and the NT texts in the service.  It brings out the comparisons between Eucharist and Passover and helps us focus on our common beginnings.
  • Consider teaching about the meaning of Passover in OT and NT contexts.  Our practice of the Eucharist is instituted at The Last Supper and changes the course of history.
  • I always try to focus on the “mandate” of the Gospel Lesson—sometimes called “The Platinum Rule”

Scriptures for Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 10:16-25 or
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42 
Psalm 22

  • Page of notes at TextWeek.com
  • I try to read the entire Gospel in a meditative environment–hearing John’s version of Jesus’ last days is powerful in itself.  It is a day for silence and reflection in my book.  If one must preach, keeping it simple and tied to the Gospel is the best advice I could give.  The mysteries of salvation and the cross can rarely be improved upon by more words.

Scriptures for Easter Vigil

At The Liturgy of the Word

Genesis 1:1-2:4a [The Story of Creation] 
Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13 [The Flood] 
Genesis 22:1-18 [Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac] 
Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 [Israel's deliverance at the Red Sea] 
Isaiah 55:1-11 [Salvation offered freely to all] 
Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-4:4 or Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 [Learn wisdom and live]
Ezekiel 36:24-28 [A new heart and a new spirit]
Ezekiel 37:1-14 [The valley of dry bones] 
Zephaniah 3:14-20 [The gathering of God's people] 

At The Eucharist

Romans 6:3-11
Psalm 114
Mark 16:1-8

  • Page of notes at TextWeek.com
  • Re-telling the story of the early Church and its practice of Easter Vigil is a serious proclamation.  Among Protestants, the Anglicans/Episcopalians are the ones that use this service the most.  I have led services in United Methodist settings and it was seen as something odd and different.  Blessings on all who will do this service.  We will be doing a shortened version of it at sunrise on Sunday.

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