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ORDER of WORSHIP
March 24, 2005 ~ 6:00 PM
Maundy Thursday


 

Why is this night different
from all other nights?


Tonight we gather to celebrate the last supper which Jesus had with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. That evening they met in an upper room of a house in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Jesus and the other disciples were Jewish and the Passover was the most holy event in the Jewish calendar, commemorating the saving acts of God in the life of the Hebrew people and, most specifically, remembering the release of the people of Israel from captivity by Pharaoh in Egypt. On Passover the Hebrew people tell the story of their salvation by God as God sent a series of plagues on the Egyptians, which finally convinced Pharaoh to release the people.

The festival of Passover begins, as do all Jewish days, at sundown. Jesus and his disciples sat at dinner and performed the traditional rites, some of which we will use tonight as our setting for our common meal. Tradition understands the Passover table ritual as a fixed progression, a "Seder," which means order. We will ask the four questions that tell the story of salvation and will use Passover prayers to begin our worship. To remember the meal which Jesus and the disciples were eating, we will share matzos, an unleavened bread which recalls the bread which the Hebrew families baked without waiting for the bread to rise, as they needed to quickly flee. We will also eat dried fruit and halvah, which are festive foods common to the Holy Land.

After dinner Jesus performed a new ritual, offering each of the disciples bread: “Take, eat; this is my body”—and a cup: “This is my blood.” Following this, they sang a hymn and left Jerusalem to pass the night on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane. We will remember this new ritual, which is our Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, by our communion service, and then we will remember the darkness of that night by the extinguishing of lights, or “Tenebrae,” as we hear the story from scripture of Jesus’ last hours.

The name “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means “commandment,” as Jesus gave us all a new commandment on that night that people should love one another even as Christ loves them (John 13:34-35). That spirit led the ruling monarch in Great Britain to give alms to poor people on the Thursday before Easter. These gifts were called “royal Maundy,” hence the name, Maundy Thursday.


THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UPPER ROOM Susan M. Craig

HYMN New Century Hymnal 24 (standing) LEONI

The God of Abraham Praise

WORDS OF PROMISE Anna Paskausky

"I am God, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians."

UNISON PRAYER OF SANCTIFICATION

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Sovereign of all space and time, creator of the fruit of the vine. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Sovereign of all space and time! We have been called for service from among the peoples, and have had our lives made special with directives. You have given to us festivals for rejoicing, seasons of celebration, this Festival of Matzos, the time of our freedom, a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt. Praised be to God, who sanctifies Israel and the festival season. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Sovereign of all space and time, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this wonderful moment. Amen.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS David Gordon

“How is this night different from all other nights?”….
(answered by Senior Deacon, Pat Mendelsohn)

AFIKOMAN Rosemary Lamie

THE BLESSING Debbie Gordon

THE COMMON MEAL

UNISON PRAYER AFTER THE MEAL Doug Bacon

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Sovereign of all space and time. You feed the entire universe in Your goodness, grace, loving kindness and mercy. From the Source comes bread for all flesh, because of unlimited loving kindness. And in great goodness You never withdraw from us, nor will we lack food, now or forever. Blessed are You, Lord, who provides food for all. Amen.

HYMN New Century Hymnal 330 LET US BREAK BREAD

Let Us Break Bread Together

THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER

(This evening we will receive communion by intinction in the manner of the first-century Christian church. When the baskets are passed, please break off a piece of bread and when the cup is passed, dip your bread in the cup.)

UNISON PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Almighty God, Ruler of the universe, we thank you for your mighty acts of deliverance, when you enable us to cross over from despair to hope, from brokenness to wholeness, from death to life. We thank you for the deep love of Jesus, which moved him to risk himself for the redemption of humanity; and for the grace we experience in receiving these symbols of the life he gave. In his name we pray, Amen.

THE SERVICE OF TENEBRAE:

THE EXTINGUISHING OF LIGHTS

(The room will be dimly lighted throughout the Service of Tenebrae, ending in darkness. The gradual extinguishing of the lights is symbolic of the flight of the disciples and the passion of our Lord.)

HYMN New Century Hymnal 191 ST. CHRISTOPHER

Before Your Cross, O Jesus (stanzas 1 & 2)

The Shadow of Betrayal Matthew 26:20-25

Peter Garlid

The Shadow of Desertion Matthew 26:31-46

Debbie Berner

HYMN New Century Hymnal 219 REDHEAD NO. 76

Journey to Gethsemane (stanzas 1 & 2)

The Shadow of the Trial Mark 14:53-65

Marilyn Olsson

The Shadow of Denial Mark 14:66-72

Ron Klingner

HYMN New Century Hymnal 218 HERZLIEBSTER JESU

Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended (stanzas 1 & 2)

The Shadow of Rejection Luke 23:13-24

Larry Haviland

The Shadow of the Cross Mark 15:16-27

Angela Stevens

HYMN New Century Hymnal 229 WERE YOU THERE

Were You There?

BENEDICTION David D. Young

(In the tradition of our church we ask
that you leave the room in silence once the lights come up.)


Serving First Congregational Church this evening are
members of the Diaconate: Pat Mendelsohn, Doug Bacon,
Debbie Berner, Peter Garlid, Larry Haviland, Ron Klingner, Marilyn Olsson,
Angela Stevens, Persis Alden, and Darlene Moore.

We thank the Parish Life Committee for preparing the meal and
serving at our Fellowship Supper. The Parish Life Committee members
serving this evening: Larry and Erlinda Haviland, Lisa Hudson, Betsy
Kreuter, Denise and John Leidy, Gary and Janice Riddell,
Renate Setten, and Ashley Grant, staff liaison.


Holy Week Schedule

Thursday, March 24
6:00 pm in the Auditorium
Maundy Thursday
Seder Meal and Tenebrae Service

Friday, March 25
10:00 am in the Meetinghouse
Children’s Service
“The Tale of the Three Trees”

8:00 pm in the Meetinghouse
Music and Meditations for Good Friday

Saturday, March 26
Egg Saturday
10 am - Noon

Sunday, March 27
5: 30 am Sunrise Service at Greenwich Point Susan M. Craig
9:15 and 11:00 am in the Meetinghouse Easter Sunday David D. Young


First Congregational Church of Greenwich www.fccog.org
108 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, Connecticut 203.637.1791
Ministers: The Members of The First Congregational Church of Greenwich
Senior Pastor: David D. Young
Senior Associate Pastor: Susan M. Craig
Associate Pastor and Director of Middle School Ministries: M. Ashley Grant
Parish Associate and SPF Coordinator: Anna Paskausky
Church School Coordinators: Rosemary Lamie and Jennifer Lepoutre
Director of Music/ Senior Organist: John Stansell
Associate Organist/Director: Mark Swicegood
Associate Musician: Carolyn Diamond
Parish Nurse: Susan Asselin
Pastors Emeriti: Thomas L. Stiers and Sally Colegrove

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