Thursday, 9 April 2020

Gethsemane Watch -- Holy Thursday

Be still and know that I am God

For your Gethsemane Watch it will  be helpful to have a cross and a candle

Reflective Song  Watch and Pray (Taize)

As we gather let us reflect upon these words:

Come to this time in faith for all the earth is a dwelling place for God
Silence for reflection

Come to this moment with hope that we too can watch and pray with Jesus through the night
Silence for reflection

Allow gentleness to fill your space as we feel and are filled with the grace of the Spirit
Silence for reflection

Life enters a resting place, a place of peace.  As we turn to God and rejoice in hope let our cross and our candle be signs to us of the presence and faithfulness of God.

Before our God
As we turn to you this day, O God, if there are issues in our lives which cause us to lower our eyes and to cover our faces in your presence:  Forgive us
If we as your churches have been a faltering witness to your love:  Forgive us.  We wait in faith for your renewal.  Amen

Celebrations along the Way 
Dorothy McRae-McMahon

Suggested Reading     Matthew 26:17-35
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.” ’ So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ He answered, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’ Judas, who betrayed him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ He replied, ‘You have said so.’
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,
“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And so said all the disciples.

Gracious God, we thank you for this time together, to reflect on your word, to journey through the week and arrive in the upper room, to share a meal together with those that we love. May we know your strength and with you know and share the presence of God through acts of compassion and love.

Suggested Reading   Matthew 26: 36-46
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

Lord it is done, the betrayer has fulfilled the prophecy, you have been led away, your followers have scattered. We too have run in the opposite direction for fear of what lies before us. Help us to remain here -- to watch and pray.

I will lie down in peace and take my rest
for it is God alone that I dwell unafraid

Let us bless the Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, life-giver
Let  us praise and exhault God above all for ever.

May God's name be praised beyond the furthest star
glorified and exalted above all for ever.
(from the New Zealand prayer book)
Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
source of all that is and that shall be
Father and mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
the way of your justice be followed by the people of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, 
now and forever.  Amen
(from the New Zealand Prayer book)

Silent time for Prayer

And when you are ready to conclude the silence:
(please adapt the following prayer to the time of day that you are observing your Gesthamene Watch, however it obviously works best at night)

 it is night.

Th night is for stillness.
     Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
     What has been done is done;
     what has not been done has not been done
     let it be.

The night is dark.
     Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet.
   Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
          all dear to us,
          and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
     Let us look expectantly to a new day,
         new joys,
          new possibilities.

In your name we pray.
(from the New Zealand Prayer Book)

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