March 28, 2024



On this day
Christ the Lamb of God
gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him.


On this day
Christ gathered with his disciples in the upper room.


On this day
Christ took a towel and washed the disciples’ feet, giving us an example that we should do to others as he has done to us.


On this day
Christ our God gave us this holy feast,
that we who eat this bread
and drink this cup
may here proclaim his holy sacrifice
and be partakers of his resurrection,
and at the last day may reign with him in heaven.



Let us pray.

Holy God, source of all love,

on the night of his betrayal

Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment,

to love one another as he loved them.

Write this commandment in our hearts;

give us the will to serve others

as he was the servant of all,

who gave his life and died for us,

yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.










*HYMN No. 220                    “Go to Dark Gethsemane”

1 Go to dark Gethsemane, 
all who feel the tempter’s power;
your Redeemer’s conflict see;
watch with him one bitter hour;
turn not from his griefs away;
learn from Jesus Christ to pray. 

2 Follow to the judgment hall;
view the Lord of life arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall!
O the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
learn from him to bear the cross. 

3 Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
there, adoring at his feet,
mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete;
“It is finished!” hear him cry;
learn from Jesus Christ to die.

4 Early hasten to the tomb
where they laid his breathless clay:
all is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.



The proof of God’s amazing love is this: while we were sinners
Christ died for us.
Because we have faith in him,

we dare to approach God with confidence.

In faith and penitence
let us confess our sin before God and one another.



Eternal God,
whose covenant with us is never broken,

we confess that we fail to fulfill your will.

Though you have bound yourself to us,

we will not bind ourselves to you.
In Jesus Christ you serve us freely,
but we refuse your love
and withhold ourselves from others.
We do not love you fully
or love one another as you command.

In your mercy, forgive and cleanse us.

Lead us once again to your table
and unite us to Christ,
who is the bread of life

and the vine from which we grow in grace.


*RESPONSE No. 471             “O Lord Hear My Prayer”

O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
Come and listen to me.



The mercy of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting.
I declare to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

May the God of mercy,
who forgives you all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.




Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another.

The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Peace be with you.


*HYMN No. 216                     “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”

1 Beneath the cross of Jesus 
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.

2 Upon the cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain or loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.




Gracious God,

 give us the wisdom of your Spirit
to understand and receive the depth and breadth
of the love that Christ showers upon us.
Bless this reading of your Word
that we might be transformed by its grace.  Amen.



March 28, 2024


FIRST READING Exodus 12:1–14

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn with fire. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human to animal, and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.



March 28, 2024



PSALM Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19

I love the Lord because he has heard
my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.


12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord;
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!


March 28, 2024



SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 11:23–26

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for[a] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.



March 28, 2024




GOSPEL READING John  13:1-17, 13:31b–35

13 Now 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 decided[a] that Judas son of Simon Iscariot would betray Jesus. 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 supper, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet,[b] but is entirely clean. And you[c]are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had reclined again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, slaves are not greater than their master, nor are messengers[d] greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.


31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him,[a] God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 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.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”







I wonder how Jesus’ closest followers—those friends of his that were with him at this final meal—I wonder how they remembered this night in the days, weeks, months, and years that followed, after the events that were about to transpire in Jerusalem. What we have recorded here in the Gospel was written perhaps thirty-five years or more after that night. About fifteen years before that, still twenty years or so after the fact, the Apostle Paul talks about this meal as the beginning of a tradition in which bread and wine are consumed in remembrance of Jesus. In fact, Paul passes on the words of Jesus that we still use today: “This is my body. This cup is the new covenant in my blood”

But I wonder how this meal was remembered in the intervening years between Jesus and Paul, by the people that were actually there. Was it a night of joy? Was it a night of fear? Was it a Passover meal like the many others they had experienced in their lives? Did they know right away that it would be a meal like none other they had ever known? Could they have predicted that two thousand years later people would still be talking about it, still commemorating it as we do each week in this place?

Did the people that were actually there remember it, primarily as a night of betrayal? Did they remember it as the night on which one of their friends turned on Jesus and handed him over to the authorities? Did they remember their own self-doubts, their inner fears that any one of them could be the betrayer?

In some ways, I feel that betrayal or self-doubt seem like odd themes to remember as the central dynamic of this memorable meal on this memorable night. How much of their memory was colored and shaped by their hatred for Judas? In many respects, they too were betrayed by him. Or were they so relieved that they themselves turned out not to be the betrayers that they remembered this night as a night of betrayal precisely to remember who the betrayer really was? Did they need assurance for themselves that they remained loyal to their beloved rabbi, even though they had feared they might not—even though they feared that they still might betray them now that he was gone?

In those earliest years of the church, how many of Jesus’ followers do you think remembered that night as an unthinkable tragedy that came out of nowhere and completely devastated their hopes and dreams for what Jesus would represent? How many of them found their deepest longings dashed to pieces when Jesus died on the cross, a catastrophe set into motion at this auspicious dinner? When they later told this story around dinner tables, were they still grasping for meaning? How could this have happened? Did it truly serve a greater purpose? Were Jesus’ cryptic words about his body and blood at that final meal the key to understanding what this mystery means?

No doubt some of them had already begun to piece this together with some of Jesus’ more difficult teachings, the ones in which he seemed to predict this entire scenario. Could he have really known all along that this terrible thing was going to happen? Was he simply a perceptive realist who knew his radical words and actions could lead only to death at the hands of the powers that be, or was this actually part of the plan all along? Was God behind all this? When Jesus so calmly proclaimed that someone would betray him, did he do so with the willing resolve of someone who knew exactly what was about to unfold?

In hindsight, some of them began to connect Jesus’ bloody death to the fact that this final meal was a Passover meal. On that day, a lamb was sacrificed. Its blood represented the salvation of ancient Hebrews from the plague of death in Egypt. When Jesus drew attention to his body and blood and gave us visual symbols of what was about to happen to them, was he consciously making a connection to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb? How long did it take for his followers to begin to think of Jesus himself as the lamb of God?

At some point, when the living memory of those who were there gave way to the ritualized memory of a growing community, the followers of Jesus who regularly gathered to break bread and share wine began to theologize about what they were doing. So persistent were they in preserving Jesus’ odd words—“This is my body. . . . This is my blood”—that their Roman critics began to think that they were cannibals, gathering to actually eat the body and blood of a human being. Though that perception was not their intent, some of them eventually began to believe that the bread and wine consecrated by Jesus’ words did in fact become his body and blood in some real, metaphysical way. Later on, some theologians began to question this belief and argued that the meal and the words are symbolic, though even then insisting that God does something unique and special when we say those words, break bread, and share the fruit of the vine. What began as a final meal among friends became a meal of remembrance, and eventually this meal of remembrance became understood as a sacrament of God’s grace. When we break this bread and share this cup, God touches us in some remarkable way.

But before this theological language, there was simply a story. A story told around dinner tables. A story told around campfires on chilly nights. A story told while walking up the road on a trip to a neighboring town. A story told each year when the Passover meal was celebrated. Perhaps a story told every time that the community sat down to share food and drink together.

It is a story that resists explanation. It is a ritual act that is first and foremost an experience, not a theory. Even centuries later, the founder of our Presbyterian stream of Christianity, John Calvin, who was never short on words or explanations, confessed that it was his experience of the meal that made him certain that God was doing something special in it.

Now if anyone asks me how, I will not be ashamed to admit that the mystery is too sublime for my intelligence to grasp or my words to declare: to speak more plainly, I experience rather than understand it. Here, then, without any arguing, I embrace the truth of God in which I may safely rest content. Christ proclaims that his flesh is the food, his blood the drink, of my soul. I offer him my soul to be fed with such food. In his sacred supper he bids me take, eat, and drink his body and blood under the symbols of bread and wine: I have no doubt that he truly proffers them and that I receive them.

Calvin argued with Luther, who believed that Christ was somehow physically present in the communion elements, and he argued with Zwingli, who thought that the elements were only symbolic of some spiritual mystery. For Calvin, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper we achieve some kind of mystical union with Christ. We become one with Christ.

But for what purpose? To achieve spiritual bliss, enlightenment, or nirvana? No, these are all too individualistic. The Lord’s Supper is by nature a communal event. It draws us out of ourselves and into community. This is not a single-serving meal on an airplane or a drive-through meal to be eaten alone in your car. It is a community gathering that reminds us of who we are and to whom we are responsible as followers of Christ.

It is common in our communion liturgies to pray that the bread and the cup may be for us the body and blood of Christ so that we may be the body of Christ in the world. It seems to me that this is the essence of this sacred and mysterious meal.

After all they had been through together, Jesus’ final meal with his friends wasn’t just a going-away party. It wasn’t a walk down memory lane. It wasn’t about blame and fear. It wasn’t about shame or self-doubt. It was preparation for something else. It was preparation for what was to come.

Way back when, at a place called Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples who they believed he was. When they correctly answered that he was the messiah, he began to teach them that his understanding of this, his way of living this out, was not what they had been taught to expect. In fact, he tells them that his messianic path will lead to his death. From that moment on, right up until the moment of the story we find ourselves in now, Jesus was preparing them for his death and departure. The kingdom of God was emerging all around them. But it was not bound by Jesus’ physical presence with them. He must go, and they must carry on in his absence.


“This is my body. This is my blood.”
“Eat this. Drink this”
You are my body. You are my blood.”


We come to this table, like the many who came to Jesus’ table: the lost, the lonely, the outcasts, the sinners; those with respect and those with none; those with much and those with little; those with great faith and those with great doubt; those who understood and those who didn’t have a clue; those whom others loved and those whom others hated. Jesus loved them all. Jesus welcomed them all. And Jesus changed them.


Commentary and Liturgy provided by B.A. Gerrish, John Calvin, John Vest, Natalie Bolz-Weber, Heather Schoenewolf, Leanne Masters, the Book of Common Worship and the Book of Confessions.



I am empowered by God and led by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I will be a living witness through prayer, preaching, teaching, and outreach to all people.  I will encourage and challenge all to grow spiritually, to care for others, to share the Good News, and to do so with a loving, joyful heart.



Hear the words of the institution
of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God,
he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat.

This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way he took the cup, saying:
This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord, until he comes.

With thanksgiving,
let us offer God our grateful praise.



The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our greatest joy
to give you thanks and praise,
O Lord our God, creator and ruler of the universe. You bring forth bread from the earth,
and create the fruit of the vine.
You made us in your image,
and freed us from the bonds of slavery.
You claimed us as your people,
and made covenant to be our God.
You fed us manna in the wilderness,
and brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey. When we forgot you, and our faith was weak,
you spoke through prophets,
calling us to turn again to your ways.

Therefore we praise you,
joining our voices with the celestial choirs
and with all the faithful of every time and place, who forever sing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


You are holy, O God of majesty,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, whom you sent to deliver us
from the bondage of death and slavery to sin.
In humility he descends from your heights,
to kneel in obedience to love’s commands.
He who is boundless takes on the bondage of our sin. He who is free takes our place in death’s prison.

In the deserts of our wanderings, he sustains us, giving us his body as manna for our weariness. The cup of suffering which he drank
has become for us the cup of salvation.

In his death, he ransomed us from death’s dominion; in his resurrection, he opened the way to eternal life.

Remembering all your mighty and merciful acts, we take this bread and this wine
from the gifts you have given us,
and celebrate with joy

the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ.

Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy offering of ourselves,
that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen.

Christ is the bread of life:

When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.


Gracious God,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ
and with all who are baptized in his name,

that we may be one in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.


Lead us, O God, by the power of your Spirit
to live as love commands.
Bound to Christ,
set us free for joyful obedience and glad service. As Jesus gave his life for ours,

help us to live our lives for others
with humility and persistent courage.
Give us strength to serve you faithfully until the promised day of resurrection, when, with the redeemed of all the ages, we will feast with you at your table in glory.

Through Christ,

all glory and honor are yours, almighty Father,

with the Holy Spirit in the holy church,

now and forever.



Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.



Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?


The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?



The gifts of God for the people of God.



The body of Christ given for you. Amen.

The blood of Christ shed for you. Amen.


Jesus, Lamb of God,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,

grant us peace.


God of grace,

your Son Jesus Christ

left us this holy meal of bread and wine

in which we share his body and blood.

May we who have celebrated this sign of his great love

show in our lives the fruits of his redemption;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.




The candles are extinguished, and all linens, paraments, and banners are removed from the worship space. During their removal, Psalm 22 may be read, or the congregation may bow or kneel in silent prayer.