Summary: This is a special service of darkness, written to recreate the "upper room" feel.
The Upper Room
Welcome to the upper room this fateful night… you are gathered at table with the rest of the 12. Jesus is your host… you come to celebrate the Passover meal… a meal which should be a celebration… however the atmosphere around you strange… you know something is up… but you know not what. Jesus begins to speak:
I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.
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 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.
*Opening Hymn “Wondrous Love” #250
Hear the words from Matthew… (26:1-13)
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over and be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. “But not during the Feast.” They said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money give to the poor.”
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Musical interlude (One verse of “Wondrous Love”)
Hear now the words from Mark (14:12-26)
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”
The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I till you the truth, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?”
“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Musical interlude (One verse of “Near the Cross”)
Celebrating the Feast
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take… eat; this is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In like manner he took the cup, saying this cup is the new covenant, sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins, do this in remembrance of me. Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the life saving death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*Hymn “Near the Cross” #257
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”