|The Book of Common Prayer|
CHRISTMAS BLESSING OF THE CRIB
The crib is blessed on Christmas Eve either after the first Evensong or before or after the mid-night Eucharist if one is celebrated.
The priest and people stand facing the crib.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
Reading: St. Luke 2:15-19
Priest: Let us pray.
Lord, we ask you to bless and hallow this crib, which gives us a picture of the truth of your becoming man. May all who look on it learn the lessons of your humility and love, so that all may be filled with your heavenly light and peace. May our wills be made strong to glorify you by our deeds, so that we may shine as your lights in the world; through him who lives and reigns with you Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
We bless this crib in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A hymn or carol may be sung.
(The shepherds in the crib are replaced by the wise men on the eve
of the Epiphany, January 5th. The crib remains in the church, or wherever
else it has been set up, until the Baptism of our Lord, January 13th.)
ASH WEDNESDAY BLESSING OF ASHES.
On Shrove Tuesday crosses from the previous Palm Sunday are burnt and the ashes are put in a suitable dish.
On Ash Wednesday, the ashes are blessed at the beginning of the Eucharist; and after they have been blessed they are placed on the forehead of the clergy and people.
Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Priest: Lord, hear our prayer.
Priest: Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made. You forgive all those who are sorry for their sins and call upon you. As the people of Nineveh repented of their sins in dust and ashes and turned back to you, so we ask you to bless these ashes, that we who bear them and call on your holy Name, may truly repent and be forgiven all our sins and receive everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We bless these ashes in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The priest marks his own forehead and then the foreheads of the servers and congregation who come and kneel, or stand, where they normally receive the Blessed Sacrament. The priest, as he marks each person’s forehead, says:
Priest: Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.
THE SUNDAY BEFORE EASTER. PALM SUNDAY.
The Liturgy of the Day has two parts. The first part includes the reading of the prophecy with the blessing of branches, and the procession in honour of Christ the King.
The second part of the Liturgy is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
If practical, the people will gather at some place a little way from the church. The branches and crosses may be given out to the people before the service begins. The people hold them up at the Blessing of the Branches. The priest and the servers come into the midst of the assembly.
Priest: We begin this morning the great week of the Christian year. We come together in union with the Church throughout the world to call to mind and to express in word and action our Lord’s Passover from death to life which is centred in the wonderful truth—the mystery—of Easter, sometimes called the Paschal Feast.
Today, Christ entered in triumph into the Holy City (Jerusalem) to complete his work as our Messiah: to suffer, and to die, and to rise again to life. We express in the words and action of the Church’s Liturgy, our desire to follow him with a lively faith as his disciples. We shall try by means of this celebration, to express that faith in our daily lives, so that sharing his sufferings, we may be united with him in his resurrection life.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
A Reading from the Old Testament: From the Prophet Zechariah 9:9-10.
After this lesson, the Reader says:
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord
THE BLESSING OF THE BRANCHES.
The people stand.
Priest: Lord God, you willed that your Son enter the Holy City on this day; bless these branches and grant that we, celebrating this outward action with reverence and purity of heart, may prepare the way for him to come again; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.
The branches or crosses, if not already in the hands of the people, are given out with these words:
Priest: Take this in honour of Christ the King.
Psalm 24 may be said or sung, or there may be a suitable hymn.
The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all
who live in it are his.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel Matthew 21:1-9.
Before: Glory be to you Lord Christ.
Priest: Let us go forth in peace, praising Jesus our Messiah, as did the crowds who welcomed him to Jerusalem.
It is suggested that part of the congregation move into procession before the priest and the servers, and the remainder follow after. There may be shouts of praise and welcome, suitable songs accompanied by drums and musical instruments, as the procession approaches the church. Or there may be a suitable hymn as “All glory, Laud and honour”. The hymn may need to be repeated.
At the church door, the Priest says:
When Jesus entered Jerusalem the whole city was thrown in an uproar. “Who is he?” the people asked. “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee,” the crowds answered. (Matthew 21: 10-11).
The hymn, or song or drumming, continues and is repeated if necessary.
When all are in the church and are silent, the Priest standing at the altar says:
Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, our King and Redeemer, in whose honour, we
bearing these branches, have sung our praises; make perfect in us your
grace so that we may rejoice to serve you forever in your heavenly kingdom;
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
THE EUCHARIST CONTINUES.
After the Epistle (Philippians 2:5-11) there may be sung a suitable hymn such as “Ride on! Ride on in majesty!” The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (26:36-27:60). The people stand. It may be read as one continuous story in the normal way by the priest or deacon. (Incense and candles are not required for this). Or, it may be read in parts as follows: Eight readers are required—one is the narrator (story teller), a second says the words of Christ, and there are six others. (Numbers 3, 4, 5 should be women). There should also be a group of men and women to be the crowd, or the whole congregation could be the crowd. The Priest may either be the narrator or speak the words of Christ.
The readers may either take up places in the sanctuary during the hymn, or they may read from their places in the congregation. The narrator should face the congregation. Those in the crowd should be close to each other, unless the whole congregation is the crowd.
Narr. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them:
Christ: “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
Narr. He took with him Peter, and Zebedee’s two sons. Grief and anguish came over him, and he said to them:
Christ: “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and watch with me.”
Narr. He went a little farther on, threw himself face down to the ground, and prayed,
Christ. “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup away from me: But not what I want, but what you want.”
Narr. Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter,
Christ. “How is it that you three were not able to watch with me for one hour? Keep watch, and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Narr. Again a second time Jesus went away and prayed:
Christ. “My Father, if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”
Narr. He returned once more and found the disciples asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. Again Jesus left them, went away, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then he returned to the disciples and said,
Christ. “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look: The hour has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the power of sinful men. Get up, let us go. Look here is the man who is betraying me:”
Narr. Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a large crowd carrying swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and the Jewish elders. The traitor had given the crowd a signal: “The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him:”
Narr. When Judas arrived he went straight to Jesus and said,
1: “Peace be with you, Teacher.”
Narr. And kissed him. Jesus answered,
Christ. “Be quick about it, friend:”
Narr. Then they came up, arrested Jesus, and held him tight. One of those who were with Jesus drew his sword and struck at the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him,
Christ. “Put your sword back in its place, because all who take the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you know that I could call on my Father for help and at once he would send me more than twelve armies of angels? But in this case, how could the Scriptures come true that say it must happen in this way?”
Narr. Then Jesus spoke to the crowd.
Christ. “Did you have to come with swords and stones to capture me, as though I were an outlaw? Every day I sat down and taught in the Temple, and you did not arrest me. But all this has happened to make come true what the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.
Narr. Then all the disciples left him and ran away. Those who had arrested Jesus took him to the house of Caiphas, the High Priest, where the teachers of the Law and the elders had gathered together. Peter followed him from a distance, as far as the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He went into the courtyard and sat down with the guards, to see how it would come out. The chief priests and the whole council tried to find some false evidence against Jesus, to put him to death; but they could not find any, even though many came up and told lies about him. Finally, two men stepped forward and said,
2: “This man said, ‘I am able to tear down God’s temple and three days later build it back up’.”
1. “Have you no answer to give to this accusation against you?”
Narr. But Jesus kept quiet. Again the High Priest spoke to him.
1. “In the name of the living God, I now put you on oath: tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
Narr. Jesus answered him:
Christ. “So you say. But I tell all of you: from this time on you will see the Son of man sitting at the right side of the almighty, and coming on the clouds of heaven!”
Narr. At this the High Priest tore his clothes and said:
1. “Blasphemy! We don’t need any more witnesses! Right here you have heard his wicked words! What do you think?
Narr. They answered,
2. “He is guilty, and must die.”
Narr. Then they spat in his face and beat him, and those who slapped him said,
1. “Prophesy for us, Messiah! Tell us who hit you!”
Narr. Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard when one of the High Priest’s servant girls came to him and said,
3. “You too were with Jesus of Galilee.”
Narr. But he denied it in front of them all.
6. “I don’t know what you are talking about”
Narr. He answered, and went out to the entrance of the courtyard. Another servant girl saw him and said to the men there,
4. “He was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
Narr. Again Peter denied it, and answered,
6. “I swear that I don’t know that man!”
Narr. After a little while, the men standing there came to Peter. They said,
1: “Of course you are one of them.” After all, the way you speak gives you away!”
Narr. Then Peter made a vow.
6. “May God punish me if I am not telling the truth! I do not know that man!”
Narr. Just then a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered what Jesus had told him.
Christ. “Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you do not know me.”
Narr. He went out and wept bitterly. Early in the morning all the chief priests and the Jewish elders made their plans against Jesus to put him to death. They put him in chains, took him, and handed him over to Pilate the governor. When Judas, the traitor, saw that Jesus had been condemned, he repented and took back the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders.
1. “I have sinned by betraying an innocent man to death!”
2: “What do we care about that? That is your business!”
Narr. Judas threw the money into the sanctuary and left them; then he went off and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the money and said,
2. “This is blood money and it is against our law to put it in the temple treasury.”
Narr. After reaching an agreement about it, they used the money to buy Potter’s Field, as a cemetery for foreigners. That is why that field is called “Field of Blood” to this very day. Then what the Prophet Jeremiah had said came true: “They took the thirty silver coins (the amount the people of Israel had agreed to pay for him), and used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” Jesus stood before the governor, who questioned him.
1. “Are you the King of the Jews?”.
Narr. Jesus answered,
Christ. “So you say.”
Narr. He said nothing however, to the accusation of the chief priests and elders. So Pilate said to him,
1. “Don’t you hear all these things they accuse you of?”
Narr. But Jesus refused to answer a single word, so that the Governor was greatly surprised. At every Passover Feast the governor was in the habit of setting free any prisoner the crowd asked for. All that time there was a well-known prisoner name Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them,
1. “Which one do you want me to set free for you, Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus called the Christ?”
Narr. He knew very well that they had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous. When Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message:
5. “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him.”
Narr. The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus put to death. But the Governor asked them.
1. “Which one of these two do you want me to set free for you?”.
Narr. They answered,
Narr. Pilate asked them,
1. “What then shall I do with Jesus called the Christ?”
Narr. They all answered,
Crowd. “Nail him to the Cross!”
Narr. But Pilate asked,
1: “What crime has he committed?”
Narr. Then they started shouting at the top of their voices,
Crowd: “Nail him to the cross!”
Narr. When Pilate saw it was no use to go on, but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said,
1: “I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!”
Narr. The whole crowd answered back.
Crowd: “Let the punishment for his death fall on us and on our children!”
Narr. Then Pilate set Barabbas free for them: he had Jesus whipped and handed him over to be nailed to the cross. Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the Governor’s palace, and the whole company gathered round him. They stripped off his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and put it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand, then they knelt before him and made fun of him. They said,
Crowd: “Long live the King of the Jews.”
Narr. They spat on him, and took the stick and hit him over the head. When they finished making fun of him, they took the robe off him and put his own clothes back on him, and they led him out to nail him to the cross. As they were going out they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. They came to a place called Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” There they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; after tasting it, however, he would not drink it. They nailed him to the cross, and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. After that they sat there and watched him. Above his head they put the written notice of the accusation against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then they nailed two bandits to crosses with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left. People passing by shook their heads and threw insults at Jesus:
Crowd: “You were going to tear down the Temple and build it up in three days! Save yourself if you are God’s Son! Come down from the cross!”
Narr. In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law and the elders made fun of him.
1. “He saved others but he cannot save himself! Isn’t he the King of Israel? If he will come down from the cross now, we will believe in him. He trusts in God and says he is God’s Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!”
Narr. Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way. At noon the whole country was covered with darkness which lasted for three hours. At about three o’clock, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? Which means
Christ. My God, my God, why did you abandon me?
Narr. Some of the people standing there heard him and said,
1. “Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him!”
Narr. Jesus again gave a loud cry, and breathed his last.
(Here kneel, and pause a while, then stand).
Narr. Then the curtain hanging in the temple was split in two, the graves broke open, and many of God’s people who had died were raised to life. They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them. When the army officer and the soldiers with him who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and everything else that happened, they were terrified and said,
2: “He really was the Son of God!”
Narr. There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived, his name was Joseph, and he was also a disciple of Jesus. He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph. So Joseph took and wrapped it in a new linen cloth, and placed it in his own grave, which he had just recently dug out of the rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the grave and went away.
The Eucharist now continues in the usual way. It is suggested that
there is no need for a sermon if the whole of this service is used.
THE THURSDAY OF THE LAST SUPPER COMMONLY CALLED MAUNDY THURSDAY
1. The Eucharist today should be celebrated in the evening.
2. For pastoral reasons it may be celebrated earlier in the day.
3. Earlier in the day, the Eucharist for the blessing of the Holy Oils may be celebrated by the Bishop.
4. According to custom in many parts of Christendom, the ceremony of the feet washing may take place at the evening Eucharist, immediately after the Gospel and Sermon.
5. In some churches there may be a watch of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament following the evening Eucharist. If so, the sacrament is removed from the main altar to the place of Watch after the communion.
6. A Watch of the Passion may be kept at least until midnight, or throughout the night until the Liturgy of Good Friday.
The Eucharist proceeds in the normal way until after the sermon. If there is to be a ceremony of the feet washing, a group of people will have been chosen for this. They will sit in convenient places for the priest to come to them. The priest may be assisted by a server. They will carry a bowl, a towel and a jug of water.
The feet washing may take place in silence; or there may be a suitable hymn or song, such as “A new Commandment I give to you.” The Eucharist then continues in the normal way.
If there is to be a Watch before the Sacrament after the service and also communion of the faithful on Good Friday, then the Priest at the offering will take and consecrate enough breads (and wine) both for this Eucharist and for communion on Good Friday.
After the Communion he will take the Sacrament for use on Good Friday to an altar (unadorned) where a Watch is kept. At the end of the Eucharist the people should remain for the Stripping of the Altar(s). Psalm 22 is sung or said.
All say: They part my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.
1. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I have cried
desperately for help, but it still does not come:
All say: They part my garments among them and upon my vesture they cast lots.
The people leave in silence; except those who are beginning the Watch, if there is to be one.
(In a church or chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved continually,
the priest will either consume the Sacrament at the Maundy Thursday
Eucharist and reserve It again on Easter Sunday, or he will move It
to a safe place in the sacristy after the Maundy Thursday Eucharist
and replace It in the Tabernacle on Easter Sunday morning.)
THE DAY OF THE PASSION AND DEATH OF THE LORD KNOWN AS GOOD FRIDAY
1. The liturgy of Good Friday may take place at any time of the day, though generally it will be in the morning.
2. Morning and Evening Prayer will be said as usual. The Litany may also be said.
3. In some places there will be devotions and preaching centred on “the seven words of Jesus” from the cross. This may take place either in the church or out of doors at prearranged “stations”. The traditional time for this is from 12 noon to 3.00 p.m., though it could take place at some other time.
4. Some congregations may choose to have a “Passion Drama” on this day, or at some time during Holy Week. This should be regarded as an act of devotion and as an act of witness.
5. Opportunity should be given for people to use the Sacrament of Penance after the services on this day, and also at other times during Holy Week, especially on Saturday.
6. It is the custom for mission stations and parishes to be places
of quiet on Good Friday. It is also a day of fasting, and many Christians
will not be having food until after 3 p.m.
The Liturgy of Good Friday is in four parts. In some churches it may be considered desirable to leave out Part 3, or to leave out Parts 2 and 3. The four parts are as follows:
Part 1. The act of Penitence, the Ministry of the Word, and Prayers
of the Church (The first half of the Eucharist) Part 2. The showing
of the cross. Part 3. The Communion (from the Reserved Sacrament).
Part 4. The Foreshadowing of Easter.
The priest and servers enter. A silence is kept as all kneel. A silence of meditation: a silence which is felt and which is creative of the Presence of God.
Then shall be said or sung:
All: Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
Priest: We have a great high Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God; so let us draw near with a true heart and sure faith, and make our confession to our heavenly father.
Here there will be a silence—or the priest will help the congregation to make an examination of social and personal sins. This examination before God could be under the headings of the root sins of pride, envy and jealousy, anger and hate, covetousness, lust, and gluttony.
Priest and people will then make this confession:
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and each other, through our own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in the good things we have not done. For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us all that is past, and help us to serve you in the new life to the glory of your name. Amen.
Priest: Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you and save you from all your sins, make you strong in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Priest The Lord be with you.
Priest Let us pray.
COLLECTS OF THE DAY
THE READINGS AND THE PREACHING THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD
Sit. Old Testament Reading Isaiah 53 v 4-9
A hymn may be sung
Sit. The Epistle Hebrews 10 v 1-25
Stand. The priest says:
Blessed and praised be God our Father, who has so loved us and our world that he sent his only Son into our midst to make us sons with him and heirs to the promise of life everlasting. Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you most solemnly, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Father, we are the harvest yielded by the death of your Son. We see in our world and even richer harvest which is yet to be reaped. As we recall today the passion and death of Jesus Christ, teach us and help us to understand, that in our lives we too must die if your kingdom is to grow on earth, and your love to be made known to all men. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, who is today and everyday your precious gift to us. May your name be blessed on earth, now and for ever. Amen.
The Passion according to John 19 v 1-37 (or plus 38-42)
This may be read in the usual way by the priest or deacon. Or John 18 v 1-19 v 42 may be read in parts as follows. Five readers will be required—Narrator, Christ, 1, 2 and 3. The priest may be the narrator or he may read the words of Christ. Number 3 should be a girl. A group of people will form the crowd, unless the whole congregation is the crowd. The people remain standing.
Narr. After supper, Jesus left with his disciples and went across the brook Kidron. There was a garden in that place, and Jesus and his disciples went in. Judas, the traitor, knew where it was, because many times Jesus had met there with his disciples. So Judas went to the garden, taking with him a group of soldiers and some temple guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees; they were armed and carried lanterns and torches. Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward and said to them
Christ Who is it you are looking for?
Narr. They answered
Crowd Jesus of Nazareth
Narr. He said
Christ I am he
Narr Judas, the traitor, was standing there with them. When Jesus said to them “I am he” they moved back and fell to the ground. Jesus asked them again
Christ Who is it you are looking for
Narr. They said
Crowd Jesus of Nazareth
Narr Jesus said
Christ I have already told you that I am he. If, then, you are looking for me, let these others go.
Narr. He said this so that what he had said might come true: “Not a single one was lost, Father, of all those you gave me”. Simon Peter had a sword; he drew it and struck the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear. The name of the slave was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter.
Christ Put your sword back in its place. Do you think that I will not drink the cup of suffering my Father has given me?
Narr. The group of soldiers with their commanding officer and the Jewish guards arrested Jesus, tied him up, and took him first to Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the High Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was better that one man die for all the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was well known to the High Priest, so he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. Peter stayed outside by the gate. The other disciple, who was well known to the High Priest, went back out, spoke to the girl at the gate and brought Peter inside. The girl at the gate said to Peter.
3. Aren’t you one of the disciples of that man?
Narr. Peter answered No, I am not. It was cold, so the servants and guards had built a charcoal fire and were standing around it, warming themselves. Peter went over and stood with them, warming himself. The High Priest questioned Jesus about his teaching. Jesus answered
Christ I have always spoken publicly to everyone; all my teaching was done in the meeting houses and in the Temple, where the Jews come together. I never said anything in secret. Why, then do you question me? Question the people who heard me. Ask them what I told them—they know what I said.
Narr. When Jesus said this, one of the guards there slapped him and said
2. How dare you talk like this to the High Priest.
Narr. Jesus answered him
Christ If I have said something wrong, tell everyone here what it was. But if I am right in what I have said, why do you hit me?
Narr. So Annas sent him, still tied up, to Caiaphas the High Priest. Peter was still standing there, keeping himself warm. So the others said to him
2. Aren’t you one of the disciples of that man?
Narr. But Peter denied it. No I am not. One of the High Priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, spoke up
2. Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?
Narr. Again Peter said No. And at once a rooster crowed. They took Jesus from Caiaphas’ house to the Governor’s palace. It was early in the morning. The Jews did not go inside the palace, because they wanted to keep themselves ritually clean, in order to be able to eat the Passover meal. So Pilate went outside to meet them and said
1. What do you accuse this man of?
Narr. Their answer was
2. We would not have brought him to you if he had not committed a crime.
Narr. Pilate said to them
1. You yourselves take him and try him according to your own law.
Narr. The Jews replied
2. We are not allowed to put anyone to death.
Narr. This happened to make come true what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he would die. Pilate went back into the palace and called Jesus. He asked him
1. Are you the king of the Jews?
Narr. Jesus answered
Christ Does this question come from you or have others told you about me?
Narr. Pilate replied
1. Do you think I am a Jew? It was your own people and their chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done?
Narr. Jesus said
Christ My kingdom does not belong to this world; if my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. No, my kingdom does not belong here.
Narr. So Pilate asked him
1. Are you a king, then?
Christ You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me.
Narr. Pilate asked
1. And what is truth?
Narr. Then Pilate went back outside to the Jews and said to them
1. I can not find any reason to condemn him. But according to the custom you have, I have always set free a prisoner for you during the Passover. Do you want me to set the King of the Jews free for you?
Narr. They answered him with a shout
Crowd No, not him. We want Barabbas.
Narr. Barabbas was a bandit. Then Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head; they put a purple robe on him, and came to him and said,
Crowd Long live the King of the Jews.
Narr. And they went up and slapped him. Pilate went back once more and said to the crowd
1. Look: Here is the man.
Narr. When the chief priests and guards saw him they shouted
Crowd Nail him to the cross! Nail him to the cross!
Narr. Pilate said to them
1. You take him, then, and nail him to the cross. I find no reason to condemn him.
Narr. The Jews answered back
Crowd We have a law that says he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.
Narr. When Pilate heard them say this, he was even more afraid, He went back into the palace and said to Jesus
1. Where do you come from?
Narr. But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate said to him
1. You will not speak to me? Remember I have the authority to have you nailed to the cross.
Narr. Jesus answered
Christ You have authority over me only because it was given you by God. So the man who handed me over to you is guilty of a worse sin.
Narr. When Pilate heard this, he was all the more anxious to set him free. But the Jews shouted back
Crowd If you set him free that means that you are not Caesar’s friend! Anyone who claims to be a king is the Emperor’s enemy!
Narr. When Pilate heard these words, he took Jesus outside and sat down on the Judge’s seat in the place called “the Stone Pavement” (in the Hebrew, the name is Gabbatha) It was then almost noon of the day before the passover. Pilate said to the Jews
1. Here is your King!
Narr. They shouted back
Crowd Kill him! Kill him! Nail him to the cross!
Narr. Pilate asked them
1. Do you want me to nail your king to the cross?
Narr. The chief priests answered
Crowd The only king we have is the Emperor!
Narr. Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be nailed to the cross. So they took charge of Jesus. He went out, carrying his own cross, and came to the “Place of the Skull” as it was called. (In Hebrew, it was called ‘Golgotha’) There they nailed him to the cross; they also nailed there two other men to crosses, one on each side, with Jesus between them. Pilate wrote a notice and had put it on the cross. “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” is what he wrote. Many Jews read this, because the place where Jesus was nailed to the cross was not far off from the city. The notice was written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The Jewish chief priests said to Pilate.
2. Do not write “The King of the Jews” but rather “This man said, ‘I am the King of the Jews”
Narr. Pilate answered
1. What I have written stays written!
Narr. After the soldiers had nailed Jesus to the cross, they took his clothes and divided them in four parts, one part for each soldier. They also took the robe, which was made of one piece of woven cloth, without any seams in it. The soldiers said to each other, “Let us not tear it; let us draw lots to see who will get it”. This happened to make the scripture come true. “They divided my clothes among themselves; they drew lots for my robe”. So the soldiers did this. Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother
Christ Woman, here is your son.
Narr. Then he said to the disciple
Christ Here is your mother.
Narr. And from that time the disciple took her to live in his house. Jesus knew by now everything had been completed and in order to make the scripture come true, he said
Christ. I am thirsty.
Narr. A bowl was there, full of cheap wine and they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a branch of hyssop, and lifted it up to his lips. Jesus took the wine and said:
Christ. It is finished!
Narr. Then he bowed his head and died.
(Kneel for silent prayer, and after a pause STAND)
Then the Jews asked Pilate to allow them to break the legs of the men who had been put to death, and take them down from the crosses. They did this because it was Friday, and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses on the Sabbath day, since the coming Sabbath was especially holy. So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and then of the other man who had been put to death with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus they saw that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, plunged his spear into Jesus’ side, and at once blood and water poured out. The one who saw this happen has spoken of it. We know that he spoke the truth, so that you also may believe. This was done to make the scriptures come true: “Not one of his bones will be broken”. And there is another scripture that says, “People will look at him whom they pierced”. After, Joseph, who was from the town of Arimathea, asked Pilate if he could take Jesus’ body. (Joseph was a follower of Jesus, but in secret, because he was afraid of the Jews). Pilate told him he could have the body, so Joseph went and took it away. Nicodemus who had first gone to Jesus at night, went with Joseph, taking with him about one hundred pounds of spices, a mixture of myrrh and aloes. The two men took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloths with spices; for that is how the Jews prepare a body for burial. There was a garden in the place where Jesus had been put to death, and in it there was a new tomb where no one had ever laid. Since it was the day before the Jewish Sabbath, and because the tomb was close by, they laid Jesus there.
Then comes the sermon. After the sermon a hymn may be sung.
THE PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
Reader: Let us pray:
Reader: Father, you have promised to hear the prayers of those who ask
in faith; we pray for all our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout
the world, and that your whole Church may grow in unity and love,
Reader: We pray for this diocese—For our bishops (N . . . . .
); for all our priests and deacons; for church councillors and lay workers;
for all men and women who have taken up the cross in the religious life;
and for all who have preach the Cross of Christ today by word and action.
Reader: We pray for all your people, for husbands and wives, parents
and children, for the young and the old.
Reader: We pray for peace and justice throughout the world; for the
leaders of all nations; and especially for the leaders of this nation.
Reader: We pray for those who at this time are approaching faith in
Jesus Christ, for those preparing for the sacraments of baptism and confirmation.
Reader: We pray that you may give healing and comfort to all who are
sick or suffering worried or frightened hungry or lonely and that you
may bless all who serve them.
Reader: Finally we pray this day
(If Part 2 and Part 3 are being left out, the service should conclude
with Part 4)
PART 2. THE SHOWING OF THE CROSS
A hymn may be sung.
The congregation remains standing. The priest, or another minister, bears the cross through the church, pausing three times: (1) inside the door, (2) in the middle of the nave, (3) within the sanctuary. At each pause he says:
Christ’s Cross of agony and shame
When the cross has been placed in the sanctuary for all to see the people sit or kneel for a time of meditation.
The priest will say these words phrase by phrase. The people repeat them.
We worship you, Lord, in your cross and passion.
God be merciful to us and bless us, look on us with kindness,
We worship you, Lord,
A suitable hymn may be sung, such as, “When I survey the wondrous cross”.
(If the people are to be invited to make an act of reverence to the cross, the meaning of this should be explained by the priest)
(If Part 3 is being left out, turn to Part 4)
PART 3. COMMUNION FROM THE RESERVED SACRAMENT
The Priest brings the Reserved Sacrament to the altar from the place where the watch has been kept. The people kneel. The priest says:
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life. Let us decide firmly to keep God’s commandment and to live in love and peace with all men.
Priest and people say:—
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; Have mercy on us.
The Priest says:
Come with faith, take the Body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which was given for you and his Blood which was shed for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.
The Priest receives the Sacrament and then gives it to the people.
Then he cleans the sacred vessels, after which he continues with Part
PART 4. THE FORESHADOWING OF EASTER
Priest: As our Saviour Christ has commanded and taught us, we say,
All: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
The people stand
The priest, or another person, reads:
Luke 24: 13-26: (The Walk to Emmaus)
Then the Priest ends the Liturgy with this prayer:
Father, our hearts are heavy as we look on the death of your Son. Yet sadness has given way to joy, and death has produced the promise of new life. Our hope is in this: That Jesus Christ who has died, has risen from the dead, and calls on all who would follow him, to share his eternal life.
May we who have walked with him in his hour of sorrow, be united with him in his victory and in his glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Go in peace and serve the Lord. Amen.
All leave the church in silence.
THE EASTER VIGIL
This Rite or Service is in seven parts. It is best if the whole service is used as printed. But this may not always be practicable. The seven parts are:—
1. The Blessing of the Fire and Easter Candle
Part 1 could be used alone at Evensong on Easter Eve. On the other hand, a special service on Saturday night may be required, with the celebration of the Easter Eucharist taking place on the next morning. If so, use Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 7.
If the whole service is used (all seven parts together) it should
begin during the hours of darkness. It may then be necessary for pastoral
reasons to have second and third celebrations of the Eucharist at later
times on Easter Sunday.
PART 1. THE BLESSING OF THE FIRE AND EASTER CANDLE
Only a little light should be used.
The people may gather outside the church.
PRIEST: On this holy night (day), when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church encourages her members throughout the world to come together in vigil and prayer.
We recall his death and resurrection, by hearing his word and celebrating
his mysteries, and we may be sure that we shall share his victory over
death and live with him for ever in God.
THE FIRE IS BLESSED
PRIEST: Almighty God, you sent your Son to be the light of the world and to bring to your people the brightness of your glory. Bless this new fire, and set us alight with the fire of your love, that with pure hearts and minds we may come to the feast of everlasting light, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Priest cuts a cross on the Paschal Candle, marking the Greek letters Alpha and Omega and the four numbers of the current year. He says
(1) Christ yesterday and today (2) the beginning and the end (3) Alpha (4) and Omega (5) all times belongs to him (6) and all the ages (7) to him be glory and power (8) through every age and for ever. Amen.
Then the Priest says
(1) By his holy (2) and glorious wounds (3) may Christ the Lord (4) guard us (5) and keep us. Amen.
(Nails with grains of incense may be put in.) The Priest lights the Candle from the New Fire, saying:
May the light of Christ, rising in glory, blot out the darkness of our
hearts and minds.
THE CANDLE IS CARRIED THROUGH THE CHURCH BY THE DEACON OR A SERVER. HE PAUSES THREE TIMES, AT THE DOOR, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NAVE, AND FINALLY WITHIN THE SANCTUARY.
THE PRIEST, SERVERS AND PEOPLE, IN TURN LIGHT THEIR CANDLES. THIS ACTION WILL BE LEFT OUT IF CANDLES CAN NOT BE SUPPLIED.
At each pause is sung (or said)
The light of Christ
When all are in their places, the Candle is placed in its stand.
The Deacon, or the Priest, sings (or reads)
Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, and let your trumpets shout salvation for the victory of our mighty King. Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth, bright with a glorious splendour, for darkness has been blotted out by our eternal King.
Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church, and let your holy courts in radiant light resound with the praises of your people.
The Lord be with you.
It is not only right, it is our duty and our joy, always and everywhere, with our whole heart and mind and voice, to praise you, the unseen, almighty and eternal God, and your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ:
For he is the true Paschal Lamb, who at the Feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of sin, and delivered by his blood your faithful people.
This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land. This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the shade of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life. This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave.
How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son. How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord. How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined, and man is reconciled to God: Holy Father, accept our celebration, and the offering of this candle in your honour. May it shine continually to drive away all darkness. May Christ the Morning Star who knows no setting, find it ever burning—he who gives his light to all creation.
We pray you Lord to direct, sanctify and govern us your servants, and all your faithful family, with your continual grace: that we may pass our time in peace and gladness, in the festival of our redemption. Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
If the people have candles these are now put out. A minimum of electric
or kerosene light is used.
PART 2. THE OLD TESTAMENT READINGS
The people sit for the Lessons and stand for the prayer which follows each lesson. It is best if the Lessons are read by various readers.
The Priest first says: Brethren, we have begun our holy vigil. Let us listen carefully to the Word of God recalling how he saved his people throughout history, and in the fullness of time, sent his own Son to be our Redeemer.
(Sit) The first reading from the Book of Genesis Chapter 1 verse 1 and verses 26-31. “God made us”
(Stand) PRIEST: Let us pray
God in a wonderful way you have made us, and still more wonderfully you have saved us from our sins. Give us grace to live in the image of God all our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Sit) The second reading from the Book of Exodus Chapter 14 verse 15 to chapter 15 verse 1. “God saves Israel at the Red Sea”
(Stand) PRIEST: Let us pray
God you saved your people Israel from slavery in Egypt, we thank you that now you have more wonderfully saved all mankind through the power of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Sit) The third reading from the Book of Isaiah Chapter 55 verses 3-11. “God calls His people to return to Him”
(Stand) PRIEST: Let us pray
God, your people continually have turned away from you, yet you always show them mercy; Grant that we repenting of our many sins, may know the power of your forgiveness. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The fourth reading from the Prophet Ezekiel Chapter 36 verses 24-28. “God promises forgiveness and new life”
(Stand) PRIEST: Let us pray
God, you have now most wonderfully written your new covenant in our hearts in the Blood of your Son. Grant that in the power of his Resurrection we may go from strength to strength until we come to your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
The altar candles are now lit. Other lights in the church are also put on.
(If the Eucharist is not celebrated now, but later, turn to part
PART 3. THE FIRST HALF OF THE EUCHARIST
The priest begins the Eucharist with the Gloria. After the Epistle the Easter Anthems may be sung or said.
Our Passover feast is ready, now that Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.
Let us celebrate our feast, then, not with bread having the old yeast, the yeast of sin and wickedness, but with the bread that has no yeast, the bread of purity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:7-8)
For we know that Christ has been raised from death and will never die again—death has no more power over him. The death he died was death to sin, once and for all; and the life he now lives is life to God. In the same way you are to think of yourselves as dead to sin but alive to God in union with Christ Jesus. (Rom. 6:9-11)
Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised. For just as death came by means of a man, in the same way the rising of death comes by means of a man. For just as all men die because of their union to Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union to Christ. (1 Cor. 15:20-22)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
PART 4. THE BLESSING OF THE FONT
(This takes place after the sermon if one is preached.)
A hymn may be sung as the priest and servers move towards the font, which is now to be blessed. If it is convenient, then the people may gather round.
If there is to be a baptism it will take place now. The Baptism service will replace Parts 4 and 5 as printed here. The Priest says:
We thank you, heavenly Father, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children out of the bondage of Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the Baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ who would lead us by his death and resurrection from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.
We thank you heavenly Father, for the water of baptism, in which we are buried with Christ in his death that we may share in his resurrection, and through which we are renewed by the Holy Spirit. In joyful obedience, therefore, to your Son, we make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Now sanctify + this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are cleansed from sin may be born again, and continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
To Him, to you, and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
The Priest asks the people to repeat after him these words:
Springs of water, bless the Lord.
PART 5. THE RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL PROMISES
The Priest and people shall reaffirm their baptismal promises. (Lighted candles may be held by all) The Priest shall say:
As we celebrate again the raising of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and so join ourselves to the triumph of life over death, let us remember that in our Baptism we were united to him both in his death and resurrection. Let us therefore again affirm the promises of the new and risen life which we made at our Baptism. I ask
Do you turn to Christ?
Priest: Do you repent of your sin?
Priest: Do you reject Satan and all his works?
Priest: Let us Proclaim the Christian Faith in to which we were baptised. I ask you to join me in saying Apostles’ Creed.
ALL: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Priest: Do you promise to obey God’s will and commandment?
Priest: Heavenly Father you have given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit. May all your people live as those who being dead to sin, are partakers of risen power and glory of Jesus Christ your only Son our Lord. Amen.
The Priest and servers return to the sanctuary and the people to
their places. A joyful Easter hymn or song may be sung: or there may
be other suitable music and dancing. (If the Eucharist is not celebrated
now, but later, go to Part 7)
PART 6 THE EUCHARIST CONTINUED
The Eucharist continues with the Prayers of the Church the Intercession.
PART 7 CONCLUSION
If the Eucharist is not going to be celebrated now, but later, the service will conclude as follows. People remain standing.
Priest: As our Saviour Christ has commanded and taught us, we say,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Priest: Come, Lord Jesus, at the dawn of the day and make yourself known to us in the breaking of the bread: for you are our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Then the Priest says: Say after me in a loud voice—
The Lord is risen, Alleluia!
(Music while the Priest and servers go out)
CONCLUSION OF THE EUCHARIST
Priest: Go in peace, alleluia;
(Note:—The Easter Candle should be lit at all celebrations
of the Eucharist, and at any other service when altar candles are lit,
until the Eucharist on Ascension Day. After the Eucharist on Ascension
Day the candle will either be put away, or be put near the font, if
convenient, where it will remain until next Lent. If it is put near
the font it should be lit at all baptisms throughout the year. Candles
at baptisms should be lit from the Easter Candle.)
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