Archive for April, 2010

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John 21:1-11

Fish From the Other Side of the Boat


1.  Way In

Did the gospel reading sound familiar today?

Ought to, same one I read last week

Usually I move ahead, or at least move on from week-to- week

Well, it’s different this week

Stay with Jesus and the disciples one more day

At the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee)

One day last week, Kazy and I were talking about last weeks’ reading  from John

That’s how we roll,  we’re a clergy couple

We talk about stuff like that at home

You know better than to think that’s all we talk about

but it comes up

Gospel reading reminds me of something I heard somebody tell in the church kitchen one Wednesday night

A girl was learning recipe for baked ham from her mother

“first thing you do, cut about this much off of the end of the ham”

Why do you do that, Mom?

You just do

that’s the way I learned from my mother

just makes the ham better, cooks better. that’s why

the lesson was over, but the girl was still not satisfied with the answer

she was young

fortunate to have her grandmother and great-grandmother still living

went to her grandmother

told her about the ham-baking lesson

asked about cutting the end off

“well you know, honey.  That’s just how we do it.”

it makes the ham taste better

didn’t you like it?

well, see?

besides that’s how my mother taught me to do it

Soon after that, my friend paid a visit to her great-grandmother


didn’t do much cooking any more

my friend told her great-grandmother about the ham-baking lesson

“Isn’t that a delicious recipe, child?”

“Yes”, but asked her about cutting the end off of the ham

Said, “That’s just the way I always did it.”

kind of the fatty end, “the tail” anyway

besides I had a wonderful baking pan in those days

pan was seasoned just right

nice lid, closed tight, kept the ham juicy when it cooked

good handles, etc.

one problem, the baking pan was a little small

just a little shorter than most of the hams from the butcher’s

had to cut the end off of the ham so it fit in that baking pan

then it was just a habit that stayed with me

“Cutting the end off of the ham”

doing it the same old way – just because “that’s the way we do it.”

You’ve heard the saying

If you keep on doing what you’ve always done –

You’ll always get what you always got

2.  Tell the Story

We did this last week, and you just heard it again

Still…remember what was going on here

Another post-resurrection encounter with Jesus

Reading begins, “after this”

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early on the 1st day of the week

She met  the risen Lord there

Later that day Jesus appeared to some of the disciples

in  the locked upper room

a week later, Jesus appeared to the 12 in the same room

“After these things”

Jesus appeared to his disciples at Lake Tiberias (Galilee)

Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, sons of Zebedee (John and James), and 2 others

Disciples had gone fishing

As we said last week, the disciples had gone back to fishing

Back to their old ways of life

What they were doing before they met Jesus

And he called them to follow him

Anyway, you remember how they had been out fishing all night

Caught nothing

At daybreak, Jesus stood at the water’s edge

The disciples didn’t know it was Jesus

Jesus “You didn’t catch anything, did you?”

“Throw your net out of the right side of the boat and you will catch fish”

They did like Jesus said

Caught so many they could hardly pull the net in

The disciples came ashore

John recognized Jesus and told Peter

Peter jumped in the water and swam/waded to the shore

Other disciples came ashore with the net of fish

Jesus, “Bring me some of the fish you caught”

Peter brought the net

153 big fish

Even though there were so many, the net did not tear

3.  So What?

We have studied John a lot since Easter Sunday

Last week

The importance of the disciples remembering Jesus

Not going back to how they were before

Before that, the end of Chapt. 20

John writes to his readers (you and me)

“these things are written down so that …

you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God

and that through faith in him you may have life

That’s why the author of John’s gospel went to the trouble of writing these things down

So we will know – and believe in Jesus – have faith

And through that faith – we will have life – Life

This life is new life – and we must not remain the same

Jesus lived – died – raised – ascended to heaven – and prepared his followers …

For new life in him

Things will never be the same

Captives are freed

People who were sick are healed

Despair can be turned into hope

Life comes with death

but death is not the final word

I don’t know about you, but that’s why I want to worship God

I don’t worship – or preach – for my amusement

I don’t show up here on Sunday just because y’all pay me to

or to make you feel good

I am here because …

God so loved the world

that he gave his only Son, Jesus Christ

for us – that we may have life

and because of that, we are called to worship God

and give thanks for the living of Jesus Christ

and I was called as a minster to lead God’s people in worship

And the living God deserves the best we have to offer

Now there are some fine traditions that deserve holding on to

But God deserves our best efforts

Offering the same old thing in the same old way

isn’t always the best way

in fact, is “same old, same old” ever the best?

Most of the disciples, especially these 7, were fishermen

Before Jesus got hold of them, they were professional fishermen

Like many of my friends on the east end of Long Island

Like Jarvie and Brad: generations of fishermen in their families

Neighborhoods of fishermen all over the area known as Bonac

Amagansett, Sagaponack, Sag Harbor, and Montauk, too

My friends know those waters on the east end like the know their own names … maybe even better than that

And the disciples were the same

these disciples knew:

of the Sea of Galilee/Tiberias/Genassaret the same way

they knew the shoreline

… where the water ran deep

… where the Jordan River flowed in and where it flowed out

… how the storms came up quickly

They knew all about boats and nets

And they knew about the fish they caught

There probably wasn’t anything they didn’t know about fishing in that lake

Jesus called them to something new

Fishing wasn’t going to be the same

Jesus meant to make them “fishers of men”

I know…we mean “all people” here

But “fishers of people” feels awkward – you know what I mean

And to do that, they had to “fish” different

Fish out of the other side of the boat

Guys, you’re not going to be doing like you always did

You’ve got to change

That old stuff isn’t going to work anymore

Jesus told them to fish out of the other side of the boat

When they did, they caught so many fish, their nets were groaning

John says they caught 153 fish

One commentator says that the known species of fish in that area were 153

I can’t verify that, scientifically

but it makes a good point

when the disciples fished Jesus’ way

they caught the number of every kind of fish known

and when he made them “fishers of men” …

the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles show us that …

the disciples and other followers drew in all kinds of people

Jews, Gentiles, Romans, Greeks

men, women

tax collectors, prostitutes, working people, slaves, former slaves

all kinds of people, even sinners like me and you

they were professional fishermen

but when they followed Jesus

and fished out of the other side of the boat

they did well

After Peter’s first sermon at Pentecost

3,000 people got baptized into the body of Christ

now that’s a catch

Fish out of the other side of the boat – what you used to do won’t work anymore

It’s still like that in the church

We have to question every tradition we have

Maybe it’s a fine way to do it – maybe it served us well in the past

but is it still the best way?

Like the way we worship

it’s comfortable, it’s what we’re used to

but is still the best way?

what if we changed everything?

the Word of God is permanent

but what about this pulpit, or those pews

or our habit of sitting in a semicircle

watching the preacher and the choir do church

is it still the best way?

Today, I’m not sure what all this means

And I surely don’t have all the answers

But I’m pretty sure I have the question:

Is it still the best way?

What difference is it making for the sake of Jesus Christ?

Because if it doesn’t make any difference for the sake of Jesus, it doesn’t matter

if it doesn’t build up the Body of Christ, it doesn’t matter

if it makes us feel good, but doesn’t promote the gospel

… it doesn’t matter

That’s why we have to start fishing out of the other side of the boat

Question everything we do

Because it really doesn’t matter how we used to do it

Especially when we can look around and see that it is not making any difference

Where do we start?

Ask questions everywhere

When we’re making plans, or dreaming…

Stop spending time trying to remember how we did it last year

…last Easter, last Christmas

Especially when that way didn’t make any difference for the sake of Jesus Christ

That’s why we have been doing session meetings differently

This is the one time the called and elected leaders of the church are together at the table

And God deserves better than for us to sit around the table and read committee reports to each other

Because that’s not working

Reports are made to record what’s been done

and that’s the business of committees and working groups

I see the officers as the “brain trust”

the ones who are called and elected as the leaders

but not the ones expected to do everything

I want to hear from people how we can make a difference for the sake of Jesus Christ

otherwise, we’re the same as the Lions Club or the Rotary

except we come here on Sunday

to hear a speaker and sing pretty music

So I’m pushing the session and all officers to grow as leaders – each one of us, included the pastor

If we don’t get some fire under us, it’s not going to work

If we don’t stop waiting for somebody else to start something – everything’s going to stop

And if you’re waiting for paid staff, or installed officers to do everything

you’re not going to be part of much of anything

because church membership means doing the mission of the church – for the sake of Jesus Christ

this is a room full of fine Christian people

Y’all are beautiful, and there’s something good about this church family

And there’s not a one of you who doesn’t love the Lord

But that’s not enough

If this family wants to be the church

The family has to start fishing out of the other side of the boat

And unless somebody has a better idea, I recommend that starts with a question because I don’t have all the answers

When making any decision

Don’t worry about remembering how we used to do it

…as if that’s the only way to get it right

Ask, “What is the best way to do this for the sake of Jesus Christ.”

That’s how we start fishing out of the other side of the boat

otherwise, we’re always going to get what we always got

And so let it not be that way for us anymore. Amen

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John 21:1-19


Way In

Business as usual/”Back to Your Homes and Places of Business”


Mayberry, Deputy Barney Fife

after the big crime scene’s over

“Back to your homes and places of business”


Jesus spent three years training his disciples

showing them by example

healing, teaching, building up the kingdom of God

showing hospitality to strangers

welcoming “the other”

Taught them particularly about the end of his earthly ministry

that he would be handed over

and suffer brutal punishment, then execution

that he would die

and on the 3rd day, God would raise him up

They followed him right along

bickering occasionally, but remaining faithful to their calling – to follow Jesus and to learn from his as his disciples, the ones sent to witness and minister in his name

they swore their fidelity to him,

and when Jesus made the unhappy announcement at the Last Supper that they would all desert him …

Peter said, “Lord, even though everybody else becomes deserters, I will not!”

Peter saying, I’m with you Lord, no matter what

Then Jesus went on with Peter saying,

“and you, on this very night, you will deny me 3 times before dawn.”

Peter vowed, “Never!  Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.”

and the others all said the same

But when it came right down to it …

they couldn’t even wait up with him

after what was to be their Last Supper together

Jesus asked the disciples to come to the garden with him while he prayed

they did, but the ones who promised to stay with him even if it killed them …

just fell asleep

and Peter, did just as Jesus said

three times in one night …

that night even …

three times he denied knowing Jesus

just like Jesus said he would

Then on the third day after he was killed …

just like Jesus said … he was raised from the tomb

the same day we gathered for worship and heard the story

when the women went to the tomb to anoint his body, they found he was gone

Why had they come to look for the living among the dead?

then when the women went to tell the other disciples …

the ones who were hiding behind locked doors because they feared the same mob who got Jesus would come after them …

Weren’t these the same ones who promised to stick with him no matter what?

how did they receive the good news that the tomb was empty (just like Jesus said)?

well, as we heard last week…they didn’t

they blew off the news as just an idle tale

but after this, Jesus himself came among them

he came into the room where they were locked away

came through their locked doors with a word of comfort and peace

when they saw him standing there

and even Thomas was convinced after a second visit

then they all swore up and down that this was Jesus, the risen Lord among them

Now the disciples …

… after 3 years of training

… after witnessing the prophecies Jesus made come out just like he said

… after seeing the risen Lord

the 12, the apostles (now called so because they had seen the risen Lord)

including Peter, the rock upon whom Jesus would build the church

Jesus’ “main men”

the ones who would be the evangelists to bring the good news to the world …

… What did they do?

according to John’s gospel …

Peter, the rock, said …

“Well, I don’t know about y’all, but I’m going fishing.”

and everybody else said, “We’ll go with you.”

That’s right, after all of this, it was back to business as usual

Tell the Story

Gospel says they fished all night and didn’t catch anything

Jesus appeared to them again, but they didn’t recognize him at first

this time he was standing on the shore calling out to them

“You didn’t catch any fish, did you?”

“No,” the disciples answered

Jesus: “Try fishing on the other side of the boat, you’ll catch some fish over there”

Don’t you just love this scene?

Can’t you just imagine going out fishing all night with your buddies

sitting out in the boat all night long

you’ve taken some of your friends out to your favorite spot

the one you’ve been bragging about

where you caught all those fish

and sent your picture in to the paper

now you’ve sat there all night long drifting along in your best spot without  getting even a bite

then at dawn some guy comes out the beach and starts hollering at you

doesn’t even ask if you’re catching anything

he says, “Y’all didn’t catch anything, did you?”

so you answer, “Yea, that’s right.  Nothing.”

“So try the other side of the boat.”

[have some fun with this]

But when they do fish from the other side of the boat

they haul in so many fish

their nets can barely hold up to the weight

so many fish, the boat can’t even hold them all

Peter recognized him first

he jumped in the water naked

unusual for us, but not for that day

and swam ashore

and the rest of them followed in the boat

Jesus met them on the beach

where he had built a small fire

“Come and eat”

he gave them some fish to eat, and some bread

Then Jesus asked Simon, “Do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord.  You know I do.”

“Then feed my lambs.”

A second time Jesus asked, “Simon do you love me?

“Yes, Lord. You know that I do.”

“Then tend my sheep.”

Then a 3rd time Jesus asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

and a 3rd time Simon-Peter answered, “Lord, you know everything, you know I love you.”

“Feed my sheep.”

“Now, follow me.”

So What?

The disciples weren’t perfect.  We know that.

they were doubtful, prone to argue among themselves

sometimes they preferred to nap or just hang out, and they were often slow to learn

And today we find them

at their crowning moment (or what could have been)

they had heard the good news of the empty tomb

and they had seen the risen Lord, and they heard him speak

yet so soon after, they went back to “business as usual.”

Jesus had called them to great works

done all he could do to prepare them for their work as disciples

but after he was dead, even dead and risen …

they went back to their old jobs

Look at these three things that happened, though

Peter was the first one to recognize him

the first one to notice Jesus as they sat in the boat

when all they had to show for a long night of fishing

were empty nets, and empty bait wells

he jumped overboard and swam to shore

passing through the water, and coming to Jesus

Jesus fed them

reminding them that their job was to tend the flock

Jesus said, “Follow me.”

Three things for us

Like Peter who recognized Jesus, then went to him through the water

so do we…

profess our faith in Jesus, recognizing him, and calling on him

then we are baptized in water, marked as his own

Like the disciples who shared the meal Jesus prepared

perhaps with the words Jesus spoke to them at their previous meal together as he broke the bread for them

so do we share the meal Jesus has prepared for us

the eucharist, the thanksgiving

the meal that reminds us of Jesus, broken and poured out for us, until he comes again … and come again he will [can they say this with me?]

And like the disciples, we are commissioned to tend the flock

to take up the ministry Jesus started

caring for others, and inviting others in to build up the body of Christ

These are the ways to do as Jesus bids, to “Follow me.”

To affirm our faith by baptism, being marked as Jesus’ own

To receive the eucharist

the feast Jesus prepares

where we are encouraged, and reminded of our mission

Then to put faith into action … following Jesus to “tend the flock”

This is why we have the sacraments – visible signs of invisible grace – because we tend to fall back to “business as usual”.

Baptism – as we celebrated last week with Jenny and Santiago, and their son, Caleb

a celebration for the family of the ones being baptized

and a reminder for the ones who witness

that God has claimed us in Jesus name as his own – as sheep of the flock

The Lord’s Supper, or eucharist (thanksgiving)

the meal reminding us of Jesus, broken and poured out that we may have life and have it abundantly

and Mission – or sending, is our response to the grace of God we see in Jesus

without this, our faith would be empty

it would be like witnessing the risen Lord, then just going fishing

Yet Jesus has prepared us for this work

taught us as he taught the disciples

to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and build up the Body of Christ

This is how we “tend the flock.”

How are we doing?  How am I doing?  How are you doing?

These are the questions ever before us

Do you love me?

Lord you know I do

Feed my sheep.  Follow me

Jesus has taught and equipped us to ‘go and do likewise.’

So may it be with us.  Amen

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John 20:19-31


1.  Way In

There’s a lot to celebrate today

The glorious good news of Easter

The Lord is risen. He is risen, indeed.

Easter and the season of Easter; traditional time for celebrating baptisms

early church, Easter was when confirmands joined the church

usually baptized

we shared the gift of baptizing Caleb

We are grateful to Jenny and Santiago for sharing this moment with us

as they make promises of commitment for God’s most precious gift of life in faith

Mostly celebrating new life in Jesus Christ

Lent prepared us for the celebration

penitential service on Ash Wednesday

marked with ashes, yet assured of God’s reconciling love in Jesus Christ

guided us to contemplative preparation

Palm Sunday

we greeted and followed the Messiah into Jerusalem

offering our prayers even as he prepared for last days

Holy Week

kept the vigil of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday

glorious Day of Resurrection

proclaiming since the rising of the sun

The Lord is risen

“He is not here.  He is not dead in the tomb, he has risen.

Why do you come to look for the living among the dead.”

He is risen, indeed.


Today’s reading (John’s gospel) is still on the first day

1st day of the week, Sunday, the day Jesus rose

in the evening

When Jesus comes to the disciples

with a word of peace

and a presence of reassurance

Even as they have locked themselves away in fear

Jesus does not break them down for their fear

He does not criticize Thomas for his doubt

Jesus has come to build up the disciples

they are afraid, grieving, intensely sad –

wondering how they are going to get along

Remember the words Jesus says to the disciples

and remember the reason the gospel-writer

(the good news-writer) gives

for putting these words down…

that through believing you may have life in his name.’

<note the photo>

2.  Tell the Story

Jesus comes to the house where the disciples are

Sunday (Easter) evening

Disciples are inside with the doors locked

afraid the ones who executed Jesus may be after them next

the crowd that turned viciously on Jesus

could come after the disciples next –

they knew who they were, just ask Peter

then Jesus came into the room

came through the locked door, really through the door

stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus showed the disciples his hands and side

then the disciples rejoiced

Jesus said…

“Peace be with you,

…as the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Breathed on them with the Holy Spirit

“Receive this gift and be forgiving as I have shown you …

if you forgive they are forgiven

if you retain , they are retained”

Thomas doubted

Di,dumoj (“the Twin” in Greek)

he wasn’t there when Jesus came

and when the others told him they had seen the Lord he said

“unless I see the mark on his hands and put my hand in his side, I will not believe”

The next week they were all in the house again

this time Thomas was there

and Jesus came in again

through the locked door again

bringing a word of peace again

to them in troubled days

saying, “Peace be with you”

Jesus knew that Thomas was looking for evidence

although Thomas didn’t tell him

Jesus said to Thomas …

“Put your finger here (in the hole in my hand) …

and see my hands …

 reach out and put your hand in here (the hole in my side) …”

“Do not doubt but believe”

Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God.”

first, most concise affirmation of faith


“Have you believed because you have seen me?

Blessed are those who have not seen …

but have come to believe anyway.”

Conclusion (John’s editorial)

Jesus did many other signs

not all of them are in this book

but the things that are written here …

are written so that you may come to believe

that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God

and that through believing …

you may have life in his name

3.  So What?

this message

that you may have life in the Lord who pours himself out for you

contrast to other false messiahs

Branch Davidians (David Koresh), Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate

believable to some, but the pouring out part isn’t there

that is, we don’t see the leader pouring themselves out for others

that you may have life in the Lord who has broken the bonds of death

shows that for us death is not the last word

even on our darkest, saddest day

Jesus comes among us with a word of comfort and peace

you have known this, I hope

you can recall times of intense sadness and grief

maybe over the loss of a loved one

maybe disappointment, broken dream

can you remember the way you got through it?

how you got going again?

how you picked up the pieces and carried on?

were there people who came around you?

family, friends – maybe unexpected ones – who …

sat with you

shared your pain

helped you bear your burden

on this day in the gospel reading

Sunday – the disciples are locked away in their sadness and fear

darkest three days for them

Friday – the day of their Lord’s execution

Saturday – the day he lay dead in the tomb

Sunday – for most of them,

another day of mourning

…. and of hearing wild tales about a resurrection

until Jesus came among them

bringing a presence of comfort

and a word of peace

that you may have life in the Lord

Life in the Lord

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”  (John 10:10)

He didn’t say

hide away in fear until I come back

suffer through the rest of your days, looking forward to heaven

this world is not your home

Jesus didn’t die to increase our suffering

It is in this great outpouring of love that we know God’s love

And it is in his living that we have life – abundant life

“Wall Exercise”    (deliver from the floor)

Think of the south wall as the day you were born (9/28/59)

A fixed point

The north wall is the day you will die (sorry, but it’s there)

Unknown date

I’ll make up a date

mother was 67 grandmother was 95, avg. 81


The space between is my life

what’s on this side is past

what’s on this side is yet to come

In between is where I live my life,

the only space I can be in

This space between the two walls represents 81

find my place

closer to one wall than the other

that wall (day of death) may be even closer than I know.

take a moment and see where you would stand

know that this space is all we have

what will we do?

How do we make the most of every day?

of every moment?

How do we make the most of the present moment,

because that’s the only moment we really have

until God calls us home


Jesus comes into your life

poured out for you

broken the bonds of death for you

has room for your doubts and questions

so that you we may believe and come to know

that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God

and that through believing …

and that in His name we may have LIFE

abundant life

so let it be with us.  Amen

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Welcome and Call to Worship

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

We gather to remember the night that Jesus shared his last supper with his disciples.  What shall we give to the Lord for his goodness to us?

We will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.


Prelude                     I to the Hills Will Lift My Eyes  (Martin)

                                    David Broerman and Dana Geuy

Opening Prayer  (in unison)

Gracious and merciful God, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper you give us a memorial of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Grant that the ones who receive these sacred mysteries may grow into him in all things until we come to your eternal joy through Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior.  Amen  

Scripture Readings 

Exodus 12:1-4, 11, 14         “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.”

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.  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.  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.


1 Corinthians 11:23-26       “Eat this bread and drink the cup.”

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, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 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.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

John 13:1-17, 31-35                “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”

 13:1 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 put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. 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 the table, 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!”  Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.  Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 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.’  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Anthem                     The Sound of Running Water

                                                Presented by the combined choirs:

                                                            + First Presbyterian Church of Sidney, OH

                                                                Dana Geuy, Director of Music

                                                            + Westminster Presbyterian Church of Piqua, OH

                                                                David Broerman, Director of Music

 The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper


This is not the table of the church, but of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been prepared for those who love him

and want to love him more.

So come, you who feel that you have much faith,

and the ones who feel you are struggling;

The ones who have come to this table often,

and those who have been away for a while.

The ones who have tried to follow,

and the ones who feel you have lost your way.

Come, not because I invite you,

for it is our Lord Jesus who calls, saying

“I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…

anyone who comes to me, I will never drive away.”


Words of Institution

Communion by Intinction



Extinguishing the Candles

“Listen prayerfully to the reading of the scriptures for the passion of our Lord, and may the extinguishing of the lights be a reminder of his suffering, even when our hope for the resurrection may seem like a dim memory.”


The Shadow of Betrayal; Matthew 26:20-25

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.”



The Shadow of Agony; Luke 22:40-44

When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”  Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.


The Shadow of Loneliness; Matthew 26:40-45

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.


The Shadow of Desertion; Matthew 26:47-50, 55, 56

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


The Shadow of Accusation; Matthew 26:59-67

Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him…



The Shadow of Mockery; Mark 15:12-20

Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”  So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.



The Shadow of Death; Luke 23:33-46

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,” If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Only the Christ candle remains lit

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Then slowly and deliberately extinguish the Christ candle

(while Joe is draping the large cross in black)

Blessing and Benediction

Keep us safe Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ.

Now, may the peace of God, which passes all understanding

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God

and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

And may the blessing of God Almighty,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

remain with you always.  Amen.

Depart in Silence

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