March 28, 2024

We are happy to know that many people new to worship in the Episcopal Church come to St. Stephen’s, and we welcome you!

Throughout the service, the people’s responses are in italics.



Processional Hymn #154 (EOW)

Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”


God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray. 

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Reading from Exodus

God said to Aaron and Moses in the land of Egypt, “This month will be the first of all months to you. You will count it as the first month of the year. Say this to the whole community of Israel: On the tenth day of this month, every family in Israel will take an animal from the flock, one for each household. If your household is too small for a whole animal, join with your next door neighbor, and divide the animal as the number of persons requires.

“This is how you are to eat it: with your belt buckled, your sandals on your feet, and a staff in your hand; you will eat it in haste. It is the Passover of the God of Israel. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night and strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both humans and animals. I will execute this judgment on all the gods of Egypt: I am the God of Israel. The blood will mark the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you, and no harm will come to you when I strike the land of Egypt. “This day will be for you a memorial day, and you must celebrate it as a feast to the God of Israel. All generations are to observe it forever as a feast day.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 116, v. 1, 10-17

I love the Ho – lý One  *
who has heard the voice of mý supp-líc-ation, 

who has list – éned to me *
when – éver Í called. Antiphon.

How shall I repay yóu, O God, *
for all the good things yóu have dóne for me? 

I will lift up the cup of sal-vátion *
and call úp – on yóur name. Antiphon.

I will fulfill my vows to yóu, O God *
in the presence of áll the péo – ple. 

Precious in your síght, O God *
is the déath of yóur servants. Antiphon.

Gracious One, I am your sérvant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have fréed me fróm my bonds. 

I will offer you the sacrifice of thanks – gíving *
and cáll upón your name. Antiphon.

I will fulfill my vóws to you *
in the presence of áll your péo – ple. 

In the courts of the hóuse of God, *
in the midst of your cíty, Jer – ú – salem. Antiphon.

A Reading from First Corinthians

What I have passed on to you, I received from Christ—that on the night he was betrayed, our Savior Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, saying, “This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper, he took the cup and said, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim Jesus’ death until Christ comes.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.The people stand and sing.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.

Gospel Hymn #469

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of Our Savior Jesus Christ According To John
Glory to You, O Christ.

It was before the Feast of Passover, and Jesus realized that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to Abba God. He had always loved his own in this world, but now he showed how perfect this love was. The Devil had already convinced Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. So during supper, Jesus—knowing that God had put all things into his own hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God— rose from the table, took off his clothes and wrapped a towel around his waist. He then poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and dry them with the towel that was around his waist. 

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Rabbi, you’re not going to wash my feet, are you?” 

Jesus answered, “You don’t realize what I am doing right now, but later you’ll understand.” 

Peter replied, “You’ll never wash my feet!” 

Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” 

Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Then, Rabbi, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!” 

Jesus said, “Any who have taken a bath are clean all over and only need to wash their feet—and you’re clean, though not every one of you.” For Jesus knew who was to betray him. That is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After washing their feet, Jesus put his clothes back on and returned to the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me “Teacher,” and “Sovereign”—and rightly, for so I am. If I, then—your Teacher and Sovereign—have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. The truth of the matter is, no subordinate is greater than the superior; no messenger outranks the sender. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

“Now is the Chosen One glorified and God is glorified as well.  If God has been glorified, God will in turn glorify the Chosen One and will do so very soon. My little children, I won’t be with you much longer. You’ll look for me, but what I said to the Temple authorities, I say to you: where I am going, you cannot come. I give you a new commandment: Love one another. And you’re to love one another the way I have loved you. This is how all will know that you’re my disciples: that you truly love one another.”

The Gospel of Our Savior.
Praise to you, O Christ.

The people sit for the Homily.

The Homily

The Foot Washing

The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples and had washed their feet, said to them, “Do you know what I, your Lord and Master, have done to you? I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done.” 

Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. 

I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. 

Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you. 

By this shall the world know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another. 

The people are invited forward to have their hands or feet washed. If you are having your feet washed, please take off your shoes and socks and leave them in the pews. Come forward and sit and place your bare feet in the basin for washing. Once your feet have been washed, please wash the feet of the next person in line. If you are having your hands washed, please hold your hands over the basin for washing. Once your hands have been washed, please wash the hands of the next person in line. During the foot washing, the congregation joins in singing:

The Nicene Creed- S105 (Hymnal 1982)

The Prayers of the People

I ask your prayers for God’s people throughout the world; for this gathering; and for all ministers and people. Pray for the Church. 


I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; and for the well-being of all people. Pray for justice and peace. 


I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. Pray for those in any need or trouble. 


I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of God.
Pray that they may find and be found by God. 


I ask your prayers for the departed. Pray for those who have died. 


I ask your prayers for ______.
I ask your thanksgiving for ______. 


Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored. Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day. 


The priest says the concluding collect.

Holy One, you have promised to hear what we ask in the Name of your Son: Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confession of Sin 

Let us confess our sins to God. 

Silence may be kept. 

God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen. 


Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.

The Peace

The peace of God be with you.
And also with you.

Anthem: Ave verum corpus 

Music: Sarah MacDonald, Olivia Roberts, soloist

Hail the true body, born
of/from the Virgin Mary:
You who truly suffered and were sacrificed
on the cross for the sake of man.
From whose pierced flank
flowed water and blood:
Be a foretaste for us
in the trial of death.
O sweet, O merciful,
O Jesus, Son of Mary.
Have mercy on me. Amen.


Praise God from whom all blessing flow, Praise God all creatures here below, Praise God above, ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

The Holy Eucharist

It is truly right, and good and joyful, to give you thanks, all holy God, source of life and fountain of mercy. Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who for our sins was lifted high upon the cross, that he might draw the whole world to himself; who by his suffering and death became the author of eternal salvation for all who put their trust in him. Therefore, joining with Angels and Archangels and with the faithful of every generation, we lift our voices with all creation as we sing: 

The Sanctus

Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of the universe and giver of life. You formed us in your own image and called us to dwell in your infinite love. You gave the world into our care that we might be your faithful stewards and show forth your bountiful grace.  But we failed to honor your image in one another and in ourselves; we would not see your goodness in the world around us; and so we violated your creation, abused one another, and rejected your love. Yet you never ceased to care for us, and prepared the way of salvation for all people. 

Through Abraham and Sarah you called us into covenant with you. You delivered us from slavery, sustained us in the wilderness, and raised up prophets to renew your promise of salvation. Then, in the fullness of time, you sent your eternal Word, made mortal flesh in Jesus. Born into the human family, and dwelling among us, he revealed your glory. Giving himself freely to death on the cross, he triumphed over evil, opening the way of freedom and life. 

On the night before he died for us, Our Savior Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said: “Take, eat: This is my Body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” 

As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said: “Drink this, all of you:  This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,  do this for the remembrance of me.” 

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: 

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again. 

Remembering his death and resurrection, we now present to you from your creation this bread and this wine. By your Holy Spirit may they be for us the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Grant that we who share these gifts  may be filled with the Holy Spirit and live as Christ’s Body in the world. Bring us into the everlasting heritage of your daughters and sons, that with Stephen & Hilda and all your saints, past, present, and yet to come, we may praise your Name for ever. 

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. AMEN.  

Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say:

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast.

Fraction Anthem

The Celebrant offers the gifts to the people, saying

The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

The people are invited to come forward for communion.

Communion Hymn #314 (Hymnal 1982)

Postcommunion Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Holy and Gracious God, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Savior. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

The Stripping of the Altar

As the clergy and altar guild strip the altar, the lector reads the following poems. 

The More Earnest Prayer of Christ

by Scott Cairns

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly…. —Luke 22.44

His last prayer in the garden began, as most
of his prayers began —- in earnest, certainly,
but not without distraction, an habitual…what?
Distance? Well, yes, a sort of distance, or a mute
remove from the genuine distress he witnessed
in the endlessly grasping hands of multitudes
and often enough, in his own embarrassing
circle of intimates. Even now, he could see
these where they slept, sprawled upon their robes or wrapped
among the arching trees. Still, something new,
unlikely, uncanny was commencing as he spoke.
As the divine in him contracted to an ache,
a throbbing in the throat, his vision blurred, his voice
grew thick and unfamiliar; his prayer —-just before
it fell to silence—-became uniquely earnest.
And in that moment—-perhaps because it was so
new—-he saw something, had his first taste of what
he would become, first pure taste of the body, and the blood.


Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps,
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a 
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
as utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me *
and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress? 

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *
by night as well, but I find no rest. 

Yet you are the Holy One, *
enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 

Our ancestors put their trust in you; *
they trusted, and you delivered them. 

They cried out to you and were delivered; *
they trusted in you and were not put to shame. 

But as for me, I am a worm and not human, *
scorned by all and despised by the people. 

All who see me laugh me to scorn; *
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying, 

“You trusted in the Lord; let the Lord deliver you; *
let God rescue you, if God delights in you.” 

Yet you are the one who took me out of the womb, *
and kept me safe upon my mother’s breast. 

I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *
you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb. 

Be not far from me, for trouble is near, *
and there is none to help. 

Many young bulls encircle me; *
strong bulls of Bashan surround me. 

They open wide their jaws at me, *
like a ravening and a roaring lion. 

I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; *
my heart within my breast is melting wax. 

My mouth is dried out like a potsherd;
my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; *
and you have laid me in the dust of the grave. 

Packs of dogs close me in and gangs of evildoers circle around me; *
they pierce my hands and my feet. 

I can count all my bones *
while they stare and gloat over me. 

They divide my garments among them; *
they cast lots for my clothing. 

Be not far away, O Lord; *
you are my strength; hasten to help me. 

Save me from the sword, *
my life from the power of the dog. 

Save me from the lion’s mouth, *
my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls. 

I will declare your name to my kindred; *
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you. 

Praise the Lord, you that fear God; *
stand in awe of God, O offspring of Israel;
all you of Jacob’s line, give glory. 

For God does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither turns away from them; *
when they cry to the Lord, they are heard. 

My praise is of God in the great assembly; *
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship the Lord. 

The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the Lord shall give praise: *
“May your heart live for ever!” 

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, *
and all the families of the nations shall bow before God. 

For sovereignty belongs to the Lord, *
who rules over the nations. 

To God alone all who sleep in the earth
bow down in worship; *
all who go down to the dust fall before God. 

My soul shall live for God; my descendants shall serve God; *
they shall be known as the Lord’s for ever. 

They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
the saving deeds that God has done.

The service ends in darkness. Please leave the church in silence.