March 29, 2024

Blessed be our God.
For ever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray.

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 now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from Isaiah

You will prosper, my Servant, you will be raised up and highly exalted. Even as the crowds were appalled after seeing you—you were so disfigured as to no longer look human—so will the crowds be shocked at you, and rulers will stand speechless before you; for they will see something never told and witness something never heard: “Who would have believed what we have just heard? When was the arm of God revealed in you? You grew up like a sapling before us, like a root in parched soil! You had no stately form or majesty to make us look at you, there was no beauty to attract us. You were rejected and despised by all; you know suffering intimately, and you are acquainted with sickness. When we saw you, we turned our faces away; we despised you and did not value you. Yet you bore our illnesses and carried our suffering.

We thought you were being punished, struck down by God, and brought low—but it was for our offenses that you were pierced, for our sins that you were crushed; upon you lies a chastening that brings us wholeness, and through your wounds we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us goes our own way. But God has laid upon you the guilt of us all.’ Though treated harshly, you bore it humbly and never opened your mouth. Like a lamb being led to slaughter, or a sheep before shearers, you were silent and never opened your mouth. Seized by force and condemned, you were taken away; who would ever have foreseen your destiny? You were taken from the land of the living through the sin of my people, who deserved the punishment. 

You were buried with evildoers and entombed with the rich, though you had done no wrong, and deceit was not found in your mouth. But God chose to crush and afflict you; if you make yourself a reparation offering, you will see your descendants, you will prolong your days, and the will of God will prevail through you. Through your suffering, you will see contentment and light. By your knowledge, my Righteous One, my Servant, you will justify many by taking their guilt upon  yourself. Therefore, I will grant you a reward among the great, and you will divide the spoils with the mighty; for you exposed yourself to death itself, and allowed yourself to be counted among criminals, while you bore the guilt of many and interceded for sinners.”

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

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 forefathers 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 no man, *

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,

“He trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him; *

let him rescue him, if he delights in him.”

Yet you are he 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 pot-sherd; 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.

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 brethren; *

in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

Praise the Lord, you that fear him; *

stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel; all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.

For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;

neither does he hide his face from them; *

but when they cry to him he hears them.

My praise is of him in the great assembly; *

I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: *

“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 him.

For kingship belongs to the Lord; *

he rules over the nations.

To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *

all who go down to the dust fall before him.

My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; *

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 he has done.

Gospel Hymn #168 (Hymnal 1982)

The Gospel

FIRST NARRATOR

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

After Jesus had said all this, he left with the disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. There was a garden there, and Jesus and the disciples entered it. Judas, the traitor, knew the place well, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. Judas led the Roman cohort to the place, along with some Temple guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees. All were armed and carried lanterns and torches. 

Then Jesus, aware of everything that was going to take place, stepped forward and said to them, “Who are you looking for?”

“Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” they asked. 

Jesus said, “I am.” 

Now Judas, the traitor, was with them. When Jesus said, “I am,” they all drew back and fell to the ground. Again, Jesus asked them, “Who are you looking for?” 

They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 

Jesus said, “I have already told you that I am the one you want. If I am the one you’re looking for, let the others go.” This was to fulfill what he had spoken: “Of those you gave me, I have not lost a single one.” 

Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s attendant, cutting off his right ear. The name of the attendant was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back in its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup Abba God has given me?” 

Then the cohort and its captain and the Temple guards seized and bound Jesus. They took him first to Annas. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Temple authorities that it was better to have one person die on behalf of the people.

SECOND NARRATOR

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, entered his courtyard with Jesus, while Peter hung back at the gate. So the disciple known to the high priest went back and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter inside. 

The doorkeeper said, “Aren’t you one of Jesus’s followers?” 

But Peter answered, “No, I’m not.” 

Now the night was cold, so the attendants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were warming themselves. Peter was with them as well, keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teachings. Jesus answered, “I have spoken publicly to everyone; I have always taught in synagogues and in the Temple area where the whole Jewish people congregates. I have said nothing in secret. So why do you question me? Ask those who have heard me. Ask them what I said to them—they know what I said.”

When Jesus said this, one of the guards standing by slapped him and said, “Is this how you answer the high priest?” 

“If I’ve said anything wrong,” Jesus replied, “point it out; but if I’m right in what I said, why do you strike me?” 

Then Annas sent him, still shackled, to Caiaphas the high priest. 

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. Others asked him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?” 

But Peter denied it, saying, “I am not!” 

One of the attendants of the high priest, a relative of the attendant whose ear Peter had severed, spoke up: “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” 

Again Peter denied it. At that moment a rooster crowed.

THIRD NARRATOR

At daybreak, they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. The Temple authorities didn’t enter the Praetorium, for they would have become ritually unclean and unable to eat the Passover seder. So Pilate went out to them and asked, “What charges do you bring against this person?” 

They responded, “We wouldn’t have brought him to you if he weren’t a criminal.” 

Pilate told them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him by your own Law.” 

The Temple authorities replied, “We don’t have the power to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill what Jesus had said about the way he was going to die. 

So Pilate reentered the Praetorium and summoned Jesus. “Are you the King of the Jews?” asked Pilate. 

Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or have others told you about me?” 

Pilate replied, “Am I Jewish? It is your own people and the chief priests who hand you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My realm is not of this world; if it belonged to this world, my people would have fought to keep me out of the hands of the Temple authorities. No, my realm is not of this world.” 

Pilate said, “So you’re a King?” 

Jesus replied, “You say I’m a King. I was born and came into the world for one purpose—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who seeks the truth hears my voice.” 

“Truth? What is truth?” asked Pilate. With that, Pilate went outside and spoke to the people. “I find no guilt in him,” he said. “But according to your custom, I always release a prisoner at the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the King of the Jews’?” 

They shouted, “Not him! We want Barabbas!” Barabbas was a robber.

So Pilate ordered that Jesus be flogged. Then the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They went up to him repeatedly and said, “All hail the King of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face. 

Pilate came outside once more and said to the crowd, “Look, I’ll bring him out here to make you understand that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out wearing the purple robe and the crown of thorns, and Pilate said, “Look upon the one you accuse!” 

When the chief priests and the Temple guards saw Jesus, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 

Pilate told them, “Do it yourself. I find no reason to condemn him.” 

“We have a law,” the Temple authorities replied, “that says he ought to die because he claimed to be the Only Begotten of God.” 

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid. He went back into the Praetorium and asked Jesus, “Where do you come from?” Jesus didn’t answer. Then Pilate said to Jesus, “You refuse to speak? Bear in mind that I have the power to release you—and the power to crucify you.”

“You would have no authority over me,” Jesus replied, “unless it had been given to you by God. Therefore the person who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” 

Upon hearing this, Pilate attempted to set Jesus free. But the crowd shouted, “If you set him free, you’re no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who claims to be a king defies Caesar!” Hearing these words, Pilate took Jesus outside and seated himself on the judge’s seat at the place called the Pavement—“Gabbatha,” in Hebrew. 

Now it was almost noon on Preparation Day for the Passover. Pilate said to the people, “Here is your king!” 

“Take him away!” they shouted. “Take him away! Crucify him!” 

Pilate asked, “Do you want me to crucify your king?” 

The chief priests said, “We have no king but Caesar!” 

Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.

FOURTH NARRATOR

So they took Jesus, carrying his own cross, to what is called the Place of the Skull—in Hebrew, “Golgotha.” There they crucified him, along with two others, one on either side of Jesus. Pilate wrote a notice and had it put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” The notice, in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, was read by many people, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city. 

The chief priests said to Pilate, “Don’t write ‘King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This one said, I am King of the Jews.’” 

Pilate replied, “I have written what I have written.” 

After the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothing and divided it into four pieces, one piece for each soldier. They also took the seamless robe. The soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it. We can throw dice to see who will get it.” This happened in order to fulfill the scripture, “They divided my garments among them and, for my clothing, they cast lots.” And this is what they did.

Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother; his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas; and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Here is your son.” Then he said to his disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment, the disciple took her into his household. 

After this, Jesus knew that now all was completed, and to fulfill scripture perfectly, he said, “I am thirsty.” There was a jar of cheap wine nearby, so they put a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick and raised it to his lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 

Since it was Preparation Day, the Temple authorities asked Pilate to let them break the legs of those crucified, and take their bodies from the crosses. They requested this to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the Sabbath, since that particular Sabbath was a solemn feast day. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of first one and then the other who had been crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they found that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced Jesus’ side with a lance, and immediately blood and water poured out. 

This testimony has been given by an eyewitness whose word is reliable; the witness knows that this testimony is the truth, so that you will believe. These things were done to fulfill the scripture, “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again, another scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.” 

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus—but a secret one, for fear of the Temple authorities—asked Pilate for permission to remove the body of Jesus, and Pilate granted it. So Joseph came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well—the same one who had first come to Jesus by night—and he brought about one hundred pounds of spices, a mixture of myrrh and aloes. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the Jewish burial custom.

There was a garden in the place where Jesus had been crucified, and in the garden was a new tomb where no one had ever been buried. Since it was the day before the Sabbath and the tomb was nearby, they buried Jesus there.

The Homily

Hymn #159 (Hymnal 1982)

The Solemn Collects

Dear People of God: Our heavenly Father sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved; that all who come to know Him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and become heirs with him of everlasting life.

We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their needs.

Let us pray for the holy Catholic Church of Christ throughout the world. 

That God will confirm his Church in faith, increase it in love, and preserve it in peace.

Celebrant: Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Deacon: Let us pray for all nations and peoples of the earth, and for those in authority among them; especially for God’s good earth and all its life and for the wisdom and will to sustain it; for peace and an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine; for an end to racism, and the ideologies of white supremacy; and, for survivors of this year’s climate disasters

That by God’s help they may seek justice and truth, and live in peace and concord.

Celebrant: Loving God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your beloved community may increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Deacon: Let us pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind.

That God’s mercy will comfort and relieve them, and grant them the knowledge of divine love, and stir up in us the will and patience to minister to their needs.

Celebrant: Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffers with us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Deacon: Let us commit ourselves to God, and pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to God alone, we may be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of our Lord, and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection.

Celebrant: O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, brings us into your tranquility and align us with your love; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Adoration of the Cross

Anthem 1

Anthem 2

Anthem 3

The Lord’s Prayer 

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. 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 forever. Amen.

Concluding Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you  live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn #172 (Hymnal 1982)