Updated: Apr 3
Entering the Half-Light
The Sanctuary is now partially lit. Photos are shown of Judas planning his betrayal, hoping for a social and political revolution. An ominous foreboding washes over us. The hour is now. Darkness is coming, and yet, Jesus' words of comfort are spoken.
Readings from John 12:23b-27 (a seed falls to the earth and dies, yet it bears much fruit -- this is the hour for which I have come). Music begins shifting a bit in tone. Words of comfort flow. John 14:1-4; 25-27 (Do not let your hearts be troubled... Peace I leave with you.) Even as He prepares for the shadow of death to cover his body, Jesus compassionately offers words of assurance, blessing, comfort and peace.
Our Lay Leader, Terrie Ham, offers her reflection about the sunset giving way to the dark of night, and the anticipation of the guiding lights of stars beginning to appear.
Holy Communion is celebrated today. The liturgy is found on pages 12-14 of the UM hymnal. Steve and Trista share a song of blessing over the Table. Everyone is invited to join in Spirit, and to share at home in Holy Communion, even though we are physically apart on this special night.
As we share in the remembrance of the Last Supper, images of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane are shown. A melody often sung around the fire takes on a slightly haunting beauty and shadow. The weight of all that is coming begins to become palpable.
Prelude – “An Upper Room did our Lord Prepare” – arr. Andrew Wright (Bonnie)
Opening Scripture, “The Darkness and Light” – Genesis 1:6-8 (Terrie)
Bells Play: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (Solveig, Mary, Sue)
Scripture of Promise – John 12:23b-27 (Lydia)
Song: “Gather Us In” (TFWS 2236) (Steve, Trista, Solveig)
Celebration of Communion (Water to Wine, reflected) (Steve & Trista)
Reflection Song during Communion - "Someone's Praying, Lord" - Arr. Douglas E. Wagner (Bonnie)
Scripture of Comfort in the Darkness – John 14:1-4; 25-27 (Lydia)
Reflection in the Lengthening Shadows (Terrie)
A Moment of Silent Reflection (slide with a night sky)
A Reflection in Lengthening Shadows: Entering the Half Light
by Terrie Ham, Lay Leader for 2021
As the sun set over Little Lava Lake in Central Oregon, we were enfolded in a darkness so complete we could not tell the lake from sky. Enveloped in the night we sat in silence. The birds sleepy twittering had ceased. The wind died and not a tree rustled. We felt as though the whole earth was waiting as we looked up in anticipation. Then one by one, breaking through the darkness the stars began to appear, until the sky was a shimmering canopy that took our breath away.
As we move through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday we too are sitting in darkness, but not the crushing darkness of despair that the disciples and other followers of Jesus experienced. Their darkness was not only the actual physical darkness that accompanied the crucifixion but also the darkness of grief and fear. Theirs was not the darkness of anticipation but the darkness of dreams crushed.
They were unaware that in that dark tomb, there was something going on, the universe was hushed, waiting, anticipating and then… the Morning Star appears (Revelation 22:16b).