Commentary on this Week’s Prayer
This year Holy Week and Easter will be very different as we will celebrate it in our homes and away from our sanctuaries and church families. There is grief to be shared in this unfortunate circumstance. But at the same time perhaps this year we can take this moment to focus in the real meaning of this most Holy Week and not the traditions that surround it (as wonderful as they are). There will be ample online options for the Holy Week Readings and Worship services (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Easter Dawn), and you can find links for those at www.moravian.org. As you watch and listen to very familiar words, listen for something new that God is doing among us today. All things will be made new!
The Watchword for the Week:
And being found in human form, Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:7,8
We praise you, the Lord God of Israel! You came to the help of your people and have set them free.
You have shown the mercy promised to our ancestors and have remembered your holy covenant.
By your tender mercy you cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (From the Moravian Book of Worship, page 50)
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror all around—
as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
Confession of Sin
The voice of the messenger echoes from the desert, calling us to prepare the way of the Lord and make a straight path on which he may come. Let us confess our sins, so that our crooked ways will be made straight and the rough ways smooth.
Our sovereign Redeemer, we join with the people of Jerusalem offering our own shouts of praise and celebration at your coming. Although we often welcome you as did the multitude on Palm Sunday, we also have not always understood what that meant. We confess as well that we have stood with the condemning crowd on Good Friday with our thoughts, words, and actions crying “Crucify!” And like Peter we have, at times, denied our relationship with you through our silence. We turn to you for help and forgiveness, gracious Savior, not because we deserve it, but because you are forgiving. Save us from our sinful ways, and restore us to a life of loyalty to you. Amen. (From the Moravian Book of Worship, page 50)
A silence is observed for the opportunity to reflect on your own particular shortcomings, and upon the gift of God’s grace.
Christ Jesus, our Lord, came to restore us to a right relationship with God. Know that your sins are forgiven, be glad and rejoice.
Take a moment now to read a passage of scripture. If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts you can read that now. If you don’t have access to a Text Book you can view the texts and the prayer on the right side of your page. Don’t rush over the words, but savor them in your soul. What words or phrases happen to catch your attention? These might be places where God is inviting you to dig deeper. After you have had a chance to ponder those passages and pray for your family, friends, foes, and the needs of a hurting world, continue the prayer as follows:
As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty God, we are continually amazed at the way you turn the world upside down. For a Savior of the world we would have chosen a powerful prince,
But you chose a carpenter’s son born under questionable circumstances.
For disciples to help Jesus through his ministry we would have chosen well connected wealthy people of the upper class to bank roll the operation,
But you chose fishermen, a tax collector, and other such outcasts.
For a grand entrance into Jerusalem, we would have chosen a white Stallion,
But you chose a donkey.
When riding high in the polls on Palm Sunday we would have chosen to stay there as long as we could,
But you chose to clear the temple.
For a place of coronation we would have chosen a palace with a wonderfully decorated royal throne,
But you chose a cross.
For those who we would want to have included in the kingdom of God we would have
chosen those who look and sound like we do,
But you chose the world.
For people to share the love and grace extended to us in Jesus Christ, we would have chosen somebody else,
But you chose each of us.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Romans 15:13