This Week’s Theme
For the Day of His Burial
Six days before the celebration of the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, to the place where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for the Lord, with Martha serving, and Lazarus was one of the attendees at the dinner. Mary came with a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard (perfume), and with it she anointed Jesus’s feet, wiping them with her hair. With that, the entire home was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Judas Iscariot, rebuked the act, saying, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (Three hundred denarii was equal to a person’s yearly wage at the time!) He didn’t say this because he was concerned for the poor; Judas was a thief, and stole money from the moneybag, having been put in charge of it. Jesus replied to Judas, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
Jesus commended Mary’s expensive anointing of his feet, connecting her act with his soon burial after his crucifixion. Her anointing his feet and wiping them with her hair speaks of her deep penitence and love for the Lord; her love overruled Jewish convention. Like the smell of the perfume filling the house so let our love for the Lord fill our lives, today and always.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Gracious Father, Mary demonstrated her extreme devotion to the Lord in the act of her anointing of his feet, wiping them with her hair. Her tender love made her willing to go beyond convention of the day to show her commitment to the Savior. Let that same level of devotion be manifest in us, that we too can show in our daily lives what he means to us as his people and his disciples. In his name we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: Pss. 39-41; 53; 55; 58
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 126
OT: Isa. 43.16-21
Gospel: John 12.1-8
NT: Phil. 2.5-11
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus we remember the act of devotion Mary displayed over dinner just a week before Passover in Bethany so long ago. She loved you, and gave her best, most expensive gift to you, wiping your feet with her hair. Help us, like her, to offer you our best and fullest devotion, making our very lives a sacrifice to you. May the fragrance of our devotion to you be evident for all to detect and acknowledge, the true fragrance of love for you. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Let us encourage those who give their best and their all to Christ.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
We offer ourselves to you, dear Savior, for you alone are worthy of our lives.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
It Is Written
Metaxas, Martin Luther