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Mar 19

Passion Sunday (Year B)

Isaiah 50:4-9a

  • These words may have been said by the prophet, but they could have been said by Jesus.
  • Of course, these words could have been said by a multitude of civil rights activists and other revolutionaries in the history of the world, too.  Can you imagine people like Martin Luther King, Jr. saying these words?  How about Alice Paul? Or Gandhi?  If you use projection equipment, you could show pictures of men and women who have followed God’s call for justice, peace, and equality while you read the text.  ** It may be especially poignant to feature pictures of people who have been killed for standing up for their beliefs. **
  • The prophet declares, “Let us stand up together.”  For what things do we stand together?

Psalm 31:9-16

  • I can imagine Jesus using the words of this psalm as he prayed in the garden…
  • If you use projection equipment in your worship space, display pictures/images of people grieving – crying, sighing, head-in-hands, etc.
  • For a creative worship display, get some clay jars or medium/large plant-pots (check home & garden shops, as well as craft stores).  Arrange the jars/pots on the table (hopefully, they are different sizes and shapes).  Take one of the jars/pots, wrap it in a towel, and carefully break it with a hammer — you want the pieces to be large and still identifiable as once being a jar/pot.  Carefully arrange the broken pieces in front of the other jars/pots.

Philippians 2:5-11

  • With a slight adjustment to the first verse, this text would make a fantastic profession of faith (used in place of the Apostles’ Creed, perhaps – or during another part of the worship service).
  • If you are focusing on this text, I suggest featuring the cross in your worship display.  And, especially since the scripture mentions how Jesus “humbled himself”, using a rustic-looking cross (not a shiny gold or jewel-encrusted cross) would be best.
  • Don’t have rustic-looking wooden cross?  You can always make one!  Go raid the woodpile (or see if there are any larger branches that have fallen outside) and find two branches/sticks (one shorter than the other – trim them if needed).  Use thin strips of canvas, twine, or raffia ribbon to tie two branches/sticks together to make a cross.  If you need to secure it more, you can use wood glue, too.

Mark 14:1-15:47

  • If you are using this entire text, I urge you to consider presenting it as a readers theatre or a dramatic reading.  The Common English Version is really good for use by multiple voices.  I suggest that the pastor serve as the “narrator”, while other readers are assigned to each of the voices (disciples, Jesus, Peter, Judas, false witnesses, high priest, woman-servant, people in courtyard, Pilate, crowds of people, soldiers, chief priests, and an observer).
    • If you have a large congregation, you can probably assign all of these parts (and still have people in the congregation who are just listening)…
    • If you have a smaller congregation, you may need to have some people double-up on parts (for example: reading the part of the servant woman, people in courtyard, one of the crowd, and the observer).  People reading for specifically named characters (Jesus, Peter, etc) shouldn’t double-up on parts.
  • There are lots of “props” that you can use to decorate your worship space if you are featuring this text.  That said, I suggest that you stay focused – there’s a lot to work with, but you probably don’t want to use it all (or else it will look like a garage sale, not a worship display).
    • The narrative opens with the story of the woman with the alabaster jar.  If you are focusing on this part of the text, you may want to use an alabaster jar (or, at least a jar/vase that looks like it is made of alabaster).
    • The text includes a telling of Jesus’ sharing the Passover meal with his disciples.  You can use the elements of a Passover meal in your worship display: cup, plate, wine, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, bowl of water, etc.  This display can also be interactive, since you can use the bread and wine (juice) to offer the sacrament of communion.
    • If you have brushed up on your Hebrew, you may want to use some of the traditional prayers that are used during a Passover meal during worship.  One online resource that I have found to be helpful: Hebrew4Christians.com.
    • I’m not sure that I would advocate for having an actual, live rooster in your worship space, but…  If you are going to focus on Peter’s denial, you may want to project an image (or even a video) of a rooster crowing.
    • If you are going to focus on Jesus’ praying in the garden before his arrest, you could use sculptures of hands folded in prayer in your worship display.  You may also want to display pictures of people praying.
    • Of course, while Jesus was praying, the disciples were sleeping.  Images of things like sleep masks, pillows, and people napping could be provocative – especially when contrasted with Jesus pouring his heart out in prayer.
    • Mark tells us that there was “a certain young man” following Jesus, “wearing nothing but a linen cloth”.  The guards try to capture the man, but all they get is the linen cloth (and he runs off naked).  Using a linen cloth in your worship display is good.  Using a naked man in your worship display is NOT recommended!
    • If you are focusing on Jesus’ trial, you may want to use a gavel – and/or other law/courtroom related materials – in your worship display.
    • A rustic-looking cross, large nails, rope, and a hammer (wooden mallet) could all be used in a display that focuses on the crucifixion.

1 ping

  1. Passion Sunday (Year C) - The Worship Closet

    […] I wrote about Passion Sunday last year (Year B), and you will want to see those notes – especially since the Isaiah, Psalm, and Philippians readings are the same as they were last year.  You can read those notes by clicking here. […]

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