This blog will be for the sharing of creative worship ideas for the Lenten season, Holy Week, Easter Vigil, Easter and Pentecost for use by pastors and worship teams.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent #5 Worship Visual - April 10, 2011 "Lazarus in Tomb"

John 11:1-45
When he (Jesus) had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, his face wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, Unbind him, and let him go."

1.)  Burlap on table
2.)  A mound of a darker shade of burlap in middle of table
3.)  Long strips of linen
4.)  A clear bowl of very salty water (representing God's tears)
5.)  A pottery plate filled with salt (representing our salty tears)

We are all familiar with "Jesus wept" or "Jesus began to weep" in these Scriptures.  It seems important to allow people a time to remember that God's tears truly do intermingle with our own.  At the close of this service, the congregation was given a time to come forward, to take a pinch of salt (their own tears) and mix them in the salty water (representing God's tears).  And/or dip their finger in the salty water and place God's tears on their cheek.  (This was loosely borrowed from Thom Shuman's "Longest Night" worship service). 

This is too beautiful and perfect to be left out of this week's offerings to you.  "And Jesus wept".

Lent #4 Worship Visual - April 3, 2011 "Blind Beggar"

There is no worship-scape posted for Lent #4 John 9:1-41 "

Lent #3 Worship Visual - March 27, 2011 "Samaritan Woman at Well"

John 4:5-42
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her "Give me a drink."

Very easy visual and quite beautiful to see in person...
1.)  Burlap on table
2.)  Purple netting (brings in liturgical color of Lent)
3.)  Landscaping stones to raise the pitcher

4.)  Headscarf (this one is an Indian headscarf purchased at "World Market")
5.)  A "Rebekah pitcher"  (pottery pitcher ... borrowed if possible)

Lent #2 Worship Visual - March 20, 2011 - "Nicodemus/Jesus"

John 3:1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  He came to Jesus by night ...

"For God so loved the word that he gave his only Son, so taht everone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."

The Scriptures for Lent #2, John 3:1-17, are a little difficult to put into a worship visual.  I first pictured Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night and felt as if I needed some Jewish oil lamps, darker cloth and the words "God So Loves You". 

1.)  Dimmed lights in the sanctuary as people gathered.
2.) Oil lamps (with tea candles instead of oil/wicks) were lit (sitting on landscaping stones)
3.)  Three glass blocks with the words "God So Loves You" on them.  Glass blocks are raised higher and under-lit.
4.)  Lights raised in the sanctuary when processional began.

The picture to the right shows how the words were placed on the glass blocks and how they were under-lit.
1.)  Black vinyl adhesive letters were used (can be purchased at the home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowes
2.)  Glass blocks were purchased at Home Depot
3.) The glass blocks were set on an under-the-bed storage container that is semi-clear.  Battery operated lighting was placed inside the storage container (pop-on lighting can be found at Dollar Tree for $1.00 a piece)
4.)  Container was covered with the cloth with the exception of the area where the glass blocks were placed.  From the sanctuary, you could not see this open area.  As in the first picture (above), it seems as if it was all covered in cloth.

Lent #1 Worship Visual - March 13, 2011 "Temptation in Wilderness"

The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."  But he answered, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "

This worship visual is very easy to put together. 
1.) Word of God (Bible) raised to highest level
2.)  Loaves of bread on middle level
3.) Stone (or stones) on lower level

Beige cloth or burlap is underneath a fine purple netting.  The use of purple netting was to bring in purple as the liturgical color of Lent.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Holy Thursday Service  / Broad Street UMC / Statesville, NC (2008) 
 by Anna Murdock (script can be e-mailed to you by request to

The four participant "Voices" dressed in black choir robes or black pants/shirts.  All in the annex , off to the side or at the back of sanctuary.  Microphones / bookstands / booklights.  Dimly-lit sanctuary. Choir seated.  The gathering is a quiet time of reflection and prayer for congregation.   Two flower pedestals…. one with the lit Christ candle…. the other with nothing on it.   No organ music prior to beginning of the service.  A gathering in silence

Participant  “Voices”                               Additional Participants        
Voice 1 = male                                          Sr. Pastor
Voice 2 = female                                       Associate Pastor or Lay Leader
Voice 3 = male                                          Someone to carry purple robe with crown of thorns
Voice 4 = female

Instructions to participant “voices”:  Speak slowly and distinctly and when you think that you are speaking slowly enough, slow down a bit more!

Sr. Minister :       Prayers of Petition  (from pulpit)

Asso. Minister or Lay Leader:  Reads appropriate Scriptures (from the aisle)

Brief service begins when Associate/Lay Leader walks back to pulpit and sits down

(Part 1/Beginning of Service through the Receiving of Communion)

V1:    Jesus Christ.   (pause)    Messiah.
V2:    King of Kings
V3:    Righteous…. and having salvation
V4:    Gentle…and riding on a donkey.
V1:    Jesus Christ. (pause)    Provider.
V2:    He has brought us together in this room
V3:    He has prayed for each of us ….  
V4:    ….  His Followers and those who WILL believe.
V1:    Tonight is a night of reminders.   A night to listen….
V2:    …. And to pray…..
V3:    ….And to remember….
V4:    ….And to remain steadfast.
V1:    Tonight is a night prepared by our Lord.
V3:    (pause) ….  In the room of his choosing…
V2:    (pause) ….  On the night of his choosing…
V4:    Our Lord is NOT the guest.
V1:    He is the Host.
V3:    When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 
          And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will
          betray me.”
V2:    The disciples were very sad and began to say to him, one after another…
V1:    Surely not I, Lord. (pause) ….
V2:    Surely, not I.
V3:    Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me
          will betray me.”
V4:    Surely not I, Rabbi….
V3:    Yes… (pause) …. it is you.  
V2     Why?   Why did you do this, Judas?
V1:    (pause)…..Jesus Christ ….  Teacher …. Example.
V2:    Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that
          he had come from God and was returning to God….
V4:    … and so, Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and
          wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a
          basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel.
V1:    The Lord …. The Rabbi …The Obedient Servant.
V3:    He washed the feet of the Disciples…. The fishermen, the tax collector, the one who would later deny him…and, yes…even the feet of the one who would betray him.
V2:    No servant is greater than his master.
V4:    No messenger is greater than the one who sent him. 


(The ministers participate in the breaking of the bread and lifting of chalice, silently, as the following words are read…)

V1:    While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it,
          and gave it to his disciples, saying….
V3:    “Take and eat…. This is my body.
V1:    Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying….
V3:    “Drink from it, all of you.  This is the blood of the covenant, which is
          poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Pause for minister(s) – The Consecration of Elements - (then resume)

V2:    The Lord… the Messiah… the very One who should be the honored guest
          has become the host.
V4:    He has set the table for us.  It is he who is the host.  It is he who says “Come….Eat….Drink.”

Communion is served at this point – no music –

1 station – by intinction

(begin again after Communion is served and ministers are seated)

V1:    Jesus Christ.   (pause)   Jesus Christ.
V2:    Alpha
V3:    Ancient of Days
V4:    Beginning ….. Beloved Son.
V3:    Sovereign…..God.
V1:    Immanuel, God with us …… King of Glory.
V2:    (Strong)   LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH !
V3:    (Quiet)     Lamb of God.
V2:    (Strong)   CORNERSTONE!
V3:    (Pause)    Sacrifice.    (Pause)
V2:    Thirty pieces of silver.  Why?   Betrayed by a kiss.  How could this be?
V1:    Denied three times…just as Jesus had said…. before the rooster crowed.  
V4:    (Pause)  …So they delivered him to be crucified to the place, Golgotha, which is translated, “the Place of the Skull.”

Choir Sings “God So Loved the World”

V3:    Slowly and deliberately … “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
V1:    Jesus …….. Redeemer.
V2:    Jesus …. Spotless …. Innocent …. Just
V3:    Christ …. Perfector of our faith.
V4:    Jesus Christ …. Our Savior.

Total Silence (no music)

1.)           Ministers strip the cross of purple cloth and replace it with black.
2.)           Ministers remove each others’ stole / Choir removes their purple scapulars
3.)           The table/altar is stripped .    All that is left is the Christ candle, still lit.
4.)           Assoc. Pastor or lay leader comes down from pulpit to stand beside of the Christ candle
5.)           After the altar has been stripped and black drape is in place on the cross, someone slowly walks down the left aisle (facing pulpit) with the purple “robe” and crown of thorns
6.)           The Assoc. Pastor or lay leader removes the Christ candle and walks ½ way up the aisle, pauses, turns and watches as the person continues with robe/crown.  He/she lays the robe/crown of thorns on the empty pedestal.
7.)           Then the Assoc. Pastor or lay leader turns and continues to walk up the aisle with the lit Christ candle

Dismissal (Sr. Pastor)

“Go in Silence”

(Note: The 4 participants preferred to be served Communion after the service was over)

Lenten Daily Reflections
"Thirty Pieces of Silver ... an offering of Love"

Muslin bags -
   3" width x 4" height      24/pkg.
   Item #09926200

Insert - (see below for wording)
  Printed on card stock
  Size of text box = 2.75" width x 4.75" height

The pouches are to be handed out 30 days before Holy/Maundy Thursday to everyone (adults as well as children) who want to journey through this Lenten reflection.  For families with children, all were encouraged to take a muslin pouch.  This is a wonderful way of asking parents and children to come together at the end of the day to talk of how each found opportunities to reflect the love of Jesus to others.  Each evening, there is time to place a silver coin in the bag only if you might see ways in which the love of Jesus was offered to others.  It isn't about the money.  If you choose to put a quarter in the pouch each day, it will only be $7.50     It is more about the awareness of how each of us shows God's love to another person.  At a given point in the Holy/Maundy Thursday worship service, allow for the placing of the filled bags on the altar or in a basket near the altar.  Make sure that it is known where the money will a local food pantry, a homeless shelter, a battered women's shelter, etc.  The children especially loved this Lenten reflection.  It gave them a time of participating in their own Lenten journey in a way that they could understand.

(Wording of text insert)

       Thirty Pieces of Silver
(Betrayal Money or Offerings of Love?)

Our Lenten journey is a time of
rediscovery and renewal.  It's a time
to resolutely set our sights on
Jerusalem and walk with Jesus into
the Garden of Gethsemane and up to
his cross.  It is our time to draw
closer to our Lord, to reflect his
nature to others and to share his love
in some way.

Jesus was betrayed with 30 pieces of
silver and a kiss.  Do you think that it's
possible to turn 30 pieces of  betrayal
silver into an offering  Jesus' love?
YES!  This pouch can be filled with
30 pieces of silver ... nickels, dimes,
quarters.  At the end of your day,
"be still" and come before God.  Ask
yourself this question, "Have I
reflected the love of Christ to another
today?"  If so, place a piece of silver
in the pouch.  It isn't about the money.
It's about us becoming more like
Jesus Christ.  This truly is our Lenten