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Holy Week – from Sunday to Friday

Holy Week from Sunday to Friday – 
see also separate posts for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - appearing soon

SUNDAY - From Birth to Pentecost…

When Jesus came to Bethlehem there was no harsh a day, 
they say a census had been called, there was no place to stay;
this baby who would shake the world, would first lay down his head, 
not in a royal house or hall, but in a manger bed.
	
When Jesus went to Nazareth his father had a trade, 
a carpenter now had a son and business plans were laid;
but soon within the temple courts, this lad would have his way, 
dissenting from his parents' wish, they'd looked for him all day.
	
The path that he set out to tread from Jordan's crowded bank
would take him him through a wilderness with neither power nor rank; 
returning he would scourge the ones and verbally deride
a viper's brood, these hypocrites, who dressed themselves in pride.
	
Returning to Jerusalem, but not in regal dress, 
he's seated on a donkey's back, not here to rule or bless;
the temple tables were upturned, but more disturbing still, 
his challenge to authority would cause the air to chill.
	
That chill was in Gethsemane when he knelt down to pray, 
and all the pain of all the world  seared through him on that day; 
the time of crisis had arrived to turn from what was right,
or walk with soldiers on to what now looked like endless night.

The trial came and ones that he had scourged with words scourged him, 
and this was brutal vengeance now, not wondrous, simply grim:
his flesh was ripped, his sinews torn, his body hung to dry, 
and as the darkness gathered round the whole world seemed to sigh.
	
That ragged child that Mary bore was taken from the tree, 
the women waited through three days, covertly went to see:
they found the tomb was empty now, the one they sought had gone, 
and as they raced in fear away, the mystery lingered on.  
	
Yet through two thousand years and more the influence of that man
has rippled down through history from where it first began; 
his spirit stills inspires a faith that trusts to what is right, 
to seek for truth, to live in love, keep justice burning bright.

Metre: 14 14 14 14 
Tune: THE LINCOLNSHIRE POACHER
Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From: More than hymns Stainer Bell Ltd., Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2015.

MONDAY - If he had come …

If he had come as a king with a robe and jewels 
and a crown of gold, 
he would have been impressive.
But there would have been those 
who envied him his wealth, 
tried to steal his jewels, 
or attempted to rob him of his crown.

If he had come with a sword and shield 
and a following army, 
he would have demanded obedience.
But there would have been those 
who feared his sword, 
claimed he was hiding behind his shield, 
or accused him of using military force to conquer them.

If he had come as a priest with elaborate vestments, 
sanctimonious speeches and zealous religious rituals, 
he would have commanded respect.
But there would have been those 
who found his vestments ostentatious, 
suspected him of hypocrisy in his speeches, 
or felt unable to live up to 
the impossible regulation of his religion.

So, when Jesus came as a vulnerable baby, 
grew up in a carpenter’s workshop 
and walked around in everyday clothes, 
meeting and talking to people about God, 
it really was a revelation.

Jesus brought no threat of wealth, or force of might, 
or blocking of the pathway to God.
He was a man and of the people 
and though his robe was stained with blood, 
his crown made of thorns 
and his death an ignominious execution, 
the power of his life has everlasting authority. 

Words: Marjorie Dobson - © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd., From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019

TUESDAY - Crowd control

Flag-waving crowds 
prefer winners to losers; 
feel cheated when their heroes are defeated; 
lose heart when officialdom tears them apart; 
drift away at the end of the day, 
when there seems no reason to stay.

Palm-waving crowds 
greeted their king, 
who said that even the stones would sing 
if the people were silent. 
But authority was defiant and jeering, 
even while the crowds were cheering. 
And by the end of the week, 
very few would speak in support 
of the king the crowds had sought.

©Marjorie Dobson

WEDNESAY - Poem: Crowds are fickle - Mark 11:1-11 and 15: 1-39

Crowds are fickle – 
singing, shouting, 
clapping, waving, 
chanting, cheering, 
wildly blindly enthusiastic, 
brave and fearless, 
happy, noisy – 
on the winning side.

Crowds are fickle – 
shouting, swearing, 
spitting, screaming, 
chanting, boo-ing, 
wildly blindly condemnatory, 
fierce and fearless, 
spewing hatred – 
on the losing side.

Faced with judgement, 
weary, weakened, 
Jesus hearing 
chanting, cheering, 
blindly led by enemy action, 
knew the fickle crowd 
had failed him, 
by their verdict, 
‘Crucify!’

Words: Marjorie Dobson - © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd., from Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019

THURSDAY - Each groan of pain from tortured lips 

Each groan of pain from tortured lips,
each tear that falls from anguished eyes,
the slightest murmur of a sigh,
as yet another victim dies,
are nails into the hands of Christ
counting against the tyrant’s lies.

Each agony of starving death,
each haunted look of gaunt despair;
the scrabbling hands that search the dirt
although the earth is cracked and bare,
are echoes in the mind of Christ
of his last agonising prayer.

Each home destroyed by missile blast,
each terror of a war-torn land,
the crying of a frightened child
alone without a loving hand,
are spears pierced in the side of Christ
and pain which he can understand.

Each empty mind which sees no pain,
each ignorance of crying need,
the pleas of those who go unheard
while others wallow in their greed,
are thorns upon the brow of Christ
and open wounds that tear and bleed.

Each healing touch relieving pain,
each voice which speaks aloud for peace,
the giving hearts and willing hands 
working so poverty may cease
are living out the words of Christ,
striving to give his love release.

Metre – 8.8.8.8.8.8. – Suggested tunes – ABINGDON or VENI IMMANUEL
Words: Marjorie Dobson © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2004 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd © Stainer & Bell Ltd., From Multicoloured Maze, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2004

FRIDAY - Afraid and alone and worn out with his praying 

Afraid and alone and worn out with his praying, 
his friends sleeping soundly and all unaware 
that out in the darkness arrest was approaching, 
and Jesus was frightened and full of despair.

Accused and alone and awaiting the judgement, 
surrounded by enemies out for the kill, 
with none to defend him and friends who’d betrayed him; 
yet Jesus stood resolute, silent and still.

Abandoned, alone and in agony dying, 
the torture and pain brought a cry of despair.
For then, as the crisis of death was approaching 
for Jesus, it felt as if God wasn’t there.

Now dead and alone, they would bury his body, 
those friends who found courage to deal with his death.
A stone sealed the tomb and with soldiers to guard it, 
his enemies thought they’d seen Jesus’ last breath.

Alone in a garden, a woman was weeping.
In spite of precautions, the body was gone.
But then through her tears, she could hear her name spoken 
and Jesus is living. The story goes on!

Metre: 12 11 12 11
Suggested tune: STREETS OF LAREDO
Words: Marjorie Dobson - © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd., from Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019

Good Friday – Two hymns and three monologues, including audio (further material listed for Passion Sunday)

GOOD FRIDAY

Pilate reacts

What kind of king are you,
you Jew?
The priests condemn you for they say you spite them,
yet you will not fight them.
They say you claim to be a king to rule them.
Do you just fool them?
They throw your talk of kingdom in your face. 
You say that it is not your kind of place,
Yet now you claim to know the source of truth?
You're not a callow youth.
There is no sense in such.
You talk too much -
and kingdom speeches cannot be allowed.
I'll leave the last decision to the crowd. 

And Christ whose kingdom turned things upside-down 
was destined then to wear a thorn-spiked crown

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Creation's pulse, the rhythm of each day 

Creation's pulse, the rhythm of each day, 
the pulse of God, yet life blood ebbs away. 
The light is fading, eyes will strain to see. 
Contorted muscles struggle to be free.
	
Yes God, is dying, God is hung up high, 
and soon that pulsing life blood will be dry. 
The darkness falls, life's rhythm has its end, 
and they will grieve: his mother, father, friend. 
	
God hung and died, the butt of human hate, 
this depth of love demanded such a fate;
For when aggression came onto the stage 
God offered love instead of violent rage. 
	
Now all is plain for faulted humankind, 
no riddle to unravel, fathom, find: 
that those who know the rhythm of God's grace 
should loose that pulse of love within this place.  

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2009 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Metre: 10 10 10 10
Tune: WOODLANDS
	
Act of God

Flesh and blood, 
torn apart daily 
in conflict, 
terror, 
crime, 
torture, 
accident 
or Act of God.

Act of God, they say. 
As if a vindictive God 
oversaw all disaster 
as an event planned 
for satisfaction 
of some unknown purpose.

Yet the act of God 
that tore flesh to the bone 
and brought agony, 
despair 
and death by execution 
for the sake of humanity 
is rarely mentioned.

Unless it is by those 
who gather at a table 
to break bread and drink wine 
in order to absorb something 
of the same sacrificial spirit 
that was in Jesus.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, copyright@stainer.co.uk 
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Tortured, beaten, scarred and tainted 

Tortured, beaten, scarred and tainted,
Not a picture deftly painted,
More a tattered, battered being,
Torn, disfigured, stark, unseeing.
	
Muscles twisted, strained, contorted,
Body dangling, bruised, distorted.
Life blood drying, sun-baked, stinging,
Hatred, bitter hatred, flinging.

Crowds insensate, tempers vented,
Full of anger, discontented.
Curses scattered, insults flying,
Spurned, derided, God is dying.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)	
Words © 1997 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, copyright@stainer.co.uk 
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Blinded by the Dazzle, Stainer & Bell, 1997.

A pieta reflection – Mary cradles Jesus. Audio - make sure sound is turned up - Written and read by Marjorie Dobson. Copyright details under transcript below
Click to start

A pieta reflection - Transcript - Marjorie Dobson

They let me hold him before they took his body away. 

They lifted him so gently and carefully and laid him so that his scourged back and bleeding shoulders rested against the soft fabric of my dress. I could feel the torn flesh weeping through the cloth, spreading and seeping through to my skin.

The thorns, that mockery of a crown, had gone. 
Friends had taken them away as quickly as they could, but some had gone so deep they had broken and couldn't be removed and the imprint of that cruel irony was written there in blood.

I held his hands, once strong and skilful, crafting wood in the workshop, using the tools of his trade. 

Gentle, trusting hands I'd held through childhood, now mangled by hammer and nails - an executioner's tools. 

Healing hands, hands that had helped so many - now broken, the flesh pierced, opened and torn; the bones crushed and splintered.

And had they needed to strike with that spear at the end? 
Couldn't they see he was dead already? 
Why did they have to put that senseless wound in his side? 
What had he done to deserve any of that? 
Couldn't they even let his dead body alone?

So, as I cradled his tortured, bloodied head and strand by strand, lifted his tangled hair away from the open wounds above his staring eyes, I raged against the God who gave him to me and then tore him from me in such a violent fashion.

Oh, God! Why did you let this happen? 
You could have saved him! You could have warned him! You could have let him escape. 
You could have changed their minds before they did this to him. 
You had the power - why didn't you use it?

And as I wept and railed at God, my tears washed down over his beloved face and mingled with his blood and I closed his God-forsaken eyes to shut out the desolation I saw there. 
At that last moment he'd felt abandoned - even God wasn't listening.

But I would make him listen!

How could he do this to my son? A mother shouldn't have to watch her child die - and die in such agony. 
To feel that no one, not God, not his mother, cared what was happening to him!

Because I couldn't touch him. I couldn't help him. 
They wouldn't let me near enough to do anything. 

Only when it was too late; too late to comfort him; too late for him to feel my touch, to hear my words of love; only then, when it was too late, did they let me come to him.

What kind of a God allows that to happen?

What kind of a God doesn't answer the prayer of a dying man?

What kind of a God promises so much and then allows those promises to die so soon?

They had to take his body from me. 

They were so gentle and understanding, those friends, but I didn't want to let him go. 

I knew I couldn't do anything for him. Nothing would bring him back. 

But still I clung to him, knowing it was useless, desperately longing to show him the love he had needed in those last agonising moments. Would he ever know how much I wanted to take his place? I should have been the one to die, not him. 

I am his mother. I bore him with pain and blood. And  when they took his body from me, I felt he had been torn from me again. 

But this agony is unbearable and this blood is his, not mine.

How could God take someone so young, so vibrant, so alive? 

Oh, God! What have you done?

Now he is gone. There is nothing more I can do . His life is over. My agony and desolation is just beginning.

Dear God! I feel so angry. I wish I could make sense of this! I hope you can! All I can do is weep.

2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, copyright@stainer.co.uk 
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Passion Sunday – Two hymns and a Monologue May also be used on Good Friday

PASSION SUNDAY (May also be used on GOOD FRIDAY)

Anointed, yet bartered, then beaten and hung 

Anointed, yet bartered, then beaten and hung, 
time tumbling on forward, Christ’s moment had come; 
the judgement was passing, hands washed of the crime 
the snare had been set, sure as rhythm and rhyme. 

We watch from the sidelines, we’re distanced by time, 
our culture is different, our actions a mime;
yet, if we are open, we feel in each heart 
the stress of each moment, was God’s from the start.

And as we rehearse all that we’ve heard before, 
we thank God for grace, yet anticipate more.
God’s love undiluted, sustained will remain, 
refreshed, resurrected, again and again.

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2021 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Metre:11.11.11.11
Tune NORMANDY; MY JESUS I LOVE THEE (note repeats on the last line of each verse); DATCHET

The King’s cross

‘The King of the Jews’, 
Pilate called him.

But his crown 
was of thorns 
that pierced to his skull 
and his cloak 
was the blood 
from his head 
and his flesh-torn back 
and his robe 
was a loin cloth, 
sweaty and stained 
and his gloves 
and shoes 
were hammered nails, 
holding him fast 
to his throne 
of a cross.

A bloodied wreck 
of a king 
was Jesus.

Yet in dying he became, 
not the King of the Jews, 
but the King of the Kingdom 
that God opens to all 
who follow the path 
of the cross.

Marjorie Dobson © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Jesus the Carpenter

Jesus the carpenter, hanging on Calvary,
nails through your feet and your work-hardened hands –
wood you have worked with and wood is your destiny -
paying the price of our sinful demands.

You came to our world as a part of a family, 
living and learning the carpenter’s trade.
You followed your father’s instructions so faithfully,
shaping and crafting the yokes that you made:
Jesus the carpenter…

You called other workmen to join in your ministry, 
laying rough hands on the sick and the lame.
You taught of God’s love with such power and authority,
people who knew you believed you insane:
Jesus the carpenter…

You faced with great courage the open hostility
coming from those who believed they were right.
They stripped you and beat you and laughed at you finally,
thinking your death was the end of the fight:
Jesus the carpenter…

But we, who now know that you ended triumphantly
working with wood till your task was complete,
can come to your cross with our hope and humility,
laying our pride at the Carpenter’s feet:

Jesus the carpenter, hanging on Calvary,
nails through your feet and your work-hardened hands –
wood you have worked with and wood is your destiny -
paying the price of our sinful demands.

Marjorie Dobson © 2004, Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk  Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd. 
From Multicoloured Maze, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2004
(Tune: – Mission Praise 611 - Blow the wind southerly)

Palm Sunday – Two hymns, a poem and a monologue

Mark 11: 1-11

First the cheering, then the jeering 

First the cheering, then the jeering –
crowds can change their minds at will.
First they hail him, then condemn him;
aim to please, or aim to kill.

First the anger, then the whipping,
clearing out the Temple court.
First the traders, then the money –
space for prayer cannot be bought.

First the perfume, then the poison –
money should not go to waste.
First anointing, then annoyance –
do not judge her deed in haste.

First the trusting, then betrayal –
Judas seeking cash in hand.
First he loved him, then provoked him,
daring him to take a stand.

First the kneeling, then the serving,
showing deep humility.
First bread breaking, then wine sharing –
‘Do this as you think of me.’

First the garden, then the praying –
sweating blood, then traitor’s kiss.
First the trial, then denial –
Peter, has it come to this?

First the nails and then the hammer
piercing flesh and splitting bone.
First the sighing, then the dying –
Jesus on the cross, alone.

First the grieving, then the praying,
agonising through your death.
First we share your desolation -
while you wait to take new breath.

Marjorie Dobson © 2005 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019
Tune: STUTTGART – Singing the Faith 225


Poem: Palm Sunday

Don’t know much about horses.
Don’t know much about donkeys for that matter.
Do know that colts can be nervous and jumpy.
Know they need to be trained for a rider.
Know they have to get used to noises.
Know they shy away from sudden movements.
Know they need careful handling by experienced riders.

So what was Jesus doing 
taking a young colt, 
never been ridden before, 
not familiar with strangers, 
let alone one who usually walked everywhere, 
into a crowd of people waving and shouting, 
throwing strange objects right into the path of the animal, 
and riding it on a public highway, 
through a darkened arched gate 
into crowded city streets, 
lined with excited and sometimes hostile figures?

Was he out to get himself killed?

He was certainly going the right way about it.

Marjorie Dobson - © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

A strange kind of king 

When that king comes 
riding on a donkey, 
will he be noticed 
among the finery 
and glitz and glamour 
of a ceremonial 
state occasion?

When, through God’s peacemakers, 
arms and armoury 
are decommissioned 
and weapons of mass destruction 
are immobilised, 
will anyone believe 
that peace can be permanent, 
or that God 
can have anything to do with it?

When those imprisoned 
by warfare, neglect and poverty 
are freed into peace, 
hope and equality, 
will anyone credit God 
with being the inspiration 
behind many of the activists 
who helped to achieve those aims?

Or will the donkey 
wander through rejoicing crowds 
and the man on its back 
be taken for a fool 
again?

© Marjorie Dobson; May be used freely locally with acknowledgment, for wider use please contact the author.

To bring a city to its sense 

To bring a city to its sense,
a nation to its knees,
they welcomed Nazareth's carpenter,
waved palms cut from the trees.

Hosanna filled the quiet air,
they strained to glimpse a view;
'Messiah' they acclaimed this man
whom Pharisees would sue.

He turned the tables upside down,
he spun their world around,
he challenged preconceived ideas,
flung hatred to the ground.

This man had learnt too much, it seemed,
knew ways of right and wrong,
his ear attuned to righteousness
sensed discord in their song.

The politicians and the priests
were threatened by this choice;
the hypocrites would silence him,
and still we shun his voice.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© 2002 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd.
From Whatever Name or Creed, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2002.
Metre: CM
Tune: FINGAL (Anderson); FORGIVE OUR SINS