11 August, 2017

Hands of God – 1 Hour Ecumenical Service

Here is a service booklet in ODT format Hand’s of God A5 Booklet and PDF Hand’s of God A5 Booklet format. There are some service outlines in DOC format Hand’s of God – outline and PDF format Hand’s of God – outline.

This was first used as a combined service between Crossroads Methodist and Papakura Anglican. We started at Crossroads, and processed to our church. Stations were read along the way at appropriate places. No pictures were in the booklet, as it was packed with participation and real life action.

This was written by Dion Blundell.

How to make it work: The congregation were used for most parts of this service. Anywhere you see headings that say[Congregation ], there was actually a gap/space there, rather than the word Congregation. The idea being that you write in the name of the person who is reading that section. All in all, there are 20 additional roles. So you print 20 extra copies off, highlight each section, and give it to someone to read. Incidentally, for this service everyone had a copy of the booklet. You write that person’s name on your copy, then you know who is doing the section, and can invite them to read if they have become distracted. I’ve found it works both handing out just before the service when all are gathered and handing out days before so people can prepare. Both ways have strengths and weaknesses.

You will need:

A large cross, or small crosses for the procession. Our tradition has been to have a small 1 metre cross at the front and back of the procession.

A life sized body of Jesus made out of chicken wire.

Lots of rosemary or thyme.

A cross upright about 2.5 metres tall, a cross bar about 1 metre wide. Pre-drill the holes, so the person bashing the big nails in doesn’t bend them. Place some really big nails on the cross, so that the chicken wire Jesus will easily hook onto them.

A bucket with a wooden sleeve in it, in which to place the cross. I made a rectangular sleeve out of plywood, and put it in a bucket held in place with lots of led (gravel or sand might work too).

Pascal Candle lit in the sanctuary, with enough room around it that the entire congregation can come forward and walk around it.

A white bed sheet to wrap Jesus in.

A station wagon to place Jesus in.

At Crossroads Methodist [Methodist Minister ]


Hands, burdened with our sin (Carrying the cross) [Congregation ]

A reading from John Chapter 19

Pilate … brought Jesus out. Then he sat down on the judge’s bench at the place known as “The Stone Pavement.” … It was about noon on the day before Passover, and Pilate said to the crowd, “Look at your king!”

Kill him! Kill him!” they yelled. “Nail him to a cross!”

“So you want me to nail your king to a cross?” Pilate asked.

The chief priests replied, “The Emperor is our king!” Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross. Jesus was taken away, and he carried his cross to a place known as “The Skull.” In Aramaic this place is called “Golgotha.”

We process to Anglican Church
1. Walk to traffic lights at intersection of Gt Sth Rd and Broadway, cross over
2. Pause at other side for next reading

The hands of another helping (Simon of Cyrene) [Congregation ]

A reading from Luke Chapter 16

As Jesus was being led away, some soldiers grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene named Simon. He was coming in from the fields, but they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Instructions: Walk on to just past the zebra crossing and pause

Praying hands, grieving for the Holy Land [Congregation ]

A reading from Luke chapter 16

A large crowd was following Jesus, and in the crowd a lot of women were crying and weeping for him. Jesus turned to the women and said: Women of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me! Cry for yourselves and for your children. Someday people will say, “Women who never had children are really fortunate!” At that time everyone will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” They will say to the hills, “Hide us!” If this can happen when the wood is green, what do you think will happen when it is dry?

Instruction – continue and cross road at Red Cross shop lights

Enter into Papakura Anglican

While we come in At the Cross will be played. We join in the song together.

A chicken wire representation of Jesus waits for us in the sanctuary.

NOTE: We had the sanctuary screened off with red fabric, 8m wide, by 8m tall. Jesus was “standing” leaning against the red fabric

Introduction and Welcome [Anglican Minister ]

Welcome to our service today, and thank you to those who could join us for the processional witness.

Our theme today is The Hands of God.

I would invite you to take the booklet away with you at the end and make use of it in a devotional way.

We have a 3 hour service today, from noon till 3pm if you wish to join us for that.

As we continue, some thoughts, as a way of introducing Good Friday to us.

We remember today as a black day, a dark day in history.

We re-live it, we remember it, not to glory in the darkness, but to remember.

We remember that humanity can live in the darkness of evil.

And we remember that God loves us unconditionally,
and that God can free us from this
if we will hold Jesus’ hand and journey towards the light with him.

So we don’t enter into hope-less despair,
but rather we faithfully take a journey,
to remind us that when we get it wrong God will be there with us,
not encouraging us to stay in the dark,
but rather drawing us out, into the light and constant love of God.

Our opening page is BLACK, but our closing page is WHITE

HYMN – Were you there

Remembering Jesus [Anglican Minister ]

One of our primary roles as a Christian, is to remember Jesus and re-tell his story.

Hands eating a basic meal [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of some hands eating a very basic meal on the screen during this section.

When the time came for Jesus and the apostles to eat, he said to them, “I have very much wanted to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer I tell you that I will not eat another Passover meal until it is finally eaten in God’s kingdom.” … Jesus took some bread in his hands and gave thanks for it. He broke the bread and handed it to his apostles. Then he said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!” After the meal he took another cup of wine in his hands. Then he said, “This is my blood. It is poured out for you, and with it God makes his new agreement.

Pause for reflection

Hands of prayer [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of some hands praying on the screen during this section.

Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives, as he often did, and his disciples went with him. When they got there, he told them, “Pray that you won’t be tested.” Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you will, please don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.” Then an angel from heaven came to help him. Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood. Jesus got up from praying and went over to his disciples. They were asleep and worn out from being so sad. He said to them, “Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won’t be tested.”

Pause for reflection

Hands asking for forgiveness [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of two hands holding another persons hands during this section.

Rosemary is the herb of remembrance. You may now come forward, and thread some rosemary within the body of Jesus, as a way of remembering. In doing this we are honouring him and his sacrifice.

The representation of Jesus is gently laid down, so we may make our remembrance.
You may wish to come forward and thread some rosemary into Jesus.

Taize Chant – Jesus Remember me [Taize Group]

Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

After a while this fades out, and organ music is played
When everyone who wishes has paid their respects and remembered Jesus, we continue.

Hands of nails, hammers and death [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of some “Jesus” hands with nail scars and a bit of wood with a big nail sticking out of it during this section.

Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus. When the soldiers came to the place called “The Skull,” they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus.

The cross is nailed together.

Jesus is placed on the cross and it is lifted into place

NOTE: The cross being nailed together is quite emotional. Make sure the holes are pre-drilled in the wood, so the nails don’t bend. I use about a 5mm diameter galvanised nail, and a hole of 4.5mm in diameter.

HYMN – When I survey

A reflection of Peter [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of people standing around a camp fire on the screen during this section.

It all happened so fast. One moment Jesus was with us, the next he was hanging on that cross. You wonder, you wonder if there was anything we should have done. And you think back to how you responded in the moment, it was horrible, horrible.

We were there in Jerusalem for the passover festival, when we remember the amazing and miraculous work that God did to bring us out of Egypt. United again, this time for the one purpose of worship and remembrance.

Anyway, long after the resurrection we started to re-tell the story of those horrible days. We think it is important to remember it, even though he is risen from the dead, we think it is important to remember what Jesus went through to save us.

Looking back, in hindsight, you could see both the hands of God, and the hands of others. These others weren’t evil, but they did evil. You could see the compassion in Jesus’ eyes. The compassion he had for those slowly draining him of his life.

Praising hands [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of some hands raised (praising hands) on the screen during this section.

Jesus … went on toward Jerusalem. … as he rode along, the people spread clothes on the road in front of him. When Jesus was starting down the Mount of Olives, his large crowd of disciples were happy and praised God because of all the miracles they had seen. They shouted,

“Blessed is the King who comes
in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven
and glory to God.”

Often we are quick to praise God.
But our praise, isn’t always met with loyalty,
our loyalty can wane.

Pause for reflection

Hands wanting…. [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of someone with lots of shopping mall type bags on the screen during this section. With the responsive prayer below it: Gracious God, help us to believe your prayer, your way of life. GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD.

Pilate went back out and said, “I don’t find this man guilty of anything! And since I usually set a prisoner free for you at Passover, would you like for me to set free the king of the Jews?” They shouted, “No, not him! We want Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a terrorist.

At times we want, we want, we want. Our shopping centres, our way of life, can be highly driven, desiring things, wanting…

Gracious God, help us to believe your prayer, your way of life

Give us today our daily bread

SONG – How deep the father’s love

Hands trusting us with ministry [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: We had a picture of a grandfather catching his grandchild jumping off of a wall during this section. With the responsive prayer below: Father forgive us. FATHER FORGIVE US.

Jesus said, “Simon, listen to me! Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks. But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to jail and even to die with you.” Jesus replied, “Peter, I tell you that before a rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say three times that you don’t know me.”

The disciples were fully trained, yet got it wrong! We get it wrong! But God continues to call us, and entrust the mission of God into our hands, in partnership. We work together with God. God sees the potential in Peter, in you and in me.

Pause for reflection

Father forgive us

Father forgive us

Hands of violence or healing [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Picture of someone holding a red love heart, with a plaster on it. With the responsive prayer below: Father, where we don’t bring your healing, wholeness and peace. FATHER FORGIVE US.

When Jesus’ disciples saw (Jesus was about to be arrested), they asked, “Lord, should we attack them with a sword?” One of the disciples even struck at the high priest’s servant with his sword and cut off the servant’s right ear. “Enough of that!” Jesus said. Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed it.

These people had been with Jesus for 3 year! 3 Years! Yet they still have to ask: “What way should we go? The way of violence, or the way of peace.”

Father, where we don’t bring your healing, wholeness and peace

Forgive us

Tying God’s hands? [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Classic love heart cloud picture with a blue background, superimposed on top of this blue sky was a clipart of someone’s tied hands. With the responsive prayer below: Father, forgive our indifference. IMPLANT YOUR HEART IN US TODAY, THROUGH YOUR HOLY SPIRIT.

The Roman officer and his men, together with the temple police, arrested Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. This was the same Caiaphas who had told the Jewish leaders, “It is better if one person dies for the people.”

It’s not that God’s hand’s are tied, it’s simply that we limit the options of God working in our lives, through closing our eyes to new possibilities. Our indifference leads to evil. Sometimes when we are indifferent, when we say: “This doesn’t matter” then evil rules

Father forgive our indifference

Implant your heart in us today, through your Holy Spirit

SONG – Be Still for the presence of the Lord

Warming hands by the fire [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Hands cupping a candle for warmth. With the responsive prayer: When our loyalty wanes. FATHER FORGIVE US, AND DRAW US TO YOU.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That disciple knew the high priest, and he followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest’s house. Peter stayed outside near the gate. But the other disciple came back out and spoke to the girl at the gate. She let Peter go in, but asked him, “Aren’t you one of that man’s followers?” “No, I am not!” Peter answered. It was cold, and the servants and temple police had made a charcoal fire. They were warming themselves around it, when Peter went over and stood near the fire to warm himself.

Go and cup the Christ candle, feel the warmth.

When our loyalty wanes

Father, forgive us, and draw us to you

Hands throwing a dice, looking for a way out [Congregation ]

After the soldiers had nailed Jesus to the cross, they divided up his clothes into four parts, one for each of them. But his outer garment was made from a single piece of cloth, and it did not have any seams. The soldiers said to each other, “Let’s not rip it apart. We will gamble to see who gets it.” This happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say,
“They divided up my clothes
and gambled for my garments.”

In Lotto we look for a way out of life, for a way out of debt, or for an alternate way after unfulfilled hope. We remember Jesus’ words: “Not my will, but your will be done.”

Gracious God

Show yourself for us

so we do not go about in ignorance;

reveal yourself to us

for in you we know your presence, your call, your will.

Mother’s hands cradling her baby [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Picture of mum cuddling her newborn baby. With the responsive prayer: For those who have yet to reach their full potential. MAY WE BE ACTIVE IN HELPING NURTURE ALL CHILDREN, MAY WE BE CARING, MAY WE BE LOVING.

Jesus’ mother stood beside his cross with her sister and Mary the wife of Clopas. Mary Magdalene was standing there too.

As a mother you know the potential of your baby. You have hopes, dreams and aspirations for them. Sometimes these are robbed, by evil, by a broken world, or by things not being as they should.

For those who have yet to reach their full potential

May we be active in helping to nurture all children, may we be caring, may we be loving.

Final will and testament [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Stock photo of a fountain pen on top of a paper saying: “final will and testament”. With the responsive prayer: For an area in our family that needs restoration and hope. GRANT US THE GRACE TO EAT TOGETHER, TO RESTORE RELATIONSHIPS AND LIVE WHOLE LIVES.

When Jesus saw his mother and his favourite disciple with her, he said to his mother, “This man is now your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “She is now your mother.” From then on, that disciple took her into his own home.

Even in dying, Jesus was caring. His family had estranged themselves from Jesus. Yet, at the final moment there is restoration, there is care, there is love. There is always hope.

Pause for reflection

For an area in our family that needs restoration and hope

Grant us the grace to eat together, to restore relationships and live whole lives

Temple is split [Anglican Minister ]

PROJECTOR: Picture of large Grecko-Roman rubble stones

The temple is split, both literally, and spiritually. The leaders did a horrible thing. They fought, amongst themselves and with God. And they lost on two counts.

Firstly spiritually they split themselves off from God. They lost God, they killed God in their midst. And this split the people too. They were meant to lead, but they showed themselves to be unable to lead.

Secondly, when you split a group of people, those people become weaker. The temple curtain tore. It tore, not only spiritually to show we now have access to God the Father, but also to show us the establishment is torn, and broken when we live by ourselves. If we wish to live then we need to make sure we are following God’s ways. We thank God everyday, for the Holy Spirit, and the way God guides us. It is so easy to make big mistakes, but if we pay attention to the Holy Spirit, we make less mistakes. Because we have to be quiet, and compassionate like Jesus was. It seems to be only in the quiet that we really hear the Spirit’s guidance. We say the Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, and it is.

But anyway, we were talking about the temple physically splitting. And it did. We didn’t heal the factions we had, and the temple fell. If only we had listened to Jesus’ ways earlier. But it’s too late now.

And anyway, we know now that it’s not about buildings, but about the people. Jesus showed us that, and the Holy Spirit continues to convict us of that.

John Mark always reminds us that we can find God on the way, right where we are. We thank him for his conviction of this, and reminding us that it’s all about the people.

Intercessions [Intercessor ]

PROJECTOR: Picture of the world from space.

Lord’s prayer [ALL ]

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

SONG – I will offer up my life

Turning off the light switch [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Old-school light switch labeled OFF

Jesus knew that he had now finished his work. And in order to make the Scriptures come true, he said, “I am thirsty!” A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus’ mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant. After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died.

There comes a time, when we realise we have done what we can do. Together, let us ask for God’s peace.

Let us pray: Lord, it is the night.

The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

In your name we pray. Amen.1

Gentle Hands [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Adult hands cupping young hands, holding a butterfly

There was a man named Joseph, who was from Arimathea in Judea. Joseph was a good and honest man, and he was eager for God’s kingdom to come. He was also a member of the council, but he did not agree with what they had decided. Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The cross is taken down
Jesus is gently removed, his arms folded from out-stretched to by his sides.
He is wrapped in white grave clothes


Hands, looking through binoculars at a distance [Anglican Minister ]

PROJECTOR: Binoculars. With the responsive prayer beside them: Lord, when we disengage. MAY YOUR HOLY SPIRIT RE-KINDLE YOUR WAYS IN US.

All of Jesus’ close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched.

Lord, when we disengage

May your Holy Spirit re-kindle your ways in us

We pray: Gracious God, help us to engage, to not fret over what might have been, but rather to fully live into your tomorrow and your resurrection. May we be a healthy, whole witness to your body at work, in Creation, in Papakura, in New Zealand. Amen.

Blessing [Meth&Ang Minister ]

PROJECTOR: Picture of a Freedom sign

Ang Min: May Christ the crucified convince you that God loves you and has forgiven you.

Meth Min: May the cross carry you through whatever pain and suffering assails you. May you go forward with courage in the faith of Christ

Meth&Ang Min: and may God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life,
bless you today and always. AMEN.

Calloused hands [Congregation ]

PROJECTOR: Picture of some rough hands firmly rested on a rail. Or maybe some working hands?

Joseph … put the body in a tomb that had been cut into solid rock. Then he rolled a big stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were watching and saw where the body was placed.

Some rough calloused hands, do the final gentle work to care for Jesus

Pause for reflection

Jesus is buried

NOTE: It was very much like a funeral procession as the shrouded body was carried out. We used our gardener’s car, there was something nice and symbolic and playful about using the gardeners car.

Jesus is carried to the car.
You may follow, stay in silence, or move to the hall for Hot Cross buns.

Thank you for joining us, and for your faithfulness.

Final thought

We leave with the hope of Easter on the horizon.

May the light of Christ always guide you.

May faith
May hope
May love
be alive in you
and always.
Peace be with you. Dion.

1ANZPB, pg 184