Betrayal and the Body & Blood: A Lent Liturgy

By Susan Burner on March 16, 2020

While our chapel services and many other public worship gatherings are temporarily canceled, we invite you to gather with those in your home or small communities, similar to the early church. We will be providing liturgies to guide your worship gatherings centered on Mark 14-16 written by Cornerstone University staff and students. We will post a new one each week as well as one for Good Friday.

Though we may not be gathered together physically, the Campus Ministries team anticipates seeing how the Spirit will convict, encourage and guide us, through the illumination of the Scriptures, as we journey to the cross during this season of Lent.

Betrayal and the Body & Blood: A Liturgy for Mark 14:1-31

In Mark 14:1-31, we see deep contrast in how Jesus is treated: some plot to kill Him (v. 1-2), while others anoint Him (v. 3-9). Even among those He eats with (v. 12-25), there are those who have betrayed Him (v. 10-11, 18-21) and those who will deny Him (v. 26-31). The deep divide in how people respond to Him may make us wonder, "Who is this Jesus, and why is He responded to in these ways?"

Worship is a response to who God is. God has revealed who He is in His Word. Begin this time as a community acknowledging God for who His Word reveals Him to be: the Rock of Ages, the Strong & Mighty Deliverer, the Lion of Judah, the Miracle Worker, the King, worthy of praise! In solidarity with believers around the world, declare and sing these names and attributes of God in multiple languages.

Song: "Eze (King)"

Read and Reflect on Mark 14:1-9

It is easy to put ourselves into the story as the woman who anointed Jesus, reflecting on what fragrant, sacrificial gift we have given to God. And yet, the season of Lent invites us into self-reflection and repentance. So when we look at this text again, might we acknowledge that we are also those who have judged others' offerings and deemed them inappropriate, wasteful or wrong? May we humble ourselves and see that it is not our "right" method or personal merit that makes our worship acceptable to God; rather, it is God's grace alone.

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:1-9

Prayer

Have one participant pray this prayer of confession aloud. As the prayer is prayed, all participants are invited to outstretch their arms with palms facing up to reflect the desire to open their hearts to the Spirit's work.

"God, forgive our doubting, questioning hearts.
Like those who witnessed Jesus' miracles of healing
and heard his proclamation, yet spurned belief,
we too have seen wonders, yet have hardened our hearts.
We confess the many times that our pessimism
has caused others to doubt themselves and your Spirit,
the times that our criticism has wounded others,
the times that our dejection has dampened the enthusiasm
of those inspired by your Word and work.
O God, forgive us and in your mercy renew us,
that with open hearts we may believe
and never pose an obstacle to the faith of others. Amen."

Adapted from "The Worship Sourcebook," edited by Emily Brink and John Witvliet, p. 567.

Read and Reflect on Mark 14:10-21

Jesus identifies that though this is an intimate gathering, one of the people present has betrayed Him. We know that it was Judas Iscariot. But imagine being in that room. While reclined at the table (1st century Middle Eastern meals were eaten while laying on one's side with the head closest to a low table and feet facing outward), the Teacher these disciples have been following announces that one of them will betray Him. "Surely not I?"

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:10-21

Prayer

Have one participant pray this prayer of confession aloud. As the prayer is prayed, all participants are invited to kneel, if able, with heads bowed and hands folded to demonstrate humility.

"Lord, we have denied you by refusing to know you.
We have betrayed you by keeping our distance.
We have mocked you by pretending we are not yours.
Lord, we are lost; let your forgiveness find us.
Welcome us into your strong, forgiving arms
and let us feel reconciled again. Amen."

From "The Worship Sourcebook," edited by Emily Brink and John Witvliet, p. 564.

Read and Reflect on Mark 14:22-25

In the presence of those who have already betrayed and who will deny Him, Christ offers Himself. His body will be broken and His blood will be shed on the cross for the redemption of His children. But here prior to that event, He offers a continual reminder of His sacrifice, love and grace that we still have as a sacrament in the church today.

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:22-25

Remember and Celebrate Christ's Sacrifice

  • Take communion together. We recognize some church traditions would not affirm taking the sacrament of communion outside of a public church service context and/or from someone who is not ordained. We also recognize the unique moment we are in and that most churches are not meeting or serving communion at this time. Please engage however you are comfortable.
  • Silently reflect on the body and blood of Christ shed for you.
  • Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of salvation.
  • Share how the gift of salvation and Christ's sacrifice on the cross is good news and hope for you today.

Have hope in these words of assurance: "The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we, free from sins, might live for righteousness; by his wounds we have been healed" (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Peter 2:24 NRSV)

Sing this song as a declaration to yourself and to those gathered with you that we have confidence of our forgiveness in Christ.

Song: "Before the Throne of God Above"

Read and Reflect on Mark 14:26-31

Though Peter insists that he will not deny Jesus, we know that Peter denies Him only a short while later. Similarly, we know that though gathered now, it will only be a short time before we too fall into disobedience and denial of God. As you prepare to go into this week, pray this simple prayer based on Psalm 86 aloud together as a reminder of God's forgiveness and guidance.

"God, you are good and you forgive me. You are full of love. When I pray to you, I know you will answer me; I know you will show me the right path to take."

From "Psalms for Young Children" by Marie-Hélène Delval

Sing this song as a prayer asking the Spirit to guide you so that Jesus would be at the center of your life this week, and that the church would show the world who Jesus is this week.

Song: "Jesus at the Center"

Category: Faith in College