A good service order, liturgy, or planning template builds meaning and connection at each step. The church has many such resources available, especially in our hymnals, but little is available to those attempting to leverage modern tools in service to the gospel in worship. To provide turnkey resources and curate helpful models, CWL annually produces liturgies in both modern and traditional formats.
In the midst of an often polarized worship culture, the Center for Worship Leadership sets out on a middle way. We recognize that an “anything goes” mentality of worship insufficiently represents how worship shapes believing, and fails to acknowledge that worship is in service to the gospel. A good service order, liturgy, or planning template builds meaning and connection each step of the way, pointing toward, and stemming from, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, as we understand from our Lutheran heritage, our orders of worship “must serve for the promotion of faith and love and not be a detriment to faith” (Luther).
As a training organization we recognize that in many situations people are best served by “learning to fish.” We also understand, however, that there are many ministry leaders within the church who are well served by using, and learning from, a resource that has been created for them. For this reason, the Center for Worship Leadership endeavors to provide orders of worship as a resource for the church. Certainly, our hope is that these liturgies will help those who plan modern worship services. The CWL, however, aspires to support the whole church and is committed to writing liturgical resources that will serve the two broadly defined modes of expression – modern and traditional.
2023 Holy Week Writing Retreat
This material was created at a writing retreat hosted by the Center for Worship Leadership (CWL) of Concordia University Irvine. There, a team of creative writers, theologians, and writers worked together to create the following tools for you to consider, adjust and use for your Holy Week services. Thanks for downloading and please keep the following caveats in mind as you engage the material:
- Each group was asked to focus on the poetics and focus of one of the pericopal readings. For example, Maundy Thursday 1 was written with the Exodus readings especially in view, while Maundy Thursday 2 was written with the poetics of the Psalm in view. This was done to see what kind of variety could be created liturgically, akin to a Pastor preaching primarily on one of the texts of the lectionary. This creative endeavor was the first step in the larger vision of creating an online worship planning tool.
- Not all of the following materials will work in every context - each local liturgist will need to use wisdom in selecting and adapting these resources. Please feel free to cut, paste, and change the materials as suits your context. Also, please use them without crediting the liturgical authors or CWL in your bulletin. We do not offer these resources as a turn-key resource, nor do we offer these as complete Holy Week services. You might like a particular call to worship, or a confession as it fits with your sermon or set of songs. You might like several of the components within one of the sets and integrate them into your service flow. You might not find anything here helpful for your context, maybe you are simply inspired by something you read.
- We hope that engaging, reflecting and using these resources enriches your Holy Week services and the proclamation of Christ’s death and resurrection for us!
2023 Holy Week Liturgies