​​Worship Plan for Sunday, April 5, 2020

Passion Sunday ELW Sunday of the Passion / Palm Sunday
Introduction to the day
Today, we encounter the paradox that defines our faith: Jesus Christ is both glorified king and humiliated servant. We are also full of paradox:
·         Like Peter, we fervently desire to defend and follow Christ to the death, and also find ourselves afraid, denying God.
·         Today we wave palms in celebration as Christ comes into our midst, and from here we follow him with trepidation as his path leads to humiliation and death on the cross.
Amid it all we are invited into this paradoxical promise of life through Christ’s broken body and outpoured love in a meal of bread and wine.
We begin this week that stands at the liturgical center of the church year, anticipating the completion of God’s astounding work.
Gathering
The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.
Acclamation 
The presiding minister begins … Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Processional Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
An assisting minister reads the processional gospel.
The holy gospel according to Matthew.         Glory to you, O Lord.

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.”
4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The gospel of the Lord.          Praise to you, O Christ.

Blessing of Palms 
We greet each other.   The Lord be with you.                        And also with you.
Let us pray.     A brief silence is kept.             We praise you, O God,
for redeeming the world through our Savior Jesus Christ. Today he entered the holy city in triumph and was proclaimed messiah and king by those who spread garments and branches along his way. Bless these branches and those who carry them. Grant us grace to follow our Lord in the way of the cross, so that, joined to his death and resurrection,
we enter into life with you; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The assisting minister addresses the assembly.
Let us go forth in peace,         in the name of Christ. Amen.
Procession All Glory, Laud, and Honor (rhythmic) (LBW 108)


Prayer of the Day 
As we now enter into the contemplation of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and meditate on the salvation of the world through his sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection, let us pray.
Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Word
God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

Gospel Acclamation
The assembly stands to welcome the gospel.
Pastor Chants: Christ humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death | on a cross.* Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above | ev’ry name. (Phil. 2:8-9)
Congregation Responds ...
Congregation responds ...
Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
 

Gospel Read Dramatically together (via Zoom?): Matthew 26:14--27:66
The holy gospel according to Matthew.         Glory to you, O Lord.

 In fulfillment of scripture and obedience to God’s will, Jesus goes to the cross so that a new covenant in his blood may bring forgiveness of sins. Even the soldiers who crucify him recognize him to be the Son of God.
14One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
17On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ” 19So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
20When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; 21and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” 25Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”
26While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
31Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 33Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”
34Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” 35Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.
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 36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 51Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” 55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. 59Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, 60but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” 62The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 63But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you,
From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, 68saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”

69Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” 71When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” 73After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. 75Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.27:

1When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. 6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” 7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” 20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
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32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’ ” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
55Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’

64Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” 65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

The gospel of the Lord.                      Praise to you, O Christ.

Hymn of the Day O Sacred Head, Now Wounded (isometric) (LBW 117)

Living together in trust and hope, we confess our faith.
Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one
Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy
Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose
again in accordance with the scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the
right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and
        the Son,* who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken
        through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the
        forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world
        to come. Amen.

*Or, “who proceeds from the Father.” The phrase “and the Son” is a later addition to the creed.
Build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 20)

Prayers
Today’s prayers are from The Lutheran World Federation April 2020
O God our Healer, show your compassion for the whole human family that is in turmoil and burdened with illness and with fear.                Hear our cry, O God,             Listen to our prayer.
Come to our aid as the coronavirus spreads globally, heal those who are sick, support and protect their families and friends from being infected. Hear our cry, O God,           Listen to our prayer.
Grant us your spirit of love and self-discipline so that we may come together, working to control and eliminate the coronavirus.                  Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer.
 
Make us vigilant, attentive, and proactive in the eradication of diseases that create suffering and often result in death for many people like malaria, dengue, HIV & AIDS, and others that we name out loud or in silence…                         Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer.
Heal our self-centeredness and indifference that makes us worry only when the virus threatens us or those closest to us. Open ways for us to move beyond timidity and fear. Equip us to engage with rather than ignore our neighbor.   Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer.
Strengthen and encourage those in public health services and in the medical profession: care-givers, nurses, attendants, doctors, all who commit themselves to caring for the sick and their families.                                                    Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer. 
Inspire, give wisdom, insight and hope to all researchers focused on developing and delivering a vaccine.                                                             Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer. 
Sustain all workers and business owners who suffer loss of livelihood due to shut-downs, quarantines, closed borders, and other restrictions.  Protect and guard those whose work is essential to the community and must travel. Hear our cry, O God,               Listen to our prayer.  

Guide the leaders of the nations that they speak the truth.  Convict any who would intentionally or unintentionally spread misinformation.  Help us all to act with justice and kindness so that all your family may know healing.                  Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer. 

Heal our world, heal our bodies, strengthen our hearts and our minds, and in the midst of turmoil, give us hope and peace.                                  Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer.  

Hold in your gentle embrace all who have died and who will die this day. Comfort their loved ones in their despair.                                                Hear our cry, O God,              Listen to our prayer. 
Remember all your family, the entire human race, and all your creation, in your love. Amen!

The Sharing of Peace in this Time of Social Distancing 
Sisters and brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.
(If you have access to technology please jot a quick note/text to each other: Peace be with you.)

 Offertory
        Glory to you, O God, for yours is the earth; yours the hosannas, the dying, rebirth.
        Ours the rejoicing for nature reclaimed; ours the thanksgiving to your holy name.
        Ours be the telling of deeds greatly done; yours be the glory, O God, yours alone.
Let us pray. (Brief silence) Gracious God,in the abundance of your steadfast love, you call us from death to life, from silence to speech, from idleness to action. With these gifts we offer ourselves to you, and with the Church through all the ages we give thanks for your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Lord’s Prayer
Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Blessing
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15)  Amen

 Dismissal
Go in peace. Serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Sending Song What Wondrous Love is this Hymn #385 LBW



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​Worship Plan for Sunday, March 29, 2020
Fifth Sunday in Lent WOV Service of Word and Prayer

Worship Plan Notes
Announcements and Introduction to the day
In today’s gospel Jesus reveals his power over death by raising Lazarus from the dead. The prophet Ezekiel prophesies God breathing new life into dry bones. To those in exile or living in the shadows of death, these stories proclaim God’s promise of resurrection. In baptism we die with Christ that we might also be raised with him to new life. At the Easter Vigil we will welcome the newly baptized as we remember God’s unfailing promise in our baptism.

Special Music (Pre-load this link in your search engine and we will sing it (dance to it?) together)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCtneZbJb3Q

Greeting
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:13)         And also with you.
The word is near you,
            on your lips and in your heart.
If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord,
            and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Faith comes from what is heard,
            and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. 
(Romans 10)

 Scripture Canticle
All: Salvation belongs to our God and to Christ the Lamb forever and ever.
I: Great and wonderful are your deeds, O God of the universe;

just and true are your ways, O Ruler of all the nations.
Who can fail to honor you, Lord, and sing the glory of your name?
All: Salvation belongs to our God and to Christ the Lamb forever and ever.

II: For you alone are the Holy One.
All nations will draw near and worship before you,
for your just and holy works have been revealed.
All: Salvation belongs to our God and to Christ the Lamb forever and ever.


Prayer of the Day
The Lord be with you. … And also with you.Let us pray. (Brief Silence) Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death. Breathe upon us the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ and serve you in righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.Amen.

First Lesson: Ezekiel 37:1-14
A reading from Ezekiel.
Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones is a promise that Israel as a nation, though dead in exile, will live again in their land through God’s life-giving spirit. Three times Israel is assured that through this vision they will know that “I am the Lord.”
1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our  bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 130
The Psalm is chanted …
Refrain: With the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption. (Ps. 130:6-7)

1Out | of the depths *  I cry to | you, O Lord;
2O Lord, | hear my voice! * Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my | supplication.
3If you were to keep watch | over sins, * O Lord, | who could stand?
4Yet with you | is forgiveness, * in order that you | may be feared. Refrain
5I wait for you, O Lord; | my soul waits; *  in your word | is my hope.
6My soul waits for the Lord more than those who keep watch | for the morning,
more than those who keep watch | for the morning.

7O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is | steadfast love;
with the Lord there is plen- | teous redemption.

8For the Lord shall | redeem Israel  *  from | all their sins. Refrain

Second Lesson: Romans 8:6-11
A reading from Romans.

For Paul, Christian spirituality entails living in the reality of the Holy Spirit. The driving force behind our actions and values is not our sinful desire for self-satisfaction but the very Spirit by which God raised Jesus from the dead and will also raise us from the dead.
6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
The word of the Lord. 
Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation
Pastor Chants ... I am the resurrection | and the life; whoever believes in me will | never die. (John 11:25, 26)
Congregation responds ...
Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
 
Gospel: John 11:1-45
The Holy Gospel according to John, the 11th chapter.
Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus is moved to sorrow when his friend Lazarus falls ill and dies. Then, in a dramatic scene, he calls his friend out of the tomb and restores him to life.
1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
28When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
45Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
The Gospel of the Lord.                     Praise to you, O Christ.

Homily (adapted from an article found in Sundays and Seasons)
How Can These Bones Live?
Today’s gospel story is an up-close, deeply personal all too familiar story of grief.
Even the movements seem familiar: Jesus is on the way, then present to each sister. At last, he stands outside the tomb of his friend who has died, and whom the community mourns. And he weeps.
In today’s first reading, we are swept up with Ezekiel and deposited into a wilderness valley full of dry, dead bones. In the valley, God asks Ezekiel, “Mortal, can these bones live?” (Ezek. 37:3).
Of Lazarus in our gospel reading for today, we, like Ezekiel, might also respond: “O Lord God, you know.” You told us yourself Jesus, “Lazarus is dead”; so … how can a dead man’s body come back to life? 
Could it ever be enough to just reflect on What Jesus offers next, that he is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). We strongly identify with Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, who were both accusing Jesus in angrily while at the same time confessing hopefully that Jesus could have and maybe still could “Do something” to reverse this sad sad situation. 
As John tells it, Lazarus has been in the tomb four days by the time Jesus arrives. By then the whole village is awash in grief. When Jesus weeps too, all, even us as we watch this scene from a 200 year old distance, yet are right there with them in their extremely human grief and loss, we are all amazed at Jesus’ loving devotion.  Jesus has strongly connected with all gathered in that scene and all of us gathered in Christ while scattered and sheltering in place due to the CoViD19 outbreak.  
And it is a strong connection, a visible reminder that Jesus is truly present among us; experiencing human community at the same level we live it.  Jesus is not above it all.  Jesus is smack dab in the middle of it!
And suddenly Jesus does what we could never have imagined was even remotely possible … He calls out to the one inside the tomb; summoning him back to life and the living … and just like the Spirit blowing over the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision, a dead man walks out of the tomb.
God is clearly up to something! With this sign of all signs God is declaring he is about to make ALL things new!
New life can emerge from the lonely tomb of social distancing and all other kinds of isolating experiences in our world and it can even emerge from the fear shadowed corners of our own hearts.
Hang on!  The annual celebration of that first Easter Morning is coming liturgically and remember sisters and brothers … the power of the resurrection is available to us at all times and in every situation!  I pray you feel this resurrection power deep down in your own bones! AMEN


Sung response to the Gospel (Pre-load this link in your search engine and we will sing it together)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvD0XJzOWQ4

Response to the Word: We share our Creed and Confession
In Christ, you have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
We believe in him and are marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.
(Ephesians 1:13-14)

Living together in trust and hope, we confess our faith.
Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is,
        seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one
Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy
Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose
again in accordance with the scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the
right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and
        the Son,* who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken
        through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the
        forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world
        to come. Amen.
*Or, “who proceeds from the Father.” The phrase “and the Son” is a later addition to the creed.
 
Build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 20)
Silence for reflection and self examination.

Upcoming Commemorations; we gives you thanks O Lord …

On Sunday, March 29, 2020 … for Hans Nielsen Hauge, renewer of the church, died 1824
Hauge was a layperson who wished to revitalize the church in Norway. As a result of a mystical experience, he felt called to preach. Many professionals in the church feared his motives and influence, and he was imprisoned for leading unauthorized gatherings.

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 … John Donne, poet, died 1631
After finishing his education at Oxford University, Donne seemed headed for a career in the English public service. But a series of circumstances led him into the ordained ministry. He is well known as a writer of both secular and sacred poetry.

 
On Saturday, April 4, 2020 … Benedict the African, confessor, died 1589
Born a slave on the island of Sicily, Benedict lived as a hermit until the pope ordered all hermits to attach themselves to a monastery, at which time Benedict joined the Franciscans. Though illiterate, he was highly respected as a confessor and later superior of his community.


​PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

Turning our hearts to God who is gracious and merciful, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

A brief silence.

God of life, bind your faithful people into one body. Enliven the church with your Spirit and bless the work of those who work for its renewal (like Hans Nielsen Hauge, whom we commemorate today). Accomplish your work of salvation in us and through us, for the sake of the world. Hear us, O God.             Your mercy is great.

God of life, you love the world you have made and you grieve when creation suffers. Restore polluted lands and waterways. Heal areas of the world ravaged by storms, floods, wildfires, droughts, or other natural disasters (especially this CoViD 19 outbreak that is upon us). Bring all things to new life. Hear us, O God.                        Your mercy is great.

God of life, show redemption to all who watch and wait with eager expectation: those longing for wars to cease, those waiting for immigration paperwork to finalize, those seeking election, and those in dire need of humanitarian relief. Come quickly with your hope.

Hear us, O God.                      Your mercy is great.

God of life, you weep with those who grieve. Unbind all who are held captive by anxiety, despair, or pain (especially those who have asked for our prayers). Fill us with compassion and empathy for those who struggle, and keep us faithful in prayer.

Hear us, O God.                      Your mercy is great.

God of life, we give thanks for opportunities for this congregation to collaborate with our community in caring for the needs of our neighbors. Strengthen our ties with other local congregations, agencies, and services (Especially our ministry partners in the Delaware Valley Mission District of this church, as well as the statewide and churchwide expressions of the ELCA and our full communion Partners as we join together to combat all the ill effects of the CoViD 19 pandemic).

Hear us, O God.                      Your mercy is great.

For what else shall we pray …?

Hear us, O God.                      Your mercy is great.

God of life, you are our resurrection. We remember all those who have died and trust that, in you, they will live again (especially Hans, John and Benedict). Breathe new life into our dry bones, that we, too, might live with you forever.

Hear us, O God.                      Your mercy is great.

According to your steadfast love, O God of life, hear these and all our prayers as we commend them to you; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We continue in prayer …

Gracious God, have mercy on us. In your compassion forgive us our sins, known and unknown, things done and left undone. Uphold us by your Spirit so that we may live and serve you in newness of life, to the honor and glory of your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.

Amen

 
Peace

Sisters and brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace. (2 Corinthians 13:11) The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.

If you have access to technology please jot a quick note/text to each other:  Peace be with you.
 

Offertory

            Glory to you, O God, for yours is the earth; yours the hosannas, the dying, rebirth.
            Ours the rejoicing for nature reclaimed; ours the thanksgiving to your holy name.
            Ours be the telling of deeds greatly done; yours be the glory, O God, yours alone.

 
Let us pray. (Brief silence) Gracious God,in the abundance of your steadfast love, you call us from death to life, from silence to speech, from idleness to action. With these gifts we offer ourselves to you, and with the Church through all the ages we give thanks for your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 Lord’s Prayer

Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

 
Blessing
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15)  Amen

 
Dismissal
The leader may dismiss the congregation. Go in peace. Serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.
 
Sending Song (To Be Determined … Suggestions?)


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord - 9 AM via Facebook Live
Introduction

Nine months before Christmas we celebrate the annunciation, in which the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. The ancient church believed that this was also the date of the world's creation and of Jesus' death on the cross.

In the Gospel for today we hear the angel Gabriel announce that the love of God for humanity will take shape in the body of the blessed virgin Mary. The letter to the Hebrews tells us how humanity has been hallowed “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Isaiah prophetically announces the coming of Immanuel, whose name means “God with us” – that God would take on human form, offer his life for ours, and keep company with us our whole life long overshadows any other love. Celebrate the announcement!
Confession and Forgiveness
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, who is present, who gives life, who calls into existence the things that do not exist. Amen.
If you were to keep watch over sins, O Lord, who could stand? Yet with you is forgiveness, and so we confess. …Silence is kept for reflection …

Gracious God, have mercy on us. We confess that we have turned away from you, knowingly and unknowingly. We have wandered from your resurrection life. We have strayed from your love for all people. Turn us back to you, O God. Give us new hearts and right spirits, that we may find what is pleasing to you and dwell in your house forever. Amen.

Receive good news: God turns to you in love. “I will put my spirit in you, and you shall live,” says our God. All your sin is forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ, who is the free and abounding gift of God’s grace for you. Amen.

Prayer of the Day
Pour your grace into our hearts, O God, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ, announced by an angel, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; for he lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14
A young woman will bear a son
10The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”


Psalm: Psalm 45
Refrain: I will make your name to be remembered from one generation to another. (Ps. 45:17)
1My heart is stirring with a noble song; let me recite what I have fashioned for the king;
my tongue shall be the pen of a skillful writer.
2You are the noblest among the people; grace flows from your lips, because God has blessed you forever.
3Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, in your pride and in your majesty.
4Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth and for the sake of justice. Your right  hand will show you marvelous things.
5Your arrows have been sharpened; people fall under you;  and the enemies of the king lose heart.
6Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. 
7You love righteousness and hate iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions.
8All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
9Kings’ daughters stand among the ladies of the court; on your right hand is the queen, adorned with the | gold of Ophir.
10“Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; forget your people and your father’s house.
11The king will desire your beauty; he is your master, so bow before him.
12The city of Tyre brings tribute; the wealthiest of the people seek your favor.” 
13All glorious is the princess as she enters; her gown is cloth-of-gold.
14 In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
15With joy and gladness they are brought, and enter into the palace of the king.
16“In place of ancestors, O king, you shall have sons; you shall make them princes over all the earth.
17I will make your name to be remembered from one generation to another; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.” 

 Second Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10

The offering of Jesus’ body sanctifies us
4It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;
6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
7Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”
8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Gospel Acclamation

Greetings, O favored one! The | Lord is with you.* The Holy Spirit will | come upon you.  (Luke 1:28, 35)
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38 The angel greets Mary

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 Offering Prayer

Holy and generous host, you set a table where we feast as friends. Prepare us to witness to your goodness with every gift you have given us to share, that all people may know your peace through Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

Invitation to Mystical Union with Christ

God’s love is poured out in Christ for you. Open yourselves to receive it.

The Our Father

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,for ever and ever. Amen

Closing Prayer

We thank you, living God, for the body and blood of your Son, which sustains us in the wilderness and the garden alike. As Christ has loved us in this feast, so send us to love Christ in our neighbors. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Blessing

Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation. Holy God, speaking, spoken, and inspiring, ☩ bless you, unbind you, and send you in love and in peace. Amen.

 Dismissal

Go in peace. Share the good news. Thanks be to God.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Worship Service for Sunday, March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday in Lent            ELW Setting Four No Communion
The same program will be used at all services this weekend. 
Gathering
The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.

Announcements & Introduction to the day
Baptism is sometimes called enlightenment. The gospel for this Sunday is the story of the man born blind healed by Christ. “I was blind, now I see,” declares the man. In baptism God opens our eyes to see the truth of who we are: God’s beloved children. As David was anointed king of Israel, in baptism God anoints our head with oil, and calls us to bear witness to the light of Christ in our daily lives.

 Confession and Forgiveness 
The assembly stands. All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
Blessed be The Holy Trinity, ☩ one God, who forgives all our sin,whose mercy endures forever.    Amen.

The presiding minister may lead one of the following or another prayer of preparation.
God of all mercy and consolation, come to the help of your people, turning us from our sin to live for you alone. Give us the power of your Holy Spirit that we may confess our sin, receive your forgiveness, and grow into the fullness of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

One of the following or another confession is prayed.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

The assembly kneels or stands. Silence is kept for reflection.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.  Amen.

The presiding minister announces God’s forgiveness with these or similar words.
God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of ☩ Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith.  Amen.

The assembly stands.

Greeting
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.           

And also with you.

Kyrie 
In peace, let us pray to the Lord.            Lord, have mercy.
For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.    Lord, have mercy.
For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.   Lord, have mercy.
For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.  Lord, have mercy.
Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord. Amen.

Prayer of the Day

The Lord be with you … And also with you … Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Bend your ear to our prayers, Lord Christ, and come among us. By your gracious life and death for us, bring light into the darkness of our hearts, and anoint us with your Spirit, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

 The assembly is seated.

Word

God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

The reading may be announced: A reading from 1 Samuel.

Samuel anointed David even though he was the eighth-oldest son of Jesse and did not match his brothers in height or other physical characteristics. With the anointing came endowment with the Spirit of the Lord, designating David as the Lord’s chosen successor to Saul.
1The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” 4Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” 7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

The reading may be concluded:

The word of the Lord.   hanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 23

The psalm for the day is read responsively by verse

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down | in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3You restore my soul, O Lord, and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 


 Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14


The reading may be announced: A reading from Ephesians.

Because we now live in the divine light, which is Jesus Christ, we conduct our lives in ways that reflect the light of Christ, so that our activity is truly pleasing to God.

8Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

 The word of the Lord.            Thanks be to God.

 


Gospel Verse and Acclamation

Pastor Chants ... Jesus says, I am the light | of the world; whoever follows me will have the | light of life. (John 8:12)  

The assembly stands to welcome the gospel.

Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
Gospel: John 9:1-41

The gospel is announced. The holy gospel according to John.

Glory to you, O Lord.


 1As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”
18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.

31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.
35Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

The gospel concludes:

The gospel of the Lord.          Praise to you, O Christ.

Homily

The assembly is seated.
What an intriguing story; a man born blind was miraculously if not crudely healed by Christ.
“I was blind, now I see,” declares the man.
In our baptism God washes us with water and the Word and through this bath our eyes are opened, and we begin to see the truth of who and whose we are: God’s beloved children.

When we are baptized, we are also anointed with oil just like we heard today in our Old Testament Lesson that the young shepherd boy David was anointed king of Israel.  Just as he was anointed and called to lead the people in baptism God anoints us and calls us to bear witness to the light of Christ in our daily lives.

 We live in a dangerous and uncertain time.  When David was faced with a threat he found the strength to worship God with some of the best poetry ever offered, Psalm 23, especially the refrain; 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over. As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death cast by CoVid19, may we call upon the kind of radical faith exhibited by David and our anonymous blind man.

As you read between the lines of today’s gospel story you sense some danger looming for Jesus.  So much intrigue and controversy in today’s gospel story! What got Jesus in so much trouble.  He healed a man born blind and he did the healing on the Sabbath, breaking the law that prohibits any work being done on the sabbath, even healing.  This provokes a hostile reaction among the religious leaders.  Ironically, it is the newly healed formerly blind man that points out the absurdity of their hostile response and points out their spiritual blindness to the things of God. 

The religious leaders  judge the formerly blind man him as a sinner and they say the same about Jesus then the blind man asks the simple question that puts them in a bind; how Jesus be a sinner and still be able to work such a divine healing?

It is such a radically simple conclusion.  But this clear testimony does not align with the preconceived judgment of the religious leaders, who can’t find it in themselves to rejoice that the man’s eyes have been opened. Instead, they play out the blame game, the same one initiated earlier by Jesus’ disciples; Is this man blind because of his sin or his parents’ sin.

The disciples and the religious leaders express no empathy or compassion about the man’s blindness.  And the religious leaders express no joy about the new possibilities presented to this man for participation in community now that he can see.

As we listen to the narrative unfold, perhaps we recognize some of the voices blaming, accusing, or (as with the man’s parents) seeking to withdraw from the controversy. We do well to learn the lessons of this story and forgo judgement of our family friends and neighbors as decisions are made concerning coping with the spread of CoVid19.

Today’s story stands in John’s gospel as another important sign, identifying Jesus as “light of the world” (John 9:5).  In our Baptism, we have our first moment of enlightenment. As we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, we are reminded of ways we tend to be blinded by our judgments and critiques of others and of ourselves, even and sometimes especially when they are religion based. 

The spotlight of the gospel illuminates issues for us as to what and to whom our eyes are closed. Showing us where we can be more faith centered and loving in our practicing of our faith in the world. 

We heard this in today’s second lesson from the letter to the ancient Church at Ephesus where the Apostle Paul reminded us that because we belong to God (through baptism) we now live in the divine light which is Jesus Christ, allowing us to conduct our lives in ways that reflect the light of Christ, living a life that is truly pleasing to God.

Baptism, like this blind man’s mixture of mud and washing can open us to see differently and by grace through faith that openness can restore us in and to community.  Amen

Silence for reflection follows the sermon.
Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one
Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy
Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the
right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and  the Son,* who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world  to come. Amen.


*Or, “who proceeds from the Father.” The phrase “and the Son” is a later addition to the creed.

 

Prayers of Intercession

The prayers are prepared locally for each occasion. The following examples may be adapted or used as appropriate.

Turning our hearts to God who is gracious and merciful, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

A brief silence.

God of insight and enlightenment, open the hearts of the church and the world to all who testify to your deeds of power (like Jonathan Edwards, whom we commemorate today). Raise up voices in your church that are often silenced or overlooked due to age, gender expression, race, or economic status. Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

God of insight and enlightenment, empower us to care for the land and all living things that dwell in it and beneath it. Provide rich soil for crops to grow. Bring rain to lands suffering drought. Protect hills and shorelines from damage caused by erosion.
Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

God of insight and enlightenment, bring peace to all people and nations. Anoint leaders who seek goodness, righteousness, and truth on behalf of all. Frustrate the efforts of those who would seek to cause violence or terror.
Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

God of insight and enlightenment, you care for our needs even before we ask. Come quickly to all who seek prayer this day (especially those on our church prayer list who have asked for our prayers). Accomplish healing through the work of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, nutritionists, and all who tend to human bodies. And protect them as they serve us during this CoViD19 Outbreak.
Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

God of insight and enlightenment, help this assembly lift up the unique gifts of each person who enters, no matter their physical capacity, cognitive ability, or sensory need. Help us to be creative and brave in making our facilities and our ministries accessible to all.
Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

For what else shall we pray?  Let your requests be made known to God out loud or in the quietness of this moment …
Hear us, O God.    Your mercy is great.

God of insight and enlightenment, you call out to those who are asleep and awaken them to new life with you. We give thanks for your saints (especially Jonathan Edwards, Evangelist and Educator and Bishop Oscar Romeo, 20th century Martyr, who we remember this week). Join us together with them as your children in this world and the next.
Hear us, O God.    Your mercy is great.

According to your steadfast love, O God of insight and enlightenment, hear these and all our prayers as we commend them to you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Peace

The presiding minister and the assembly greet each other in the peace of the risen Christ.

The peace of Christ be with you always.        And also with you.

 
Offering Canticle

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?
I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call on the name of the Lord.
I will take the cup of salvation and will call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

 

Offering Prayer

Let us pray together … God our provider, you have not fed us with bread alone, but with words of grace and life. Bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 
Lord’s Prayer

Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray. … Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Sending

God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.

Blessing

Now is the acceptable time.  Now is the day of salvation.  Holy God, speaking, spoken, and inspiring, (+) bless you, unbind you, and send you in love and in peace.  Amen.

 Dismissal

Go in peace. Share the good news.     Thanks be to God.