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During the time that our church doors are closed due to the Corona Virus, please join us in our NEW online praise and worship. Every sunday we will post a new Worship service that you can do at home, with your family, OR in small groups! Send us any feedback, requests for worship, or prayer requests to our email officeatborodisciples@gmail.com! We also have an online tithing option located here! News on reopening our doors will be posted to our home page as soon as we know anything!

Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020

Our service begins with the:

Passing of the Peace

How do we share the peace with one another in a time of separation?  Take out your church directory, and find someone to text, email, call, or send a postcard to every day during Holy Week, which starts today. "The Peace of the Lord be with you,” is your message. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Start the ball rolling! If you need a directory, email me and I’ll send you an email with one attached. And remember, Peace of God passes all understanding.

 

Joys and Concerns of the People

In response to last week’s Walk Through Worship several of you responded with your own concerns. I’ll be sending you our Prayer Vigil guide later Sunday with lots of suggestions for prayer, and you don’t have to wait until Good Friday. Thanks to those who sent ideas.  In addition, let the news be your guide on who to pray for. Send me your prayer requests, and I’ll send them out to the congregation.

 

The Light of Christ Enters

The light of Christ is walking the halls of hospitals in New York and across the world. There are nurses who pray for the occupant of every bed they pass. There are nurses at Vanderbilt gather outside on the empty helipad, hold (gloved) hands and pray for the sick constantly arriving. The light of Christ is sometimes something you can’t easily identify as such. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

 

Prelude

“Triumphal Entry” by Eugene Butler

 

Call to Worship.

Here’s what’s planned for today.

One: Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

All: Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases;

One: Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love;

All: Who satisfies you with good as long as you live.

One: Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his servants that do his will!

All: Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion! Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Amen.

I recall hearing a seminary professor talking about “blessing the Lord,” and I didn’t exactly know what he was talking about. I was familiar with being blessed, feeling blessed by God, but hadn’t heard the language of blessing God much before. It’s interesting to see how Psalms 103 and 104 back to back begin that way, but you can plug in that phrase into BibleGateway.com and find many more. When we see how this kind of language is learned in context, it’s like a small child learning to speak her own native tongue.

Hymn of Praise

You probably don’t have a hymnal at home, so I will post the words here. You can also google search with the title and find many versions of each hymn online.

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates; 
behold, the King of glory waits; 
the King of kings is drawing near; 
the Savior of the world is here!

2 Fling wide the portals of your heart; 
make it a temple, set apart 
from earthly use for heaven's employ, 
adorned with prayer and love and joy.

3 Redeemer, come, with us abide; 
our hearts to thee we open wide; 
let us thy inner presence feel; 
thy grace and love in us reveal.

4 Thy Holy Spirit lead us on 
until our glorious goal is won; 
eternal praise, eternal fame 
be offered, Savior, to thy name!

https://youtu.be/Iy2JyS0F-F0

Invocation

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A prayer like this, “mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering” receives more than a second glance in a time of pandemic and sickness. But God’s call is not exactly the same for any of us, though all who follow the suffering servant, live and abide in his path, as Paul says, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Romans 5

 

Call to Prayer

I don’t recall when I began to sing out “Let the words of my mouth…” to bring a close to our Exchange of the Peace, but I do recall the looks on a couple of faces. But I kept it up, and now we all know that prayer, which has lately been our Call to Prayer, as well. Can you hear it?

 

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

So much of worship is prayer, preparing for prayer, listening to prayer, responding to prayer. If there was ever a time when God’s people need to pray, these are our times. Worship is all about encounter. We come to God, not at the mountain that smokes, but at the mountain outside the city walls, where he died that sin might itself die, and lose its power to condemn. We come to God who has opened the Holy of Holies, as his body was torn on the cross, so the curtain in the temple has opened to reveal the way to the forgiving Lord of lords.

 

Prayer Response

The musical nature of a prayer response cements the moment in our memory, and when a familiar piece of music is used and repeated, we build a prayer moment for the future, awaiting that music which will remind us yet again to pray for the church and the world and all that are in it.

Anthem

Here is a  link for the Anthem we had planned for this Sunday "Hosanna We Sing" by Pethell https://www.jwpepper.com/Hosanna-We-Sing/8066236.item#/submit Click on the sheet music

 

Scripture

Luke 19:29-28

There is a website called biblegateway.com that is very useful and helpful. It has different translations available for every part of the Bible, about 60 in English from the American Standard Version to Young’s Literal Translation. The Bible in our pews is the New Revised Standard Version, and I post that translation of I Luke 19:29-48 below.

When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,

“Blessed is the king
    who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
    and glory in the highest heaven!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

41 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”[b]

45 Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; 46 and he said, “It is written,

‘My house shall be a house of prayer’;
    but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

Sermon

         

 

Hymn of Response

1 All glory, laud, and honor 
to you, Redeemer, King, 
to whom the lips of children 
made sweet hosannas ring. 
You are the King of Israel 
and David's royal Son, 
now in the Lord's name coming, 
the King and Blessed One. 

2 The company of angels 
is praising you on high; 
and we with all creation 
in chorus make reply. 
The people of the Hebrews 
with palms before you went; 
our praise and prayer and anthems 
before you we present. 

3 To you before your passion 
they sang their hymns of praise; 
to you, now high exalted, 
our melody we raise. 
As you received their praises, 
accept the prayers we bring, 
for you delight in goodness, 
O good and gracious King! 

Offertory

https://youtu.be/_JZhSbY_sbQ

Doxology

https://youtu.be/FbjpG0SeXYU  (An A cappella Doxology sung at a wedding.)

 

Prayer of Dedication

We dedicate ourselves to listening before we speak, Lord, to reading carefully before we post. To seeking to understand the feel of the words spoken to us. We seek to live your words, as James spoke it, “Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, 20 for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.” Amen

 

Prayer of Confession

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Amen

Communion Hymn

We, your people, God, confessing Jesus Christ your Son as Lord,

Gather here in common worship praising your Incarnate Word.

Through the power of Christ within us we are strengthened to proclaim

Gospel truth in witness, service offered in Christ’s holy name.

 

We, your people, God, rejoicing in your vast creative power,

Bind ourselves, each with the other, covenant in love this hour.

Through baptismal rite we enter, rising, newly born to be

Unified with your whole people here in perfect liberty.

 

We, your people, God, communing through the Holy Spirit, here,

Joined together as disciples, in obedience now draw near.

At the table where the emblems of Christ’s sacrifice are spread,

Here we celebrate his presence with the cup and broken bread.

 

We, your people, God, receiving gifts of ministry outpoured

In the light of holy scripture are set free, refreshed, restored.

In the bonds of faith we serve you, God of all, whom we adore.

Yours the blessing, yours the glory, one God, reigning evermore!

 

Communion Words

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for[g] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink[h] without discerning the body,[i] eat and drink judgment against themselves. 30 For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.[j] 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined[k] so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers and sisters,[l]when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come. (I Corinthians 11)

Closing Litany

One: And the Lord said, You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourselves any graven images.

All: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. You shall remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

One: Honor your father and mother. You shall not murder.

All: You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.

One: You shall not bear false witness. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

All: The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Amen

Hymn of Thanksgiving

1 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes hosanna cry;
O Savior meek, pursue your road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.

2 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ, your triumphs now begin
o'er captive death and conquered sin.

3 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The winged squadrons of the sky
look down with sad and wond'ring eyes
to see th'approaching sacrifice.

4 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Your last and fiercest strife is nigh;
the Father on his sapphire throne
expects his own anointed Son.

5 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow your meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, your pow'r and reign.


Benediction

There are a number of benedictions found in the Bible itself, often at the end of a book, such as this one from Revelation:

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Postlude

Trumpet Tune and Ayre by Clarke

https://youtu.be/63io_ZPQxNQ

 

Sunday, March 29th

Passing of the Peace

How do we share the peace with one another in a time of separation? How can I sing the songs of Zion in a foreign land, the exiled Jews in Babylon wondered (in Psalm 137).Let’s pledge to not forget one another, when we increase peace with our neighbor, by helping them with their chores, with our grocery store clerk, by taking care not to share infection, with our relatives, by praying for them, with all the people with whom we must have dealings. When we work for the peace of God in their lives, we can remember one another, we can remember the ways in which we’ve blessed one another with our words and deeds. We can remember, that the Peace of God passes all understanding.

 

Joys and Concerns of the People

In response to last week’s Walk Through Worship several of you responded with your own concerns. Let’s remember to pray for the Cooks, and for Garrett Stahr, who’s lost his job. Jim and Carty Roberts and Don Greever are isolated more than most, for they now live at Adams Place, which is having to be very careful with visitors because of the higher risk of all the residents. Send me your prayer requests, and I’ll send them out to the congregation.

 

The Light of Christ Enters

I don’t know how to discover this, but I feel confident Protestant churches like ours did not have candles 100 and more years ago. For a long time “candles” were seen as a Roman Catholic practice only, and so Protestants avoided them. Over our lifetimes, Catholics have become more Protestant, and Protestants have become more Catholic, which I see as a good thing, in general, and an example of what the Christian Church movement from 1809 was aiming, “That They All May Be One.” When you see that lit candle, remember that, and pray for the unity of the whole Church of Christ.

 

Prelude

Here’s one you can go listen to. There are Twelve “Little” Preludes by JS Bach, and this is No. 1 in C Major : https://youtu.be/RHd9tGENe8s

 

Call to Worship.

Here’s what’s planned for today.

One: The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty.

All: Your throne, O God, is established from of old;

One: You are from everlasting.

All: Your decrees are very sure. Holiness befits your house, O Lord, for evermore.

Amen.

A call to worship sets the stage and sets the tone. When we first speak together, each Sunday morning, we are speaking the language of Zion, the old term for the city of David. Contrasted with Babylon in the book of Revelation, the city of Zion is also the opposite of Babel, from Genesis 11. Speaking, and worshiping, in the tongue, the terminology of the Revelation of God to his people disciplines our thoughts and builds our humility, as we’re reminded we are not the first, nor the last, to speak aloud the Praise of the living God.

Hymn of Praise

You probably don’t have a hymnal at home, so I will post the words here. You can also google search with the title and find many versions of each hymn online.

1 Alas! and did my Savior bleed,

and did my Sovereign die!

Would he devote that sacred head

for sinners such as I?

2 Was it for crimes that I have done,

he groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! Grace unknown!

And love beyond degree!

3 Well might the sun in darkness hide,

and shut its glories in,

when God, the mighty maker, died

for his own creature's sin.

4 Thus might I hide my blushing face

while his dear cross appears;

dissolve my heart in thankfulness,

and melt mine eyes to tears.

5 But drops of tears can ne'er repay

the debt of love I owe.

Here, Lord, I give myself away;

'tis all that I can do.
 

Invocation

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

You may have said, or thought to yourself, I don’t know how to pray, or what to say. Being asked to pray out loud in front of others is some folk’s worst nightmare. We often don’t think of the Psalms as prayer, but each of them is formatted that way, and when we “pray the Psalms” we’re speaking God’s word back to him in our prayer, and forming our hearts through that word and prayer. The Invocations that I use each Sunday have been around for centuries in a variety of forms. Sometimes called the “Collect” these different prayers have been used in worship at least since 400s AD. They’re thought of as the way we “collect” the dynamic of all the prayers and gather the congregation together to begin worship. Patrick Bouckel describes what most collects or invocation have in common this way:

I. Address –   The prayer begins by naming the God of our worship, most often in the Person of God the Father.

II. Acknowledgement – The quality or characteristic of God is mentioned upon which the prayer request is based.

III. Petition – We ask for a specific thing that we need: guidance, forgiveness, faith, etc.

IV. Aspiration – the result that we hope will come out of the granting of our petition.

V. “Pleading” – the prayer is said through the mercy and merit of Jesus Christ our savior, who by his redemption and ascension is the mediator of our faith and worship.

 

Call to Prayer

Music and memory are strongly tied in the brain. Music activates the motor, the auditory and the emotional centers of the brain.  To be called to prayer is to be called to remember. Remember what the Lord has done for us. Remember, you are the body of Christ, and individually members thereof.  

 

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

A Pastoral Prayer not only speaks to the Lord, and speaks to the Lord for all present, it also speaks to all who hear. Frank Sikora, a Birmingham journalist, wrote a Civil Rights history titled “Selma, Lord, Selma.” Do you notice how you can hear someone speaking when you read that? Do you notice how it’s constructed as a prayer, but with just an address to God, and one word repeated? A pastoral prayer sometimes needs to only speak a word, or a name, or a situation, to evoke prayers from its hearers. A pastor, too, doesn’t always know how to pray, or what to pray for, but bringing up a name or topic or issue, prompts the hearers to send their prayers Godward, which is what we want. So, for example, today I can say, “Dr. Fauci,” and you not only know who to pray for but you know what to say and how to say it. There are many healthcare workers in the same rooms and wards with the sick, and if you’re praying for Dr. Fauci, you’re praying for them and their success all at the same time.

 

 

Prayer Response

The musical nature of a prayer response cements the moment in our memory, and when a familiar piece of music is used and repeated, we build a prayer moment for the future, awaiting that music which will remind us yet again to pray for the church and the world and all that are in it.

Anthem

Here is a YouTube link for the Anthem we had planned for this Sunday: Kyrie, from Dvorak’s Symphony no. 9. https://youtu.be/1pmQ4Iohfuw

Scripture

I Corinthians 15:12-20

There is a website called biblegateway.com that is very useful and helpful. It has different translations available for every part of the Bible, about 60 in English from the American Standard Version to Young’s Literal Translation. The Bible in our pews is the New Revised Standard Version, and I post that translation of I Corinthians 15:12-20 below.

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died[e] in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

Sermon

 

I remember thinking a couple of weeks ago, “Well, at least we can re-open for Palm Sunday.” And then, “Well, surely, we’ll have church on Easter.” Now, looking forward, I wonder, when WILL we re-open? Mother’s Day? Pentecost? Our big cities are hives of fear and anxiety, with a brave few working to keep the lights on and provide food and medical care for the rest, in enforced isolation. In smaller towns and cities our eyes are glued to the TV and we’re watching and waiting.

        

We would normally go to church and pray and sing and comfort one another, as on December 7, 1941, or November 24, 1963, or September 16, 2001, but that avenue is blocked, not necessarily from fear but from a desire not to make things worse for others. Many of us are on “the list” of those vulnerable.

         

Of course, you know all this. You probably know more than I do, as I don’t watch the TV news much. I read about it later. Gotta keep an eye on the blood pressure.

         

There’s been a lot of layoffs, and a lot of office workers have been sent home. Some lucky ones get to work “remotely,” and still get paid. Hard to be a waitress remotely. Our church bookkeeper and former secretary has been “furloughed” from her job at a law firm. An AA member I spoke with last week was shocked to learn that liquor stores are considered “essential businesses,” but one health official said that the sudden cessation of alcohol availability would send some to the hospital at a time when we need to keep all the beds available. You know how we sometimes say, “One day we’ll look back and laugh about this?” I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’ve all heard the old saying, thought by some (ironically) to be an ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” I want to go back to boring, when buying groceries or filling up the gas tank wasn’t so exciting.

   

We began getting worried when we started seeing those empty toilet paper aisles, and videos of people scrabbling with each other for that last package, punching and clawing. I was at Kroger last week and there was absolutely no fresh meat in the store. Our observation of the pandemic has moved from “It’s out there,” to “who’s next?”

         

All across the country churches have leaped at the opportunity to “carry on” with streaming videos, and live Face Time or YouTube sermons. You can probably guess I’m deeply ambivalent about that. For one thing, I’m not so cute anymore….When I was 26, a very old woman on an Israeli kibbutz looked at me and said to our guide, in Hebrew, “I think this one was born old.”

         

What do you say to that? Kinda like when your friend says, “I don’t care what anybody says, I like you.” (Thanks. I think?) So, count me as certainly not ready for Primetime. Deep down I’m a very shy individual. And quit laughing.

         

But I’ll tell you what I’m starting to think. Maybe I’m just jealous, but it seems to me that many churches (the staff) are enjoying this too much. Not everybody, of course. But there’s an attitude of “upbeatism,” a feeling of, “nothing gets us down!” “We’ll get through this!”

         

I know that people, preachers, that is, are trying to encourage members, keep them from being too anxious, too worried. I get that. But followers of Christ should be searching the scriptures right now, not feverishly, not, what, proudly, boastfully, talking about “nothing gets us down!”  but seriously looking for God’s Word in a time of crisis.

 

I’ve heard some saying “We’re not gonna shut down just for a little ol’ virus bug! God is stronger than any virus! Satan can’t steal our joy!” There are churches around the country who are going that direction, and it’s already having devastating effects. A pastor in Virginia is dead from the virus who insisted it was a hoax, a political stunt. A ninety-one-year-old man in Arkansas, a greeter at his church that remained open, is also dead from the virus, and 34 others from the church are infected, including their pastor and his wife. They are now taking it very seriously.

         

I’ve watched a local preacher in online videos insist that “we’ll get through this. God will restore our health, and our jobs, and our economy and our churches.” And I’ve seen that church in Louisiana, that promises healing from cancer and HIV refusing to close, refusing to mitigate.

         

Here’s what I want you to think about. The writer of II Chronicles, in ch. 36 says this: “And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. 20 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”

         

I’ve heard a lot of preachers attacking all the sinners in the world for this virus. But, as Isaiah says in ch. 40, “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has instructed him? 14 Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?”

         

I am no oracle of God. I don’t know what he’s doing. I cannot referee those who say God is punishing us, and those who say, God doesn’t do that kind of thing. I would clearly have to disagree with the latter, for the scriptures do indicate that God is just, and his wrath, though patient, is not endlessly deferred. But is that what’s going on here? How do you know?

         

The Bible doesn’t say, look up this chapter for pandemics. That’s not in my concordance. I would imagine that everyone who is going to look to their Bible in this crisis has already done so. And some have found strength, and comfort, and encouragement. But I don’t see any explanations, for the Lord doesn’t explain his ways.

         

Later, in ch. 45, Isaiah writes: “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the Lord have created it. 9 “Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’  or ‘Your work has no handles’?

         

I think what I’m hoping for is the development of an attitude in the church, that is patient, and not unwilling, to suffer, with others, this time of pain, correction, and darkness. For this medical/financial crisis is exposing the cracks in many foundations. The church of Jesus Christ will of course prevail until the crack of doom, the day of judgment, though “churches” may fall and fail.  We don’t know what the future holds in this life. But one thing we do know, and that is found in the lectionary reading for today, from I Corinthians 15:12-20.

         

12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

         

Why would Paul have to convince these Christians in Corinth that Christ was raised from the dead? Wasn’t that a given for believers? Didn’t they come to faith in Christ because of that? Well, there were confusions in the church from an early time. Remember Ananias and Sapphira? That was early. Many Corinthians apparently meant something different from what Paul preached.

         

Now personally, I’m a strange blend of Pollyanna and Eeyore, which I think is a match-up to my father and my mother, respectively. I’m like both of the twins on Christmas morning, one all gloomy because he didn’t get the pony for Christmas, just a pile of horse manure, and the other twin running around looking for the shovel, “I know there’s a pony in there somewhere!”

         

But regardless of personality type, followers of Christ, BY DEFINITION, engage the scriptures. The scriptures testify to the gospel. The scriptures are apostolic in that they speak for a purpose, to tell the good news.

         

Paul wants his Corinthian readers, and us, to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of the righteousness and faithfulness of God, is about dead bodies. Anastasis nekron, in Greek: resurrection of the body. Dead bodies transformed into the unimaginable: a celestial body (15:40), an imperishable body (15:42), a spiritual body (15:44). What exactly are we talking about? I don’t really know. And if Paul knew how to describe the indescribable, he seems to be keeping it to himself. But the earthiness, the physical reality of resurrection should make us ask: Will there be Toilet Paper in the Resurrection? Will there be food? Will there be sex? Will there be time, gravity, etc.? This is why Paul struggles to describe the indescribable. A real body. But not like what we already know.

         All those who first came upon the Risen Christ didn’t know him, until he spoke, or broke bread at a table, or showed them his wounds.

         Resurrection is the centrality of the Christian faith, and it is so powerful it bleeds over into everything else.

         

Resurrection holds creation and redemption together. God has not created the world, just to later abandon his creation and our bodies and the goodness of that created order, even though self-flawed. God loves the good world because it comes from his goodness. We’re not ethereal sparks imprisoned in fleshly cells. We’re persons, and we groan along with the rest of creation (Romans 8:23) while we await “the redemption of our bodies,” not from our bodies, of our bodies. Jesus died on cross, in the flesh, that our selves, our souls, our bodies, might be redeemed.

         

Our culture evades the truth of death, as currently, the whole world is devastated by the rumor of the approaching end. Too many Christians think solely, though perhaps unintentionally and unaware, of heaven as a bloodless, bodiless, anti-earth, the opposite of all we wish to leave behind. But the message of the resurrection of Christ is of a New Heaven. And a New Earth. Not one without the other. A re-creation.

         

Also importantly, Resurrection affirms the moral importance of life in the body. Our body, and what we do with it (which is everything we do or say) is to be “conformed” to the purposes of Christ. Paul says to these same Corinthians “The body is not meant for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will raise us by his power.”  The connection between body and resurrection, though it’s been cut today (for many), had never been clear to the Corinthians. To them the body was just a vehicle. Not related to the divine or the holy in any meaningful sense. Merely a tool for pleasure.

         

Finally, the resurrection binds us to Israel, for as 15:5 says, Christ was raised from the dead, “in accordance with the scriptures.” What scriptures? The only ones they had. The Old Testament scriptures. Isaiah 25 says, “8 He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken.

9 It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

         

Jesus was not some cosmic lottery loser. He was the descendant of David, born in Bethlehem, the city of David, for the same purpose for which Abraham had been called, Moses had been sent, the people had been chosen. To be a light to the nations, that is, to you and me.

         

We have waited for him, Isaiah says. He speaks for a people who have been exiled, who are the suffering servants of the world. Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, is always a time to figure a patient time of waiting.

         

Wait for the Lord. “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.”

         

 

Hymn of Response

1 Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

 

2 Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

3 Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

4 Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

 

Offertory

https://youtu.be/_JZhSbY_sbQ

Doxology

https://youtu.be/FbjpG0SeXYU  (An A cappella Doxology sung at a wedding.)

 

Prayer of Dedication

Dedication, Lord, is what’s going on all around us today, for yet while we read these words, nurses and doctors are struggling, fighting to save another life. As we think of our Offering to you, may we remember the dedication shown by so many in this time. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen

 

Prayer of Confession

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! There is no soundness in my flesh because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! Amen

Communion Hymn

An Upper Room did our Lord prepare

for those he loved until the end:

and his disciples still gather there

to celebrate their Risen Friend.

 

A lasting gift Jesus gave his own:

to share his bread, his loving cup.

Whatever burdens may bow us down,

he by his Cross shall lift us up.

 

And after Supper he washed their feet

for service, too, is sacrament.

In him our joy shall be made complete –

sent out to serve, as he was sent.

No end there is! We depart in peace,

he loves beyond the uttermost:

in every room in our Father’s house

he will be there as Lord and Host.

 

Communion Words

This evening (Wednesday last week) I’m preparing to pick up a curbside order from a restaurant that our son’s treating us to. It’s not really fast-food, it’s a nice restaurant, but still it’s not the same thing as going “out” to eat. I’ve resisted a certain amount of pressure to do “fast-food Communion.” My first experience with the little cups with the tabs on top with a little wafer was at a church I visited years ago on vacation, and we were reminded to pick up our communion by the back door on the way out. Yeah, words fail. I also can’t use them without feeling like I’m in a Waffle House putting “creamer” in my coffee. In times like these extraordinary times we’re living in, there’s some wisdom I think in not trying for workarounds, not trying to make it like it’s not a terrible time. It is a terrible time. Remember that the Lord is speaking, is always speaking. I Samuel 3:1 tells us “And the word of the Lord was rare in those days.” Those are not our days, for he is speaking, if we will but listen. Nonetheless, our days are ours, and we must seek his face. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 22:15, “And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” I think when we are finally able to reunite around his table, we will understand that desire, we will have a better idea what Jesus meant that night, and our communion with the Lord will never be the same again.

Closing Litany

One: And the Lord said, You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourselves any graven images.

All: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. You shall remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

One: Honor your father and mother. You shall not murder.

All: You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.

One: You shall not bear false witness. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

All: The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Amen

 

Hymn of Thanksgiving

1 Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, 
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended? 
By foes derided, by thine own rejected, 
O most afflicted! 

2 Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? 
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee! 
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; 
I crucified thee. 

3 Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; 
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered. 
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded, 
God interceded. 

4 For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation, 
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation; 
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, 
for my salvation. 

5 Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, 
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, 
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, 
not my deserving.

 


Benediction

There are a number of benedictions found in the Bible itself, often at the end of a book, such as this one from Hebrews:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

 

Postlude

A duet for Organ and English Horn inspired by a Sacred Harp singing, “Little Vine.”

https://youtu.be/_7M3KG0l5sg

Sunday, March 22nd

Our service begins with the:

Passing of the Peace

This is, currently, one of the most frightening aspect of worship services, for it involves physical contact. There’s so much I regret about this current virus epidemic, and the physical contact of exchanging the Peace of God is one of them. Highly symbolic, and placed at the beginning of our service, it is a reminder of Christmas, Good Friday and Easter all with one simple gesture, for we are incarnate spirits, made by God to have physical life, in a reminder of the Incarnation of the Word of God. And when Jesus died on the cross, he established our peace with God who gives us the promise of new and eternal life on a New Earth through the Resurrection. I long for the next time we can Exchange the Peace of God together.

 

Joys and Concerns of the People

This is our time to acknowledge our creatureliness in the face of our Gathering in God’s house of prayer. Because we are one body, this is one way we communicate our praise and our prayer with God and one another.

 

The Light of Christ Enters

This was established some time ago in our worship service, before my time, but it’s a good reminder, that there’s a reason for everything done in worship. We live in the light of Christ, so why do we have light candles? Well, you love your husband or wife, so why do you have to kiss him or her? We do things that give us, and God, joy. When the candle is lit, we’re kissed by our savior once again.

 

Prelude

Here’s one you can go listen to: https://youtu.be/620iUrAUtEQ

 

Call to Worship.

Here’s what’s planned for today.

One:  It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

All: to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.

One: You, O Lord, are exalted forever.

All: It is good to praise your Name, O Most High!

Amen.

A call to worship sets the stage and sets the tone. We use scriptural language often, for this is our “native tongue,” an inspired way to praise the Lord and remind ourselves of what we’re doing, and what we’re here for.

Hymn of Praise

You probably don’t have a hymnal at home, so I will post the words here. You can also google search with the title and find many versions of each hymn online.

“O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”

1 O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down;

now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown;

O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss 'til now was thine!

Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call thee mine.

 

2 What thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners' gain:

mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.

Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 'Tis I deserve thy place;

look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.

 

3 What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend,

for this, thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?

O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to thee.

Invocation

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

I use a different “collect” each Sunday for this prayer in which we “invoke” the presence and blessing of the Lord. An invoking is a solemn moment, for we are calling on God. It is a different prayer each week, often keyed to the religious season of the year, in which we “collect” all of our prayers into one. Because worship is so different from the rest of our life, it takes a long runway to get “airborne” so to speak. There are seven parts of the service so far, and now we turn to our joint time of prayer.

 

Call to Prayer

Musically, we sing this together to remind ourselves that the Pastoral Prayer is a joint effort and not a performance we audit.

 

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

The Pastoral prayer says aloud our hopes and fears. It reminds us why we are here. For some, this is the center of worship. At each church I’ve led, (Washington, Texas, and here) we’ve introduced the time of “Aloud and silently,” in which all are encouraged, during the pastor’s pause, to call out names and issues for which they pray and invite others to join with them. My pause in the prayer is intended to enable you to lift up your own personal prayer to the Lord. It is a small bit of silence, which is intended to turn our hearts upward and Godward.

 

Prayer Response

Normally this too is a musical summation of our prayer, using the rich resources of liturgical musical pieces available to us, often from the hymnal.

Anthem

Here is a YouTube link for the Anthem we had planned for this Sunday: Song of Sorrow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zag3pUSYe38

Scripture

Jeremiah 17:1-10

There is a website called biblegateway.com that is very useful and helpful. It has different translations available for every part of the Bible, about 60 in English from the American Standard Version to Young’s Literal Translation. The Bible in our pews is the New Revised Standard Version, and I post that translation of Jeremiah 17:1-10 below.

17 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, 2 while their children remember their altars and their Ashe′rim, beside every green tree, and on the high hills, 3 on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your sin[a] throughout all your territory. 4 You shall loosen your hand[b] from your heritage which I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land which you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled which shall burn forever.”

5 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? 10 “I the Lord search the mind and try the heart, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”

 

Sermon

          Never wrote a sermon designed NOT to be heard, but everyone’s adapting. We are living in extraordinary times, and that is an item for gratitude. We are living, and many are no longer. The suddenness of this epidemic has caused many of us to underestimate its seriousness, as well as the widespread nature of its effects and the reaction to it by individuals, businesses and especially governments.

          Already, over 10,000 people have died from the virus worldwide. And that’s a frightening figure, but it’s also fair to remind ourselves, that in that same time period, worldwide, 14 million have died from all causes, for over 57 million people in the world die every year.

          This is not to minimize what’s important to do to prevent unnecessary deaths. 35,000 people die on US highways every year, but that’s no reason to drive recklessly. We mustn’t allow trust and confidence in the Lord to devolve into fatalism. Soldiers sometimes talk about a bullet having their name on it, but that’s still no reason not to keep your helmet on and your head down.

          Though we’re keeping our helmets on by not gathering physically, Christians still maintain their faith by turning to the Word of God, and seeking a Word for today, a Word for our time. There’s already a lot of what you’ve heard me call prophecy-mongering going on in the fever-swamps of the religious world, so we want to be faithful and prudent in our responses to a time of crisis.

          One thing I’m doing is remaining on schedule with the sermon texts chosen, and Jeremiah 17:1-10 is what I had scheduled for today, several weeks ago. When you read it, it certainly exhibits a certain contemporaneous relevance with regard to what’s happened to GDPs worldwide, and individuals’ 401ks and IRAs, i.e….  “Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your sin throughout all your territory.”

          Is God smiting the Stock Market? Does he send death by virus to the world? Let’s move into this with the duality of interpretation in mind that I’ve spoken of before, for we cannot directly seek only for contemporary relevance and twist a text to support our sought after, predetermined, meaning.

          The reason we first see relevance in this passage has to do with several things. Vss 1-2 are about the sin of God’s people regarding idolatry. That’s easy to see, looking around. Of course, we too often “look around” instead of “looking within,” but still. Idolatry, unlike liquidity right now, is not in short supply. The “Asherim” of vs. 2 were cult objects related to the Canaanite fertility goddess Asherah, referenced in nine different books of the OT.

          So Jeremiah 17 opens with an explanation for the destruction visited on Judah in the time of the Babylonians (6th-7th centuries BC) for their violation of the Covenant they had made with the Lord.

          American preachers have a long history of misinterpreting the scriptures by wrongly substituting “America” for “Judah” or “Israel” in passages like this. We like to aim the Scriptures at our favorite targets. We see passages that promise the blessings of God on his chosen people if they do this or that, and the reverse, the curses that will come if they don’t do this or that, and we move straight to its application to our own country, as if we were the Chosen People. But we are not.

          It’s a difficult habit to break for a variety of understandable reasons. We are accustomed to this way of thinking. We’ve heard respected religious leaders talk this way: “Our country has turned away from God, and he’s sent this virus (war, Crash, Depression, epidemic, etc.) to punish us.”

          I understand that this thought pattern can be helpful and comforting to some, for it offers an explanation, a reason for the things that are happening. We always want to know WHY something’s happening. We would rather know that we’re punished by God than think he’s simply abandoned us. The “us” is the way our minds naturally work, for we still think of our “country” as Chesterton described it, “A nation with the soul of a church.”

          But this is misleading, and I want to dissuade you from that interpretation. It is too much like a “Grab-bag” school of theology, as I call it, where, in any sort of crisis, we reach in the Grab Bag, (the Bible) too often without looking, and we put the text we pull out to the uses we have already determined for it.

          Instead, let’s remind ourselves of this. It is the Chosen People first, the Jews (not Americans) and their embodiment, Jesus of Nazareth, who are the servants of God. Chosen for the purpose of blessing the world with the knowledge of God, and his promised salvation.

          I will give you as a light to the nations,

    that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6

And nations shall come to your light,

    and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3

And as Jesus said to his Jewish hearers in the Sermon on the Mount: ““You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:14-16

          And in reference to himself: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

          Jeremiah 17 describes the promised righteousness of God. That righteousness is that God keeps his promises, and the first promise is to Abraham, ““Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

          There is a moral component to this righteousness, and those who trust in this promised kingdom of righteousness can be seen in the contrasts later in ch. 17. Hear the resemblance to Psalm 1, which is one of our regular Closing Litanies.

“Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man

    and makes flesh his arm,

    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

6 He is like a shrub in the desert,

    and shall not see any good come.

He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,

    in an uninhabited salt land.

 

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

8 He is like a tree planted by water,

    that sends out its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

    for its leaves remain green,

and is not anxious in the year of drought,

    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

          Jeremiah, a prophet, lives in the time of the propagation of the book of Deuteronomy, re-discovered in the reign of King Josiah, a generation before Jeremiah, and he lives in a way that is undergirded by the promised faithfulness of God, to not forget his faithful people.

          I do not think we can assert that God has sent a virus on a sinful world. The Lord makes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust, Jesus said, and rain can be good or bad, can’t it, depending on where you live and whether you fear drought more than flood, or vice-versa.

          The Lord in his mercy to Adam and Eve, gave a limit to their, and our lives, that we might learn of his mercy, and not live forever in isolation and idolatry and proceed downward into eternal Godlessness. The “world” today, which means, in biblical terms, that way of thinking and living without any dependence on, love for, or understanding of the Lord; that world lives willingly out from under the protecting hand of God. This is the world’s choice.

          To live in a creation of time and space, gravity and consequence, is to be under the rainfall. Some of God’s children are killed before they are born. Have they not a just complaint? Some of us live a century. Some of us die for our country, or our Hippocratic Oath, as some doctors have already done in this crisis, or in protecting citizens of our city as police.

          Jeremiah is not about when we die, but how we live. When the heat comes, be not afraid, when the drought comes, be not anxious. There is a blessing that comes from the Lord, should he give us enough humility, and it is the ability to say, as Jesus commanded in Luke 17:10:  “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

 

Hymn of Response

Forty days and forty nights

You were fasting in the wild;

Forty days and forty nights,

Tempted, and yet undefiled.

2 Shall not we your sorrow share

And from worldly joys abstain,

Fasting with unceasing prayer,

Strong with you to suffer pain?

3 Then, if Satan on us press,

Flesh or spirit to assail,

Victor in the wilderness,

Grant we may not faint nor fail!

4 So shall we have peace divine;

Holier gladness ours shall be.

Round us, too, shall angels shine,

Such as served You faithfully.

5 Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,

Ever constant by your side,

That with you we may appear

At th'eternal Eastertide.

 

Offertory

https://youtu.be/5-qpQnUKCQY

Doxology

https://youtu.be/tQUTvMtUhw4

(I want you to sing like this the next time we worship together!)

 

Prayer of Dedication

Dear Lord, Bless those of your children that continue to support their congregations around the country and the world with their gifts of all kinds. Bless those that deliver food to the hungry, from our church and others. Bless those who count and account for these offerings. Bless those who get up in the morning and offer to you their highest devotion before they head to work at the Nursing Home, or the Emergency Room at the hospital. Bless all who look for your coming kingdom in the living of their lives. In Christ’s name. Amen

Prayer of Confession

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand. Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! Amen

 

Communion Hymn

1 Loving Lord, as now we gather,

of that love unworthy still,

give us courage to surrender

rebel heart and stubborn will,

and in us, in faith maturing,

all your promises fulfill.

 

2 Holy Lord, as here you give us

bread and wine, as means of grace,

grant to every true believer

now to meet you face to face,

and to own, in silent wonder,

Lord, how holy is this place.

Communion Words

There are sometimes perhaps those who have partaken of Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, without words, in silent meditation. We now share in this moment of communion with our Lord and one another, with words, but without the Bread and Wine, during this time of separation. Always remember we are not unique in the challenges this brings us. Christians in concentration camps and gulags have not foregone their worship and communion even when separated from one another, even when feeling separated from God. Remember that words are things, creations, part of God’s gift to us as real and tangible as the simple food we normally share on the First Day of the Week. Remember.

 

Closing Litany

One: And the Lord said, You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourselves any graven images.

All: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. You shall remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

One: Honor your father and mother. You shall not murder.

All: You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.

One: You shall not bear false witness. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

All: The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Amen

 

Hymn of Thanksgiving

In suff’ring love the thread of life is woven through our care, 
 for God is with us:  Not alone our pain and toil we bear.


There is a rock, a place secure withing the storm’s cold blast; concealed within the suff’ring night God’s covenant stands fast.

 

In love’s deep womb our fears are held; there God’s rich tears are sown and bring to birth, in hope newborn, the strength to journey on.

 

Christ, to our hearts your joy commit, into our hands your pain; so send us out to touch the world with blessings in your name.



 In suff’ring love our God comes now, hope’s vision born in gloom; 
 with tears and laughter shared and blessed the desert yet will bloom.

Benediction

If you’ve gotten this far in our Walk Through Worship together, then the Blessing, the Benediction, the “good words” are already with you and within you, waiting for you to disperse God’s good word to all around. Go in Peace. Pax vobiscum.

 

Postlude

https://youtu.be/HxwhKM-khOE