Worship at Home for Sunday March 21 2021

The Fifth Sunday of Lent

Call to Turning Towards God (Psalm 51)

One: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
All: According to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.

One: God, You know the sins and sorrows of my heart.
All: Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.

One: Keep me in Your presence surround me with the Spirit.
All: Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Passing of the Peace (Smile and wave to those around you.)

Hymn: “There is a Balm in Gilead”

Refrain: There is a balm in Gilead
to make the wounded whole,
there is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work's in vain,
but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again. Refrain

If you cannot preach like Peter,
if you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus
and say, "He died for all." Refrain

Words and Music: African American Spiritual, Public Domain,

Children’s Message The Power of God’s Love

Scripture Lesson: Please read these passages in your Bible at home. If you do not have a Bible, we have many at church and would love to give you one.

Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 20:20-33

To listen to the sermon and scriptures click this link https://anchor.fm/stephanie-delong0/episodes/Sermon-for-March-21-et0ru6

Sermon: A New Covenant of Love

The prophet Jeremiah is writing from the besieged southern kingdom of Judah. The Babylonian army has surrounded Jerusalem and fear abounds. Jeremiah who has been speaking words of warning about God’s anger at the Israelites for their faithlessness to God’s covenant now shares a message of promise and comfort. God will make a new covenant with Israel.

This new covenant will be so much a part of their identity that they will not even need to teach it to one another because they will already know it deep within their being. Can you imagine knowing something so deeply that you do not even remember learning about it? How many of us remember learning how to breath or how to keep our heart beating? This new covenant will be an integral part of who we are as human beings. Our relationship with God will be as essential as the air that we breath or the beating of our hearts.

This message offered hope to the beleaguered Israelites, it can offer a message of hope to us too. There are people in the world who are physically besieged by war and armies at their door. Our prayers are with them. Others are surrounded by hopeless circumstances beyond their control. Our prayers are with them. For many the pandemic has kept them trapped in isolation due to fear of catching the Covid virus should they go out in public. Some may be trapped by illness, poverty and more. Our prayers are with them. Whatever is trapping you, God offers a new covenant and a message of hope. The new covenant of hope and love comes through Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior.

The passage from John 12:20-33 begins with some Greeks asking to see Jesus. Since these Greeks were celebrating Passover, they were probably Jews who lived culturally as Greeks. Philip is the disciple with a Greek name and is probably most like these seeking Greeks. So, the seekers make their request of Philip. Philip tells Andrew about the request. Then they both go to Jesus to tell him about the seeking Greeks.

I suppose that it is not surprising that there was a system in place to protect Jesus from the those who sought his attention. After all it is nearly impossible to speak with anyone of importance in our own time without having to get past the gate keepers. During my last semester at Eden Seminary, I interviewed for an Associate Pastor position at a very large church. When I telephoned the church in order to speak with the Senior Pastor, I had to speak with at least three people before I able to speak with the Senior Pastor. The Senior Pastor was very nice on the telephone. He even met me at the airport and took me for lunch at his own home with his wife. Those who worked with him felt the need to protect him from unnecessary intrusions. I guess the disciples felt the same way about Jesus.

What the Greeks said to or if they even spoke to Jesus is not recorded. Jesus starts talking about the need for him to be glorified. That glorification is not the glory of battle or earthly victory, but that of a seed which is to be planted in the earth so that it may die and be reborn to bear much fruit. In sacrificing himself Jesus would grown into the promise of new life for many.

This week I put some tomato seeds into some potting soil. My hope is that these tiny seeds will become seedlings. I will plant these seedlings outside when the weather permits. Hopefully these seedlings will grow into tomato plants which will produce tomatoes. If I remember this summer, I could save some of the tomato seeds and repeat the whole process next year. One tomato seed can create a tomato plant that can produce many tomatoes which have many seeds, the increase in tomato plants for next year would be exponential!

Jesus by sacrificing his life for us has led to an exponential growth of those who believe and trust in God for life and love. Jesus explains that we too must follow in this path of giving up our “life” so that we can have an even greater new life in God’s new covenant. In this eternal life our relationship with God will be as natural as breathing and the beating of our hearts.

Still in verse 27, Jesus’s soul is troubled by this path he must take. Jesus knows what he must do, but I wonder if he was worried about what would happen to his followers in the dark hours to come. I remember worrying about what would happen to my children the last time that I had cancer. I was not so much afraid for myself as I was for them. Jesus’ loves his followers and is troubled by the pain and suffering that might come about for them by seeing Jesus fate on the cross.

Now the heavenly voice of God speaks like the rumble of thunder and says, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” Jesus explains that this voice is for those who hear it. Jesus is to be glorified for our sake on the cross and glorified again in the resurrection. Jesus will be glorified by God and people all over the earth will sing of God’s Glory.

Our closing hymn for today tells of glorifying the Lord in our lives and in the Church. May we allow the love of God to enter our hearts and the Spirit to flow in our breath so that loving God becomes as natural as breathing. May the Lord be glorified today and every day through us.

 

Prayer (Since St. Patrick’s Day was this week, our prayer for this week are the most famous lines from the prayer known as St. Patrick’s Breast Plate.)

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.

Let us take time to lift up the joys and concerns of our hearts in prayer.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord's Prayer 

Ahna, Priscilla, Grandpa David, Virginia, Vic, Liz’s sister in law, Butch, Marcie, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Linda, Pat, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Jeff, Terry, Bev, Mark, Dave, Peggy, youth struggling with mental health issues, Shawn, Lindsey, Sue, Diann, Danna, Janet, Lisa, Joyce, Sara, Cheyenne, Katelyn and Michelle.

Special Prayers:

  • For Bob and Ruth Depperman as they mourn the passing of Bob’s brother Richard Depperman on March 14 at age 90 years and 9 days.

Goodwill/Offering

  • Please consider giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing this month.
  • Give thanks for God’s new covenant with us.

Prayer of Dedication

Holy God cleanse us and restore us with the new covenant in Jesus. Help us to let go of our old ways of being and restore us with your Holy Spirit. Bless these gifts of our offerings and ourselves. Amen.

“Lord, Be Glorified”

Benediction May God by glorified in you today. May God’s love live in you and through you always. May you share God’s love with the world. Amen.

 

 

 

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