Tuesday, 24 March 2020

The Fifth Sunday of Lent








**Please note this is in the format of the Anglican Church of Canada, the invitatory, canticle, collect, prayer over the gifts, Lord’s prayer and dismissal all come from the Book of Alternative Services
Prayers and Hymns found on line have been sourced to give appropriate credit

** this is for personal use at home as the church is unable to gather in our houses of worship but together we can worship in our own homes.

Sentence of the Day
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.      John 11.25, 26


Hymn        Come O God of all the Earth

Come, O God of all the earth;
come to us, O Righteous One.
Come and bring our love to birth;
in the glory of your Son.

Chorus     Sing out, earth and skies!
                Sing of the God who loves you.
                Raise your joyful cries,
                Dance to the life around you.


Come, O God of wind and flame;
fill the earth with righteousness.
Teach us all to sing your name;
may our lives your love confess. (Chorus)

Come, O God of flashing light;
twinkling star and burning sun.
God of day and God of night;
in your light we all are one. (Chorus)

Come, O God of snow and rain;
shower down upon the earth.
Come, O God of joy and pain;
God of sorrow, God of mirth. (Chorus)

Come, O Justice, come, O Peace;
come and shape our hearts anew.
Come and make oppression cease;
bring us all to life in you. (Chorus)
Text: Marty Haugen (1985)
© 1985 G. I. A Publications, Inc



Gathering of the Community (based on Ezekiel 37)         by K. Laldin
Dry bones, desert places, lost and longing for new life
God breathes new life in us
Four winds blow, new life over the land
God reminds us to be a hope filled people
The promises of God remain with us
God, open our minds and our hearts to your message



Breath of life, we think of all of your children who cry out to you.  Help us all to be open and aware of your breath moving in and through us, bringing healing, offering mercy and giving love.  Amen


The Invitatory                    (from the Book of Alternative Services, Anglican church of Canada)

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: O come, let us worship

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; * serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God; * he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; * give thanks to him and call upon his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; * and his faithfulness endures from age to age  
(Psalm 100)
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: O come, let us worship


PSALM 130
REFRAIN: The Lord shall redeem us from all our sins.

Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication. R

If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand?

For there is forgiveness with you; therefore you shall be feared.

I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope. R

My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy;

With him there is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins. R


A READING FROM THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL                                         37:1-14                           The 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. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I 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." 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. I 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. Then 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." I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then 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.' Therefore 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. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I 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.                                        


A Song from Ezekiel  (together)                                                       Ezekiel 36.24–28

I will take you from the nations, and gather you from every country, and bring you home to your own land. I will pour clean water upon you, purify you from all defilement, and cleanse you from all your idols.
A new heart I will give you, and put a new spirit within you; I will take from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put my spirit within you, make you walk in my ways and observe my decrees. You shall dwell in the land I gave to your forebears; you shall be my people and I will be your God.



A READING FROM THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS             8:6-11
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For 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, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But 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. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If 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.



Hymn   Tree of Life
Tree of Life and awesome mystery,
In your death we are reborn,
Though you die in all of history,
Still you rise with every morn,
Still you rise with every morn.

Seed that dies to rise in glory,
May we see ourselves in you,
If we learn to live your story
We may die to rise anew,
We may die to rise anew.

We remember truth once spoken,
Love passed on through act and word,
Every person lost and broken
Wears the body of our Lord,
Wears the body of our Lord.

Gentle Jesus, mighty Spirit,
Come inflame our hearts anew,
We may all your joy inherit
If we bear the cross with you,
If we bear the cross with you.

Christ, you lead and we shall follow,
Stumbling though our steps may be,
One with you in joy and sorrow,
We the river, you the sea,
We the river, you the sea.

God of all our fear and sorrow,
God who lives beyond our death;
Hold us close through each tomorrow,
Love as near as every breath.
Love as near as every breath.

Words Marty Haugen
© 1984 G. I. A Publications, Inc.




THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
ACCORDING TO JOHN
                                                                   11:1-45
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." But 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." Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?" Jesus 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. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them." After saying this, he told them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him." The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right." Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world." When 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." And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The 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. When 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." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus 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." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I 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." When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The 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." Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Questions to Ponder or Discuss
When faced with the question that Jesus put to Martha, how would you respond?
What might you need to unbind and let go?
When you re-read the prayer of Jesus before the tomb of Lazarus what does the prayer say to you?  With the emphasis that Jesus places on hearing in the prayer, what do you hear when you listen?

Hymn  When Human voices Can Not Sing
When human voices cannot sing
and human hearts are breaking,
we bring our grief to you, O God,
who knows our inner aching.

Set free our spirits from all fear --
 the cloud of dark unknowing,
and let the light, the Christ-light show
the pathway of our going.

Make real for us your holding love,
 the love which is your meaning,
the power to move the stone of death,
the hope of Easter morning.

And let the one we love now go
 where we, in faith shall follow,
to travel in the Spirit's peace,
  to make an end to sorrow.

Words © Shirley Erena Murray
1992 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188
Tune: St. Columba 



Affirmation of faith

We believe that our lives are held within the encircling love of God, who knows our names and recognises our deepest needs.

We believe that Christ is the divine Child of the living God, and that his grace is like living waters that can never be exhausted.

We believe in the birthing, renewing, enabling Spirit of God who yearns over our welfare as a mother yearns for her child.

We believe that God is in the arid desert as well as in green pastures, and that hard times and disciplines are also loving gifts.

We believe that our journey has a purpose and a destination, and that our path leads to a human glory we cannot yet imagine.

We believe that in the church we are fellow pilgrims on the road, and that we are called to love one another as God loves us.

This is our faith and we are humbled to profess in Jesus the Christ.  Amen

— from Traveling to Easter with Jesus as our Guide, 
posted on the website of Patmos Abbey
—The Order of Saint Columba. http://www.patmosabbey.org/


** Although not physically at our church buildings to share our offering together I would encourage you to set you offering of money and food aside so that it can be dropped off or placed in the church once services resume** Please remember ministry is still taking place

Prayer over the Gifts
Giver of life, your Son has destroyed the power of death for all those who believe in him. Accept all we offer you this day  Amen


Intercessions     (by K. Laldin)
This week please use periods of silence after each petition to offer your own prayers

Loving God, we come to you today with our hopes and prayers, with our struggles and sorrows and we ask that your love and your mercy reflect themselves in our lives by what we do and say.

We bring to you the cares and concerns of the many people who ask us to pray for them, to remember them.  We pray for those who feel separated from you and think we are the only link that they might have to your grace.  Help us to be your instruments in this world that help others to know that your love is present and that you are waiting to be welcomed back into their life because you in fact have never left.

We pray today for the health care workers who are stretched to the very limits mentally and physically.  Who are separated from family to work and care for the family members of others.  Who live with fear of the increase of the virus Covid 19 and who see the devastating effect that it has on those who are affected

We pray for the service industry workers who work in retail and drivers who are on the roads to keep the necessary supplies flowing across our country.  We pray for their safety.

We pray for our leaders, that they may weigh the human cost as opposed to the economics and see that the value of human life is precious and most important, and continue to do what is best for the people across the world.

Please take some time to remember and offer in prayer those that you  need to pray for


We pray for those who find that their anxiety has greatly increased, we ask that God's breath move in and through each of us in these troubling times so that we may step back, feel some calm and just breathe.

Collect
Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death. Breathe upon us with the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ, and serve you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray as our Saviour taught us,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen

Dismissal
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 


Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light

Take my hand, precious Lord
Lead me home

When my way grows drear
Precious Lord, linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand, precious Lord
Lead me home

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand, precious Lord
Lead me home
Songwriters: Thomas A. Dorsey
© Warner Chappell Music, Inc.




















Where were you?


Where were you?  It is a question that we have all been asked at some point in our lives.  Sometimes it is followed by more: where were you born?,  where were you yesterday?, where were you when I needed you?  It is safe to say that at sometime this question has been directed toward us.  If the context happens to be joyful then the anticipation of sharing good news affords the feeling of elation, But what about when the context and tone tell us that what we are about to hear is going to be less than pleasant?

Where were you?  Jesus is asked by Lazarus' sister, Martha.  We can hear her tack on, Didn't you get the message?  If you had come earlier, sooner, faster you could have changed the outcome.  Where were you when we needed you the most?

Does that sound like a familiar question at all to you?  Invariably at some point we have not merely been asked the question of where were you, but have asked the question.  As faithful believers and practicing Christians we have shot the question off to God.  Where are you? I need you -- why aren't you here?  Then we feel guilty for questioning the presence of God with us.  Martha has no such reservations and she says to Jesus in verse 21 "Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died."  Where were you, why didn't you come as soon as you got the news?  Jesus responds with the beautiful line that we all know about him being the resurrection and the life.  Then he in turn asks a question, "Do you believe this?' and we know the simple answer is "yes Lord, I believe."

In these days of fear and uncertainty perhaps this is just the passage we need to hear and conversation that needs to take place.  It is perfectly alright for us to cry out; Where are you?  It is perfectly acceptable for us to question and struggle with the present time, circumstances and fear that is Covid-19.  But - there is always a but - we need to listen to the response of Jesus.  Questions are fine but here is something for you to consider as well.  Listen to what God speaks in our lives, listen to what is going on around us and see the presence of the holy in the simplest things in life.  And once we see and acknowledge the holy in the little things it will become more evident all around us.

In the midst of the struggle it is hard to recognize that Jesus is here now.  We want to cry out, "Lord, where are you?"  God does not let us down but is ever present in our lives.  He walks with us, weeps with us, carries us and finally receives us when our earthly journey is complete.  But we are never, never abandoned.  Martha felt abandoned and Jesus uses the opportunity to remind her and through her Jesus reminds all of us that God is a God of love not abandonment.  Jesus' prayer at the grave of Lazarus becomes our prayer "Father, I thank you that you have heard me!"