Home worship with Grace Lutheran

Dear Grace Friends,

Like you, I am hunkering down as much as possible during the Stay at Home order from our communities. While we are acting responsibly to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, and we are separated more than usual, yet we can still worship as one.

In place of Sunday worship on the Grace Lutheran campus, Osage City, this week’s home worship includes three documents to assist you in home worship this March 29 weekend: Home worship with message below; the day’s assigned Bible readings, large print (3 pages); and a puzzle maze.

Offerings are still important and can be mailed to the church. The church building is not open this Sunday.

Feel free to contact me or church leaders for any concerns or needs you have during this time.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Russ Glaser
Grace Lutheran E.L.C.A.
210 Holliday St.
Osage City, KS 66523


ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton addresses concerns about COVID-19

“In 1527 the plague returned to Wittenberg, Germany. Two hundred years earlier the plague had swept across Europe killing up to 40% of the population. Understandably, people were anxious and wondered what a safe and faithful response might be. In answer to this, Martin Luther wrote “Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague.” In it, he emphasized the duty to care for the neighbor, the responsibility of government to protect and provide services to its citizens, a caution about recklessness, and the importance of science, medicine and common sense.

He recommended that public hospitals be built to accommodate those with the plague. He condemned those who took unnecessary risks that put themselves and others in danger of contagion. Luther also encouraged the use of reason and medicine, writing, “God has created medicines and has provided us with intelligence to guard and take care of the body. … Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence” (“Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague,” 1527).

We are living in the time of the coronavirus. We are also living in the time of social media and constant, relentless news coverage. Many of our people have the same concerns as those in Luther’s day. Many of our people are anxious. Luther’s counsel, based on Scripture, is still sound.

Respect the disease. Do not take unnecessary risks. Provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the neighbor. Make use of medical aid. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.”

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From Pastor Russ:

“While acting to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, we may be separated in time and location. But we are united together in Jesus Christ. Please use this resource for home worship as we pray for each other and the world.”

Worship in the Home

Fifth Sunday in Lent March 29, 2020

In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While we cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other up in prayer.

We worship in the name of the Father, (+) and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Let us pray.

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.

Today’s Readings:

Ezekiel 37:1-14: Ezekiel’s prophesy of restoration in which he sees a valley of dry bones, and is called by God to prophesy that the bones come together and be clothed again in flesh, and then that the wind/breath/Spirit blow into them and bring them alive. In this way, he proclaims, God will bring life and restoration to God’s people – even though their temple and Jerusalem has been destroyed and the people are exiled in the foreign country of Babylonia (6th century BC).

John 11:1-45: Jesus, on hearing of Lazarus’ illness, returns after a short delay, to Judea, risking his own death, in order to raise Lazarus. After proclaiming himself as “the resurrection and the life” he raises Lazarus, and many people believe in him as a result. But the raising of Lazarus is the event that motivates Jesus’ opposition to arrest him and have him killed.

*You may read these passages from your Bible or from the provided download.


REFLECTION

Like Lazarus

I used to think Lazarus might have been disappointed to be recalled from death. And perhaps Martha and Mary needed him for their survival in their day’s culture – why else selfishly beg for Jesus’ presence, especially at the cost of Jesus’ own safety?

Thomas expresses this danger well at verses 8 and 16 in my paraphrase: “Jesus, if you’re going back to that danger zone of Judea, where they tried to stone you and kill you, you’re crazy! But (sighing with resignation), we’ve been with you this long, we might as well go with you and probably die with you.”

Danger also awaited for Lazarus. I think now, Lazarus, conformed to the will of God, may have been content with the inconvenience, accepting the new threat of violence to himself and his family as a result of Jesus’ action (John 12:10-11). Lazarus may have even been willing to be a SIGN, if not a walking target, to further the Good News, despite any and all consequences.

Having died already, what would Lazarus have to lose? I’ve talked with people who have clinically died and been resuscitated who are no longer afraid of death. But it isn’t just the extraordinary coming back from the dead that invigorates our own connection to the story. It’s Lazarus living for something much larger than himself, not contingent upon his life or death.

In our baptism, we often hear about death and resurrection. We die to whatever might hold us back; we rise to newness of life in Christ. We rise to something bigger.

Life in Christ demands successive deaths and re-births. Maturing and growing requires transformation from what was, to what can be.

I know I’m called, like Lazarus, to come out of my tomb, to become fully alive. And God calls your name as well.


Guided Imagery

– go slowly through the questions, allowing time to let the Spirit work in you.

Imagine that you are Lazarus in the tomb. It is dark. You feel restricted by the bindings of cloth strips around you, as well as the cloth covering your face. It is very dark.

You hear a loud cry that calls you by name, a voice that knows you! A voice that you know, and a peace, a joy rushes through you! Although you cannot see, you go towards the sound of his voice. And you hear his voice one more time ordering “Unbind him, and let him go.”

What are the grave clothes that you are wearing? Why are you not happy? What regrets, disappointments, or brokenness bind you?

Do you hear Jesus calling you by name? Do you want to leave the grave and live?

Have you heard Jesus calling your name during this reading today?

Do you want to leave the grave and follow “The One” who has defeated death? How would you live your life if you followed him? What would be different in your life if you did not fear death? Become fully alive in Christ!

Ezekial 37:13-14 “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.


HYMN

Breathe on Me Breath of God

– Words by Edwin Hatch, 1878; set to a variety of tunes

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.


Prayers of Intercession – offered by Gordon Lathrop, a seminary professor of Pastor Russ’

Praying separately in our homes and together in the Spirit, let us pray for the church, the earth, the world, and all who are in need.

Come to the church, O saving God. Even when we cannot assemble together, bind your faithful people into one body. Breathe your Spirit of life into the global church, that despite our valley of dry bones we may rise to praise your name. In our virtual contacts, make each of us into signs of baptismal hope in your merciful might.

Receive the prayers of your family, O God: O Lord, hear my voice!

Come to the nations and their leaders, O God of peace. Lead the world away from war and violence. Guide those in authority to provide for those in dire need of humanitarian relief. Direct our president and other heads of government to deal appropriately in the face of the agony of citizens, and point them toward useful means for combating this plague.

O Lord, hear my voice!

Come wherever the coronavirus has struck, O compassionate God. Be present to all who mourn their dead; all who have contracted the virus; those who are quarantined or stranded away from home; those who have lost employment; children who cannot assemble for school and parents with needs for child care. Visit physicians, nurses, and home health aides; hospitals and clinics; medical researchers; and the Center for Disease Control.

O Lord, hear my voice!

Come to all in need, O healing God. Unbind all who are held captive by anxiety, despair, or pain. Comfort those around the world who cannot bury their dead. House the homeless in safe places. Show us how to provide some assistance to those who suffer. Accompany those who seek care in overwhelmed hospitals and clinics.

Receive the prayers of your family, O God: O Lord, hear my voice!

Remember those known by our community who are dealing with health concerns and healing. We lift up Paul Lindgren(hospitalized at St. Luke’s, KC), as well as those recently hospitalized and now healing: Loren Bryan, Ron Sumner, and Richard Swarts; treatment: Cindy Moulin, recovery: Danny White; chronic illness: Debbie Bean, Cory Britsche, David Fraker, Marci Haller, Elaine Jackson, and Doris Paul.

Receive the prayers of your family, O God: O Lord, hear my voice!

Into your hands, O mighty God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

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, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


SENDING

Merciful God, accompany our journey through these forty days. Renew us in the gift of baptism, that we may provide for those who are poor, pray for those in need, fast from self-indulgence, and above all that we may find our treasure in the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us now and forever. Amen.

We often fail to get the whole text of the original serenity prayer as penned by Reformed theologian Reinhold Niebuhr(1892-1971). Yet there is so much more after the first four lines that most people are familiar with. Here it is:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right, if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.


This Sunday’s added features:
Bible readings in large print, three pages, download or print pdf.
Maze puzzle download or print pdf.


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