Worship – March 22nd

How to use this resource:
Set aside intentional time to read the words below, watch the video, listen to the music, and be in prayer. Gather together everyone in your house for this time. Treat the time and space as sacred: shut of electronics, silence the cell phones, and minimize distractions. Designate someone to lead the unbolded parts of these pieces (or take turns!). After you have gone through the pieces, be sure to take time to reflect upon what you have heard and seen.

Welcome and Message
(Pardon the strange light fluctuations in the middle of the video. Still figuring this out!)

God is in the water that restores our soul.
And God is in the night when we lose our way.
God is in today and tomorrow, raising up leaders, prophets and dreamers.
And God is in the wilderness with us—every step of the way.
So with confidence we declare—
If God is in those spaces, then God is surely here.

Prayer of Confession
God of Healing,
There are stories of you healing the blind all over scripture.
You were constantly opening people’s eyes.
So today we confess that we often choose to keep our eyes closed.
We turn away from injustice in our world, worried you might ask us to work for change.
We close our eyes to our privilege, because the truth is uncomfortable.
We avoid eye contact with those who are suffering to avoid identifying with their pain.
Forgive us for failing to be your Church in the world.

[Silence for Reflection]

Guide us from the depths of our wilderness into your light.
Heal our sight, so we see the world with your eyes
Grant us the strength and wisdom to heal our community and our world
by looking beyond disease and disability
and seeing your children.

Read Psalm 23 in both The Message translation and New Revised Standard Version translation. Hear the differences in this familiar and well-loved Psalm.

Read John 9.1-41. It is another long story, but a really good one! Listen to the community’s struggle with the man’s change in identity from blindness to sight!

Gospel Reflection – “Celidonius”
Written by Pastor Jeff Nicla
Read by Nancy Davis

Questions for Reflection
Have you ever experienced or still are experiencing some form of disability?

Has someone in your family and friend group experienced or still experience some form of disability?

How have those experiences impacted your or their identity (positively or negatively)?

What identity has God given all of us? How do you live that identity?

How can we live out the message of this Gospel reading today? How can you convey God’s vision of humanity to those around you?

Songs of the Day
– Contemporary Song – “Come As You Are” – Crowder

– Traditional Hymn – “Healer of Our Every Ill”

Prayer for the Day
Loving Shepherd,
You lead and guide,
You walk alongside,
You prepare, you feed, you call,
all of your sheep,
even those of us who are lost,
those of us who stray constantly,
those of us who stay close to your comforting staff.
[Silence for Reflection]

We are grateful for the lush green pastures of our lives,
and we pause now to offer our thanksgivings
for the goodnesses in our lives…
[Silence for Reflection]

There are so many who walk in the shadows
of fear and suffering and despair,
and we pause now, to offer our prayers
for the broken and bleeding places in this world…
[Silence for Reflection]

We also offer our prayers for the sheep of our own flocks,
in our families and friends,
in this our church and our community…
[Silence for Reflection]

O Loving Shepherd,
We have all we need,
as we live in You.

Closing Reflection – “Lockdown”
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Let us go into the wilderness of the world to see everyone with God’s vision…
We go because God goes with us!

Offering and Giving
Shepherd of the Hills will continue to provide worship, support and outreach as the COVID-19 situation progresses. Of course, your giving helps support these efforts. As your finances allow, please consider continuing to support our shared ministries. There are two ways to give:
– Mail your tithe or offering to the church office. The office will remain open for normal business hours.
– Give online! Our online giving is secure and fully operational. It can be found here.
Thank for helping us continue to spread God’s Word and help those in need during these challenging times.

Gathering and Confessing Prayer | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org
Gospel Reflection – “Celidonius” – A Monologue of the Man Born Blind – Written by Pastor Jeff Nicla – Read by Nancy Davis
Closing Reflection by Brother Richard of the Capuchin Franciscans
Prayers by written by Rev Karla and edited by Pastor Adam Barnhart