Worship – March 29th

How to use this resource:
Set aside 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 Message

Call to Worship
We have been in the wilderness—
Discerning and working, seeking and dreaming.
We have been in the wilderness—
Grieving and wondering, praying and hoping.
We have been in the wilderness—
Longing and running, creating and waiting.
We have been in the wilderness,
but we have not been alone;
for God walks with us, every step of the way.
So let us worship the God of our darkest nights and our brightest days.

Prayer of Confession
Gracious God,
You invite us to plant a garden of love and harmony,
but we grow weeds of prejudice and hatred.
You invite us to sow joy and gratitude,
but we scatter seeds of greed and envy.
You call us to tend the soil of fear and denial,
but instead we close our eyes and let the earth suffer.
Forgive us.
Clear our hearts.

(Silence for Reflection)

Breathe life into these weary bones and grant us a fresh start.
Remind us that we are your people and you are your God.
That the heights and depths of life belong to you.
And, you are present in both of them.
Gratefully we pray,

Amen.

Word
The Psalm this week is Psalm 130 and it is NOT to be missed! It is a remarkably beautiful Psalm of lament (one of my favorites). It is an individual prayer of both sadness and hope.

Our Gospel this week is John 11:1-45. Read together the story of the Raising of Lazarus. Pay close attention to the shifts in emotion in the passage. For an visual and meditative reading of the Gospel, watch this video from A Sanctified Art.

Gospel Reflection – The Professional Mourner
Written by Pastor Aaron Richter
Performed by Ken Kumon

Questions for Reflection
What emotions to Mary and Martha show in the Gospel reading?

What emotions did Jesus show in the Gospel reading?

When was a time when you felt like your heart was broken?

When was a time when you were filled with indescribable joy?

How have you experienced God in both of those times?

What can you take away from this Gospel reading to help you support those around you as they travel through both grief and joy during this time?

Songs of the Day:
Traditional Song – It Is Well With My Soul

Contemporary Song – Come Alive (Dry Bones)

Prayer of the Day – Take turns reading these parts

God of all compassion and consolation,
your breath alone brings life to dry bones and weary souls.
Pour out your Spirit upon us,
that we may face despair and death with the hope of resurrection
and faith through Christ, our Lord.
Help us to dance with the spirit,
the breath of life, which calls us out of the valley of dry bones
and into the Kingdom of God,
both a present reality and the grounding of our future hope.

[Silence for Reflection]

Inscribe your law on our hearts that in this life,
we may be the body of Christ.
Help our hands to hold the sick and suffering.
Help our feet to walk with the poor.
Help our ears to listen to those who live in despair.
May our eyes look to the suffering of the cross
and the hope of the empty tomb
so that we may live as resurrection people.
[Silence for Reflection]

You know our faults and yet you promise to forgive.
Keep us in your presence and give us your wisdom.
Open our hearts to gladness,
call dry bones to dance,
and restore to us the joy of your salvation.
[Silence for Reflection]

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever, as we continue to pray saying,
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,and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever.
Amen.

Closing Reflection The Wilderness is a Place of New Life – Resilient Life
I used to think the wilderness would never end.
I called my mom and asked—
“Does time really heal all wounds?
Do the pieces ever fall back into place?
Does the wilderness go on forever?”

So she told me about the horizon.
She said, “There is an edge,
Where the earth meets the sky.
And when you’re there,
You will see daisies in the sidewalk
And the sun after the rain.”

I asked her to draw me a map
And she cried,
Because she knew this road was mine to walk,
But she promised to wait for me,
Day in and day out,
For as long as the wilderness raged.

So I walked.
And it felt like forty days and it hurt
like forty nights.
And I waved to the people I passed there
in the wilderness.
We tipped our hats to one another,
Silently recognizing the weight we
each carried,

Until one day, I realized—
The earth always kisses the sky.
And this wilderness has turned into a garden,
And I have made it out alive.

And my mother hugged me,
There at the earth’s edge.
And she whispered in my ear,
That God was that gardener,
And that I had nothing to fear.

So if you ever ask for a map,
Know that God and I will be planting seeds,
Hoping to turn your wilderness into a garden.

For as long as the wilderness rages on,
I will never stop looking for you
Where the earth kisses the sky.

Sending
Let us go into the wilderness of the world seeking out God in the grief and the joy!
We go because we know God is 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 – “The Professional Mourner” – Written by Pastor Aaron Richter – Performed by Ken Kumon
Closing Reflection by Sarah Are
| A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org