ORDER OF SERVICE

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Click on one of the dates below to open the corresponding Order of Service.

  • April 18, 2021

    Now the Feast

    Holy Communion

     

    WELCOME

    LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    LINKS TO BULLETIN AND TRANSLATION

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    CALL TO WORSHIP

     

    GATHERING SONG: ELW 641

    All Are Welcome

    Let us build a house where love can dwell

    and all can safely live,

    a place where saints and children tell

    how hearts learn to forgive.

    Built of hopes and dreams and visions,

    rock of faith and vault of grace;

    here the love of Christ shall end divisions:

     

    Refrain

    All are welcome, all are welcome,

    all are welcome in this place.

     

    Let us build a house where prophets speak,

    and words are strong and true,

    where all God's children dare to seek

    to dream God's reign anew.

    Here the cross shall stand as witness

    and as symbol of God's grace;

    here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:  Refrain

     

    Let us build a house where love is found

    in water, wine and wheat:

    a banquet hall on holy ground

    where peace and justice meet.

    Here the love of God, through Jesus,

    is revealed in time and space;

    as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:  Refrain

     

    Let us build a house where hands will reach

    beyond the wood and stone

    to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,

    and live the Word they've known.

    Here the outcast and the stranger

    bear the image of God's face;

    let us bring an end to fear and danger:  Refrain

     

    Let us build a house where all are named,

    their songs and visions heard

    and loved and treasured, taught and claimed

    as words within the Word.

    Built of tears and cries and laughter,

    prayers of faith and songs of grace,

    let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:  Refrain

    Text: Marty Haugen, b. 1950

    Text © 1994 GIA Publications, Inc., 7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638. www.giamusic.com. 800.442.3358. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

     

    CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS

    GREETING

    KYRIE (P 3)

    NOW THE FEAST (P 4)

    SCRIPTURE READING: ACTS 6:1—7:2a

    GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

     

    GOSPEL: LUKE 23:33-34a,36

    When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

     

    MESSAGE

     

    SONG OF THE DAY: ELW 768

    Lead Me, Guide Me

    Lead me, guide me, along the way;

    for if you lead me, I cannot stray.

    Lord, let me walk each day with thee.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

     

    I am weak and I need thy strength and pow’r

    to help me over my weakest hour.

    Help me through the darkness thy face to see.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

     

    Lead me, guide me, along the way;

    for if you lead me, I cannot stray.

    Lord, let me walk each day with thee.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

     

    Help me tread in the paths of righteousness,

    be my aid when Satan and sin oppress.

    I am putting all my trust in thee.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

     

    Lead me, guide me, along the way;

    for if you lead me, I cannot stray.

    Lord, let me walk each day with thee.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

     

    I am lost if you take your hand from me,

    I am blind without thy light to see.

    Lord, just always let me thy servant be.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

     

    Lead me, guide me, along the way;

    for if you lead me, I cannot stray.

    Lord, let me walk each day with thee.

    Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

    Text and music © 1953 Doris Akers. All rights administered by Unichappell Music, Inc. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.

     

    NEW ZEALAND CREED

    PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

    Holding in prayer: Emma and Nicola Ladmore, Rosemary Roschat, Charlotte Yu and family (Michelle, Mark and Julianne), Roanne Dawson, Nathan Wu, Magnar Bjorsvik’s god-daughter Cassandra

     

    Grieving families of those who've died: Shelly Shearer's father, Shirley Sterling, Tim Kranjc's father John Pedersen

     

    SHARING THE PEACE

    OFFERING

    OFFERTORY PRAYER

    WE PROCLAIM THE MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH

    THE LORD’S PRAYER

    INVITATION TO COMMUNION

     

    COMMUNION SONG: ELW 471

    Let Us Break Bread Together

    Let us break bread together on our knees;

    let us break bread together on our knees.

     

    Refrain

    When I fall on my knees,

    with my face to the rising sun,

    O Lord, have mercy on me.

     

    Let us drink wine together on our knees;

    let us drink wine together on our knees.  Refrain

     

    Let us praise God together on our knees;

    let us praise God together on our knees.  Refrain

    Text: African American spiritual

     

    BLESSING

     

    SENDING SONG: ELW 422 (V 1&3)

    For All the Saints

    For all the saints who from their labors rest,

    who thee by faith before the world confessed,

    thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

    Alleluia! Alleluia!

     

    Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine,

    we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

    yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.

    Alleluia! Alleluia!

    Text: William W. How, 1823-1897

     

    SENDING

  • April 11, 2021

    Setting 10

    Holy Communion

     

    WELCOME

    LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    INFO ON BULLETIN AND SERMON TRANSLATION

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    CALL TO WORSHIP

     

    GATHERING SONG:

    Trading My Sorrows

    I’m trading my sorrows,

    I’m trading my shame,

    I’m laying them down For the joy of the Lord.

    I’m trading my burdens,

    I’m trading my pain,

    I’m laying them down For the joy of the Lord.

     

    I am pressed but not crushed,

    Persecuted, not abandoned,

    Struck down, but not destroyed;

    I am blessed beyond belief

    For His promise will endure,

    That His joy’s gonna be my strength.

    Though the sorrow may last for the night,

    His joy comes with the morning.

     

    I’m trading my sorrows,

    I’m trading my shame,

    I’m laying them down For the joy of the Lord.

    I’m trading my burdens,

    I’m trading my pain,

    I’m laying them down For the joy of the Lord.

    CCLI #2574653

     

    THANKSGIVING FOR BAPTISM

    CANTICLE OF PRAISE

    GREETING

    PRAYER OF THE DAY

    GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

    GOSPEL Luke 24:13-35

    Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

     

    MESSAGE

    SONG OF THE DAY: ELW 561

    Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory

    Joyous light of heav'nly glory,

    loving glow of God's own face,

    you who sing creation's story,

    shine on ev'ry land and race.

    Now as evening falls around us,

    we shall raise our songs to you.

    God of daybreak, God of shadows,

    come and light our hearts anew.

     

    In the stars that grace the darkness,

    in the blazing sun of dawn,

    in the light of peace and wisdom,

    we can hear your quiet song.

    Love that fills the night with wonder,

    love that warms the weary soul,

    love that bursts all chains asunder,

    set us free and make us whole.

     

    You who made the heaven's splendor,

    ev'ry dancing star of night,

    make us shine with gentle justice,

    let us each reflect your light.

    Mighty God of all creation,

    gentle Christ who lights our way,

    loving Spirit of salvation,

    lead us on to endless day.

    Text: Greek hymn, 3rd cent., para. Marty Haugen, b. 1950

    Text © 1987 GIA Publications, Inc., 7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638. www.giamusic.com. 800.442.3358. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

     

    AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

    PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

    SHARING THE PEACE

    OFFERING

    OFFERTORY PRAYER

    THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

    WE PROCLAIM THE MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH

     

    THE LORD’S PRAYER SUNG

    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.

     

    Our Mother in heaven,

    hallowed be Your name,

    Your kingdom come,

    Your will be done,

    on earth as in heaven.

     

    Save us from the time of trial,

    deliver us from evil.

    For the kingdom, the power,

    and the glory are Yours,

    now and forever.

     

    Our Father, our Mother,

    hallowed be Your name,

    Your kingdom come,

    Your will be done,

    on earth as in heaven.

    Your  kingdom come,

    Your will be done,

    on earth …….. as in heaven.

     

    INVITATION TO COMMUNION

     

    COMMUNION SONG:

    Breathe

    This is the air I breathe

    This is the air I breathe

    Your Holy presence living in me

    This is my daily bread

    This is my daily bread

    Your very word spoken to me

     

    And I, I'm desperate for you

    And I, I'm lost without you

     

    This is the air I breathe

    This is the air I breathe

    Your Holy presence living in me

    This is my daily bread

    This is my daily bread

    Your very word spoken to me

     

    And I, I'm desperate for you

    And I, I'm lost without you

     

    I'm lost without you

    I'm lost without you

    I'm lost without you

    I'm lost …. without you

     

    This is the air I breathe

    This is the air ….. I breathe

    CCLI #1874117

     

    BLESSING

     

    SENDING SONG: ELW 374

    Day of Arising

    Day of arising,

    Christ on the roadway,

    unknown companion walks with his own.

    When they invite him,

    as fades the first day,

    and bread is broken, Christ is made known.

     

    When we are walking,

    doubtful and dreading,

    blinded by sadness, slowness of heart,

    yet Christ walks with us,

    ever awaiting

    our invitation: Stay, do not part.

     

    Lo, I am with you,

    Jesus has spoken.

    This is Christ's promise, this is Christ's sign:

    when the church gathers,

    when bread is broken,

    there Christ is with us in bread and wine.

     

    Christ, our companion,

    hope for the journey,

    bread of compassion, open our eyes.

    Grant us your vision,

    set all hearts burning

    that all creation with you may rise.

    Text: Susan Palo Cherwien, b. 1953

    Text © 1996 Susan Palo Cherwien, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

     

    SENDING

  • April 04, 2021

    Setting 8

    Holy Communion

     

    WELCOME

    LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    LINKS TO BULLETIN & SERMON TRANSLATION

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    CALL TO WORSHIP

     

    GATHERING SONG: ELW 369

    Christ the Lord is Risen Today; Alleluia!

    Christ the Lord is ris'n today; Alleluia!

    Christians, hasten on your way; Alleluia!

    offer praise with love replete, Alleluia!

    at the paschal victim's feet. Alleluia!

     

    For the sheep the Lamb has bled, Alleluia!

    sinless in the sinner's stead. Alleluia!

    Christ the Lord is ris'n on high; Alleluia!

    now he lives, no more to die. Alleluia!

     

    Christ, the victim undefiled, Alleluia!

    God and sinners reconciled, Alleluia!

    when contending death and life, Alleluia!

    met in strange and awesome strife. Alleluia!

     

    Christians, on this holy day, Alleluia!

    all your grateful homage pay; Alleluia!

    Christ the Lord is ris'n on high; Alleluia!

    now he lives, no more to die. Alleluia!

    Text: attr. Wipo of Burgundy, d. c. 1050; tr. Jane E. Leeson, 1807-1882, alt.

     

    THANKSGIVING FOR BAPTISM

    KYRIE ELESION (P 184)

    GREETING

    PRAYER OF THE DAY

    GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (P 188)

    GOSPEL: LUKE 24:1-12

    KIDS’ MESSAGE

    MESSAGE

     

    SONG OF THE DAY: ELW 392 (V. 1-2)

    Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

    Alleluia! Sing to Jesus;

    his the scepter, his the throne;

    Alleluia! his the triumph,

    his the victory alone.

    Hark! The songs of peaceful Zion

    thunder like a mighty flood:

    "Jesus out of ev'ry nation

    has redeemed us by his blood."

     

    Alleluia! Not as orphans

    are we left in sorrow now;

    Alleluia! he is near us;

    faith believes, nor questions how.

    Though the cloud from sight received him

    when the forty days were o'er,

    shall our hearts forget his promise:

    "I am with you evermore"?

    Text: William C. Dix, 1837-1898, alt.

     

    PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

    SHARING THE PEACE

    OFFERING

    OFFERTORY PRAYER

    THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

    WE PROCLAIM THE MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH

    THE LORD’S PRAYER SUNG

    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.

     

    Our Mother in heaven,

    hallowed be Your name,

    Your kingdom come,

    Your will be done,

    on earth as in heaven.

     

    Save us from the time of trial,

    deliver us from evil.

    For the kingdom, the power,

    and the glory are Yours,

    now and forever.

     

    Our Father, our Mother,

    hallowed be Your name,

    Your kingdom come,

    Your will be done,

    on earth as in heaven.

    Your  kingdom come,

    Your will be done,

    on earth …….. as in heaven.

     

    INVITATION TO COMMUNION

     

    COMMUNION SONG:

    Come as You Are

    Come out of sadness, from wherever you've been

    Come broken hearted Let rescue begin

    Come find your mercy Oh sinner come kneel

    Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal

    Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal

     

    So lay down your burdens, Lay down your shame

    All who are broken, Lift up your face

    Oh wanderer come home, You're not too far

    So lay down your hurt, Lay down your heart

    Come as you are

     

    There's hope for the hopeless, & all those who've strayed

    Come sit at the table, Come taste the grace

    There's rest for the weary, Rest that endures

    Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't cure

    Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't cure

     

    So lay down your burdens, Lay down your shame

    All who are broken, Lift up your face

    Oh wanderer come home, You're not too far

    So lay down your hurt, Lay down your heart

    Come as you are, Come as you are

    Fall in his arms, Come as you are

     

    There's joy for the morning, Oh sinner be still

    Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal

    Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal

     

    So lay down your burdens, Lay down your shame

    All who are broken, Lift up your face

    Oh wanderer come home, You're not too far

    So lay down your hurt, Lay down your heart

    Come as you are, Come as you are,

    Come as you are, Come as you are.               

    CCLI 7017790

     

    BLESSING

     

    SENDING SONG: ELW 367

    Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds

    Now all the vault of heav'n resounds

    in praise of love that still abounds:

    "Christ has triumphed! He is living!"

    Sing, choirs of angels, loud and clear!

    Repeat their song of glory here:

    "Christ has triumphed! He is living!"

    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

     

    Eternal is the gift he brings,

    therefore our heart with rapture sings:

    "Christ has triumphed! He is living!"

    Now still he comes to give us life

    and by his presence stills all strife.

    "Christ has triumphed! He is living!"

    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

     

    Oh, fill us, Lord, with dauntless love;

    set heart and will on things above

    that we conquer through your triumph;

    grant grace sufficient for life's day

    that by our lives we truly say:

    "Christ has triumphed! He is living!"

    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

     

    Adoring praises now we bring

    and with the heav'nly blessed sing:

    "Christ has triumphed! Alleluia!"

    Be to the Father, and our Lord,

    to Spirit blest, most holy God,

    all the glory, never ending!

    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

    Text: Paul Z. Strodach, 1876-1947, alt.

    Text © 1958 Service Book and Hymnal, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

     

    SENDING

  • Preacher/Jesus: Pastor Jennifer Wilson and Pastor Eric Krushel

    Narrator 1 (N1): Rosa Maria Funderburk-Razo

    Narrator 2 (N2): Maureen Jones

     

     

    We gather on the traditional and ancestral territory of the Tsawwassen and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nations. We live in partnership; seeking reconciliation between settler and indigenous communities, healing of intergenerational trauma, and walking together in new ways.

     

    On Good Friday to reflect on the death of Christ and what it means for our living now. Tonight, with the lighting and extinguishing of candles, we walk to the cross through a Tenebrae Service. Tenebrae (Latin word for 'darkness') was the name given to the medieval predawn morning prayer celebrated by monks during the last three days in Holy Week. As the light began to dawn, the candles used for reading were gradually extinguished, so that at the end of the service, the rising sun provided the necessary light for reading and singing. And pointed to the resurrection. Together, we reflect on the One who, lifted up from the earth, draws all people to himself. 

     

    Were You There (ELW #353 vs. 1)

     

    After the hymn ends and after a few seconds the Narrators begin.

     

    N1: Crucifixion wasn’t used by the Jewish people as a means of execution. In the time of Jesus, it was used by the Romans to punish criminals of the lower classes convicted of crimes against the state, such as insurrection.

     

    N2: Crucifixion normally took place outside the city walls.  This was for practical reasons: it would be easier to dispose of the body afterward.  It also served to further terrorize the condemned, for they would be completely unprotected from wild beasts or marauders.

     

     

    N1:It was a little before 9 in the morning when the officials led Jesus to be crucified at Golgotha.  He hung on a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, the holy city.  He hung between two convicted criminals.  People had come to watch, perhaps out of love or sorrow, or perhaps to deride and scorn him and the others who were being executed.

     

    N2: What would you expect a condemned and dying man to say from a cross – especially one whose execution was unjust?  What would you expect Jesus to say….one could imagine that it would be very hard to speak at all.  And yet, we know that Jesus did speak from the cross.

     

    N1:  When all the gospels are considered together, we find Jesus speaking seven times.

     

    N2: This was Jesus’ First Word:

     

    Pastor Jennifer: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

    Short reflection   

     

    Pastor Jennifer: These words tell us about the people who participated in the crucifixion of Jesus.  They were caught up by forces they weren’t even aware of.  Compelled by motives they didn’t really understand themselves.

     

    But you know, we aren’t so different from them.  As a culture, we tend to deny death. But in the midst of a global pandemic, COVID19 has exposed our vulnerability.  Even as vaccines are distributed, we continue to hear of young and old dying. As we listen to Jesus face death, we may think ‘we weren’t there’ and be tempted to shift responsibility for Jesus’ death to the other characters in the drama. Could it be, we are just like them in attitude, in worldview. We too are broken in body, mind and spirit.  WE WERE THERE.

     

    And yet we tend to redirect the blame to the Pharisees and other religious leaders.  They were so “right” in their liturgies and rules that they lost sight of human compassion and the God’s dreams for the human family.  We may think, the crucifixion was their fault. And yet, we all stand in need of God’s mercy.  

     

    Or we tend to blame Pilate.  He had the power to change the outcome, but he wouldn’t follow his personal conviction.  He caved into the pressure of special interests and to his own ambition.  Though he washed his hands of any responsibility, we may think the crucifixion was his fault.

     

    We tend to blame the Roman soldiers.  They’re the ones who beat Jesus and mocked him and they’re the ones who lost their ability to feel the suffering that Jesus and the other condemned men experienced.  We may assume the crucifixion was their fault.

     

    But like the Pharisees, we try to justify ourselves and miss the way of God.  We don’t like it when Jesus welcomes sinners and those different from us, asking us to expand our circles of acceptance. This humbles us; we have no alternative but to confess that we are sinners too.  We prejudge others without knowing their story. We lie to ourselves. Deceive ourselves. But the truth is every time we fall into these patterns, we are there, yelling Crucify! Crucify!

     

    Like Pilate we are often silent in the struggle against oppression.  We overlook the pain of those who live without hope.  We are prone to loving others, just enough, to protect our own consciences.  We try to wash our hands of it all. But we were there. We are there, at the foot of the cross tonight.

     

    And we’re the soldiers, too.  We also choose violence over peace.  We may allow others to do it for us, or we may engage in subtler but no less vicious forms of gossiping and retaliation.  After a year of social distancing, tension has grown in many homes, tempers are short and mental health is languishing. We hold onto grudges, bitterness and resentment, turning in upon ourselves. Our hearts too, are vengeful and vindictive toward others, toward ourselves.  We were there. We are there, now, crucified with Christ.

     

    To all of this, Jesus says, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Jesus knows who we are.  Jesus knows me.  Jesus knows each and every one of you.  He knows our helplessness in the face of sin.  He knows how our fear and anxiety has been exposed, we are all helpless as we face the reality of death. Even before we become aware of our sin sick soul, Christ Jesus prays for us. We are dependent upon God for life and breath, for mercy and grace to heal our sin-sick soul.

     

    Forgiveness is a gift.  We don’t earn it.  Nothing we do or fail to do can disqualify us. God gives out of sheer love for us, expressed so graciously by Jesus as he forgives even his executioners.  We were there. We are there, now, crucified with Christ; therefore we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.

     

    Taize hymn: Ubi Caritas ELW 642

    Ubi caritas et amor,

    (Where true charity and love abide)

    Ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.

    (God is dwelling there; God is dwelling there)

     

    (first candle is extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    N2:  Even while dying, Jesus continued in his mission that God had called him to: to minister to those in need.  He ministered to the two men who were crucified together with him.

     

    N1: One of the criminals joined in with the mockers and derided Jesus.  He taunted Jesus with his claims of being the messiah.  Surely, if he could save others, he could and should now save himself and them.

     

    N2: But the criminal on the other side of Jesus rebuked the first one, saying that while they may have deserved their death, Jesus had done nothing wrong.  Then he turned to Jesus and asked, 

     

    N1: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your realm.”

     

    N2: Jesus responded with his Second Word:

     

    Jesus: Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

    Pastor Eric:

    Today you will be with me. In paradise. It must have been sweet music in this criminal’s ear. After a life on the run. Always looking over his shoulder. Trusting no one. And now paying the ultimate price of Roman justice.

     

    Even here. On this hill. On this cross. Even now there was hope. There was a future. There was the promise of a place in God’s love. Of a home beyond this vale of tears. Of a presence that would never leave him.

     

    Yes he would be with Christ in Paradise. But even here. Even now. Today. On his cross he was not alone. Even as he could not feel the arms of Christ embrace him, he still was held in a mercy higher than the mountains and a grace deeper than the seas. In a love that would not let him go.

     

    And we too at times lift our eyes in longing perhaps for that home in Paradise promised us in our baptism. But even here. Even now. In the loneliness of pandemic losses, heightened fears and anxieties about the future, questions and doubts, and in those moments when we can’t feel God close, we too are held in a love no darkness can overcome. We too are met in the depths of life by a Lord who entered the depths to love us beyond words. Today you will be with me, he says. Today you are with me.

     

     

    Taize hymn: Jesus, Remember Me (ELW 616)

    Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

    Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

     

    (second candle is extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    N1: Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there at the cross that day.  What would happen to her now that her son was being taken from her?  We don’t hear what had happened to Mary’s husband Joseph during Jesus’ adult life.  Perhaps he had died.  A widow would have been at a terrible disadvantage in those days.  She would have had nowhere to turn.

     

    N2: But maybe she remembered that day a while ago when she and his brothers came to see him and he had spoken those cryptic words: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Was he trying to say that family is bigger than just our blood relations? That all who belong to God are family?

     

    N1: Mary’s agonies were deep, for sure, as she watched her son die. She loved him as only a mother could. But maybe she was beginning to see a new family form around her. A family formed through the sacrifice Jesus was now making. A family of mutual love and care inspired by his love and care for all.

     

    N2: In his dying hours, Jesus remembered his mother.  He saw her standing there beside the disciple whom he loved.  Jesus knew that he could count on him.  Therefore, he spoke to them both.

     

    N1: He said to them his Third Word:

     

    Jesus: ‘Woman, here is your son.’  Then he said to the disciple, ‘here is your mother.’  (John 19:26b-27a)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

     

    Pastor Jennifer: In his teaching, Jesus questions our loyalty to family over our faithfulness to God.  Jesus distanced himself from his own family when they wanted to pull him away from doing God’s will.  Who are my mother and brothers? Those who do the will of God, Jesus said. 

     

    Jesus promised that his followers would find a new family among those who trusted God and loved their neighbours: doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.  He had come to show us that people, alive in the Spirit, would now be free to respond to God’s grace and not be compelled by the demands of kin and clan.

     

    Jesus opens our eyes to God as the One who heals our brokenness, the One in whom all things hold together, in heaven and on earth.  God is our true parent in whom we trust and rely.

     

    Taize hymn: Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying (ELW 752)

    Lord, listen to your children praying, 

    Lord, send your Spirit in this place;

    Lord, listen to your children praying,

    Send us love, send us pow’r, send us grace.

     

    (third candle is extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    N2: It was almost noon.  All morning, the weather had been strange.  Suddenly the sky became unnaturally and ominously dark.  It stayed this way until 3:00 that afternoon.  The darkness was so strange that people became uneasy.

     

    N1: Suddenly, a cry from the middle cross between the two thieves pierced the darkness.

     

    N2: This was Jesus’ Fourth Word:

     

     

    Jesus: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

    Pastor Eric: Jesus’ cry is our cry. A year of pandemic has left none of us unscathed. Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have lost health. Some have lost livelihoods. Some have lost hope. The pillars of predictability and stability on which we have built our lives have been shaken. And in a way we have all lost our naiveté that the world is a basically fair and just place. What we have learned about the ravages of racism and hate cannot be unlearned. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why have you forsaken us?”

     

    Maybe Jesus’ cry is not one we dare speak out loud very often. But it may lurk, if we’re honest, in the shadows of our hearts. Whispering in our ears on those nights when sleep evades us.

     

    But lest we forget, Jesus’ cry isn’t one uttered into thin air. And it isn’t a cry of unbelief. It's a cry addressed to the one he trusts is listening. And as we listen to him we hear the voice of one who knows what lurks in our hearts: the doubt, the fear, the anguish. One who took on our flesh to experience all we experience.

     

    And yet one who knew his cry would always be heard. His prayer always received and held in God’s endless compassion. That we might know our cry never falls on deaf ears.

     

    Taize hymn: O Lord, Hear My Prayer (ELW 751)

    O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer:

    When I call, answer me.

    O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer:

    Come and listen to me.

     

    (fourth candle is extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    N1: Jesus had been on the cross for several hours now.  Among his pains was the pain of extreme thirst.  Although Jesus had earlier refused a drink of wine mixed with a pain-killing drug, he now cried out his Fifth Word:

     

    Jesus: I am thirsty (John 19:28)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

    Pastor Jennifer: The drink Jesus received was sour wine, the drink of soldiers and common labourers.  But it was also a drink that sometimes is offered to prisoners-of-war, as a way of mocking them. The sour wine did not quench his thirst.

     

    Jesus, who had suffered unjustly, called out to God to bring justice and ultimate victory.  We too thirst for things to be made right where all are given dignity and value. This is the way to bring peace in our world. 

     

    O Lord and Saviour, you carried the injustice of the world on your shoulders, pouring out love in the face of hatred, fear and rejection.  Come and fill our hearts with your peace.

     

    Taize hymn: Come and Fill Our Hearts (ELW 528)

    Come and fill our hearts with your peace.

    You alone, O Lord, are holy.

    Come and fill our hearts with your peace.

    Alleluia!

     

    (fifth candle is extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    N2: As the day dragged on, people went ahead and did what they usually did.  Probably many of the people had already left Golgotha and either gone home or off to take care of their personal affairs.  The soldiers also seemed to treat this as a regular day.  They had gambled for Jesus’ clothing for fun; one of the privileges of being the executioner for that day.  

     

    N1: To them, Jesus was just another criminal who had been convicted and was condemned to die.  Even as the Saviour of the world was dying, life simply went on. 

     

    N2: Thus Jesus cried out his Sixth Word:

     

    Jesus: It is finished! (John 19:30)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

    Pastor Eric: Indeed, it was finished. A life was finished.  And a mission was completed.

     

    It had started so quietly, in a manger on a starlit night in Bethlehem. But it wasn’t long before it attracted attention. Even as he was a young boy in the temple impressing the religion scholars. Then came the miracles, the healings, the sermons no one could forget.

     

    But this was no mission to conquer the world, to initiate yet another empire, to establish a kingdom of domination. This was a mission to restore a world of just and loving relationships among all created things. And that could only be accomplished through love. A love willing to humble itself to the point of death. Even death on a cross.

     

    It staggers the imagination really: God so loves the world that God enters fully and completely into our world, lives, and dies the death of a condemned criminal. And in that love we are freed. Freed from our sin-corrupted lives and freed for our mission to love and bless the world. 

     

    Could there be a love more trustworthy, more powerful, more true?

     

     

     

    Taize Hymn: Wait for the Lord (ELW #262)

    Wait for the Lord, 

    Whose day is near.

    Wait for the Lord:

    Be strong, take heart!

     

    (sixth candle is extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    N1: And at the last, Jesus cries out his Seventh and final Word:

     

    Jesus: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46)

     

    **cymbal rolls after at least 5 seconds

     

    Pastor Jennifer: Jesus yielded his life-giving breath into God’s hands. With the virus variants still on the move, we are all aware of the need for each life-giving breath, of our vulnerability unto death. Jesus leaned into yielding his breath. To yield, to submit, to let go is the beginning of relationship with God. Like floating in 70,000 fathoms of water, we lean back and trust the God revealed on the cross will keep us. 

     

     

    Hymn: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded (ELW #351 v. 1 and 4 )

     

    N2: Immediately after Jesus spoke this final word, be bowed his head and died.

     

    ***cymbal crashes loudly

    (all candles are extinguished, 3 chimes on mini cymbals)

     

    Preacher: None of us lives as our own. None of us dies as our own. In both our living and our dying we belong to God.

     

     

    (Christ candle is taken out of sanctuary.  A loud strepitus is heard….)

     

    All leave in silence.

  • Introduction

    This week, the center of the church’s year, is one of striking contrasts: Jesus rides into Jerusalem surrounded by shouts of glory, only to be left alone to die on the cross, abandoned by even his closest friends. Mark’s gospel presents Jesus in his complete human vulnerability: agitated, grieved, scared, forsaken. Though we lament Christ’s suffering and all human suffering, we also expect God’s salvation: Jesus promises that his death will mark a new covenant with all people. We enter this holy week thirsty for the completion of God’s astonishing work.

     

    GATHERING AND WELCOME

    Welcome and thank you for joining us for our Palm / Passion Sunday worship.  I am Pastor Kathy Martin and I serve as the Assistant to the Bishop of our BC Synod for Missional Renewal and Congregational Care.  Here with me also is Bishop Greg Mohr, our preacher for today’s service.  

     

    We are grateful for the use of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, New Westminster, where we are recording our portions of the worship service.  We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional, ancestral, un-ceded territories of the Qayqayt First Nation of the Coast Salish Peoples.  We invite you to take a moment to offer your own acknowledgement of the land where you worship, live, work and play. 

     

    We also are grateful for the musical gifts shared with us today.  The names of those playing and singing are listed in the worship folder and at the end of this recording. 

     

    The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.  This morning we hear this welcome cry of “Hosanna!” around our BC Synod. 

     

    Acclamation 

    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

    Hosanna in the highest.

     

    Processional Gospel: Mark 11:1-11

    The holy gospel according to Mark.

    Glory to you, O Lord.

     

    1When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

     

    The gospel of the Lord.

    Praise to you, O Christ.

     

    Blessing of Palms 

    The Lord be with you.

    And also with you.

    Let us pray.

    A brief silence is kept.

     

    We praise you, O God,

    for redeeming the world through our Savior Jesus Christ.

    Today he entered the holy city in triumph

    and was proclaimed messiah and king

    by those who spread garments and branches along his way.

    Bless these branches and those who carry them.

    Grant us grace to follow our Lord in the way of the cross,

    so that, joined to his death and resurrection,

    we enter into life with you;

    through the same Jesus Christ,

    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

    one God, now and forever.

    Amen.

     

    Let us go forth in peace,

    in the name of Christ. Amen.

    .

    Palm Procession 

    All Glory, Laud, and Honor # 344

     

    Refrain

    All glory, laud, and honor
    to you, redeemer, king
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring.

     

    You are the king of Israel
    and David's royal Son
    now in the Lord's name coming
    our King and Blessed One.

     

    Refrain

    All glory, laud, and honor
    to you, redeemer, king
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring.

     

    The company of angels
    Are praising you on high;
    creation and all mortals
    in chorus make reply.

     

    Refrain

    All glory, laud, and honor
    to you, redeemer, king
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring

     

    The multitude of pilgrims
    with palms before you went.
    Our praise and prayer and anthems
    before you we present

     

    Refrain

    All glory, laud, and honor
    to you, redeemer, king
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring

     

    To you, before your passion,
    they sang their hymns of praise.
    To you, now high exalted
    our melody we raise

     

    Refrain

    All glory, laud, and honor
    to you, redeemer, king
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring

     

    Their praises you accepted;
    accept the prayers we bring,
    great author of all goodness,
    O good and gracious king.

     

    Refrain

    All glory, laud, and honor
    to you, redeemer, king
    to whom the lips of children
    made sweet hosannas ring

     

     

     

    Prayer of the Day 

    As we now enter into the contemplation of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and meditate on the salvation of the world through his sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection, let us pray.

    Silence is kept.

    Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

    Amen.

     

    Word

    God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

     

    First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a

    The image of the servant of God is one of the notable motifs in the book of Isaiah. Today’s reading describes the mission of the servant, whom early Christians associated with Jesus. Like Jesus, the servant does not strike back at his detractors but trusts in God’s steadfast love.

    4The Lord God has given me
      the tongue of a teacher,
     that I may know how to sustain
      the weary with a word.
     Morning by morning the Lord God wakens—
      wakens my ear
      to listen as those who are taught.
    5The Lord God has opened my ear,
      and I was not rebellious,
      I did not turn backward.
    6I gave my back to those who struck me,
      and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
     I did not hide my face
      from insult and spitting.

    7The Lord God helps me;
      therefore I have not been disgraced;
     therefore I have set my face like flint,
      and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
      
    8he who vindicates me is near.
     Who will contend with me?
      Let us stand up together.
     Who are my adversaries?
      Let them confront me.
    9aIt is the Lord God who helps me;
      who will declare me guilty?

     

    Word of God, word of life.

    Thanks be to God.

     

    Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

    Christ did not act to attain status and glory but was obedient to God even to the point of death. Following Christ’s example, we do not seek personal status or glory but care for others as God cared for us in Christ’s death.

    5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
    6who, although being in the form of God,
      did not regard equality with God
      as something to be exploited,
    7but relinquished it all,
      taking the form of a slave,
      being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,
      
    8he humbled himself
      and became obedient to the point of death—
      even death on a cross.

    9Therefore God also highly exalted him
      and gave him the name
      that is above every name,
    10so that at the name of Jesus
      every knee should bend,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11and every tongue should confess
      that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God, the Father.

     

    Word of God, word of life.

    Thanks be to God.

     

    Gospel: [Mark 14:1—15:1] Mark 15:1:47

    The holy gospel according to Mark.

    Glory to you, O Lord.

     

    You are invited to read the entire gospel during your devotions.  We begin at the 15th chapter of Mark’s Gospel in our worship today.

    [ 1It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; 2for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”
    3While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
    10Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
    12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
    17When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” 20He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 21For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”
    22While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
    26When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written,
     ‘I will strike the shepherd,
      and the sheep will be scattered.’
    28But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” 30Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.
    32They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
    43Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? 49Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” 50All of them deserted him and fled.
    51A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, 52but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
    53They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’ 59But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62Jesus said, “I am; and
     ‘you will see the Son of Man
     seated at the right hand of the Power,’
     and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”
    63Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.
    66While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.]


    15:1As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” 3Then the chief priests accused him of many things. 4Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
    6Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. 7Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. 8So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. 9Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
    16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
    21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
    25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
    33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
    40There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
    42When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

    The gospel of the Lord.

    Praise to you, O Christ.

     

    Sermon - Bishop Greg Mohr

    It is difficult for us as pastors to go and stand behind the pulpit on Palm Sunday or on Good Friday and preach. Because when we as pastors stand here on those two days, we must talk about Jesus' death. And it is hard to know what all to say about that and what it means. It is hard talking about death. For when we talk about Jesus' death, at some point, we also must talk about, or at least acknowledge, our own death as well.

     

    In our work as pastors, we see enough death and sorrow. We see people in hospital rooms as they slowly draw their last breaths. We see death in the faces of those left behind as they mourn the loss of their loved ones. We see death take away relationships, friends, family, future. I doubt that I am alone in this sentiment about the challenge of preaching on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. I am guessing that a lot of us pastors would much rather begin a sermon with a very different story. After all, the last time the church gathered for a vital time of celebration and reflection, a dramatically different Biblical story was read that night: "And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night . . . And the angel said to them, 'Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy.…" (Lk 2)

     

    Now that's a story I can preach about!

     

    My guess is that it is probably much easier for you to attend church at Christmas, too, isn't it? I'm sure you find it much harder to attend to church - even on-line - on a day like today, or to log-in once again on Good Friday. There are no presents to look forward to on a day like today. There is no tree to decorate. No lights to put up. No cards to send. There is just . . . a story about death.

     

    For generation after generation, the church has proclaimed: "Christ died for you." What do you say in response to someone who has died for you? What do you do in response to this self-giving love? We hear about such things during times of war, where someone jumps on a grenade and sacrifices their life to save others. We hear stories of people caught in freezing water, and where someone hands the helicopter's life-saving rope to another person, and by the time the helicopter returns, that person is nowhere to be seen.  We hear stories like that.

    The church proclaims that twenty centuries ago someone died for us; someone laid down their life for us with a self-giving love; for us, yes, but not just for us - for this world, for all of creation.

     

    We tend to focus on the words "for us." We tend to think of how wonderfully superior we human beings are; how special we are. We are so very anthropocentric - thinking that it's all about us! But what do we read in John 3:16? "For God so loved the world …" The world. All of it - not just humans. The cosmos. And we see that this self-giving love is not just "for us" but is for the world. God so loved the world. Jesus gave his life for the world.

     

    As Paul notes in Romans 8: We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves …" (Romans 8:22-23a) Note how Paul speaks of creation first, and then about us. Jesus' love, his care, his justice, his resurrection, is for this world that God loves, that God created, that God cares for, that God gifts.

     

    Jesus' self-giving love for the world shatters all that binds us, all that destroys us. His life and death challenge us to a different life, a different way - a way of self-sacrifice, a way of loving, of being, a justice-seeking way, a journey of reconciliation in all our relations, with one another and with creation. "God in flesh," we say; God coming to us; loving us, to overthrow all that binds us, controls us, that breaks us, that shatters our lives.

     

    Jesus, the great liberator, so loves the world - even in all of its brokenness, its racism, its pride and the prejudice and privilege, the environmental degradation, the sexism and homophobia, the judgmentalism and selfishness, the powers and principalities that need to be overturned. God comes to us and to our world and loves us to death.

     

    A moment ago I made reference to Christmas. But think about that story for a moment; think of the story where the angel declares to Mary that she is going to give birth to Jesus. What does Mary do? She sings. But she doesn't just sing any old song. She sings a song of protest; of justice-seeking. She sings a song that prophesies what this baby will do and be and usher in.

    Mary sings a song for a world in need of healing. She sings a song of defiance. She sings a song of justice. And Mary said, 'My soul proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you, my Saviour. For you have looked with favour upon your lowly servant… You have shown strength with your arm; you have scattered the proud in their conceit; you have deposed the mighty from their thrones, and raised the lowly to high places. You have filled the hungry with good things, while you have sent the rich away empty…' (Luke 1:46-48a, 51-53) That kind of loving, that kind of justice-seeking, earth-shattering love, turns our world upside down.

     

    On the night before he was crucified, Jesus tells his disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you." God loves us passionately and invites our passionate response. We are to love with that kind of love. We are to live with that kind of love.  Our immediate response to this might be to say, "No, thank you.  This is too hard. This is a path for which I am unprepared." Perhaps we would rather stay where we are then to have to find ourselves on a road that leads to Calvary. No wonder we resist the cross and what it means. No wonder we try to tame it and make the cross all shiny and beautiful. We turn it into jewelry. We carve beautiful crosses, sanded smooth and varnished. Yet we continue to be fascinated by the love revealed there. We are drawn to it even as we are repelled by it.

     

    God is at the heart of this passion and pain, and where God is, there is life in all its fullness. In Jesus, we see a God who enters fully and completely into our existence. In Jesus, we see a God who stops at nothing to save the lost, the last, and the least. And Jesus calls us to follow him, to follow him on that path. It was a path that took him to those on the outside, those shunned by society, those wounded and hurting from a hurtful world. It was a path that took him to those broken in spirit and broken in body: a blind man, a leper, a woman not allowed to be touched by anyone due to a flow of blood. It was a path he took that often put him at odds with the rulers of the day, with the powerful, with the self-righteous. But wherever he went, he reached out. He cared for the person behind the illness. He saw the humanity inside each and everyone. And he challenged the authorities when the authorities sought to diminish people or sought to hold power unto itself. Instead, Jesus gave power away; He taught us to turn the other cheek, to love the unlovable, to love even one's enemies.

     

    And then it was, on the night in which he was betrayed, that he took . . . a towel. You thought I was going to say something else, didn't you? You thought I was going to say, "On the night in which he was betrayer, Jesus took bread . . . and wine." But if we look just at John's gospel, we have a very different story. We have a new image of what this kin-dom is to be that Jesus ushers in. "On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took a towel and a basin of water … images of diakonia, of servant hood.

     

    It is a story, a calling, of towel and water; a story of service, of humble service, and the writer of the Gospel of John wanted us to know that story as well as the story of Holy Communion. What does this towel-taking action - what does this vocation - mean for us? That we stand in solidarity with those underfoot, those on the edge, those on the margins of our society, those tossed out, looked down upon, judged, thought less of, because that is where Jesus is standing, over there, in the midst of them.

     

    What does this towel-taking action mean for us? To stand in solidarity, yes, to seek justice, yes, to challenge systemic structures of racism, sexism and more, yes. But also . . .  to speak for the grandeur of old growth forests who need our voices to echo in the chambers of power, but also to call out for the air we breathe, knowing that our carbon output is not loving our neighbour, knowing that the effects of our carbon footprints mean that someone's land will disappear from rising seas, that someone's home will get flooded, that droughts will leave millions starving, that fires will ravage vast swaths of lands and cities.

     

    This towel-taking commitment also means that we sing for the seas, whose ice diminishes exponentially, where polar bears have fewer than 100 years to live, where the acidification of the oceans is rapidly escalating, resulting in dying waters. All creation groans . . . All my relations . . . We are all inter-connected.

     

    These are hard texts for us to hear this Holy Week. For after Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, and after Jesus had put his robe back on, he joins them at table and says, "Do you know what I have done to you?" It is more than foot-washing; it is more than Jesus doing what a servant would normally have done. It is more than all of that. It is a calling forth of vocation. "As I have washed your feet, so you ought to wash one another's feet." Take up my cross and follow me.

     

    Sometimes our following of Christ shows itself in a natural outpouring of love and compassion. Sometimes it is something that is brutally hard to do. But many times, it is simply that which needs to be learned and practiced over a lifetime of following Christ, of trying to be Christ-like. We need to grow daily in God's way, to love in God's way, to serve in God's way. We need help practicing this so that we become what we practice, and so that is why we gather in church, in community, whether in-person or on-line, to be surrounded by others who are also on this road with us.

     

    As we encounter the suffering in our own lives, and as we encounter the suffering in other people's lives, we seek to be like Christ to them. These scripture readings for Holy Week remind us that we are not alone in this suffering. God is with us: dying, suffering, hurting, starving, weeping throughout the world, and for the world.

     

    The presence of God is there, in those moments, in our lives. To suffer and die is Jesus' life-giving ministry to us, to the world. As one writer states: "In the cross, God is seen for who God is." (John Westerhoff)

     

    In the death of Christ we find the greatest expression of God's self-giving love for us… and for the world.  AMEN.

     

     

    Hymn of the Day 

    Light Dawns on a Weary World (ELW 726)

    Light dawns on a weary world

    when eyes begin to see all people’s dignity.

    Light dawns on a weary world:

    the promised day to justice comes.

     

    Refrain:

    The trees shall clap their hands;

    the dry lands, gush with spring;

    the hills and mountains shall break forth with singing!

    We shall go out with joy,

    and be led forth in peace,

    as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.

     

    Love grows in a weary world

    When hungry hearts find bread

    And children’s dreams are fed.

    Love grows in a weary world;

    The promised feast of plenty comes.

     

    Refrain:

    The trees shall clap their hands;

    the dry lands, gush with spring;

    the hills and mountains shall break forth with singing!

    We shall go out with joy,

    and be led forth in peace,

    as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.

     

    Hope blooms in a weary world

    when creatures, once forlorn, find wilderness reborn.

    Hope blooms in a weary world:

    the promised green of Eden comes.

     

    Refrain:

    The trees shall clap their hands;

    the dry lands, gush with spring;

    the hills and mountains shall break forth with singing!

    We shall go out with joy,

    and be led forth in peace,

    as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.

     

    Creed

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,

    creator of heaven and earth.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

    born of the virgin Mary,

    suffered under Pontius Pilate,

    was crucified, died, and was buried;

    he descended to the dead.*

    On the third day he rose again;

    he ascended into heaven,

    he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

    and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,

    the holy catholic church,

    the communion of saints,

    the forgiveness of sins,

    the resurrection of the body,

    and the life everlasting. Amen.

     

     

    Prayers of Intercession

    Relying on the promises of God, we pray boldly for the church, the world, and all in need.

    A brief silence.

    In Jesus you came among us as a suffering servant. Give your church humility. Redeem your people from pride and the certainty that we always know your will. Heal us and empower us to confess Christ crucified. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

     

    In creation, life springs from death. Redeem your creation awaiting resurrection: restore lost habitats and endangered species. Create new possibilities for areas affected by climate change, grant relief from natural disasters, and nurture new growth. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

     

    Jesus was handed over to the powers of this world. In all nations, instruct the powerful, that they would not exploit their power but maintain justice. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

     

    On the cross Jesus joined all who feel forsaken. Abide with those who are condemned to death. Defend those who are falsely accused. Console and strengthen those who are mocked or bullied. Accompany all who suffer; grant respite and renewal. Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

     

    You called followers to tend Jesus’ body in death. Sustain hospice workers and funeral directors. Bless this congregation’s ministries at times of death: those who plan and lead funerals, those who prepare meals, all who offer support in grief. Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

     

    You inspired the centurion to confess Jesus as your Son. We praise you for the faith you have given to people of all places and times. Give us also such faith to trust the promises of baptism and, with them, to look for the resurrection of the dead. Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

     

    We entrust ourselves and all our prayers to you, O faithful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Amen.

     

    Peace.

    The peace of Christ be with you always.

    And also with you.

     

    Offering

    At this point in our worship services we usually receive the Offering. In the Offering, we not only offer our financial gifts for the ministry of the church, but we also make a re-commitment, an offering, of ourselves for Christ’s ministry in the world. 

     

    Thank you for your faithful support through your financial gifts to the ministry of your local congregation and, through the congregation, to ministry in the synod, across the ELCIC, and out in the global world beyond these borders.  

     

    OFFERING PRAYER

    Blessed are you, O God,

    Maker of all things.

    Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts:

    our selves, our time, and our possessions.

    Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love,

    through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ,

    our Saviour and Lord.

    Amen.

     

     

    Lord’s Prayer

    Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus 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 forever. Amen.

     

    Sending:  God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.

     

    Blessing

    The Lord bless you and keep you.

    The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy.

    The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

    Amen.

     

    Sending Song 

    Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery (ELW 334)

    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.

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

    Dismissal

    The road that we are going to travel this week is strewn with human stories of betrayal, fear, confusion, love and loss.  In it, we will hear echoes of the realities of our own lives and the life of the world God loves.  As the palms fronds lie discarded on the ground we enter this strange, reflective silence of Holy Week where again we will hear the story of God’s extravagant love, for every person and for all of creation.

     

    Go in peace. Christ is with you.

    Thanks be to God.

    From sundaysandseasons.com.

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