Palm Sunday
Order of Worship Christ Lutheran
Rawlins, Wyoming The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

WELCOME TO CHRIST LUTHERAN!
On this day, long ago, our Lord entered Jerusalem to glad shouts of "Hosanna!" - which means "save, O Lord". On the threshold of His last week on earth, we invite you to share with us this foretaste of His final triumph. We are glad that you have joined us this morning! May the prayers of our hearts and the acts of our hands be acceptable in God's sight.

Welcoming and Proclaiming Jesus - King!

P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

P: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
C: Hosanna to the Son of David

P: We pray: Most merciful God, as the people of Jerusalem, with palms in their hands, gathered to greet your Son when he came into his Holy City, grant that we may always hail him as our King. Then when he comes again we can go forth to meet him with trusting and steadfast hearts that follow Jesus in the way that leads to eternal life;
C: Amen.

P: The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the twelfth chapter.
C: Glory to you, O Lord.

P: The next day the great crowd that had come to the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
C: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!”

P: Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
C: see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

P: At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. Now the crowd that was with him had continued to spread the word that he had called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look, how the whole world has gone after him!” This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.

As the Cross Moves to the Front the Congregation Stands in the pews and Sings “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.” Whenever Jesus Is Mentioned in the Song - We Raise Our Palm Cross in Praise of Him!

All Glory, Laud, And Honor 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.

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.

All glory, laud, and honor To you, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring.

P: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
C: Hosanna in the highest.

Pastor: This day begins the “week that changed the world.”
People: The week the Son of God died in my place.

Pastor: Our palms are in the shape of a cross.
People: They remind us of the mission that Jesus was on even as He entered Jerusalem.

Pastor: Hosanna! Save us now, O Lord! People: Save us by Your grace and ground us in a solid faith.
Pastor: Blessed are You, O Lord our God, for You entered Jerusalem not to be crowned with jewels, but to be crowned with thorns. Rule in our hearts by faith. People: Pour out Your Spirit on us and give us joy in Your presence now and forevermore. Amen.

Pastor: Hosanna! Save us now, O Lord!
People: Save us by Your grace and ground us in a rock-solid faith.

Pastor: As we enter this Holy Week of our Lord's Passion, let us confess our sins to God and to one another.
God of compassion,
People: we confess to You that we have sinned against You and against our neighbors.

Pastor: We have been prideful; we have sought to overrule Your authority as Lord of our lives; we have not listened to Your Word.
People: We do not deserve Your kindness to us. In Your abundant compassion, forgive us, Lord, for the sake of Your Son, who gave His life on the cross for us.

Pastor: The Lord is full of compassion. He gives life. He heals the wounds caused by our sin. Therefore, I, by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen.

Pastor: Blessed are You, O Lord our God, for You entered Jerusalem not to be crowned with jewels, but to be crowned with thorns.
People: Rule in our hearts by faith. Pour out Your Spirit on us and give us joy in Your presence now and forevermore. Amen.

In our Old Testament Lesson the Lord contrasts "His servant" with Israel. His servant was sent by God to save His people and is humble and obedient. Israel on the other hand is rebellious. The Servant's obedience and suffering atoned for our sins and the sins of the whole world. The Old Testament Reading for Palm Sunday is from Isaiah; chapter 50.

4 The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. 5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. 6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. 7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. 8 He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! 9 It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who will condemn me?

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Hosanna to the Son of David.

The Gradual for the Season: Christ entered once for all into the holy places, by means of his own blood,* thus securing an eternal redemption. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, * so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. He sent redemption to his people;* he has commanded his covenant forever.

Our Epistle lesson is from one of the earliest Christian hymns and we hear how Christ Jesus accepted the condition of a servant, was obedient even to the point of death, and was then given the name above every name. Jesus has fulfilled all of God's laws. Jesus accomplished every task that God gave him to do for the salvation of mankind. The time is coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess the great name of the Lord Jesus Christ - the King of kings and the LORD of lords. The Epistle is from Philippians, chapter 2

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Hosanna to the Son of David.

Hymn: “No Tramp of Soldiers Marching Feet” # 444

No tramp of soldier's marching feet With banners and with drums,
No sound of music's martial beat, "The King of glory comes!"
To greet what pomp of kingly pride No bells in triumph ring
No city gates swing open wide, "Behold, behold your King!"

And yet, he comes. The children cheer With palms his path is strewn.
With every step the cross draws near: The King of glory's throne.
Astride a colt he passes by As loud hosannas ring,
Or else the very stones would cry, "Behold, behold your King!"

The Holy Gospel according to St Matthew, the 26th and 27th Chapters. (Beck translation)

Pastor: Then they crucified two robbers with Him, one at His right and the other at His left. Those who passed by ridiculed Him, shaking their heads and saying, People: "You tear down the temple and build it in three days — save yourself, if you are God's Son, and come down from the cross."

Pastor: The ruling priests, with the Bible scholars and elders, mocked Him in the same way, saying, "He saved others, but he cannot save himself. He's King of Israel. He should come down from the cross now, and we'll believe him.
People: He trusts God — God (can) deliver him now, seeing He delights in him.

Pastor: He said, 'I am God's Son.'" - "In the same way also the robbers crucified with Him insulted Him. At twelve o'clock darkness came over the whole country and lasted until three in the afternoon. About three o'clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema, sabachthanil" which means,
People: "My God, My God, why did You forsake Me?"

Pastor: Hearing Him, some of those standing there said, "He's calling Elijah." And just then one of the men ran, took a sponge, soaked it in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave Him a drink. The others said,
People: "Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."

Pastor: But Jesus called out again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Just then the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth was shaken, the rocks were split, "the graves were opened, and many bodies of the holy people asleep in death were brought back to life; "they came out of the graves and after He had risen went into the holy city, where many saw them. Now, when the captain and those watching Jesus with him saw the earthquake and the other things happening, they were terrified.
People: "He truly was the Son of God," they said.

Pastor: There were many women watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to help Him. Among them were Mary from Magdala and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. In the evening there came a rich man from Arimathea by the name of Joseph, who had also become a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Then Pilate ordered it given to him, Joseph took the body, wrapped it in some Clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own unused grave that he had cut in the rock. After rolling a big stone against the door of the grave, he went away. Mary from Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the grave. The next day — the day after the day of preparation — the ruling priests and Pharisees met with Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember how that deceiver said while he was still alive,
People: 'On the third day I will rise.'

Pastor: Now, order the grave to be made secure until the third day, or his disciples may come and steal him and tell the people, 'He rose from the dead.' Then the last deception will be worse than the first." "Take a guard," Pilate told them; "go and make it as secure as you know how." So they went and secured the grave by sealing the stone and setting the guard.
Pastor: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
People: Hosanna to the Son of David.

Pastor: We confess our faith with the Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his 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 into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Hymn: “No Tramp of Soldiers Marching Feet” # 444

What fading flowers his road adorn; The palms how soon laid down!
No bloom or leaf but only thorn The King of glory's crown.
The soldiers mock the rabble cries, The streets with tumult ring,
As Pilate to the mob replies, "Behold, behold your King!"

Now he who bore for mortals' sake The cross and all its pains
And chose a servant's form to take, The King of glory reigns.
Hosanna to the Savior's name Till heaven's rafters ring,
And all the ransomed host proclaim, "Behold, behold your King!"

Sermon: “Got Hope?” John 12

Hymn “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” # 780
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. (Repeat)

Prayers:
Pastor: In this, the acceptable time---the Lenten spring, the Lord invites us to be renewed in mind and strengthened in spirit. Lord make us more responsive to the needs of others. Lord God come with us on our journey to Easter. Holy LORD bring all the human family to the water of life and the Easter feast. Hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Lord of the church we pray for the Church throughout the world and in this place, that during this time of pandemic all the baptized people of God may continue to lift up the name of Jesus before all the nations, that every knee may bow in faith and worship Him; Lord, help and protect our missionaries at home and abroad. You want all people to hear the Gospel of Jesus, and so we pray for pastors, teachers, and all church workers, that they will point all to Jesus and serve as godly examples; we pray for our children learning the Way, that they may grow in their faith and knowledge of God's Son and follow Him all the days of their lives; let us pray to the Lord:
People: Lord, have mercy.

Pastor: Father, give the leaders of the world wisdom during this time when we are all suffering together. Make the leaders of the world good examples for their people by settling their disagreements without bloodshed and allowing God's people to do His will without fear. Be with members of our armed forces and protect them from the virus as they protect us. May all the people of the world know the peace of Christ. Lord we pray for our enemies and for all who wish us harm, that we can one day forgive one another and live in harmony; hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Lord Jesus, our great physician, we pray for the sick, hospitalized, and those awaiting surgery, [ **** ] Lord please heal and strengthen them; we pray for all who mourn, that You would comfort them with Your faithful love and victory over death; hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Lord, send your angels to protect those who have to travel, that they arrive safely at their destinations; and we pray for those who have drifted away from the Church, that Your Spirit would lead them back once again into our family here at Christ Lutheran; hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Father, help us and all Christians, to give generously and joyfully, acknowledging You as the giver of every gift; we pray, that our lives here at Christ Lutheran would be shaped by the Grace and Love of Jesus; hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Lord, we thank You for the life and witness of all the baptized believers who have died marked by the sign of the cross and now share the joy of the resurrection, hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Hear our prayer, Lord God, and look mercifully upon your people; grant that Your Church, living in Your grace, may approach Easter with overflowing joy; hear us our Savior, the Son of David
People: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest!

Pastor: Holy Lord, we pray all these things in Jesus name, asking that Your will be done.
People: Amen.

The offering:

Hymn “We Give Thee But Thine Own” # 781

We give Thee but thine own Whatever the gift may be
All that we have is Thine alone, A trust, oh Lord, from Thee.

P: Taught by our Lord and trusting His promises we are bold to pray: 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.

P: Almighty and Merciful God, we have again worshiped in Your presence and received both forgiveness for our many sins and the assurance of Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You for this undeserved grace and ask You to keep us in faith until, with all your saints, we inherit eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
P: Amen

Holy Week is the most important time of the year for Christians. This is the week that changed the world. God sent His only Son to rescue and redeem us. By Jesus' sacrifice, we are forgiven! We are free in Christ!

P: The Lord is compassionate.
C: The Lord heals us and restores our lives.

P: The Lord brings forgiveness to His people through Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection.
Receive the blessing of the LORD: The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.
C: Amen.

Hymn: # 441 “Ride On, Ride On in Majesty”

Ride on, ride on in majesty! Hark! all the tribes hosanna cry;
O Savior meek, pursue your road with palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ, your triumphs now begin o'er captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! The winged squadrons of the sky look down
with sad and wond'ring eyes to see th'approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! Your last and fiercest strife is nigh;
the Father on his sapphire throne expects his own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow your meek head to mortal pain, then take, O God, your pow'r and reign.


Christ Lutheran The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Box 397 Rawlins, WY 82301 Church Phone (307)324-4168 Pastor's Cell Phone (307)321-0669 website: christlutheranrawlins.com

Palm Sunday Hope
Sermon for Palm Sunday

data/files/001_a_001_wiley_palmsundayhope_2020_04_04.mp3

Palm Sunday Sermon

John 12:12-15 On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, " Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel." Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, "FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY'S COLT."

So, what are we to make of this coronavirus? How is God involved in this pandemic? Well, there are a couple views on this - one of the views goes too far and the other one does not go far enough. First we need to understand that this is a fallen and sinful world. And that the evil things that happen in this world are indeed a result of and punishment for sin. God told Adam that because of his sin there are going to be thorns and thistles. That everything was going to be harder than it had been before. Sin had messed the world up. It followed that life was going to be hard because of sin. Evil things were going to happen in this fallen world because of sin. There is a view that we are hearing that this pandemic is direct punishment from God. That there are specific sins for which God has sent this pandemic to punish the world. This view wants us to believe that we can know the specific sins for which God sends his wrath and punishment on the world. This view thinks that we can read God’s mind. This is going too far. It winds up picking the things for which the people who are espousing it would like God to punish the world. We simply do not understand the mind of God. He clearly says His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This is going too far - this is saying too much about things that we cannot know. The other explanation of God in this pandemic is to try to take Him completely out of any connection with the virus. This view holds that God does not send punishment for sin. That sin and punishment are from the Old Testament before the time of Christ, and that now we live in a time of love and grace. It’s like trying to take God off the hook. “Don’t blame God, it’s not Him!” It is Christianity with Easter but without Good Friday. This view goes too far because it eliminates God’s law and takes away the punishment for sin.

I think we find the best road in between these two views. God does hate and judge sin and God does send punishment for sins. We cannot know the specific sins that God may be trying to correct; but we do know that we all sin daily and that the evil that comes into our lives is a reminder of the consequences of sin. So everything evil that happens, including this pandemic, is a call for us to repent. Bad things that happen in our lives are reminders of the consequences of sin. On Palm Sunday we see God’s answer to sin. There is no turning back - no easy way around the punishment due for sin. That punishment will fall on God’s only Son. Jesus rode to take our death and give us His life. He rode to take away fear and replace it with hope.

I think that fear and despair are closely related. Fear can come from believing that things are completely out of control. It also comes by believing that something very bad is about to happen or could happen. Despair is giving up. It is believing that the thing happening to you is just going to go on - with no stop - and no hope of it ending. Despair is looking into the future and seeing nothing good there. Here is an example: One evening in August of 1930 Joe Carter, a successful Supreme Court Judge for New York, waved goodbye to some friends after dinner at a restaurant, got in a taxi, and disappeared. (He ran away!) No one could explain his strange disappearance. He left only a note with a check for his wife. The note simply said, "I am very weary, love Joe" That is despair. My daughter Laura - the author - told me that despair is the opposite of hope. She is right and the world around us knows that we cannot live life in despair for very long. We would all finally just try to check out like Joe Carter. So the world has had to try to manufacture hope. It works like this: A man who was sentenced to death talked his way out of execution by assuring the king he would teach the king’s horse to fly within a year - - and if he didn't succeed, the king could put him to death at the end of the year. The king was intrigued by this proposal and went along with it. The man had a year. One of his friends met the man as he was coming out of the king’s throne room and said, “Are you crazy? Why would you say you could teach a horse to fly?” "Within a year," the man explained, "the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. Furthermore, in a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly."
Maybe the horse will learn to fly..... There is the hope the world hangs on to. Not much hope maybe . . . but hope. We all need hope.

If you lived in Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday, it was not an easy life. Most times your existence was from day to day. There was a job here and a job there, enough to get by. You were living in an occupied and conquered land. The Romans were in control. That meant that on top of everything else you had to pay taxes - taxes because you were a conquered people. The Romans let some of the local authority remain in control . That was small comfort. Herod was hardly a man to look up to or a ruler you could count on. And the rulers of the church were - well - they were no help. Thanks to the religious rulers of the day even following God cost money. You had to buy the animals for sacrifice and you had to change the Roman money you were paid in into temple money before you could leave an offering. And of course the money changers usually cheated you. Let’s just say that hope was in short supply and despair was easy to find.

Then reports began flowing into the city. There was a prophet from Nazareth. He was teaching new things - talking about God providing for His people -teaching that God loved His people. And the thing that got most of them excited were the miracles or signs. There were healings, sight given to the blind, the lame walking, and then this Jesus had raised his friend Lazarus from the dead! Many were calling him the Messiah - The Promised One. The One who would come from God to save His people. The Messiah was much more than just a spiritual thing. The teaching was that the Messiah would bring in a golden age when the Jews would rule and food would be in abundance.
That Palm Sunday as Jesus was coming into the city word spread like fire and the crowd started gathering. They came from as far away as Bethany to get a glimpse of this Jesus. And maybe they would see Lazarus who had been raised from the dead! As Jesus started down the road riding on a donkey, throngs of people lined the road and walked along with him. They threw down their garments in front of him and began cutting palms and throwing them in front of him. The palms were a symbol of triumph. The palm was also the national symbol of Palestine. It was almost as if these were Jewish flags!! The people shouted: Hosanna! Which means “Save, O Lord!”

On that first Palm Sunday hope was running at a fever pitch. The fear and despair that things would never change had some cracks in it. Hope helps us to defeat fear. Eighty-six times the Bible says: Do not be afraid. But fearful things are all around us. Things like pandemics. Fear is a powerful thing. It can wear us down and take away our hope for today and tomorrow. Without hope it is hard to face the future and despair sets in. Hope is important! People need hope to keep going. Sometimes they try to create hope themselves. Maybe the king will die, maybe I will die, maybe the horse will fly! That kind of hope - that the future will somehow be better.

But hope that is just optimistic will not help us at all when we stand before God. God says every sin deserves punishment: death. Eternal death. We get to the end and find our “hope” is full of holes. And we are sunk if we are just being optimistic and counting on ourselves. But the hope of Palm Sunday is not a hope that horses may learn to fly. It is a hope focused on God saving us.

Hosanna is the word for Palm Sunday!! Save, O Lord!! Those people lining the road to Jerusalem were just like you and me. They had no illusions about life - about horses learning to fly. But they still had hope because they still had God. The God who had rescued his people time and time again. This could be another one of those rescues! Hosanna! Save, O Lord! Maybe this Jesus was help coming from God! If they only knew. This was not just another savior sent by God. This was the big one! This was hope incarnate! Hope in the flesh!! Riding on that donkey was God himself. God had come to save his people. This was God coming to take away our greatest fear. Jesus was going to conquer sin and death. Never again would God’s people face the end of life alone. Jesus is always there by our side.

Jesus road into Jerusalem knowing what was going to happen to Him there. He was going to save His people by dying in their place. His death and resurrection are the climax of all of God’s promises. We have hope because Jesus has taken all our sins on Himself. Only God could do this for us. And He did! Our hope is not optimism - our hope is Jesus! Jesus has given us new life. Christ is the mighty God - The One who came to save. In Christ we need not fear death and we do not have to be afraid in life. We can live courageously with our trust and HOPE resting squarely right where it belongs.... on God alone.

Today we join those people from Jerusalem. Full of hope! Despair has been driven away. We are not looking for any horses to learn to fly. Jesus rode into Jerusalem for us! We are alive in Christ!! The coronavirus is a call to remember how serious our sins are and to repent. Palm Sunday brings us the HOPE we need to get through this crisis. And there He is... meek and riding on a donkey... Hosanna!! Save, O Lord!! Hosanna in the highest!! Amen.
Lenten Service # 6 Order of Worship  “About Face” 
CHRIST LUTHERAN RAWLINS, WYOMING

P: Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on him while he is near.
All: Let the wicked forsake their ways; and the unrighteous their thoughts.

P: Let them return to the LORD, that He may have mercy on them.
All: And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:5-7)

Hymn: “God, Who Made the Earth and Heaven” # 877
God, who made the earth and heaven, Darkness and light:
You the day for work have given, For rest the night.
May your angels guard defend us, Slumber sweet your mercy send us,
Holy dreams and hopes attend us All through the night.

And when morn again shall call us To run life’s way,
May we still, whatever befall us, Your will obey.
From the power of evil hide us, In the narrow pathway guide us,
Never be your smile denied us All through the day.

Invocation: P: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Confession and Absolution:

P: Lord, we are now nearing the time when your Son faces death on the cross. As we see him humbly preparing to die for us, teach us the folly of pride; teach us to bear our limitations gracefully; teach us to be honest about ourselves and about our neighbors; teach us to be your humble servants through serving others. + A moment of silent reflection +

P: Do you acknowledge that you have sinned against God and deserve his wrath and judgment?
All: Yes, I am a sinner in need of God's grace and forgiveness. I repent of my sins, those known and unknown to me.

P: Turn us, O Holy Spirit, from our sinful ways
C: and set us on the path of righteousness and blessedness.

P: ”Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus.
Women: came into the world to save sinners '" (1Timothy1:15)

P: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy
Men: and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

P: "Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Women: call on him while he is near." (Isaiah 55:5)

P: "Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails.
Men: They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

P: "Let the wicked forsake their ways; and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Women: Let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them." (Isaiah 55:7).

P: ""The LORD says, ‘I am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake,
Men: and remembers your sins no more.'" (Isaiah 43:25)

All: "Our God will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

P: Receive the forgiveness of our patient and compassionate God. On Calvary's cross, Jesus bore the punishment and wrath of the Father that we deserve. He gives us abundant pardon and strength to walk in his ways. Having heard your confession and by his command, I, as your called and ordained servant of Christ forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
ALL: Amen.

First Reading: Jonah 3:5-10
The people of Nineveh believed God's message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: "No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us." When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 20:1-16
"For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. "At nine o'clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o'clock he did the same thing. "At five o'clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, 'Why haven't you been working today?' "They replied, 'Because no one hired us.' "The landowner told them, 'Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.' "That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o'clock were paid, each received a full day's wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day's wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 'Those people worked only one hour, and yet you've paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.' "He answered one of them, 'Friend, I haven't been unfair! Didn't you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?' "So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last."

Hymn: “Christ the Eternal Lord” # 829   (tune: Crown Him with many Crowns)

Christ the eternal Lord, Whose promise here we claim,
Whose gifts of grace are freely poured On all who name Your name;
With thankfulness and praise We stand before Your throne,
Intent to serve You all our days And make Your glory known.

Christ the unfading Light Of everlasting day,
Our Morning Star in splendor bright, The Life, the Truth, the Way;
That light of truth You give To servants as to friends,
Your way to walk, Your life to live, Till earth's brief journey ends.

Jonah, The Survivor Series Part 6: "About Face!"

Offering

Prayers

P: Father, as miserable sinners deserving punishment, we come before you, O Lord, have mercy on us.
All: Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

P: Let the wicked forsake their ways; and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them.
All: And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

P: Give us repentant hearts, O LORD, ready to receive your love. Almighty God, you sent Jonah to the wicked city of Nineveh to show you grace and compassion. All: We give you thanks for sending your Son to return us to God.

P: We thank you for showing us compassion by sending Jesus to give us eternal life. We say "thanks be to God" because salvation is from the LORD!
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.

Blessing The almighty and merciful LORD; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit , bless and preserve us.
C: Amen

Hymn: “God Who Made the Earth and Heaven # 877
Guard us waking, guard us sleeping, And when we die,
May we in your mighty keeping All peaceful lie.
When the last dread call shall wake us, Then, O Lord, do not forsake us,
But to reign in glory take us With you on high.

Holy Father, throned in heaven, All holy Son,
Holy Spirit, freely given, Blest Three in One:
Grant us grace, we now implore you, Till we lay our crowns before you
And in worthier strains adore you While ages run.

For Holy Week Read Jonah 4: 1-11 Ask yourself:
1) Why is Jonah upset?

2) How often has the prosperity of another gotten under your skin?

Have you found yourself feeling like Jonah who is "exceedingly displeased" and angry that God relents from bringing disaster upon the Ninevites?

3) How does God's grace being given to another person assure you of his grace toward you?

Also read Matthew 12:38-42 Ask yourself:

1) The one sign which Jesus says will be provided is the sign of Jonah (a three day and three night confinement). To what two great events does Jesus' three day and three night confinement refer?

2) How is Jesus similar to, and yet greater than Jonah?

Lent 6 Sermon:  About Face
April 1, 2020

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JONAH FOR LENT #6 “About Face!”   Sermon:

A husband and wife were driving in an unfamiliar city and the wife told her husband to turn right at the next junction. But, because he was not paying attention, he turned left. When he realized what he has done, at first he tried to make it look he knew what he was doing. ... Eventually he had to admit they were going the wrong way and if he was smart, he said that he was sorry. But, if that is all he did, it would not be enough. They would still be going the wrong direction! To get to their destination, he would need to stop the car, turn around and go back to find the correct road that his wife told him to take in the first place. That is repentance; it is an about-face! It is a change in direction.

The people of Nineveh were a powerful, arrogant, violent, wicked people. Jonah was a one guy from a weak nation at the edge of what would soon be vast Nineveh empire. They could have strung him up from condemning their fine city. But they didn’t. They listened to him. Now, maybe it was easier to listen to a prophet who had recently spent three days in the belly of a fish. His skin and hair were bleached white from the digestive juices of the fish, his clothes are half digested, there was a dried up piece of kelp hanging off his left ear. I might listen to a guy like that who told me: "Repent, or God will do worse to you - - than he did to me!"

For what ever reason - the people listened Johah’s message and believed it. They recognized that they were doing great evil, (Going the wrong way) - and they repented. The Ninevites demonstrated the greatest example of corporate repentance that we can find in the Bible. They heard Jonah telling them the word of God and they spontaneously responded in faith. They declared a fast, they put sackcloth on their bodies and ashes on their heads. They were in mourning. The fast of regret and mourning was total from the least person in the city, to the greatest, they all fasted. Even the king, when he heard the news of their impending doom, got off his throne, removed his royal robes, put on sackcloth, and sat down in the dust. He sent out a royal decree for the people to do just what he was doing. The order was to fast (go without food) and wear rags. He extended the fast not just to people, but to the animals as well. Nineveh went from a powerful, arrogant, wicked city to a city of mourning. A city of Repentance! How could that happen? Only by the power of God’s Word!

God’s Word brings a change of heart, and a change in behavior. The Ninevites repented and believed! They turned from their ways and did an about-face. When people do an about face - when they repent - they want to do the right thing and follow God’s laws. Professor Lessing writes: J. Edwin Orr, a professor of Church history has described the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Welsh Revivals of the nineteenth century. As people repented they did all they could to confess their wrong-doing and to make restitution. But it unexpectedly created serious problems for the shipyards along the coast of Wales. Over the years workers had stolen all kinds of things, from wheelbarrows to hammers. However, as people repented, they started to return what they had taken, with the result that soon the shipyards of Wales were overwhelmed with returned property. There were such huge piles of returned tools that several of the yards put up signs that read, "If you have been led by God to return what you have stolen, please know that the management forgives you and wishes you to keep what you have taken."

The repentance that we see in Nineveh is nothing short of a miracle. It is impossible even to imagine that Nineveh would repent at the sound of this one reluctant prophet's voice. And... it was just what Jonah was afraid would happen. Jonah knew God was the God of Grace and that His Word is powerful. Jonah knew miracles are not impossible for God. After all - God had forgiven Jonah!!

In the same way, when we repent of our sin, it is a miracle in our hearts - a miracle and a gift from God. We have heard the Law and the Gospel and responded in repentance. Then like Nineveh we receive Forgiveness - Grace from God! What an awesome and life-giving about face!!! It means we survive! And then we get the really amazing news. When God forgives the past, He forgets it too! The past is gone. There is no wondering “if I mess up again?' will God take his forgiveness back? He won’t. We have the peace and joy of knowing that the past is forgiven (forever!) and the future is full of the promise because of our crucified and resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ, who makes all things new, all things - including us, new!

Thank you Jonah! Your story has guided us through Lent and helped to prepare our hearts for Easter. Easter, when the God of Grace did the most amazing thing ever... He died in our place and rose alive from the grave. Amen.

The Resurrection and the Life
Sermon for March 29, 2020

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The Resurrection and the Life
Sermon for March 29, 2020

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Christ Lutheran Rawlins, Wyoming
March 29, 2020
Fifth Sunday in Lent
christlutheranrawlins.com
Pastor: Terry Wiley
The Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod

Hymn: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” # 426
When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.

P: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen.

Pastor: It is good that we reflect upon our unworthiness, confessing before God our sins of thought, word, and deed, and our helplessness to free ourselves from our sinful nature. It is also good that we remember who we are as the baptized children of God, to whom the Lord has shown His mercy, cleansed our sin, and declared us righteous in Christ our Lord. We come here today to receive the grace of God, in which we are forgiven, and, for the sake of Christ we are restored by His mercy to serve Him and walk in His ways. (Silence for meditation and reflection)
P: Let us confess our sins. I confess to God Almighty
C: before the whole company of heaven and to you, my brothers and sisters,

P: that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed
C: by my fault, by my own fault, in my weakness;

P: wherefore I pray God Almighty
C: to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.

P: Do you believe that the forgiveness I pronounce to you is God’s forgiveness?
C: Yes

P: Let it be done to you as you believe. As your Pastor, in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen!

P: "As far as the east is from the west,
C: So Far Has He Removed Our Transgressions from Us.

P: As a father has compassion on His children,
C: So the Lord Has Compassion on Those Who Fear Him."

P: Come, let us return to the Lord, for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
C: the Season of Lent Finds Us Marked with Ashes.

P: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
C: but in Holy Baptism Another Mark Has Been Placed upon Us.

P: Receive the sign of the cross both upon the forehead and upon the heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified;
C: for as Many as Have Been Baptized into Christ Have Put on Christ.

P: Put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us,
C: So That Whether We Are Awake or Asleep We May Live with Him.

P: Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving. For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
C: for the Lord Is a Great God and King above All Gods.

P: May He who began this good work within you bring it to completion on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. The peace of the Lord be with you.
C: And also with you.

Prayer for the Day: Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirt, one God, now and forever. Amen.

In our Old Testament reading the prophet has a vision of the bones of a dead and hopeless people being restored to new life in their homeland. The Lord calls upon Ezekiel as son of man to prophesy that the people who have experienced exile and many hardships will live again. The Spirit of the Lord restores their spirit and breath, and they rise from death. This passage anticipates the hope of individual salvation and resurrection that comes from God. The Old Testament Reading for the fifth Sunday in Lent is from Ezekiel, chapter 37. 37

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. 9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the [a]breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and [b]breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ” Reader: This is the Word of the Lord. People: Thanks Be to God!

The Gradual: O come, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and prefecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

In our Epistle Lesson we learn that Jesus Christ justifies sinners. Because of our justification (that is our "being made right with God" ) God's life-giving Spirit dwells in all believers. Christ sets us free from the bondage of sin and death. Those people who are determined to satisfy their selfish desires with the things of this world often become angry with God and rebel against him. But, God can break through this spiritual darkness and bring life in Christ to all people. The Epistle Lesson for today is from Romans chapter 8

8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Reader:

This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks Be to God!

Our Gospel Lesson deals with a great fear that all people have. We fear death. But, in this account we see that the Son of God has power even over death. This gives great comfort to all believers and even when we have difficulties we know that God is working to strengthen our faith through the adversities. When we follow Christ, all suffering serves God's gracious purpose and even death loses its sting. The Holy Gospel according to St John, the 11th Chapter.

11 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” 12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” I Am the Resurrection and the Life 17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about [a]two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Jesus and Death, the Last Enemy 28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but [b]was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, [c]saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” 37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” Lazarus Raised from the Dead 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone [d]from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

P: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to You O Christ.

Apostles Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his 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 into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Hymn: “It Is Well with My Soul” # 763

When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well With my soul It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul
It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

He lives, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul
It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound and the Lord shall descend; Even so it is well with my soul.
It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

The Sermon: “The Resurrection and the Life”   John 11:20-27

Hymn: "O Lord, Hear My Prayer" # 780
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. [Repeat]

Prayer: We come, O Lord, with the dry bones of our broken hopes and disappointed dreams. Bind us up in Christ, that we may learn to pray with confidence, trusting in Your mercy to supply us with all things needful to us and to our salvation. Brief silence
Almighty God, everlasting Father, You saw Israel in their despair and raised them up to hope by placing Your Spirit upon them. Join us together with the communion of saints in Christ, even though we must for a time stand apart. Raise us up from our weariness and grant us Your Spirit, that we may be strong in faith, bold in witness, holy in life and steadfast in hope. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O eternal Lord, Your Son has given us the new birth of water and the Word and planted faith in us, that we might be Your own children. Bless Your Church. Supply her with able, fearless and caring pastors to nurture us in Your Word. Raise up faithful fathers and those who will teach and pray in Your name in every Christian household. Keep Your Church in Your mercy, that she may believe without fear and love without limit even now. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O God of power and might, You hold in Your hand all the might of man. Give to us good government and faithful leaders who will heed Your Word and pursue righteousness and justice. Bless and defend us against all destruction, especially from this deadly pandemic, and teach us to be patient and faithful citizens of this land, using ourselves and our resources wisely for the good of all. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O merciful Lord, Your Son shed tears for Lazarus, whom He loved. Grant Your compassion, patience and endurance to all who suffer illness, who are troubled in mind or whose time on earth is short. Spare us from death now, but give us courage and comfort far stronger by Your power over death. Eternal God, You carry the grief of those who mourn and remember all who die in Christ. Give comfort to the grieving and peace to the dying, and give that same comfort and peace to us who live in the shadow and fear of death, that we would neither live nor grieve as people without hope but trust in You at every hour. Hear all our prayers, especially on behalf of __________ and for all those we name in our hearts. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer

O gracious God, You daily and richly grant us all things we need for this body and life. Bless our labors, and grant us wisdom to use the fruits of those labors wisely and well, for the care of our families, for the poor in their needs, and for the support of Your work in this congregation. Preserve us from fear and greed as we live and work alone, and turn us instead in love toward our neighbors however distant. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O blessed Lord, Your Word continues to go forth and bear good fruit. Bless the missionaries planting churches near and far, bless those churches with whom we partner in the worldwide work of the Gospel, and bless the congregations now struggling to fulfill Your bidding and do what You have called them to do in Your name. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Lord, God Almighty, through Your Son You have kept the promise of the ages and rescued us from sin. You have raised up the dry bones of a people captive to death and made us alive in Christ forever. Sustain us in this hope, that we may endure the tests, trials and troubles of this life and be ready when our Savior comes again in His glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Offering Is Received:

Hymn: "Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart" # 806
Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One, Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son.
Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One, Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son.
And now let the weak say "I am strong," Let the poor say "I am rich," Because of what the Lord has done for us
And now let the weak say "I am strong," Let the poor say "I am rich," Because of what the Lord has done for us
Give thanks, give thanks.

The Lord’s Prayer: 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.

Pastor: O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us in the same with your mighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doing being ordered by your governance, may be righteous in your sight. People: Amen.

Pastor: Let us bless the Lord
People: Thanks Be to God.

Pastor: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. People: Amen.

Hymn: “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” # 733

O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Soon bears us all away; We fly forgotten, as a dream Dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.
Sermon for March 29
"The Resurrection and the Life"  

John 11:21-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" NIV

These are carvings on headstones: in Stowe, Vermont: I was somebody. Who, is no business of yours.

On a grave in Nantucket, Massachusetts: Under the sod and under the trees Lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there's only the pod: Pease shelled out and went to God.

My favorite: In a cemetery in England: Remember man, as you walk by, As you are now, so once was I, As I am now, so shall you be, Remember this and follow me. - To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: To follow you I'll not consent, Until I know which way you went.

Death is not a topic that people can talk about for very long. One man said: “You can no more look steadily at death than at the sun.” Joseph Bayly calles it “the last thing we talk about.” Jesus’ good friend Lazarus was dead.

Turn off the sun. Drain out the sea. Let the moon fall from the sky, because our brother is gone. Lazarus was dead. Death is as final as it gets in this world. Mary and Martha were feeling sad - we call it: suffering the loss of a loved one. Anyone who has lost a dear friend or close relative knows what that means. Most things in life are not final. But death - is final. The finality of death hits us hard.

The fear and dread of death is driving a lot of what is going on in our country right now. There is as much that we don’t know - - as what we do know about this virus. And that makes it even more scary. Then along come our texts for today. Ezekiel in the valley of dead dry bones.... And the story of Lazarus. People out of work, our lives turned upside down, two more weeks of the same added onto our exile and our texts this week are about death. “You must be kidding!”

Actually - these texts could be just what we need.

Since that first sin and the fall of mankind there has been a hunter persuing all of us - death is a hunter that never tires and never gives up. Death is one sure thing in our lives. (Although some would add taxes) The chance of your death: 100 % Clint Eastwood in the movie, “The Unforgiven” says: “When you kill a man you take away all he has or ever will have.” Death is our ultimate enemy and Death always wins. So, if we wanted Christ to defeat one enemy for us... it should be death. And it was!

Mary and Martha were four days into their grief over Lazarus when Jesus finally got there... Martha met Jesus and she said: John 11:21-22 "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." This is not a scolding from Martha. It is a statement of faith. If Jesus would have been there - Martha knows he could have healed Lazarus. Leon Morris says we should read it more like this: “If you would have been here my brother would not have died for I know that God gives you what you ask. Even though he died, I know that is true.” John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die..."  Jesus did not say that he brings resurrection and life. He says that he “IS” these things. In the Gospel of John we read that God the Father has life in Himself and God the Son - has life in Himself. That means that the Father and the Son are different from all other life. As Morris says: “We are alive, but everything would go on in the same fashion if one of us were not alive. Not so with God. It is not that He happens to be alive, but that His life is a necessary life and the source of all other life.” That means that when we come in contact with Christ in faith we touch the very source of all life. We touch life - that death cannot end. Life that death could not hold. Jesus said that death - when it takes Christians can not overcome the life that He gives to them. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies... Physical death comes for all mankind - it is the end for unbelievers and like going into the next gear for believers. Death is a gateway - the doorway to eternal life with God.

Then Jesus asked the biggest question of them all.... “Do you believe this?" It is a question that Martha could not avoid and neither can we. Jesus is asking: Do you trust in me? Martha was ready with an answer John 11:27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."  In the Greek - Martha used a form of the word which means that something happened in the past and continues into the present. Martha is really saying: I have believed and I still do believe!

They took Jesus to Lazarus’ tomb. And Jesus spoke simple yet profound words: “Lazarus, come out.” At these words - life triumphs over death. At these words - death is forced to give up Lazarus. These words prove that Jesus is the Lord of Life. As Lazarus stood before Jesus still wrapped in burial clothes Jesus said: “Unbind him and let him go.” Lazarus was free .... Death was overcome by life! This is a preview of coming attractions!

Jesus - the LORD of life was going to face and defeat sin, death and the Devil! We suffer the loss of our Christian brothers and sisters but...they do not suffer! They have not lost all they might of had... they have gained everything that they can become. Their time is not up... it is just beginning. This pandemic we are in will end.... spring will come. Death brings us pain and sorrow - but it is not the end. The LORD of life takes us beyond the barrier of death: His resurrection is our resurrection!

God’s promise is fulfilled: our worry turns into Hope
Christ loves us: our sorrow turns into joy
Our sins are forgiven in Christ: death turns into life!
There are not many epithets on graves these days - it is expensive to put a lot of words on stones - but I think we ought to say something that anyone passing by may know that we did not just live and die. How is this for an epithet:
Here I lie but do not fear
And please I ask don’t shed a tear.
For I am home and in joy I sing
with the LORD of life - Christ the one true King!

Have no fear people of God. Christ has come and taken our place. His death on the cross takes away any claim that sin and death have on us. Amen.
Lenten Service #5 Order of Worship “The God of the Second chance”
Christ Lutheran Rawlins, Wyoming

P: Rend your heart and not your garments. All: Return to the LORD your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

P: Who knows? He may turn and have pity, All: And leave behind a blessing, grain offerings and drink offerings, for the LORD your God. (Joel 2:13-14)

HYMN: All Praise To Thee, My God This Night, LSB 883

All praise to thee, my God, this night For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, oh, keep me, King of kings, Beneath thine own almighty wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son, The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and thee, I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

Teach me to live that I may dread The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die that so I may Rise glorious at the awesome day.

P: We make our beginning in the name of the Triune God.
All: We begin in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

P: We begin in the name of the Father, For in him the world had its beginning
All: and each day is begun by his care and providence.

P: We begin in the name of the Son, For in him a new age has begun, a new life is given
All: and a new hope has arisen from his death.

P: We begin in the name of the Holy Spirit, For by him we are called,
All: gathered, enlightened, and sanctified.

P: And so we begin, for our God is the God of new beginnings: Beginning with us!
All: Thanks be to You, O Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Psalm 2
P: Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together
All: against the LORD and against his Anointed One.

P: "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger
All: and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

P: "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me,
All:"You are my Son; today I have become your Father."

P: "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." "You will rule them with an iron scepter;
All: you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

P: Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way,
All: for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

P: Blessed are all who take refuge in him. All: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-4. Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: "Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you." This time Jonah obeyed the Lord's command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!"

Gospel Reading: Matthew 8:5-13 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, "Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain." Jesus said, "I will come and heal him." But the officer said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, 'Go,' and they go, or 'Come,' and they come. And if I say to my slaves, 'Do this,' they do it." When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, "I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, "Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened." And the young servant was healed that same hour.

HYMN: “Christ the Eternal Lord” # 829

Christ the eternal Lord, Whose promise here we claim,
Whose gifts of grace are freely poured On all who name Your name;
With thankfulness and praise We stand before Your throne,
Intent to serve You all our days And make Your glory known.

Christ the unfading Light Of everlasting day,
Our Morning Star in splendour bright, The Life, the Truth, the Way;
That light of truth You give To servants as to friends,
Your way to walk, Your life to live, Till earth's brief journey ends.

Jonah, The Survivor Series: Part 5: "The God of the Second Chance"

Offering

Confession and Absolution
P: Gracious God, the people of Nineveh survived your just wrath by confessing their sins. The only way we can survive as your people is if we hear your law, take it to heart and seek your forgiveness in the gospel; for you have said, "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love." As your prophet Jonah spoke your word to the people of Nineveh, speak to us. "Forty more days and Rawlins will be overturned."
P: Forgive us, Lord, that we seek sensual pleasures, but are often negligent of things spiritual; forgive us that we are so quick to gratify our bodies, but so indifferent to receive your blessings.
All: Who knows? You, O God may yet relent and with compassion turn from your fierce anger so that we will not perish.

P: Forgive us, Lord, because we are so eager to get, but we are so reluctant to give. Forgive us that we hear your Word, but are so unwilling to put it into practice. Jonah says "Forty more days and Rawlins will be overturned."
All: Who knows? You, O God may yet relent and with compassion turn from your fierce anger so that we will not perish.

P: Forgive us, O God, that we are so eager to find fault, but resentful when someone points out our faults. Forgive us that we are so soon at play, but so late in prayer. "Forty more days and Rawlins will be overturned."
All: Who knows? You, O God may yet relent and with compassion turn from your fierce anger so that we will not perish.

P: Father, forgive us that we rejoice in the temporary but think little of the eternal. Forgive us that we are so fond of being idle, but show little passion for service. "Forty more days and Rawlins will be overturned."
All: Who knows? You, O God may yet relent and with compassion turn from your fierce anger so that we will not perish.

P: Almighty God, our Father is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. He has relented and with compassion turned from his fierce anger so that we will not perish. He forgives us through the merits of his Son, Jesus Christ. So, as a called and ordained servant of Christ, I forgive you all of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
ALL: Amen.

PRAYERS: (From Starck’s Prayer Book)
Pastor: O faithful Savior, I beg Your gracious assistance, when in spirit I behold You journeying to that city in which the sentence of death already awaits You, where Your enemies who hate You rejoice without cause at Your coming. This present season, which Your infinite goodness has again permitted me to reach, reminds me of the bitter suffering that You willingly submitted to in accordance with the counsel of Your heavenly Father.
People: You did it as the Lamb of God that You might take away the sins of the entire world ...

Pastor: No man can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it never ends. And so You took pity on those whose flesh and blood You assumed in the fullness of time. By Your bloody atonement You have regained for them the peace that they had broken and lost by their sins.
People: Make me able to ponder these important matters by Your power, for without You I can do nothing.

Pastor: Enlighten my understanding that in Your light I may behold the greatness of Your love and compassion, and may be prompted to render to You due thanks. Sanctify also my will that I may accept and apply to my benefit the blessings that You acquired by Your death. You loved me before I knew You
People: You gave Yourself for me at a time when I knew nothing of You.

Pastor: You suffered shame, scorn, disgrace, and manifold afflictions to gain happiness for me. All this You have done for me, for my benefit. Ought I not then to sing Your praises? Ought I not laud and magnify You on account of Your passion? Yes, thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus unto Thee. A thousand times, dearest Jesus, shall praise and glory be given to You
All: You are the conqueror of hell and death!

BLESSING
The almighty and merciful LORD; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit , bless and preserve us.

Hymn: All Praise to Thee, My God this Night, # 883

Oh, may my soul in thee repose, And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that shall me more vigorous make To serve my God when I awake!

When in the night I sleepless lie, My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest, No powers of darkness me molest.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, Praise him , all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

For Next Week: Read Jonah 3: 6-10 Ask yourself:
1) How did repentance affect the daily lives of the Ninevites?
2) What effect does repentance have upon my life?
3) What is God's attitude regarding repentance? (v.10)
Sermon: Lent 5 “The God of the Second Chance” March 26, 2020

"Hello, this is the Wileys. Leave a message if you like. God bless! (beep)." The whole point of having an answering machine with a message is to make sure you don't miss your calls. But you can also use it to screen calls, to avoid certain callers, to sift out who you want to talk to, and who you don’t want to talk to. You can decide which calls to return and which calls to ignore. The 800 calls don’t have a chance of being answered at our house.

When God was calling Jonah... Jonah’s answering machine message went something like this. "Hello, this is Jonah. I am unable to take your call right now, please do not leave your name, number or message, because I won't be getting back to you, (beep)." But God kept calling! He never gave up on Jonah! Even though Jonah ran from God and refused to repent even in the face of death... God did not give up on Jonah.

In the fish - Jonah thought it was all over. He finally got his act together and repented of his sins and he remembered the great salvation that God had given him. But, Jonah thought it was too late for God to use him. However, God was not done with Jonah. The God of creation ordered the fish to spit Jonah out. Make no mistake: Jonah deserved death - not deliverance - but God graciously rescued him from death. The apostle Paul - like Jonah - once thought that he had “received the sentence of death.” Paul says, The God “who raises the dead” delivered him. (2 Cor. 1:8-10)

The movie Seabiscuit is the true story of an undersized horse, an oversized jockey, a grieving owner, and a washed-up horse trainer who came together and accomplished some amazing things. Seabuiscuit grabbed the nation's attention during the Great Depression. Tom Smith was a down-on-his-luck horse trainer when Seabiscuit’s owner Charles Howard watched Smith save a horse that everyone else was ready to put down. Howard asked Smith why he saved the horse ... Smith replied: You know, you don't throw a whole life away just 'cause he's banged up a little. Howard hired Smith to train Seabiscuit... Later in the movie Seabiscuit lost a race because his jockey, Red, was blind in one eye and he didn’t see another horse passing them on his blind side. The trainer, Smith, wanted to fire Red, but Seabiscuit's owner, Howard, defended Red with Smith’s own words: "You don't throw away a whole life just because it's banged up a little."

All of us sinners deserve the sentence of death. We are banged up a lot!! The God - who’s wild love for His children is shown in sending His only Son to become one of us and to take our punishment - did not want to throw us away. His only Son died in our place. In Christ - God always gives us a second chance... and a third ...

Jonah wound up - - Back on dry land... and still alive. He was empowered with a second chance from God. Jonah went to Nineveh and offered them the same second chance. Jonah told the people of Nineveh to repent of their sins and find the forgiveness of God. These warlike people who showed no mercy could be saved the same way you and I and Jonah are saved - by the grace of God. Our county and really our world is banged up right now. This virus has gotten our attention. We as a nation have to answer to God for a lot of sins. The people of Nineveh were no greater sinners than we have been ... we need to repent. That is not a message you are hearing much... people don’t like being corrected and modern people hate the idea that they would have to answer to God for the things that they are doing. But like it or not - we will all answer to God. I would say that right about now we are in the fish with Jonah. It is time for us to repent... not just the unbelivers - it is time for the people of God to repent! Then we can become tools for God to use - just like Jonah. We can go to the country around us and show them the God who gives second chances.

Whatever this virus does we can all be saved the same way Jonah was, we are saved by the grace of God - through Faith. Faith - that believes that God is merciful to sinners. Faith in the Savior who died to save all people. Faith in the God of the second chance. The God who says: "You don't throw away a whole life just because it's banged up a little." He is the God of Jonah’s second chance - and our second chance. Jonah’s story continues .... next week.