NL Worship Resources: May 8, 2016

Easter 7

Color: White
Readings: Gospel Text: Mark 12:26-27a | Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-26, 51- 57 (Death Swallowed in Life)
Prayer of the Day (WorkingPracher): Lord of the resurrection, you died and were raised so that ultimately death would not prevail. Remind us daily that sin, and even death, have no power over us. Amen.

Suggested hymns based on the Sermon text:

ELW #629 Abide with Me
ELW #393 A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing!
ELW #337 Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed
ELW #634 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!
ELW #779 Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
ELW #362 At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing
ELW #416 At the Name of Jesus
ELW #371 Christians, to the Paschal Victim
ELW #372 Christ is Arisen
ELW #370 Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands
ELW #369 Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia!
ELW #491 Come, Let Us Eat
ELW #363 Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain
ELW #855 Crown Him with Many Crowns
ELW #174/175 Gospel Acclamation
ELW #347 Go to Dark Gethsemane
ELW #414 Holy God, We Praise Your Name
ELW #619 I Know That My Redeemer Lives!
ELW #365 Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
ELW #434 Jesus Shall Reign
ELW #471 Let Us Break Bread Together
ELW #435 Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
ELW #857 Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
ELW #379 Now the Green Blade Rises
ELW #322 Oh, Love How Deep
ELW #386/387 O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing
ELW #823 Praise the Lord! O Heavens
ELW #430 Rejoice, for Christ is King!
ELW #346 Ride On, Ride On in Majesty!
ELW #361 The Day of Resurrection!
ELW #366 The Strife Is O’er, the Battle Done
ELW #376 Thine Is the Glory
ELW #391 This Joyful Eastertide
ELW #824 This Is My Father’s World
ELW #870 We Praise You, O God
ELW #785 When Peace like a River (It Is Well with My Soul)
ELW #368 With High Delight Let Us Unite
LBW #483 God Moves in a Mysterious Way
LBW #127 It Happened on That Fateful Night
LBW #208 Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared
LBW #120 Of the Glorious Body Telling
W&P #23 Broken for Me
W&P #24 Broken in Love
WOV #671 Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks
WOV #613 Celtic Alleluia
WOV #762 O Day of Peace
WOV #691 Sing with All the Saints in Glory
WOV #707 This Is My Body
(ELW=Evangelical Lutheran Worship; LBW=Lutheran Book of Worship; W&P=Worship & Praise Songbook; WOV=With One Voice)

Suggested hymns based on the Gospel text:

ELW #693 Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
ELW #810 O Jesus, I Have Promised
LBW #321 The Day Is Surely Drawing Near
W&P #132 Step by Step
(ELW=Evangelical Lutheran Worship; LBW=Lutheran Book of Worship; W&P=Worship & Praise Songbook)

Other options based on both:

“Amazing Love” By Graham Kendrick.
“Forever” By Chris Tomlin.
“It Is Well” By Adie Camp, Jeremy Camp.
More contemporary suggestions here.

Prayers of Intercession:

O God of love, we turn to you in prayer and supplication; may our prayers draw us into deeper relationship with you and out of ourselves towards our neighbors.

A brief silence.

God of the living, breathe your life into your church. Bless our bishops, pastors, and ministers with wisdom, eloquence, and grace that your good news be awesomely proclaimed. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

God of the living, breathe your life into your creation. Bless growing crops with vibrant life that your abundance may be shared with all the world. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

God of the living, breathe your life into human governments and leaders. Bless our president, governor, and other representatives with compassion and hearts for justice. Hear us, O God.Your mercy is great.

God of the living, breathe your life into hopeless situations and hopeless people. Bless those who offer comfort and strength to all who are faint of heart. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

God of the living, breathe your life into the hurting and sick (especially…). Bless those who bring healing and hope to all who suffer. Hear us, O God.Your mercy is great.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

God of the living, breathe your life into our hope of resurrection. Bless the memory of those who have gone before us that your resurrection life unite us as one. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, the source of faith, hope, and love. Amen.

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NL Worship Resources: May 1, 2016

Easter 6

Color: White
Readings: Gospel Text: Mark 12:28-31 | Sermon Texts: 1 Cor. 13:1-13 (Faith, Hope, and Love)
Prayer of the Day (WorkingPracher): Loving Lord, you have showered your world with faith, hope, and love. Help us to be faithful to you, to offer hope to those in need, and to love all your children. Amen.

Suggested hymns based on the Sermon text:

ELW #644 Although I Speak with Angel’s Tongue
ELW #664 A New Commandment
ELW #804 Come Down, O Love Divine
ELW #684 Creating God, Your Fingers Trace
ELW #532 Gather Us In
ELW #721 Goodness Is Stronger than Evil
ELW #585 Hear Us Now, Our God and Father
ELW #595 Jesus Loves Me!
ELW #697 Just a Closer Walk with Thee
ELW #471 Let Us Break Bread Together
ELW #512 Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil
ELW #631 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
ELW #735 Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth
ELW #452 Now We Join in Celebration
ELW #610 O Christ, the Healer, We Have Come
ELW #533 Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty
ELW #514 O Word of God Incarnate
ELW #689 Praise and Thanksgiving
ELW #865 Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven
ELW #671 Shine, Jesus, Shine
ELW #831 The God of Abraham Praise
ELW #642 Ubi Caritas
ELW #576 We All Are One in Mission
ELW #635 We Walk by Faith
ELW #359 Where Charity and Love Prevail
ELW #510 Word of God, Come Down on Earth
LBW #258 O Perfect Love
W&P #115 Out in the Wilderness
W&P #121 Seed, Scattered and Sown
WOV #662 Restore in Us, O God
WOV #749 When Love Is Found

(ELW=Evangelical Lutheran Worship; LBW=Lutheran Book of Worship; W&P=Worship & Praise Songbook; WOV=With One Voice)

Suggested hymns based on the Gospel text:

ELW #693 Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
ELW #679 For the Fruit of All Creation
ELW #358 Great God, Your Love Has Called Us
ELW #612 Healer of Our Every Ill
ELW #708 Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love
ELW #730 Lord Our God, with Praise We Come (ROMEDAL)
ELW #750 Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart
ELW #800 Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart
ELW #776 What God Ordains Is Good Indeed
DATH #93 Around the Great Commandment
W&P #42 Glorify Thy Name

(ELW=Evangelical Lutheran Worship; DATH=Dancing at the Harvest; W&P=Worship & Praise Songbook)

Other options based on both:
“I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever” By Martin Smith
“In the Secret” By Andy Park.

More contemporary suggestions here.

Prayers of Intercession

O God of love, we turn to you in prayer and supplication; may our prayers draw us into deeper relationship with you and out of ourselves towards our neighbors.

A brief silence.

For the church, that your love may overcome our divisions and inspire us to greater proclamation and service. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

For all of creation, that your love lead us to love and care for all of your creatures and all of your creation. Hear us, O God.Your mercy is great.

For our leaders and those who are running to be our leaders, that your love may prevail in their hearts, minds, speech, and actions. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

For all who are homeless, hungry, or hurting, that your love be at work in their lives and inspire us to reach out with compassion and tenderness. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

For all who are suffering (especially,…), that your love bring about healing and hope. Hear us, O God.Your mercy is great.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

For all the saints, that your love be made complete in them. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, the source of faith, hope, and love. Amen.

My Apologies

The last few weeks have been rather tough in the life of our parish here in central MN. The busy-ness of Holy Week was followed by the death of a 16 year old member, followed by the death of an 82 year old member. Things are starting to settle down again here and life moves on (which feels wrong somehow). I will begin crafting and posting worship helps again this week. By way of apology, I am including the sermon I wrote for the 16 year old’s death (with names changed), hoping that it might be a help to someone struggling to offer the Gospel in a similar circumstance. I found the book, “This Incomplete One” to be a wonderful resources in crafting this difficult sermon.

Gospel Reading: John 11:21-27

[Greeting]

I have been very blessed to know Christopher. I arrived here in this parish in the summer of 2013, and got to know Christopher pretty quickly in LYO and in confirmation. He was a reliable participant in both. As we made our way through the stories of the Old Testament that year, I grew to appreciate his willingness to talk and his honesty in the face of difficult questions.

His friendliness was readily apparent too. He was the one texting and calling others to make sure they’d be at LYO for some kickball or a round of thing-in-the-dark or whatever activity we had planned. I’ll never quite understand his desire to play kickball in work boots though…he may have gotten more distance on his kicks, but they couldn’t have been easy to run in!

I had fun with him on our trip to the National Youth Gathering in Detroit too. He was a blessing to the group that went. Ready and willing to participate in the Gathering activities, service work, and group bible studies; whatever the plan was he ready to be a part of it. Although my tradition of making my LYO groups try new foods didn’t go over that well with him. I could not get him to try Thai food for the life of me! I have been blessed to know Christopher.

I have many memories of Christopher from LYO, from confirmation, from our trip to Detroit, from church, from potlucks, from service work, from board game nights, from Camp House, and many other circumstances and situations. But some of my favorite memories are probably from VBS. My very first experience with this parish was VBS in 2013, I hadn’t actually started yet, but I brought my daughter by to participate. Funnily enough, I don’t think Christopher was there that year, I believe he was up at Camp House helping to get it ready for camp.

But in the next two years he was there (at least for part of it). He worked alongside an adult leader in the games station of VBS. And I can still clearly remember watching him helping to herd those bible schoolers through all sorts of games and activities. And what struck me the most about Christopher was his desire to see everyone participate. That would become something of a theme with Christopher. He wanted the kids to feel included and welcome. I distinctly remember watching him working so hard to get one of the younger kids, maybe 4 or 5 years old, who didn’t want to join the others in playing on the playground, to play Frisbee with him…to have fun and feel welcomed. I have been blessed to know Christopher.

As my mind turned to VBS and Christopher, I thought of one of the lessons we taught at VBS last year. Our theme verse was Micah 6:8, “what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” But the lesson I’ve been thinking of in particular was on our third day that week, we focused on the portion of the verse that talks about “love kindness.” The word for kindness there is one of those tricky, but fun Hebrew words you find in the Old Testament. It’s the word hesed. It’s tricky and fun because it’s one of those words that are really hard to translate into English because it has so many possibilities.

In Scripture it is often translated as kindness, or mercy, or loyalty, or even love; in the Psalms it is often rendered as “steadfast love.” It’s a tricky and fun word because it conveys a powerful concept: the deep, abiding, eternal, and undeserved love that God has for us (and we sometimes have for each other). In thinking about Christopher my mind has returned again and again to that concept of hesed.

And it is no wonder that it has! Christopher has certainly known hesed, steadfast love. He knew it from his family. The love and support they have showered him with over these last two years (and before), has been a powerful example of hesed. In his faith statement for confirmation he wrote that his faith began around the dinner table at grandma and grandpa’s house with saying grace before meals. I’ve heard from his cousins about games of hide and seek played at dusk, and board games (some friendly, and some perhaps overly competitive) enjoyed on weekends. Christopher knew hesed from his family. Christopher knew steadfast love from his family.

Christopher knew hesed from his friends. I have seen, again and again, Christopher’s openness and friendliness lead to powerful relationships. Was he friends with everyone? Perhaps not, who is? But he was open to everyone and willing to try to have relationships with others. And others responded to that. Christopher showed hesed to others and others responded with hesed of their own. I watched deep relationships being formed on our trip to Detroit. I know several of his friends in particular showed hesed to Christopher and I’m sure many others of you did as well. Christopher knew hesed from his friends. Christopher knew steadfast love from his friends.

Christopher knew hesed from his community; all of his various communities: his neighbors, his church, his school. You all have showered him and his family with support, with prayer, and with hesed, with steadfast love. In these recent weeks I know they have received more food than a family 10 times their size could eat! They have received countless cards and gifts. Christopher knew hesed from his community. Christopher knew steadfast love from his community.

And most of all, Christopher knew hesed from God. He wrote that faith statement for confirmation a few months after his first surgery, the one to remove the tumor from his brain. And in it he wrote that the experience of cancer and surgery had shown him how important his faith is and how it drove his attitude (that kind, open, welcoming attitude of his) towards others and his own challenges. Christopher knew hesed from God. Christopher knew steadfast love from God.

But as I have been thinking about hesed these last few days I have come to a new understanding of it. In accompanying Christopher and his family through this hard, hard, time; I have been amazed to see, again and again, how they have endured through it all. And so, I think, maybe there’s another translation of hesed we could consider. “Steadfast love,” certainly! “Loving-kindness” or “loving-loyalty,” yes. “Mercy,” sure. But I think it could also be “enduring grace.”

Christopher certainly endured. He endured surgery, and pain, and weakness. But he never stopped caring, and he never turned bitter. We had a hard talk a couple of weeks ago; and he admitted to me that as he faced death he was mostly worried about his Mom (sorry [Dad], he worried about you too, but he obviously trusted your strength). And isn’t that just like Christopher? He endured and still cared, still loved.

[Mom] and [Dad] have certainly endured as well. I have watched as they have done everything in their power to support, care for, and love Christopher. I have seen the tender kisses from his mom. I have watched as his father carried Christopher and helped him get to wherever he needed to go. And you two have endured. You’ve been angry with God, I know. And that’s ok, I have been angry with God too. But you have not turned bitter…you have endured.

[Sister], and the rest of the family have endured as well. I have watched as you have hovered around Christopher for these last weeks in particular. Doing all that you can to love and support him, and his parents. [Sister], I have watched you reach out to your cousins in love and support, even while this burden weighs you down too. You all have endured.

By the grace of God you all have endured. And that’s the thing of it. We have at times wondered where God is in the midst of this cancer and death. We have at times felt abandoned and alone. But we have endured. By the grace of God we have endured. We have at times hoped and prayed and looked for a miracle; a miracle that did not come. We have joined with Martha in saying, “Lord, if you had been here, [Christopher] would not have died.”  And we have endured. That’s where God has been in the midst of this terrible journey.

And maybe that is the miracle. That by the hesed of God we have endured. By enduring grace we have walked this journey. By enduring grace we shall continue to walk it. Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane prayed that the cup might pass from him. But he endured. He endured betrayal, arrest, and abandonment. He endured insults, and torture, and cruelty. He endured the cross. He endured all of this for our sake. And he did not endure in vain. For the story does not end with the enduring of all that tragedy. It ends with relief. It ends with resurrection. It ends with life.

And so we too can endure. By God’s grace we can endure. Until we too find that relief. The relief of resurrection and life. The relief that is now, already and forever, Christopher’s. Amen.