NL Worship Resources: March 12, 2017

Lent 2 (NL Year 3)

Color: Purple
Closest RCL Sunday(s): Lent 2C
Readings: Psalm: Psalm 122 | Sermon Text: Luke 13:1-9, 31- 35 (Lament over Jerusalem)
OT Suggestion: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Prayer of the Day (WorkingPreacher): Holy One of mighty power, your word is powerfully dangerous. Your word casts out demons. Your word heals incurable diseases. Your word devours empires. Your word transforms the fabric of the universe. Help us to stand in awe and fear of what your word is capable of doing. Give us courage to speak your word and wisdom to hear it, for the sake of the one whose very whisper can demolish sin, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Suggested hymns based on the Sermon text:

ELW #340 A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth
ELW #724 All who love and serve your city
ELW #779 Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
ELW #468 Around You, O Lord Jesus
ELW #469 By Your Hand You Feed Your People
ELW #722 O Christ, Your Heart, Compassionate
ELW #618 Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer
ELW #592 Just As I Am, without One Plea
ELW #660 Lift High the Cross
ELW #727 Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth
ELW #735 Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth
ELW #858/859 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
ELW #587/588 There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
ELW #613 Thy Holy Wings
ELW #791 We Sing to You, O God
ELW #566 When Twilight Comes
ELW #719 Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
LBW #493 Hope of the World
LBW #427 O Jesus Christ, May Grateful Hymns Be Rising
Various Hymnals Depth of mercy! can there be
Various Hymnals O for an heart to love my God
Various Hymnals Shelter Me, O God
(ELW=Evangelical Lutheran Worship; LBW=Lutheran Book of Worship)

Suggested hymns based on the Psalm:

ELW #641 All Are Welcome
ELW #711 O Day of Peace
ELW #753 Dona nobis pacem
ELW #532 Gather Us In
ELW #749 O God of Love, O King of Peace
ELW #311 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
ELW #628 Jerusalem, My Happy Home
LBW #347 Jerusalem the Golden
LBW #337 Oh, What Their Joy
LBW #445 Unto the Hills
WOV #656 By the Babylonian Rivers
Various Hymnals Dear Shepherd of Your People, Hear
Various Hymnals Psalm 122: Let Us Go Rejoicing
Various Hymnals Unto Thy Temple, Lord, We Come

Other options based on both:

Awesome God” By Rich Mullins.
Jesus, Friend Of Sinners” By Mark Hall, Matthew West.
Lord Have Mercy” By Steve Merkel.
Love Has Come” By Brown Bannister, Mark Schultz, et al.
More contemporary suggestions here.

Prayers of Intercession:
(Introduction and Conclusion from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 )

God of the covenant, you call us to be fruitful servants within creation, and to offer our lives as the foundation of your realm. We lay before you the desires of our hearts, that we may be transformed by their fulfillment.

A brief silence.

Grant us boldness, O Lord; that your church may proclaim your love, peace, and justice with courage, trusting that whatever the result, our lives are in your hands. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us boldness, O Lord; that we may speak out against the misuse of your creation and the unjust ways in which those resources are shared and utilized. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us boldness, O Lord; that we may hold our leaders accountable to the vision you have given us in Christ, a vision of peace, justice, and unity. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us boldness, O Lord; that we may honestly and authentically repent of our brokenness and trust in your mercy. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us boldness, O Lord; that we may work for healing and wholeness in the world and call for systems of care that benefit even the least and poorest amongst us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

Grant us boldness, O Lord; that we live our lives as the saints and martyrs before us, without fear of death or concern for well-being, but rather focused on the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant, O God, that the prayers we offer may be your channel for new and abundant life not only hoped for, but worked for, through faithful word and deed. Amen.

A Reflection on Time

My newsletter article reflecting on one aspect of our trip to South Africa:

Fellow Disciples,

As I write this I am still getting over my jet lag from our trip to South Africa. While that experience is still fresh in my mind I want to introduce you to the concept of “South Africa time.”

Anyone who has travelled to South Africa knows exactly what I mean when I say “South Africa time.” It’s not derogatory or anything along those lines…but to Americans it can be incredibly frustrating. The basic rule of “South Africa time” is that schedules are a loose guideline at best. To Americans, who are generally ruled by the clock, this is a very foreign (and difficult) attitude.

Case in point: Every evening when we were dropped off with our host family Dean Ndlovu would give us a time to be ready by the next morning. So we would set an alarm which would provide us with ample time to get up, make our morning ablutions, have a nice breakfast with our hosts, do our devotions, and then collect our things so we’d be ready to go. Invariably we would be ready at the appointed time (if not a few minutes sooner) and end up waiting for our ride…usually 30 minutes or so, but once or twice it was over an hour before they arrived.

Our day would typically begin by getting picked up and being told we had an hour or so to get to our first parish (or wherever we were visiting). We never made it on time…not once. We were always 15-45 minutes late; a fact that drove Christina and I crazy. We didn’t like to feel as though we were wasting people’s time.

But here’s the thing about “South Africa time,” it makes sense if you understand the priorities of the culture and the South African people. If you keep your eyes and mind open you will quickly discover why no one can be anywhere on time. Time is simply not a priority. Instead, people are.

It would take us longer to get places because Dean Ndlovu would need to stop somewhere to take care of something for someone who doesn’t have a car; or because he wanted to introduce us to someone he knew who worked at the store we were passing by; or because we were giving a ride to someone. Dean Ndlovu (or whoever else was giving us a ride) was typically late to get us for similar reasons; they needed to touch base with someone or to help someone or saw someone to greet. On two occasions we pulled over on the side of the road because Dean Ndlovu recognized a car and flashed his lights at them to stop so he could introduce us.

Relationships are more important than the schedule, people are more important than time. But what of those who were waiting for us, you might ask? They understood this as well. And they also understood that while we were there with them then that relationship was what mattered. That was something of a constant surprise to me…while I was with people in South Africa I genuinely felt as though there was no place else they’d rather be and no one else they’d rather be with. Sadly, I don’t find that to be a common experience here in America.

All too often I get the sense that whomever I am with is already thinking about the next thing on their agenda. And, I must confess, I’ve acted that way as well. At times I am not as present as I should be with others because I am distracted by the dictates of time…what’s next on the schedule? What’s next on the to-do list? What do I need to do to be ready for the next thing? And I end up missing out on the relationship right in front of me.

I am not saying America needs to turn into South Africa when it comes to time. But maybe we could learn a bit from our brothers and sisters there. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to lower time as a priority (even by just a little bit) and increase the importance we place on relationships.

This lent I invite you into spiritual discipline of generosity. Specifically, generosity of your time. As you find yourself with others, give them your full attention. Focus on them completely. Let go of time and make them feel as though there’s no place you’d rather be and no one else you’d rather be with. Let’s see what might happen if we focus more on relationships and less on time. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find we have more time than we thought and deeper relationships than we realized.

Pastor Jon

NL Worship Resources: March 5, 2017

Lent 1 (NL Year 3)

Color: Purple
Closest RCL Sunday(s): Proper 10C (15C)
Readings: Psalm: Psalm 15 | Sermon Text: Luke 10:25-42 (The Good Samaritan)
OT Suggestion: Deuteronomy 30:9-14
Prayer of the Day (WorkingPreacher): Compassionate God, how easily you love those who look unlovable to us! How readily you welcome undesirables into your home! How slow we are to follow your example. Turn our hearts toward all who are considered outcast, shunned, and unclean so that we may love our neighbor without pity or apathy, for the sake of the one who became flesh to cleanse the world of sin and death forever, Jesus Christ our redeemer. Amen.

Suggested hymns based on the Sermon text:

ELW #729 The Church of Christ, in Every Age
ELW #520 Dearest Jesus, at Your Word
ELW #402 Eternal Spirit of the Living Christ
ELW #679 For the Fruit of All Creation
ELW #714 O God of Mercy, God of Light
ELW #708 Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love
ELW #696 Jesus Calls Us; o’er the Tumult
ELW #599 Lord Jesus, Think on Me
ELW #295 Of the Father’s Love Begotten
ELW #789 Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us
ELW #800 Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart
ELW #742 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
ELW #725 When the Poor Ones
ELW #359 Where Charity and Love Prevail
ELW #719 Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
LBW #435 O God, Whose Will Is Life and Good
LBW #502 Thee Will I Love, My Strength
WOV #783 Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Various Hymnals The Good Samaritan
Various Hymnals Help Somebody Today
Various Hymnals They Asked, “Who’s My Neighbor?”
(ELW=Evangelical Lutheran Worship; LBW=Lutheran Book of Worship; WOV=With One Voice)

Suggested hymns based on the Psalm:

Various Hymnals Blest are the Pure in Heart
Various Hymnals Who, O Lord, When Life is O’er
Various Hymnals Who Shall Inhabit in Thy Hill?

Other options based on both:

Compassion Hymn” By Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, et al.
Love the Lord” By Lincoln Brewster.
Unashamed” By Doug McKelvey, Jon Neufeld, et al.
More contemporary suggestions here.

Prayers of Intercession (Introduction and Conclusion from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 ):

Faithful God of love, you blessed us with your servant Son so that we might know how to serve your people with justice and with mercy. We gather the needs of ourselves and others, and offer them to you in faith and love, seeking to be strengthened to meet them.

A brief silence.

God of love, open the eyes and hearts of your church; that we may see our neighbors around us and serve their needs. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord of the cosmos, sustain your creation and bless its winter rest; may we work towards the renewal of lands and seas. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of justice, provide wisdom to all leaders of the world; that those overlooked and avoided may experience healing and care. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of the lost, extend the knowledge of your grace to all people; that the peace you provide may settle into the hearts and minds of all. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of the suffering, be with all in pain (especially,…); strengthen us to be good neighbors to all in need of healing and comfort. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

God of Mary and Martha, you have provided us with examples of service and hospitality as well as examples of quiet and listening; draw us to your feet that we may experience the better part that can never be taken from us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Shape us and transform us by your grace, that we may grow in wisdom and in confidence,
never faltering until we have done all that you desire to bring your realm of shalom to fulfillment. Amen.

Lent 2017

So, we are using Lent as an opportunity to focus on the Small Catechism as a part of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. To that end we are using “With Awe and Love: A Midweek Service Based on Luther’s Small Catechism” from Sundays and Seasons for our Lenten midweek services. I will be handing out to my parish the Lenten Devotional “Free Indeed” from Augsburg Fortress which is also on the Small Catechism. And lastly, our communion liturgy takes it’s cue from Luther’s German Mass using setting three of This Far By Faith.

Given that Lent is traditionally a time of catechesis, I would encourage you to consider using a Thanksgiving for Baptism in your worship during Lent. Perhaps design something using Luther’s explanation regarding the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and his 1526 Baptismal Rite. I have written one such below:

The assembly stands and makes the sign of the holy cross saying:
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over us. Amen.

The Word of God, which is in and with the water of baptism,
brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems us from death and the devil,
and gives eternal salvation to all who believe in the words and promises of God.
Let us, therefore, give thanks to God for this grace-filled water of life.

Water may be poured into the font as the presiding minister gives thanks.

We give you thanks, O God, for the roaring seas and the mighty waters;
the rivers clap their hands, and the hills ring out with joy before you.
We give you thanks for oceans and lakes, rivers and streams;
for cloud and rain, for dew and snow, for aquifers and watersheds.
We give you thanks for all the waters, above and below, that sustain creation;
but most of all we give you thanks for the waters of resurrection.
In the waters of baptism the sinner in us is drowned,
along with all sorrows and evil desires.
In those same waters, through the work of the Holy Spirit,
we are brought forth to new life with you, O God,
an eternal life of righteousness and purity.
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
We pray that through your groundless mercy you would claim us as your children,

and bless us with true faith in the Spirit,
that we may serve you at all times, fervent in spirit, and joyful in hope.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, to whom we have been joined forever. Amen.

Look, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.
I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent,
that my love may go out to my neighbor.

I do not have a strong and firm faith.
At times I doubt and am unable to trust you completely.
O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you.

I have insured all my treasure in your name.
I am poor; you are rich and you did come to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner; you are upright.
With me there is an abundance of sin; with you a fullness of righteousness.
Therefore I will remain with you, from whom I can receive but to whom I may not give. Amen.


NL Worship Resources: February 26, 2016 (pared down)

Color: White
Readings: Psalm: Psalm 36:5-10 | Sermon Text: Luke 9:28-45 (Transfiguration)
Prayer of the Day: 
Dazzling Lord, In blinding light you showed your disciples a hint of your power and purpose. Reveal yourself to us today. Show us what you desire of us and how to broadcast your love to the world, for the sake of the one who keeps company with the prophets Moses and Elijah, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Suggested hymns based on the Sermon text:

ELW #515 Break Now the Bread of Life
ELW #610 O Christ, the Healer, We Have Come
ELW #315 How Good, Lord, to Be Here!
ELW #317 Jesus on the Mountain Peak
ELW #316 Oh, Wondrous Image, Vision Fair
ELW #843 Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness
ELW #667 Take Up Your Cross, the Savior Said
ELW #677 This Little Light of Mine
ELW #719 Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
Various Hymnals Open the Eyes of My Heart
Various Hymnals Transform Us
Various Hymnals We Have Come at Christ’s Own Bidding

Suggested hymns based on the Psalm:

ELW #565 All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night
ELW #807 Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
ELW #733 Great Is Thy Faithfulness
ELW #632 O God, Our Help in Ages Past
ELW #834 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
ELW #658 O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts
ELW #864/865 Praise, My Soul, the God of Heaven
ELW #858/859 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
ELW #587/588 There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
LBW #164 Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid
324 O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
LBW #199 Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior
LBW #502 Thee Will I Love, My Strength

Other options based on both:

In the Secret” By Andy Park.
Open The Eyes of My Heart” By Paul Baloche. As performed by Sonic Flood.
More contemporary suggestions here.