Order, Words, & Voices 05.15.22

Order

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Music 1/Call to Worship (10:30am) Worship Team

The Solid Rock

Shout To The Lord

Prayer Renee

Scripture Luke 7:11-17 Martha

Music 2 Desert Song

Breathe On Me Breath Of God (Trentham) Worship Team

Message Moved Rick

Congregational Response 

Benediction Peyton

Music 3 Trust In You Worship Team

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio Words and Voices

Welcome/Music 1

The Solid Rock

CCLI Song # 25417

Edward Mote | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

[The prophet Isaiah spoke God’s words of truth to a people who had yet to accept any words except for the words they wanted to hear. Words of hope, compassion, empathy, and even persistence even though the words were dismissed. Words such as…

The wilderness and dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice; the crocus shall blossom with joy and shouting. God Shall strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. 

 “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come and save you.”]

Verse 2

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

[The people saw no need for words of hope, compassion, empathy, and definitely no need for a persistent God. Although they refused to listen to the needed words, still they were a gift to these people. These were words for a people a century before their coming exile and enslavement. However, these were a people who had settled in to indifference – later, they were words for a people that witnessed the brutal cross and an empty tomb. Now, they are words for us…

The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be opened; the lame shall leap, and the tongue of the speechless shall sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; the grass shall become reeds and rushes.]

Verse 3

His oath His covenant His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

[Words unheeded, words thrown out with the garbage become words exchanged for lies and deceit. But, God continued, and continues, to give us these words of Hope, Compassion, Empathy, revealing God’s Persistence.

A highway called the Holy Way shall be there on which not even fools shall go astray. Nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; but the redeemed shall walk there. The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.]

Shout To The Lord

CCLI Song # 1406918. Darlene Zschech

Verse 1

My Jesus my Saviour
Lord there is none like You
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love

My comfort my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath all that I am
Never cease to worship You

Chorus

Shout to the Lord
All the earth let us sing
Power and majesty
Praise to the King


Mountains bow down
And the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name


I sing for joy
At the work of Your hands
Forever I’ll love You
Forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise
I have in You

Chorus

Shout to the Lord
All the earth let us sing
Power and majesty
Praise to the King


Mountains bow down
And the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name

I sing for joy
At the work of Your hands
Forever I’ll love You
Forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise
I have in You

Prayer

[Please join in the Lord’s prayer, words are on the screen] [7 slides begin] 

Our Father which 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture

Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. 

He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow, and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with compassion for her and said to her, “Do not cry.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stopped. 

And Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 

Fear seized all of them, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” This word about him spread throughout the whole of Judea and all the surrounding region.

Luke 7:11-17

Music 2 

Desert Song

CCLI Song # 5060793  Brooke Ligertwood

Verse 1

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my 

hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

Verse 2

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved 

of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

Chorus

I will bring praise  I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me 

shall remain
I will rejoice  I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror 

and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

Chorus

I will bring praise  I will bring praise
No weapon formed 

against me shall remain
I will rejoice  I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Bridge

All of my life in ev’ry season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow

Breathe On Me Breath Of God

CCLI Song # 99481

Edwin Hatch | Robert Jackson

Verse 1

Breathe on me breath of God
Fill me with life anew
That I may love what Thou dost love
And do what Thou wouldst do

Verse 2

Breathe on me breath of God
Until my heart is pure
Until with Thee I will one will
To do and to endure

Verse 3

Breathe on me breath of God
Till I am wholly Thine
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine

Message – Moved

  • [slide] Close to 2,000 years before Jesus’ Resurrection, the unknown God gave a promise to an idol worshiper named Abraham – a promise that would change the relationship of the Mighty God and the People who would choose to accept God’s offer to be the God’s people.
  • [slide] It was a promise that would make this people ‘a people’ moving them from being afraid of the mighty scary God to a known merciful God – they would know God as Lord. A designation that was monumental, a new identifier that would put a metaphoric human face on God. 
  • [slide] Around twelve hundred years later, these words from God, the God of Abraham,  were echoed through the voice of God’s prophet Isaiah. 
  • [slide] About 700 years later, the essence of these same words would be heard visually as God spoke through the human birth, life, ministry, and death, of God’s son Jesus, meaning now, the chosen people knew God not only as mighty and Lord, but also as deliverer and Messiah, and now, the metaphoric human face was a reality living among them. 
  • [slide] Three decades later, those words would take on feet as a persistent and undeterred group of women witnessed the death of Jesus refusing to quit until they found the resurrected body of Jesus. Now God was known as Mighty, Lord, Deliverer, Messiah, Resurrected life, and Friend. 
  • [slide] For decades following, decades that turned into centuries, which turned into over 2 thousand years, these words were voiced, sung, written, and demonstrated, those same words were taught through the passion of the apostles, and eventually us, all who now knew God as Mighty, Lord, Deliverer, Messiah, Resurrected life, Friend, Helper, Encourager, Savior, and the very presence of Love.

[slide] God’s words, voiced from the mouth of the prophet, were intended as warning to a rebellious and wayward people. The intriguing thing about these words is that while God was calling out a people who were ignoring God, still God used words of encouragement and hope. [slide] Words like glad, [slide] rejoice, [slide] blossom, and [slide] joy; God used instructions such as [slide] strengthen weak knees and hands, [slide] be strong and do not fear; he gave promises that [slide] God will come and save you, [slide] the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf will open, [slide] the lame shall leap like a deer, and [slide] the tongue of the speechless will sing for joy; God predicted, before anyone realized that they were thirsty, that [slide] waters shall break forth in the wilderness and [slide] streams in the desert, [slide] burning sands shall become pools and the [slide] thirsty ground will be immersed by springs of the water; and most beautifully, God [slide] painted a picture of a Holy Highway on which no lion nor ravenous beast shall be present, a holy way on which the redeemed shall walk freely, the ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing and an everlasting joy and gladness shall be evident and all sorrow and sighing shall be gone.

[slide] Remember, these words were patiently given to a people who, not only refused to listen to the words, but repeatedly attempted to shut the words from God up.

[slide] God used words to move, but those words could only move a people who were listening and intentionally hearing. A people who were willing to be moved by compassion and mercy.

[Filler Slide]

God’s intentional words are words that come from the very nature and character of God. Words that call us to action, words that come from God’s compassion and hope. Words that reveal God. It is no surprise then, that Jesus would act, and react out of that same compassion, mercy,  and hope. Jesus heard the words crying out for compassion and the unspoken cries for hope. Jesus’ response to those words pointed to hope, they gave hope – words that became actions, actions that gave life.

Jesus moved by the words of humans, just as words and cries had been a catalyst for every move of God. Let’s take a moment to truly grasp this truth.

  1. [slide] Every action of God is out of compassion, beginning with exiling of Adam and Eve from the garden; banishing their murderous son, Cain; the flooding of the earth; the scattering of the arrogant from Babel; rescuing the wicked in Sodom from, and by, their own destruction; and so many acts that we do not automatically see as compassionate, plus we have those actions that are undeniably merciful. All to provide hope to those directly involved leaving ripples that bless all, even us thousands of years later. 
  2. [slide] God’s words to those who have dismissed, ignored, disobeyed, and sometimes have just wandered away, are always corrective, compassionate, and ultimately redemptive – not punitive. Even when they are words of human consequence. The coats for Adam and Eve, the protective shield for Cain, the the ark for God’s creation, the scattering to open eyes and hearts, the destruction of Sodom to protect from their own actions and hardened hearts.
  3. [slide] God hears our cries long before we recognize our need. God pursues those who call out to him and even more persistently those who have forgotten him. 
  4. [slide] God gives hope until we are no longer able to receive hope, til we can no longer see that we need hope. And, God persistently does not reflect our negativity, but, instead, responds with compassion and mercy even though we may be at our most unlovable state.

[Slide] Grasp This – God loves us even when we are at our most unlovable state of being.

Today’s Passage is a very simple one. Two different moments, found in the same chapter of the gospel of Luke. Moments that took place early on in the ministry of Jesus. Two very different people hopeless and in need of some compassion and mercy. 

A Roman centurion had a highly valued slave who was ill and close to death. The centurion heard about Jesus and sent some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his slave. The elders appealed to Jesus earnestly, saying, “This man is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our people, and, even though he is not a Jew, he built our synagogue for us.” Jesus went with them, but the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But please speak the word where you are so my servant will be healed. For, like you, I also am a man with authority over many, I say to one, ‘Do this, and they do what I have ordered.’ Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, he said to the crowd, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found another who understands who I am.” When the Jewish leaders arrived back at the home of the centurion, they found the slave in good health.

The other hopeless person in need of compassion and mercy was a widow left with only one son. Her culture held no respect for a widow, she had no worth, and for most was only a burden. No money, now home or land ownership, no servants, no where to go, no one to care for her. Ever since her husband had died her only hope had been her son, only he could assure she would be cared for and remembered.

As we meet this women, she is engulfed in mourners and spectators. Her only son, her only hope, had died she is now surrounded by those who respected and loved her son. Even though she immersed in the grief of the others, she is well aware that she will soon stand alone, dismissed, and hopeless. She is not a person of power, she is probably not even a person that is very known, even to this crowd. There is no one who is going to go to Jesus on her behalf,  there is no one concerned about her future. She stands in a crowd just waiting until she will be standing alone and hopeless. Ironically, Jesus is now in town, but no one has granted her the freedom to ask Jesus, no one has given her even the smallest amount of hope that Jesus could, through his mercy and compassion, be the giver of hope to her.

The story of this woman was not an uncommon sight, in most every community, there was a pocket of women standing alone in the same situation. Standing without hope. Knowing that no one is consumed by compassion, that no one will be prompted by mercy. They are left alone to face the misery of being left alive.

This is where the story of this woman meets the God of the compassionate and merciful words voiced thousands of years before. Words that convey love, words that give hope. Jesus does not need to be begged to go to the woman, nor does he need anyone to inform him of her pain and agony. He just needs to see her, to be in her presence, to recognize her hopelessness. Upon seeing her, he encourages her to not cry, to not be consumed by her hopelessness. Jesus then touched the frame on which the pall bearers carried the coffin, they stooped down so Jesus could speak the dead body. “Young man,” Jesus said, ‘arise.” The young man sat up and began to speak. Then, Jesus gave the son back to his mother.

Jesus gave the woman her son. Jesus gave the woman hope. Jesus, prompted by the same compassion and mercy that led God to say the original words thousands of years before, now again gives those words words of life. Words of Hope. Jesus was moved by the same compassion and mercy that moves God.

Now, let us understand that the woman went back to her same situation that she had before her son died and was risen. She still had a cloud of doom over her head, maybe now it was darker as she had experienced the death of her only hope, however, now she had met hope. Now she could go on living knowing that she was not unnoticed and she was not hopeless. She could now live knowing that it is God’s compassion and mercy that moves him to action rather than her position or power. Life would still be difficult but now she was holding onto something she had not held onto before. Even in the worst of times, hope was still there, even when she could not see or feel hope it was there. It never was the crowd, it never was what she held too tightly, it was the God who moves even when she forgets God is there.

This is God, this is what God is, this is what God does. For the woman, life would surely still be hard, times would obviously still be tough, but now she could remember to persevere because she had hope, hope forgotten that had been remembered. Hope that had been lost had now been found. Hope that is all around us as well, even in the worst of times – and it does not abandon us when we forget it or turn away from it.

In sermon development, sermons are an odd beast. They are meant to teach, to enlighten, and do inspire – God brings the sermon writer along a journey to each of those. Sometimes for me, even though I will have a full sermon written, it can still be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and even sometimes Sunday morning, before we even fully know what God wants to take to the audience the preacher is preaching to. Often, a preacher will have success with a sermon and then think it it is an effective sermon – not realizing that it is successful because it was for a particular audience. Today’s message took that agonizing path, everything written up through Thursday night has been, at his moment, preached. That does not mean there has not been a struggle. 

Preaching that moments when God gives hope in hopeless times, honestly, has been a struggle for me. I am fully aware that many of you have faced, or are facing, the desperation of losing a loved one, to struggling with a loved one, to miserable situations at work or at home, to hopeless situations that just plain and simple are not going to easily go away. In fact, the original ending of this sermon, which I preached to you have seemed disingenuous in light of our reality. That is why I added the final two paragraphs, in my attempt to make this sermon not so conceptual that it is worthless. It was not until Friday night that God gave me an ‘ah ha’ moment, where it made sense, and fits with our reality of pain and struggle.

Here is the message for us today, this moment, in our lives. 

Reality – the woman still went home, even with her son, to a dismal reality. She was still dependent on him, and now, even worse, the had recognized that truth even more in his death. He would eventually die, had maybe she would still outlive him – her desperation was actually just postponed. 

However, Jesus’ compassionate and merciful gift of hope, for her, in that moment, was not actually for that moment.

When God approaches us in our time of known or unknown need, God’s actions are not necessarily for that moment- they are giving us a deeper hope to hang on to our next hopeless moment. God’s mercy and compassion are always much bigger that our now moment.

Truth – what you recognize God doing now, is probably not actually limited to now, it is probably for later. It is now preparing you for the next human reality that will need this hope. To understand we must travel back to the day following the Sabbath that followed the Cross. Mary Magadelene and the other women, went to the grave, but, they were not going to leave there hopeless, they were sure to need hope later, so they stuck around, they waiting on Jesus, or at least a word from Jesus. 

Is this your preparatory moment?

Let’s Pray

Response – Verbal Congregational Response

Leader: God’s mercy and compassion guide his reactions and responses. 

Response: May we be a people of mercy and compassion.

Leader: God’s patience and love form his words and actions.

Response: May our words and actions be a reflection of God’s patience and love.

Leader: God’s engagements, encounters, and confrontations are the unstoppable natural redemptive outflow of his mercy and compassion.

Response: May God’s redemptive nature be our core character that our world can see.

Leader: God does not give up on us, God does not act punitively towards us, God’s love is the light that shines even when we fail to look.

Response: May we stick around until we see God, may we stay until we hear God.

Leader: God takes notice of our times of hopelessness, God reaches out in our times of isolation, God seeks us out to remind us of hope.

Response: May we remember to turn to God’s hope when hope cannot be found.

Leader: God is Love.

Response: May we also be a people of love.

Response – Music 3 

Trust In You

CCLI Song # 7025522

Lauren Daigle | Michael Farren | Paul Mabury

Verse 1

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wondering
Never changes what You see

Verse 2

I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty warrior King of the fight
No matter what I face 

You’re by my side

Chorus

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You


I will trust I will trust
I will trust in You

Verse 3

Truth is You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead 

You have not seen
So in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord 

and nothing less

Chorus

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You


I will trust I will trust
I will trust in You

Bridge

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation
The Rock on which I stand


Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go
You’ve not already stood

Chorus

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You


I will trust I will trust
I will trust in You

Community

  • Next Sunday, May 22, Our Mission Together, Matthew 25:31-46 (Special Speaker Kyle Tubbs)
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Handing Over 05.08.22

Order

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Music 1/Call to Worship (10:30am)    Billy/Abbie/Rick

    Man Of Sorrows

    Empty Tomb

    Crown Him With Many Crowns

Prayer                                                                    Petty

Scripture            Luke 24:1-12                              On Line-Isaiah

Music 2 – SpecialRedeemerBilly & Abbie

Message        Handing Over                         Rick

Congregational Response

    Benediction                                                    Peyton

Music 3     It Is Well                                  Billy & Abbie

Community (Gallery View)                              Rick

Closing Peace                                                    Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome/Music 1

Man Of Sorrows 

CCLI Song # 6476063, Brooke Ligertwood | Matt Crocker

Spoken Word adapted from Craig R. Koester, Professor and Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Chair of New Testament

[This is the fourth Sunday of Easter, we look to Luke’s Easter story which begins with the obvious: Jesus is dead, and his followers naturally assume that death is final. The women come to the tomb because that is where they last saw the body of Jesus. They desire to show proper respect so they bring the spices to anoint the body of Jesus. This is what you do to a body after death. While we are tempted to enshrine Jesus’ body, the best we can do is to treat it with respect and say goodbye. Relegating Jesus to a memory – an insightful teacher, a fiery prophet, and a compassionate healer are accurate memories but they seem insufficient. As with the other three, the resurrection story of Luke begins with an empty tomb, a missing body.]

Verse 1

Man of sorrows Lamb of God

By His own betrayed

The sin of man and wrath of God

Has been on Jesus laid

Verse 2

Silent as He stood accused

Beaten mocked and scorned

Bowing to the Father’s will

He took a crown of thorns

Chorus

Oh that rugged cross my salvation

Where Your love poured out over me

Now my soul cries out hallelujah

Praise and honour unto Thee

[Again, there is a mysterious message from mysterious messengers for the women, a message that runs counter to what they think they know to be true. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has been resurrected”. The women are told that Jesus is alive, however, Jesus is no where to be seen. All that they have is the word of these unknown messengers. The fact that Jesus body is unseen, neither dead or alive, creates an Easter experience that comes uncomfortably close to our own – we too do not see a body. It would have been so much easier if the women would have seen the resurrected Jesus, it would so much easier for us to see the resurrected Jesus.The empty tomb does not change our perspective, instead it just makes everything more confusing. Our situation is identical to situation of that first Easter: all were/are given a message of resurrection, a message that looks nothing like what is seen.]

Verse 3

Sent of heaven God’s own Son

To purchase and redeem

And reconcile the very ones

Who nailed Him to that tree

Bridge

Now my debt is paid

It is paid in full

By the precious blood

That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin

Has no hold on me

Whom the Son sets free

Oh is free indeed

[Let’s be honest, the only logical response to such a message is unbelief. Experience teaches that death is permanent. But, the Easter message says that Jesus lives. When such contradictory claims collide, it only makes sense to continue affirming what we already know. This is what Luke reports next. The women bring the message of resurrection to the others, and they respond as thinking people regularly respond: they thought that the message was “an idle tale, and they did not believe them”. Now, unbelief does not mean that we believe nothing. Rather, it means that they believe something else. We say “I don’t believe it” because there is something else that we believe more strongly. Yet, the Easter message challenges our certainties. Our experience is that even the strongest succumb to death. Our experience teaches that life is what you make it, so get what you can while you can now. The Easter message asks each of us, “How can you be so sure?”]

Verse 4

See the stone is rolled away

Behold the empty tomb

Hallelujah God be praised

He’s risen from the grave

Chorus

Oh that rugged cross my salvation

Where Your love poured out over me

Now my soul cries out hallelujah

Praise and honour unto Thee

[The Easter message calls us from our old belief in death to our new belief in life. The tomb could not hold Jesus, Jesus has been resurrected. The apostles were convinced that the message of resurrection was nonsense, an “an idle tale”, aferall, death is death, death is final. Yet Peter had to go and take a look for himself, wondering “What if it is true?” Thousands of years later, we continue to take the footsteps of Peter. We have heard the rumor that Jesus is alive and have come to hear it for themselves: “What if it is true? What if death is not final? What if Jesus is actually present? What if Jesus meets me here? What difference would that make?” What if God, even today, is still asking us “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”]

The Empty Tomb 

CCLI Song # 5822058, Donna Norton | Phil Mehrens

Verse 1

Where is dark Where is death

Where is sadness grief fear

Where is doubt Where is loss

Where is deepest despair

Chorus

The empty tomb fills life with hope

My Savior lives Jesus my Lord

Resurrection pow’r

no grave could hold

The Son of God bursts forth

Behold the empty tomb

Verse 2

Here is light, Here is life

Here is truth to proclaim

Here is joy, Here is might

Here is love that overcame

Chorus

The empty tomb fills life with hope

My Savior lives Jesus my Lord

Resurrection pow’r

no grave could hold

The Son of God bursts forth

Behold the empty tomb

Crown Him With Many Crowns

CCLI Song # 23938, George Job Elvey | Godfrey Thring | Matthew Bridges

Verse 1

Crown Him with many crowns

The Lamb upon His throne

Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns

All music but its own

Awake my soul and sing

Of Him who died for thee

And hail Him as thy matchless King

Through all eternity

Verse 2

Crown Him the Lord of life

Who triumphed o’er the grave

And rose victorious in the strife

For those He came to save

His glories now we sing

Who died and rose on high

Who died eternal life to bring

And lives that death may die

Verse 3

Crown Him the Lord of love

Behold His hands and side

Rich wounds yet visible above

In beauty glorified

No angel in the sky

Can fully bear that sight

But downward bends

each burning eye

At mysteries so bright

Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture 

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12

Music 2/Special 

Redeemer

CCLI Song # 3149757

Nicole Mullen

Verse 1

Who taught the sun where

to stand in the morning

And who told the ocean

you can only come this far

And who showed the moon

Where to hide ’til evening

Whose words alone

can catch a falling star

Chorus 1

Well I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

All of creation testifies

this life within me cries

I know my Redeemer lives

Verse 2

The very same God that

spins things in orbit

He runs to the weary

the worn and the weak

And the same gentle hands

That hold me when I’m broken

They conquered death

to bring me victory

Chorus 2

Now I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

Let all creation testify let this life within me cry

I know my Redeemer

Bridge

He lives to take away my shame

And He lives forever I’ll proclaim

That the payment for my sin

Was the precious life He gave

But now He’s alive

And there’s an empty grave

Chorus 3

And I know my Redeemer He lives

I know my Redeemer lives

Let all creation testify

That this life within me cries

I know my Redeemer

Ending

I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

He lives He lives

Message – Handing Over 

Today, on this fourth Sunday of Easter, we look at our fourth gospel account of the resurrection. Over the course of these four weeks, we have accepted the invitation to stand outside the empty grave, to experience the hopelessness mixed with an equal amount of hopefulness. A moment of increased confusion overwhelmed by an inexplicable holy clarity. A moment experienced by, and largely because of, a group of women who had every reason to be afraid and confused. A group of oppressed, belittled, and dismissed humans who rationally needed to be hiding behind closed doors, but chose instead to venture out to the very place they very much did not need to be – the tomb.

A unique aspect of our Easter journey this year has been our realization of the significant part played a group of women. We have seen them in every one of the tomb accounts.  Throughout he narrative of Jesus’ life we see Jesus’ time spent speaking God’s truth to a group of men. However, we have possibly seen even more holy moments in holy lessons in his time with these women. We cannot deny his acts of acceptance, affirmation, welcoming, and embrace to this group of humans who were culturally relegated to the margins of society by those who bore the pronouns He and Him.

Theoretically, nothing in the resurrection accounts was, or is, a surprise. But when our theory collides with our reality, the reality of it cannot help but be surprising.  The truly intriguing question of the death and resurrection is, [Slide] ’Why did only the woman initially go to the tomb?’

For Luke, his story of the cross and the resurrection is not an ending or a beginning, nor is it a climax – Luke’s gospel, followed by his continuing narrative in Acts, is an account of, what is best encapsulated in the words of the apostle Paul, [Slide] “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul was in the business of telling of the new creation proclaimed in the moment of Jesus’ resurrection.  A new creation that brings the people of God, not to a place of isolated individuality but to the new creation of commonality, a collective community of individuals and their unique relationships with God centered on Jesus. Luke presents God’s work of bringing together a community based on the loving and redemptive nature of God – Luke is, in essence, articulating the journey of the Church – Our Journey.

So, we return to our question – [Slide] “Why did the woman go to the tomb?’

Before we can answer that question it is helpful if we first spotlight the major revelations of the cross/resurrection moment.

  1. [Slide] The crucifixion and the resurrection can only be understood when we replace our flawed perception of God as a Punitive God with the correct understanding that God is the Redemptive God.
  2. [Slide] Jesus’ death via the cross does not make us a cleaned up and corrected version of our selves, but, instead it makes us a new creation, the creation we were meant to be at creation.
  3. [Slide] These women had the story to tell because they were not satisfied at only seeing the empty tomb, they stuck around until they saw Jesus. They were the first believers, and in the course of following they became the ‘quae apostoli ad apostolos’ – the apostles to the apostles, paving the way for the male apostles to be culturally acceptable messengers to the world.
  4. [Slide] The accomplishment of the Cross, affirmed in the empty grave, is the our story to tell.

So, again, we return to our question, [Slide] “Why did the woman go to the tomb?’

The Answer – [Slide] The men were not ready to see the resurrected Jesus, because they were still stuck with a punitive God. They sat in fear of the world, but also of God. A God who knew of their failed faith, their acting out of fear, their forgetfulness of truth. Jesus knew of Peter’s denial, he could not help but see their absence at the cross, he remembered that they had argued over their own importance, he was fully aware of their abandonment of their rabbi when their theories met the harsh reality of the cross. It only made sense to now expect retribution of the punishing God because they knew that they deserved punishment.

The punitive God was who they had met at the arrest of Jesus, as well as what they had heard about at the cross. That would be the God awaiting them at the tomb, a mad God, who needed to kick some butt, their butt. A God who is out to get us is the God who can control and manipulate a humanity that sorely need a cosmic bully. Why do to the grave when the principal is waiting there with his paddle?

Modern Evangelical Christianity, something that came out of a holy desire to tell our story, morphed into formulaic manipulation of a flawed version of God, empowers itself on the words of the Apostle Paul,  [Slide] “The wages of sin are death.” This word wages has become that paddle in the principal’s hand, which is the flawed view of God that comes out of our erred understanding of God.

[Slide] The problem is that wages are not a punishment – wages are a previously agreed upon payment for actions. We do not accept a job without first agreeing on a salary, the wages for our efforts, our actions. Our wages are the goal of our work, not the punishment for our actions. [Slide] When we turn from God we choose to no longer let God be our God, we accept a new wage contract – death (because we are unable to sustain life.) [Slide] Wages as Punishment is a flawed understanding that brings us to a terribly mistaken view of God’s act on the cross, paralyzing us when it is time to go to the tomb.  [Slide] God’s actions at the cross are not punitive, because God never doles out punishment, even when He is angry. God is redemptive, His actions on the cross are redemptive, he buys out our contract where we are paid death, [Slide] God pays for our death with a death, and, in turn, gives us life. Eternal Redemption is an exchange that only God is cosmically able to pay the price.

[Slide] God’s redemptive act of Handing Jesus over for the payment of our death, recreates us as a new creation.

This past week I got mustard on my favorite blue shirts. I love this shirt as evidenced in the fact that there are three of them in my closet. So, when I became aware of the great mustard travesty, I was determined to save my shirt.

I quickly shouted it out using the spray kept over the washer. Later that evening, Andrea yelled out a question for the utility room “What did you do to your shirt?” I reminder her of her system of treating mustard stains to which she came out the room holding up my properly sprayed shirt. The problem was, I had someone sprayed Clorox Clean Up instead of the spot remover. I am unable, and actually no one is able, to fix the problem. I am considering just spraying the entire shirt giving me a dodgy white shirt, but the idea has been met with some skepticism. The truth is that I cannot make this shirt back to what it was, I cannot undo the Clorox consequences. The only thing I can do is to cover it up with another color or, just give in and go full hog on a cloroxed shirt.

Our human problem that can be fixed with a human solution. And, equally true, we cannot redeem ourselves. We are unable to reconcile our relationship with God. We cannot make ourselves anew. However, God can, God did, God does.

[Slide] The Israelites saw see the sin and guilt ritual offerings as a prerequisite to receiving God’s forgiveness. They thought that performance of these rituals assured God’s continued presence.

[Slide] Many of us still hold this perception of God. We allow flawed narratives to pervert our relationship with God. However, God invites us daily to forge our own understanding of him through our own learning and growing experiences with God.

[Slide] Jesus came to reframe how to be in relationship with God, others, and each ourselves. Jesus taught a consciousness that is a relational experience with the Lord that supersedes the law. 

[Slide] Many Christians perceive themselves to be in relationship with God, when really they are in relationship with a man made Biblical narrative. It is time for many of us to release our flawed thinking of this punitive God and get to know the Redemptive God.

[Slide] God’s act of handing over Jesus on the cross, his show of love invites us daily to forgive ourselves and each other, balanced with holding ourselves and each other accountable. Love aids us in healing through our traumas. It is time for us to liberate our punitive image of God.”

Rev. Kyndra D. Frazier, LMSW, M. Div. NYC Hope Center, FCBC Harlem

The women had come to a corrected view of God, not has a Punitive God, but instead, as a Redemptive God. They could not help but see God this way, because they saw that Jesus this way.

The women go to the tomb without expectations, they go because that is where Jesus is, or so they think. When they discover Jesus is absent, they refuse to leave, instead they wait. They are waiting for their Messiah just as they have done since they first chose to follow Jesus.

Here is where we are confronted with the irony of the cross and resurrection story – they have the story to tell not because of what they saw but what they did not see.

[Slide]  “Jesus’ absence unexpectedly points to his presence. Jesus’ absence empowers the women to speak boldly and faithfully on his behalf, and they do.

[Slide] Their proclamation that Jesus is present (even though all they actually first saw was an absent Jesus) — their message that Jesus is alive on earth is an act of redemptive remembering, a recalling of Jesus’ earlier teachings. They seek to draw together a community that has been dismembered and torn apart.

[Slide] The women’s experience reminds us that when we love God, our neighbor, and ourselves with our words and our actions, we render Christ visible in a world where the divine seems absent. We draw community together, instead of being pulled apart by fear, confusion, grief, and distress.

[Slide] When we draw attention to a deeper reality that is often hard to remember, believe, or see, —God is still present and working. Death does not, and will not, have the last word. That good news is what Christians proclaim when we say that Christ is resurrected. He is no longer in the tomb.

Michal Beth Dinkler, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn.

  1. God is the Redemptive God.
  2. In Jesus, we are a new creation creation.
  3. These women had the story to tell because they stuck around until they saw Jesus.
  4. This is our story to tell.

Let’s PrayResponse – Verbal Congregational Response 

Leader: Our God is the mighty God of mercy, the artist of the resurrection dawn, bringing the glory of our resurrected Lord who makes every day new.

Response: We exist in gratefulness for our mighty God.

Leader: We are grateful for our mighty God’s sustaining goodness of creation, for the new creation in Christ and all the gifts of healing and forgiveness . . . for the gifts of relationship with others . . . for the holy collective of faith in God’s church.

Response: May we never cease to be amazed at the moments of seen and unseen thanksgivings.

Leader: May our God of might renew this weary world, heal the hurts, bring peace through our Resurrected deliverer Jesus Christ.

Response: May our God who is truth and light renew our world weary of war and hatred.

Leader: May we recognize God’s calling to the church to be agents of peace, to address hunger, to provide shelter, to stand against racism, and to strive to give all people, and people groups, a voice. May we be disgusted by racism, may we be alarmed at nationalism, may we be disturbed by the church as it forgets Jesus’ love, mercy, compassion, and embrace.

Response: May we live in the present and resurrected Jesus, may we humbly love mercy and justice.

Leader: May we stand at the empty tomb, trusting that our resurrected Jesus is present even when everything looks like he is absent. May we live in the new day of the resurrection, the victorious proof of God’s love, the hope that carries us from every valley and over every mountaintop.

Response: May we allow Jesus to be present in, and through, us. Convicting us of the sins of hatred, racism, selfishness, dismissal, arrogance, judgment, and condemnation.

Leader: May we recognize that we live and walk in a world that God created, may we always remember that we live and walk amongst the humans that were created out of God’s love. May we remember that love is not just for us and those that are like us.

Response: God, may we be free flowing rivers of God’s mercy and compassion.

Response – Music 3

It Is Well With My Soul

CCLI Song # 3366183, Horatio Gates Spafford

Verse 1

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

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Verse 2

Tho’ Satan should buffet

Tho’ trials should come

Let this blest assurance control

That Christ hath regarded

My helpless estate

And hath shed His own blood

For my soul

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Verse 3

My sin O the bliss

Of this glorious tho’t

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

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Verse 4

And Lord haste the day

When the faith shall be sight

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll

The trump shall resound

And the Lord shall descend

Even so it is well

With my soul

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Community

  • Next Sunday, May 15, Moved, Luke 7:11-17
  • Alternate Signer Affirmation, Larry Leighton
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Asking questions is the Easter thing to do!

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 05.01.22

Order

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Call to Worship (10:30)  Rick

Music 1 – Standing Billy & Abbie

Agnes Dei

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

I Love To Tell the Story

Prayer Rick

Scripture Matthew 28:1-10 On Line-Duffy

Music 2 Billy & Abbie

I Love You Lord

Oh How I Love Jesus

Message Verbalizing Fear and Joy Rick

Congregational Response 

Benediction (signal ? when ready) InPerson-Segun

Music 3 Revelation Song Billy & Abbie

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome (No slides) (Abbie sings accapela parentheses)

Today we continue to focus on the four accounts of the resurrection, this morning we stop at the gospel of Matthew. Mark invited us to step into the story while John focuses on Mary Magdalene, who was ready and willing to be the preacher of the story of Jesus’ resurrection. 

Matthew’s resurrection account lets us see Mary, and the others,  processing life, death, and then life again. Digging deep into the pain and agony while, at the same time, parsing through the adrenaline rush of amazement and joy. Processing in preparation for the call to verbalize life, death, and life anew.

Life and death. Life and death and life. This is the story of Easter, the story of  the resurrection, the story in which we are allowed an upfront seat to watch the followers of Jesus process Jesus’ life, death, and life – at a bloodied cross and an empty grave and then into the new rhythms of their lives.

In our human thought process, death rarely is a moment of joy and joy is seldom an element of death. Death never arrives at an opportune time. Death is seldom about one death, it is usually accompanied by other deaths, a death of hope, a death of dreams, a death of so much that we hold dear. Our human thought process leads us to think of life and death as linear, life then death. Our eternal thought process thinks of life wrapped in death and death wrapped in life.

The story had begun days before as an enormous crowd lined the streets yelling the joy through two words of praise – Hallelujah and Hosannah. The week ended with with subtle utterances of a solemn word of praise – Alleluia. (Alleluia)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary’s stood near the cross, able to look directly into the eyes of Jesus, making a visual connection with Jesus, a moment where they saw Jesus and Jesus noticed each one of them. Standing close enough to hear Jesus’ cries of physical pain, his plea to quench his thirst, to eavesdrop on the moment when the Father rejection the Son. (Alleluia)

Imagine standing almost close enough to touch Jesus yet too far to be of any help. Being able to feel the pain and to see the agony, but a world away to fully understand or process the meaning. Imagine, watching while this man of mercy, compassion, and love, was dying a brutal and undeserved death. (For the Lord God Almighty reigns)

This was the death of hope, the death of eternity, the death of righteousness, the death of justice, the death of peace. This was the death of the dreams of the women as they stood looking up at the cross. (Alleluia)

And then, before the processing journey could come to a conclusion, this same group stood at the empty tomb. A tomb where Jesus’ body should have been laid on the stone, but the tomb was empty. A mysterious messenger pronounced that Jesus had gone on ahead, sticking with the plan to move forward (Alleluia)

It is no wonder that the resurrection accounts hold to a climax of continuation and confusion, of terror and amazement, of fear and joy. (For the Lord God Almighty reigns)

This is the story of Easter, this is the experience of the Resurrection, this is the eternal moment of our realized completed hope.

(Alleluia, alleluia, For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia, alleluia, For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia)

(Billy joins in with accompaniment and voice as Abbie sings,

You are Holy holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb)

 Then move into Agnus Dei full song with words displayedMusic 1 (21 slides)

Agnus Dei 

CCLI Song # 626713 Michael W. Smith

Verse

Alleluia alleluia
For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia alleluia
For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia

Chorus

You are Holy holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

You are holy holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Amen

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

CCLI Song # 33399 Crosby | Sweney

Chorus

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Verse 1

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Tell how the angels in chorus
Sang as they welcomed His birth
Glory to God in the highest
Peace and good tidings to earth 

Chorus

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Verse 2

Fasting alone in the desert
Tell of the days that are past
How for our sins He was tempted
Yet was triumphant at last


Tell of the years of His labour
Tell of the sorrow He bore
He was despised and afflicted
Homeless rejected and poor

Chorus

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Verse 3

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him
Writhing in anguish and pain
Tell of the grave where they laid Him
Tell how He liveth again


Love in that story so tender
Clearer than ever I see
Stay let me weep while you whisper
Love paid the ransom for me

I Love To Tell The Story

CCLI Song # 29413

Arabella Katherine Hankey | William Gustavus Fischer

Verse 1

I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love


I love to tell the story
Because I know ’tis true
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do

Chorus

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Verse 2

I love to tell the story
More wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies
Of all our golden dreams


I love to tell the story
It did so much for me
And that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee

Chorus

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Verse 4

I love to tell the story
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest


And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new new song
‘Twill be the old old story
That I have loved so long

Chorus

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Prayer (7 Slides total)

[Prayer title slide only until ‘Our Father] God, we come before you today as we process. Process Life, Death, and Life again. 

God open our eyes to see your compassion, mercy, 

and love in the story of Easter. 

Open our hearts to bathe in your love. 

Open our ears to hear your voice of hope. 

Open our minds to your plan.

[Please join in the Lord’s prayer, words are on the screen] [7 slides begin] 

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture (No Slides)

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Matthew 28:1-10

Music 2 (8 slides)

I Love You Lord

CCLI Song # 25266

Laurie Klein

Chorus

I love You Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
O my soul rejoice

Take joy my King
In what You hear
May it be a sweet sweet sound
In Your ear

(Repeat)

Oh How I Love Jesus

CCLI Song # 4596756

Bob Singleton

Chorus

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Verse 1

There is a name I love to hear
I love to sing its worth
It sounds like music in my ear
The sweetest name on earth

Chorus

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Verse 2

It tells me of a Savior’s love
Who died to set me free
It tells me of His precious blood
The sinner’s perfect plea

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Message – Verbalizing Fear and Joy (13 Slides)

It has occurred to me recently that the resurrection accounts, and actually all four gospels, share a common problem. A Mary Problem. A problem for Jesus, a problem for the disciples, a problem for the institutional religious leaders, a problem for the Roman occupiers. Just a problem. A problem that in itself will become the solution.

Jesus had a Mary problem throughout his ministry. His Mary insisted that he prevent a wine catastrophe even though it was too early for him to be so public. His Mary problem forced him to step into he human experience of deep grief even though he needed to preform a miracle. His Mary was too pushy in her advocacy for her sons, his Mary was too messy and sinful. This Mary collective was a constant wild card usually appearing in times unsuitable for a Mary problem.  Jesus’ Mary problem began to prepare him for burial in a very public manner at a moment when such a public display was deemed inappropriate inviting his foes to begin their assault. The religious leaders Mary problem continued to disrupt their plans even when following Jesus became unpopular, ridiculous, and dangerous. Surprisingly, especially for those who expected the followers to quit following after Jesus was crucified, the Mary problem only increased, the women passionately continued to search and listen for Jesus even though his dead body could not be found.

However, Jesus was fully aware that his Mary problem would ultimately be God’s solution to bring truth to the hurting and hiding followers of Jesus in their moment of hopelessness and doom. It was a time when the death of the Messiah came with much collateral death – the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of hope, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of dreams, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of promise, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of eternity, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of life.

The religious leaders identified Jesus as the source of their problems – their solution was to get rid of Jesus which would get rid of Jesus’ followers and then,  this entire Jesus problem would just be a bad memory. They leaders failed to predict a Mary problem, their plan held no contingency for a Mary problem. The foes of Jesus never imagined a group of Jesus followers, particularly female followers, would refuse to give up on Jesus – the thought was unimaginable especially after Jesus had been so publicly and brutally crucified. Regardless, the Marys would become the paramount problem for the foes of Jesus. These established religious leaders had meticulously and strategically devised their plan to end their Jesus’ problem but they didn’t see what God had awaiting. It was easy enough to manipulate the Romans to arrest and nail Jesus to the cross, they had only to appeal to the politicians fear of losing political standing, to their egos that needed a a constant diet of power, affirmations , and acclaim. The crowds who had been the robust and public supporters of Jesus just days ago were also easy to redirect – just plant some ridiculous rumors in the right minds, or scare them with a fear of personal hardship and they would be easy to turn them into an angry mob seeking Jesus’ death. Sadly, just like today, few sought out truth, they continued to believe the false rumors and conspiracies, they continued to pass those lies and deceit on to others as if they were known and proven fact. But, the truth was, also much like today, truth had been become less and less valued – truth is  that truth in 2022 has also become as worthless as it was to the mobs that scrammed for the death of Jesus. Even more tragic is that Christians have taken a place at the front of the line in allowing truth to be ignored and devalued.

The religious leaders watched as the body of Jesus was taken down from the cross, they patted each other on the back. “Good job everyone,” they proclaimed to each other, “that was a bit messy but we did it, we got rid of Jesus.”

However, it at that very moment, one of their very own, one who had begun the risky search for truth, Joseph from Arimathea, a religious leader, could no longer affirm the deceit, he could no longer ignore the truth. God led Joseph to risk his position, passion, and livelihood in taking actions that were counter to his contemporaries. Actions that served to  empower the Marys to continue following Jesus. The body was taken to a grave donated by Joseph, and in turn, Joseph made it possible for the Marys to return to being Marys. 

Matthew’s resurrection account bring new elements to the resurrection story that are yet unseen – armed Romans guards watching over the tomb and a two earthquakes. The justifiable fear of the religious leaders was that the body might be taken, a dead body could be a concrete rallying cry to the followers of Jesus. Again, it was easy to convince the Roman politicians that guards were needed. 

So now, in addition to the huge stone blocking the entrance to the tomb, the women were going to face the powerful guards, whose sole job was to keep the women out. The Marys went to the tomb anyway, they were propelled by their faith, a faith that still led them to Jesus, to truth.

[Slide] In the Greek, we see the undeterred Marys journey  to the tomb for the purpose of ‘theoresai’: to see the tomb where Jesus laid, to look at the body and remember the life, to consider the impact of the absence in death, to contemplate this new stage of faith. They arrived at the grave in time to witness an angel and an earthquake solve their stone and guard dilemma. The stone was moved and the guards remained too terrified to prevent the women from approaching the tomb. Matthew’s messenger, who was  much more Hollywood than the messengers presented by Mark and John, explained to the women,

[Slide] “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been resurrected, just as he said he would be.” 

[Slide] “Come, see the place where he was laid. Then go quickly and tell his followers, He has been resurrected from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.”

[Slide] A message.

[Slide] A message from the resurrected Christ.

[Slide] A message of passion as Jesus continued his mission.

[Slide] A message of eternal hope and eternal peace.

[Slide] A message of the deliverance.

[Slide] A message calling the women to be the messengers of the truth.

[Slide] “So the women, and the Marys, left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to verbalize their fear and joy to Jesus’ followers.” 

[Slide] On the way, the Marys are surprised to encounter into Jesus. Why was he not on his way to Galilee? Had he delayed his journey because he intrinsically needed to embrace his followers? Did he need their affirmation? Did Jesus recognize these new messengers need for reassurance and presence as they went to verbalize their fear and their joy?

[Slide] They took hold of Jesus’ feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; now, go and tell my followers to go to Galilee.

[Slide] A calling that paired their fear with their personal experience, and their joy with their defined purpose.

Once again, the Marys ran to the other followers but now with an added ordination to preach the truth, an ordination from Jesus himself to testify of what they, and only they, had seen.

The religious leaders attempted to manage the backlash from the politicians – they used a technique that, sadly, religious leaders and religious groups, politicians, political parties, political pundits, and many others have found to be highly effective – lies, deceit, manipulating truth, swearing by credibly unfounded and outlandish rumors, invalidated conspiracies, along with false testimonies, unholy alliances. UnChristlike maneuvering that would easily achieve a wicked and unGodly goal.

“Do not be afraid;” Jesus said, “go and tell the others to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Theologian Scholar Elisabeth Johnson, leave us with the challenge, 

“What do we make of all these details that are unique to Matthew’s story? The earth-shaking news of the resurrection is unsettling, even frightening; it shatters all our human attempts at security and jolts us into the unfamiliar territory of God’s new creation. In Jesus, the reign of God breaks open everything that seemed fixed and immovable — even death and stone-cold tombs. Yet for all the impressive special effects of this resurrection story, the resurrection is not merely an exercise of power on God’s part. It is that, but more importantly, it is an act of love. It is an act of love on the part of God, who will not abandon Jesus to the grave, and will not abandon us to sin and death and despair. It is an act of love on the part of God, who took on the worst of our violence and brutality and refused to respond in kind. Instead God responded with an act that made all things new. No wall of stone is large enough to keep Jesus in the tomb. So it is with the life-giving power and love of God. No show of force, no contingent of guards or security police can stop it. No ungodly maneuvering of religious leaders can halt the resurrection. The resurrection is an earth-shaking, unsettling event. But as Jesus himself tells us, we need not be afraid. The One who shakes the earth with the resurrection is the One who holds our future, who promises to meet us and to be with us, even to the end of the age.”

Elisabeth Johnson, Professor, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon

Let’s PrayResponse – Verbal Congregational Response (6 slides)

Leader: Death is a part of life, a part of this life. Death was not the intention of God, but it was the chosen path of humans. Death is not the enemy, death is not the end, death is not darkness.

Response: May we not let our hearts be troubled. May we continue to believe in God, to believe in Jesus.

Leaders: When the foes of God thought they had stopped the ministry of Jesus, they still found themselves afraid and fearful. Something inside them revealed them that the followers of Jesus would not be dissuaded.

Response:  May we still bring spices to the tomb, may we seek to anoint the body of Jesus.

Leader: A huge stone and a contingent of guards were awaiting anyone trying to see Jesus.

Response: The stone was rolled away, the guards were standing in stunned silence, nothing could prevent the followers.

Leader: Death stifles God’s natural rhythms of love and life. Death attempts to distract us turning us into obstacles working against Jesus’ prayer ‘Thy Kingdom come.’ 

Response: God does not deliver me into the hand of the enemy; God has set my feet on a broad place.

Leader: We live in in the tension between death and life, between the cross and the empty tomb, between fear and joy.

Response: May we navigate fear and joy empowered by our trust in God.

Leader: May we wait even when we see nothing. May we be unhindered by nothingness. May hope prevail even when hope seems very far away.

Response: May we remain to seek, may we listen to hear, may we hold to the author of truth and love.

Response – Music 3 (7  slides) 

Revelation Song

CCLI Song # 4447960

Jennie Lee Riddle

Verse 1

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Holy holy is He
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Verse 2

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory
And power be to You the only wise King

Verse 3

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power breath and living water
Such a marv’lous mystery

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Community (3 Slides)

  • Next Sunday, May 8 – Handed Over, Luke 24:1-12
  • Engagement drop by this afternoon
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 04.24.22

Order

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Call to Worship (10:30)                  Rick

Music 1 – Standing                         Lynn & Team

    This is the Day

    His Name is Wonderful

    In Christ Alone

Prayer  Rick

Scripture            John 20:11-18                 On Line-Grace

Music 2                                     Lynn & Team

He is Lord

                The Wonderful Cross

MessageFirst Called (John 20:11-18)        Rick

Congregational Response Benediction       Steve M

Music 4     Happy Day                 Lynn & Team

Community (Gallery View)                       Rick

Closing Peace                                               Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome

Welcome, to our second Sunday of Easter. Last week we saw the resurrection account through the words of Mark. Today we venture to the tomb through the words of John. Jesus said ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’

Today, again, we see Mary Magdalene go to the grave at sunrise, looking for a dead body, seeking to grieve for the life of her beloved Jesus. Jesus said ‘Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.’

The followers of Christ only knew of death being an end. Mary assumed that even though she would still be a follower of Jesus, following a dead Savior. Jesus said, ‘everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’

At the tomb, Mary did not see Jesus, there was no sign of his body, and very little evidence that he had ever been there. However, she still stayed at the grave, she was staying until she found Jesus. Through the prophet Jeremiah God said, ‘When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.’

Mary heard her name and she recognized Jesus, no longer absent but alive, Jesus was resurrected. Jesus said, “ I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Music 1

This Is The Day

CCLI Song # 32754

Les Garrett

Verse

This is the day

This is the day

That the Lord hath made

That the Lord hath made

We will rejoice

We will rejoice

And be glad in it

And be glad in it

This is the day

That the Lord hath made

We will rejoice and be glad in it

This is the day

This is the day

That the Lord hath made

His Name Is Wonderful

CCLI Song # 1122230

Audrey Mieir

Chorus

His name is Wonderful

His name is Wonderful

His name is Wonderful

Jesus my Lord

He is the mighty King

Master of ev’rything

His name is Wonderful

Jesus my Lord

He’s the Great Shepherd

The rock of all ages

Almighty God is He

Bow down before Him

Love and adore Him

His name is Wonderful

Jesus my Lord

In Christ Alone

CCLI Song # 3350395

Keith Getty | Stuart Townend

Verse 1

In Christ alone my hope is found

He is my light my strength my song

This Cornerstone this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love what depths of peace

When fears are stilled when strivings cease

My Comforter my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand

Verse 2

In Christ alone who took on flesh

Fullness of God in helpless babe

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones He came to save

Till on that cross as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied

For every sin on Him was laid

Here in the death of Christ I live

Verse 3

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain

Then bursting forth in glorious Day

Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine

Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Verse 4

No guilt in life no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Prayer

Christ our life, You are alive – in the beauty of the earth, in the rhythm of the seasons, in the mystery of time and space. Alleluia

Christ our life, You are alive – in the tenderness of touch, in the heartbeat of intimacy, in the insights of solitude. Alleluia

Christ our life, You are alive – in the creative possibility of the dullest conversation, of the dreariest task, the most threatening event. Alleluia

Christ our life, You are alive – to offer re-creation to every unhealed hurt, to every deadened place, to every damaged heart. Alleluia.

You set before us a great choice. Therefore we choose life. We choose the dance of resurrection, the soars and surges through the whole creation, this is grace. This is the resurrection.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

John 20:11-18

Music 2

He Is The Lord

CCLI Song # 1515225

Claire Cloninger | Linda Lee Johnson | Tom Fettke

Chorus

He is Lord He is Lord

He is risen from the dead

And He is Lord

Ev’ry knee shall bow

Ev’ry tongue confess

That Jesus Christ is Lord

The Wonderful Cross

CCLI Song # 3148435

Chris Tomlin | Isaac Watts | J. D. Walt | Jesse Reeves | Lowell Mason

Verse 1

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

Verse 2

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

Chorus

O the wonderful cross

O the wonderful cross

Bids me come and die and find

That I may truly live

O the wonderful cross

O the wonderful cross

All who gather here by grace

Draw near and bless Your name

Verse 3

Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were an offering far too small

Love so amazing so divine

Demands my soul my life my all

Message – First Called

In the fall of 2005, a day that school pick up was my responsibility, I was driving away from the school, when all five kids in the van. The path home included a three way stop where I stopped waited my turn to proceed. I was driving like a model citizen. It was in that moment, as I sat, diligently obeying all of the instructions of the Oklahoma State Driver’s Manual. Then, there was a jolt, a bang, followed by tears and cries. We had been hit from behind.

Later, when I saw the police report and my thorough account of the facts of the incident I moved down on the paper to read the account of the person who had hit us. I was shocked at her misperception of everything that had taken place. Either the police officer had written it down wrong, or the lady had confused our collision with another of the other automobile wreck that this evil womanhad caused day…well, I assumed that last part, and the evil woman part (she actually turned out to be the mother of a high school friend).

She had accused me of multiple stops and starts, of seemingly being unsure about who was to turn next. The more outraged I was the more I began to wonder if she was right. I was confident, or fairly confident, – but, did I really know whose was to turn next, and, was I sure that I had made a definite stop.

Sometimes, stories told of the same story can end up sounding different, remembered through different lens, they sound as if they are in direct conflict with each other. However, ultimately, both stories ended with the Anthony van having a big dent in the rear bumper.

Mrs. Cook, the pre-K teacher all five of our kids were blessed to have, would always begin each year by telling the parents, “I will only believe half of the stories your children tell me about you, and ask that you only believe half of the stories they tell you about me.”

Stories often begin with a kernel, or more, of truth, are then influenced by the voice, mind, and heart of the story teller, and finally, are received through the filter of the listener.

For four Sundays we are looking at the resurrection of each of the gospels. Last Sunday we began with Mark’s account which ended surprisingly with an abrupt ending that included no actual sighting of Jesus only a message that he had gone ahead to Galilee as he and planned with the disciples before the crucifixion. The women who had arrived at the tomb at sunrise were told to go tell the disciples yet, in their fear and amazement, they ran home and told no one.

This week’s story in the gospel of John, tells the same story, yet Mary Magdalene is the only visitor to the tomb at sunrise. There, she also does not immediately see Jesus, but instead is told by the angelic messengers that Jesus has been resurrected from the dead and has gone ahead. Mary Magdalene, here also, is instructed to go and tell the others, which she did.

All four of the gospels share a common story detailing the resurrection of Jesus following the crucifixion.  All four contain a tomb with no dead body inside, a mysterious message and unknown messengers,  a mixture of fear with amazement, and a woman named Mary Magdalene who is ordained to be the first storyteller, the preacher, of Jesus’ resurrection.

With today’s story we have two stories of the same event, one told by Mark, who had heard the resurrection story third hand from his mentor the apostle Paul who had received the story second hand. Mark focuses on the human reaction, the reality of mixed emotions – fear and amazement and invites us into the resurrection experience to see for ourselves.

Today’s resurrection account, written by John who was the second to arrive at the tomb following Mary, and the first to hear Mary’s account of the story. John also had a first person experience with the living Jesus prior to the resurrection. John, writes the story focused primarily on Mary, along with Peter, and his own experience at the empty grave. What it means to him as a flawed follower of Jesus, as an apostle and leader of the followers, and what this means to the world.

The Gospel of John is very different that the other three gospels, featuring quite distinct vocabulary contrasting belief and unbelief, light and darkness, truth and falsehood.  John had read the other three gospels and their resurrection accounts, then, God led him to write an account from his own personal perspective.

John weaves a thread through his gospel of an intimate personal relationship between the believer and Jesus, a relationship in which the believer “abides” in Jesus and Jesus “abides’ in the believer.

John wrote to readers who had seen the second brick and mortar Temple destroyed. Since the temple represented the presence of God, no temple sent a message interpreted by Jews that ‘God is no longer present’, creating confusion, loss, and disillusionment among the Jewish believers.

For this reason, John possibly focused the resurrection largely on Mary Magdalene, a confident follower of Jesus who discovered that the absent Jesus was still very much present. John is writing a hopeful message to his Jewish contemporaries who are asking, “Where is God?”

Even with the differences in John’s resurrection account we cannot deny the revelations presented. Jesus is not in the tomb, he is alive and continuing on with the plans made with the disciples prior to the cross. We see that Mary Magdalene was the first commissioned to tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection, even before Jesus’ disciples were ready to tell.

The name Mary was a popular name in the time of Jesus, in fact, one of every four women at the time are thought to have been named Mary. In all three of the  synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mary, and Luke, the resurrection story contains two different Mary’s listed in the same sentence. And, if we are technical at least one of those passages Mark 16:1, which we looked at last week, “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”, has three women named Mary – Salome is actually the root word from which Mary is derived. So, the many women, at least six in the story of Jesus, named Mary, can get a bit confusing.

Mary the mother of Jesus

Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus

Mary the mother of James and Joseph

Mary of Bethany

Mary the mother of John Mark

Mary Magdalene

Pope Gregory 1, in the year 591, had a problem with the numerous Marys. Not that he disagreed with their presence, what they did, and who they were – he just couldn’t keep them straight. He especially mixed up Mary Magdalene with the other Marys, creating many incorrect views of Mary Magdalene.  Mary Magdalene was a women financially able, and willing, to be a financial supporter of Jesus’ ministry, and a faithful follower herself. She is the first named in the gospels of the woman at the cross and at the tomb. Jesus had delivered Mary Magdalene from demons on numerous occasions and her faith was a constant testimony of her transformation.

Mary Magdalene had experienced a life altering transformation with Jesus leading to a very real and deeply engrained trust in, and devotion to, Jesus. Mary was the first to be spoken to by Jesus following the resurrection accounts and she was the first to be called to be the evangelist of Jesus’ resurrection. Mary had a story to tell and Jesus’ was fully aware of, and confident in, her heart readiness to tell that story.

So, Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb first, before any others. She had seen the body of Jesus placed in the grave so her first action after the Sabbath was to go to the tomb to see the body of Jesus. She acted on what she knew, there was a body there, so there she would go. She knew this would be a difficult task, after all, the tomb was sealed by a boulder, much too big for her to move and that there would possibly be guards there to prevent her from seeing Jesus. Nevertheless, she went to the tomb. She went to where she knew Jesus to be. Yes, Jesus was dead, yes, she did not understand what this all meant, yes, she should have been safely hiding with the male disciples, however, the tomb was the only place she needed to be. Jesus was there, she had seen last him at the tomb, that was where she was going to be as soon as possible.

Mary’s mind was sending her to the tomb to see a dead and decaying body. That was the Jesus her eyes had last seen. She was going to see Jesus, her deliverer whose body had been beaten and abused by a fallen world, she was ready for the horror of seeing the brutality inflicted on Jesus’ body, she was going regardless. This was her Jesus, this was the Jesus she knew, bruises, holes in his hands and feet, lifeless. This was the Jesus she still followed. Whatever that now meant.

She was going to see the Jesus she had know, but awaiting her was the Jesus she had not yet met. Resurrected, victorious, and still compassionate, merciful, and loving, and full of renewed and refreshed life.

After the disciples came later and saw the empty tomb, they were ready to leave, to return to the safety of their hiding place. Mary chose to stay, she had come to see Jesus and she had not seen him yet, why would she leave? So there she stood, alone and distraught but looking for Jesus nonetheless, she took another look inside the tomb. Two men dressed in white were sitting where Jesus’ body had previously laid.

“Why are you crying,” the men asked.

“I came to see the body of my Lord Jesus, but, as you can see the body is not here.” As she continued looking seemingly unfazed by these previous unseen men, she turned away from the men and there she saw another man she assumed to be the gardener. “Did you move the body, did Joseph need the tomb cleared? If so, just tell me where you put the body and I will take care of it, you won’t have to worry about it.”

“Mary.” The man said.

Mary heard her named called, but it was not just someone saying the most popular name in the country. It was not just a series of letters phonetically voiced. It was not just the word Mary, but it was said in a personal way. This man knows me – this Mary is me. She looked at the man and recognized this was Jesus. This was not the lifeless body that she had been looking for but the living, life filled, Jesus she knew. It was also the Jesus she was seeing anew, a view that revealed so much more than had previously seen.

“Jesus!” Mary screamed, grabbing ahold of Jesus and not letting go. “Your alive, I expected you to be dead but now you are alive! I saw you dead and now you are not dead. You are alive!” Mary continued holding tightly holding on to Jesus, almost squeezing the breath our of him.

“Mary, you have to let go of me. I still have a lot to do, in fact, so do you.” Jesus looked Mary in the eyes as he struggled to free himself from her grasp. “You need to go tell that you have seen me. You are the only one who has seen me, you are the only one who stuck around until you did see me, you are the only one able to tell the others that I am alive.”

“You are the first, and right now the only one, qualified to go and preach to the others that I am alive,” Jesus emphasized the enormity of this truth. “Go, now, this is your calling. Mary, this is your moment.”

The disciples had received the title of Apostles but, before the men could step into those shoes, Mary received the calling to be the first evangelist, proclaiming the truth of Jesus. It had nothing to do with her gender or her skills and abilities, it had to do with the fact that she had stuck around until she saw Jesus, the Jesus she knew and now the Jesus that she knew more.

She was a believer who had a story to tell. A story that was now much bigger than the story she had only three days ago. Mary, while looking for the known, had seen the so much more, now she saw the Jesus and had to so much more to learn and to tell.

I think our question today is, are we sticking around long enough to let Jesus grown and expand our story of Him?

Let’s Pray

Response – Verbal Congregational Response

Leader: May we always remember the empty grave.

Response: May we always remember the evidence of life.

Leader: May we always wait and seek Jesus even when it appears that Jesus is absent.

Response: May we always remember that presence often goes unseen.

Leader: May we stand with Mary Magdalene alone at the tomb, not leaving until we hear Jesus call out our name.

Response: May we listen and hear the voice that knows us.

Leader: May our holy experiences guide and shape our lives.

Response: May our holy encounters write the stories of our life.

Leader: May we trust in Jesus even when we our senses and emotions deceive and distract us.

Response: May we follow Jesus even when following takes us to the tomb.

Leader: May we hold to truth even when our world has made lies paramount, persuasive, and popular.

Response: May we hold on to Jesus until he calls us to go and report truth.

Response – Music 3

Happy Day

CCLI Song # 4847027

Ben Cantelon | Tim Hughes

Verse 1

The greatest day in history

Death is beaten You have rescued me

Sing it out Jesus is alive

The empty cross the empty grave

Life eternal You have won the day

Shout it out Jesus is alive

He’s alive

Chorus

And oh happy day happy day

You washed my sin away

Oh happy day happy day

I’ll never be the same

Forever I am changed

(What a glorious glorious day)

(I’ll never be the same)

Verse 2

When I stand in that place

Free at last meeting face to face

I am Yours Jesus You are mine

Endless joy perfect peace

Earthly pain finally will cease

Celebrate Jesus is alive

He’s alive

Bridge

Oh what a glorious day

What a glorious way

That You have saved me

And oh what a glorious day

What a glorious name

Ending

What a glorious glorious day

I’ll never be the same

Community

  • Spring Bible Studies Final – Both groups will combine this week on Wednesday at noon, Exodus 17:8 – 19:25
  • Next Sunday, May 1 – Verbalizing Fear and Joy, Matthew 28:1-10
  • An Eggcellent Discussion – tomorrow, Monday at 11:30am, registration email link on web site
  • Engagement drop by this afternoon
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace (3 Slides)

  • As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.
  • And also with you.
  • We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 04.17.22

Order

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Call to Worship (10:30) Rick

Music 1 – Standing Christian & Team
Christ the Lord has Risen Today
Crown Him with Many Crowns

Prayer (prepare for online reader during prayer) Rick

Scripture Mark 13:1-8, 32-37 On Line-Kristen Y

Music 2 Christian & Team
Glorious Day

Message   Not Here (Mark 16:1-8) Rick

Congregational Response
Benediction (signal Steve when slides ready) In Person-Steve

Music 4         Because He Lives             Christian & Team

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome (No slides)

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us a little child, one of us, flesh and blood to share in our humanity – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as carpenter and yet in whose creative hands a world was fashioned – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as fisherman and yet pointed to a harvest that was yet to come – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as teacher and opened eyes to truths that only the poor could understand – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as healer and opened hearts to the reality of wholeness – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as prophet, priest and king, and yet humbled himself to take our place upon the cross – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as servant and revealed to us the extent of his Father’s love for human kind – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus, who rose from the ignominy of a sinner’s death
to the triumph of a Saviour’s resurrection – For God so loved the world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for the sake of me, you, and all sinners. Blest is the Lord Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer.

Let us on this day remember and celebrate the resurrected Jesus!

[Please stand as we open with celebration and praise.]

Music 1 (14 slides)

Christ The Lord Is Risen Today (Easter Hymn)
CCLI Song # 27965
Charles Wesley | Samuel Arnold

Verse 1
Christ the Lord is risen today alleluia
Sons of men and angels say alleluia
Raise your joys and triumphs high alleluia
Sing ye heavens and earth reply alleluia

Verse 2
Lives again our glorious King alleluia
Where O death is now thy sting alleluia
Once he died our souls to save alleluia
Where’s thy victory boasting grave alleluia

Verse 3
Love’s redeeming work is done alleluia
Fought the fight the battle won alleluia
Death in vain forbids Him rise alleluia
Christ hath opened paradise alleluia

Verse 4
Soar we now where Christ has led alleluia
Following our exalted Head alleluia
Made like Him like Him we rise alleluia
Ours the cross the grave the skies alleluia

Crown Him With Many Crowns (Diademata)
CCLI Song # 23938
George Job Elvey | Godfrey Thring | Matthew Bridges

Verse 1
Crown Him with many crowns
The Lamb upon His throne
Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own

Awake my soul and sing
Of Him who died for thee
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity

Verse 2
Crown Him the Lord of life
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save

His glories now we sing
Who died and rose on high
Who died eternal life to bring
And lives that death may die

Verse 3
Crown Him the Lord of love
Behold His hands and side
Rich wounds yet visible above
In beauty glorified

No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight
But downward bends each burning eye
At mysteries so bright

Verse 4
Crown Him the Lord of peace
Whose power a sceptre sways
From pole to pole
That wars may cease

And all be prayer and praise
His reign shall know no end
And round His pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet

Verse 5
Crown Him the Lord of years
The Potentate of time
Creator of the rolling spheres
Ineffably sublime

All hail Redeemer hail
For Thou hast died for me
Thy praise shall never never fail
Throughout eternity

Prayer (3 slides beginning part way through)

God of resurrection of life and death, and God of rebirth
Renew our hearts and minds
God of promise of all beginnings and of all endings
Renew our hearts and minds
God of hope of new growth and harvest
Renew our hearts and minds
[Please join in the Lord’s prayer, words are on the screen]
[3 slides begin]
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
Amen.

Scripture (No Slides)

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mark 16:1-8
Music 2 (11 slides)

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Verse 1
One day when heaven
was filled with His praises
One day when sin was
as black as could be
Jesus came forth to
be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men my example is He

The Word became flesh
And the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Chorus
Living He loved me
dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day (glorious day)

Verse 2
One day they led Him up
Calv’ry’s mountain
One day they nailed Him
to die on a tree
Suffering anguish
despised and rejected
Bearing our sins my Redeemer is He

The hand that healed nations
Stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

Chorus
Living He loved me
dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day (glorious day)

Verse 3
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose over death He had conquered
Now is ascended my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him
The grave could not keep Him
From rising again

Chorus
Living He loved me dying
He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day (glorious day)

Bridge
One day the trumpet
will sound for His coming
One day the skies with
His glories will shine
Wonderful day
my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Ending
O glorious day glorious day
O glorious day
Message – Not Here (27 Slides)
Open with these12 slides/screen share, have ‘Holy’, first slide, up as Rick begins.
[13 Slides] Holy. Holy cow. Holy mackerel. Holy smoke. Holy roller. Holy @#$%&!. Holy Mary, mother of God. Holy land. Holy Week. Take off your shoes Moses, you are standing on Holy ground. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty. Early in the morning my song shall rise to thee.”
(Reginald Heber)

This a a holy time. Not just for us, followers of Christ, but for the followers of the three major religions, all which tie their ancestry back to Abrahan, all who are now also observing Holy.

1.8 billion people are, in this holy time, are, with restraint and repentance, remembering the times over 1,300 hundred years ago when their people we in the midst of suffering, brutality, and oppression, longing for deliverance, calling out to God.

15.2 million people, in this holy time, are remembering the times over 3,000 years ago when their people were in the midst of suffering, brutality, and oppression, longing for deliverance, calling out to God. In their observance they are asking 4 questions,
Why do we only eat matza at this time?
Why we eat bitter herbs at this time?
Why do we dip our food twice at this time?
Why do we al recline to eat at this time?

2.3 billion people, in this holy time, are remembering over 2,000 years ago, when their people were in the midst of suffering, brutality, and oppression, longing for deliverance, calling out to God. Remembering the brutal death of their Messiah, the time of fear and confusion, a time of hopelessness met by another moment, also a moment of fear and confusion, when they were confronted by an empty tomb.

Holiness is all around us. A time of remembrance and holiness. A time of deliverance, guidance, and community.

As Christians we focus on Jesus crucifixion and resurrection. When the standard of how to live, love, and relate was raised by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. A time of deliverance, guidance, and community.

This holy moment takes us all back to a time of brutality and hopelessness, a time of confusion and chaos, a time of doubt, fear, and despair.

Currently, w live in a time when brutal wars are taking place, when masses of people around the globe have become homeless refugees, a time when evil seems to have taken control. We have experienced, and are still in the midst of, a pandemic, unmatched gun violence, extreme effects of climate change, a visible resurgence of racism, trauma and distress, and wars… A time when God’s children of all faiths and cultures are crying out for deliverance, hope, and peace.

Easter, it is not just a remembrance of an event that took place over 2 thousand years ago, it is a reminder that people still exist who are crying out for deliverance, hope, and peace.

This is a time to not only remember but also to recognize the current realities of our world.
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[Slide] “In these catastrophic times, we find ourselves coming back to our faith traditions to find those answers of how to translate all of the noise that we are hearing day in and day out, and how to turn that noise into action. Feelings lead to Hope which can motivate action and change.”
Imam Mohamed Herbert, Tulsa, OK Islamic Society

Sergey Nakul, pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, who has decided to stay in Kyiv and minister in the midst of the Russian invasion says,
[Slide] “Friends ask me, what lessons have you learnt during these days of war? I express this with only one powerful and precious word, ‘Emmanuel – God is with us.’
Sergey Nakul, pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Kyiv, Ukraine,
Our remembrances and observances of a time that was, as well as our current
Screen share for duration of line time which still is, presents us with an opportunity to join the women standing at the foot of the cross, and then at the empty grave, to experience their confusion and fear. To understand their all consuming sense of abandonment.

[Slide] “Sometimes in dire circumstances when we ask ‘where is God?’ We are unaware that God is actually giving us his strength to carry through the circumstances. It is okay, and natural, to feel abandoned, even Christ on the said, ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ Jesus endorses that human feeling.

[Slide] Small acts of evil have real impact, and small acts of love send ripples of grace through the world.

[Slide] Jesus was a person who drew lines, and Jesus was a person who stood for right. He turned over the tables in the temple where the money changers were treating the people unfairly.

[Slide] Jesus stood up and would not tolerate injustice. And, yet when Jesus is crucified, he doesn’t attack those who are crucifying him, he instead prays for them, ‘God forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.’ Until forgiveness is mutual the cycle of war and bloodshed continues.”
Father Constantine Lazarakis (Priest of Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, south Hampton NY).

[Slide] “Our ancestors also lived in catastrophic times. They walked this path before us, and created ways to withstand the suffering around them which helps us in our day to day life withstand the suffering around us.

[Slide] Helping us on an individual level, step by step, not just to nourish our souls but to transform that into action. Coming out of a dark and narrow place into a place of freedom. It’s about hope, overcoming the obstacles that lead to human suffering.”
Rabbi Ruth Zlotnick, (Temple Beth Am in Seattle, WA)

So, today, in this time of remembering God’s work in the past, we also remember the suffering of great swaths of God’s children currently suffering times of brutality, uncertainty, displacement and doubt, times when the question of ‘Where is God?’ are justified and understandable – we reckon back to a woman named Mary, standing at an empty grave, asking the same question, “Where is God?’

This year, on this Easter morning, we go to the gospel of Mark. The final chapter of Mark, his account of Jesus’ resurrection, has been a mystery to many Bible scholars and experts. Many feel that the actual writings of Mark end with verse 8, and that later, someone, added the final verses. Some modern translations end with verse 8, while others continue with a notation. It is not that the extra verses are unBiblical, their accuracy is documented, they affirm truth. However, they are not consistent with Mark’s writing. It is possible that these verses were added to lessen the bluntness of Mark’s ending. However, when we stop at verse 8, we have Mark challenging us to think of the resurrection not as a moment of finality, but instead, as a moment where Jesus is moving forward – Enhancing our perspective on the divine as well as the human elements of the resurrection
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[Slide] With this in mind, Mark’s Gospel gospel ends with fear and silence: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (16:8). There are no resurrection appearances, there is no final commissioning of the disciples; there is only confusion, fear, and silence, and the group of women do not return and tell the disciples.

[Slide] ‘Mark’s Gospel ends, shrouded in darkness and disillusionment. No wonder scribes and interpreters throughout the ages have felt compelled to finish Mark’s story for him. We want closure; we want an ending that ties up the loose ends of the story and brings it to a satisfying conclusion –

[Slide] we want a happy ending. We want to see Jesus alive! But the risen Jesus does not even appear in Mark. We are left, with the women, in their fear and confusion.’
Elisabeth Johnson, Professor, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon

As Judas showed up in the garden to betray Jesus, followed by Jesus arrest – the disciples deserted Jesus and fled. Peter show up for Jesus’ trial but emphatically denied knowing Jesus—not once, but three times.

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome stand as witnesses to the events of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. They see the tomb where Jesus’ body is laid. They return early on this first day of the week to anoint Jesus’ body for burial. Once there, there is no body. Instead, a young man dressed in a white robe greets them with the news that Jesus is not here, he has been resurrected, and then commissions the women to “go, tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that Jesus is going ahead to Galilee as they had planned”.

The women are now authorized to proclaim the good news that Jesus has been resurrected, yet, the young man’s words fail to dispel the women’s fear. Like the male disciples, the women flee, overcome by terror and amazement. “And they say nothing to anyone”. 
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[Slide] “Mark’s abrupt ending presents us with a tension between disappointment and anticipation. An unfinished story closer to our actual experience of the world. In the real world, tensions are often unresolved; loose ends are rarely all tied up. Our lives are full of unfinished stories—

[Slide] We try to find ways to find an ending that satisfies, but every ending we fashion inevitably disappoints. Despite Mark’s unsettled and unsatisfying ending, it leaves us with anticipation and a reason to hope. The tomb is empty, Death could not hold Jesus down.

[Slide] “Go, tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you”. We have every reason to believe that what Jesus promised will take place, because his word has already been consistently fulfilled. Our life of faith is lived between the resurrection and Jesus’ ultimate return.

[Slide] We walk by faith and not by sight, clinging to the promise that we will see the Lord, despite the fear and confusion we currently experience. God will bring to completion the redemptive, reconciling work already begun in Jesus Christ, as God has promised.“
Elisabeth Johnson, Professor, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon
“You missed Jesus because he has already moved on, there is much to do. Tell the disciples, and especially Peter who needs some encouragement now, to meet Jesus in Galilee as planned. We must continue what we have been doing!”

Mark’s presentation is not a different story of Jesus resurrection, it is just Jesus continuing what he had be doing all along, the women eventually did speak, and Jesus continued doing what he said he would do, doing what he had arranged with the disciples, doing what the Father sent him to do. Over 2,000 years later, we are left to act on the story. We are invited into the narrative, to meet Jesus who has gone ahead of us to our Galilee. This is just ‘the beginning of the good news’ – this, today, is, yet again, our renewed and refreshed faith beginning.

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”

Let’s PrayResponse – Congregational Response (9 slides)

Leader: May we remember the little child, flesh and blood like us, who shared in our humanity.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the carpenter by whose creative hands our world was fashioned.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the fisherman who pointed to a harvest yet to come Response: We remember our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the teacher who opened eyes to truths only the poor could understand.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the healer who opened our hearts to wholeness.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the prophet, priest and king, who humbled himself to take our place on the cross.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the servant who revealed to us the Father’s love.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the Son who revealed to us the Father.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: Let us on this day remember and celebrate the resurrected Jesus!
Response: We remember Jesus, the evidence of God’s Love.

Response – Music 3 (6 slides)

Because He Lives
CCLI Song # 16880
Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither

Verse 1
God sent His Son they called Him Jesus
He came to love heal and forgive
He bled and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove
My Savior lives

Chorus
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

Verse 2
How sweet to hold our newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days
Because Christ lives

Chorus
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

Verse 3
And then one day I’ll cross that river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to vict’ry
I’ll see the lights of glory
And I’ll know He reigns

Chorus
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He livesCommunity (5 Slides)

Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday April 18 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesday, April 10 (w/lunch at noon), Exodus 13:1 – 17:7 Please RSVP.
Next Sunday, April 17 – First Called, John 20:11-18
An Eggcellent Discussion, registration email link on web site
Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
Thanks from San Francisco – Pictures

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 04.10.22

Order

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 1 – Standing (10:30)  Lynn/Abbie

The Name of the Lord

The Solid Rock

Scripture Mark 13:1-8, 32-37 In person – Renee

Music 2 Lynn/Abbie

Hosanna (Praise is Rising)

Ancient of Days

We Fall Down

Message Out of the Shadows Rick

(Lk 23:50-56, Mk 14:1-9, Jn 19:23-30)

Congregational Response 

Benediction (signal Peyton when slides ready) In Person-Peyton

Music 3 Is He Worthy Lynn/Abbie

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome/Prayer (No slides)

God, we enter now into the holiest week of the year. A week in which we remember the sacrifice of your son on the cross, the culmination of the unholiest moment in history. A moment marked by violence, hatred, and fear in order to offer humanity deliverance, hope, and peace. A moment empowered fully by your love. A moment in which the unseen were invited to be seen by the savior who saw the invisible and dismissed. May this week be an epiphany to us all as we remember that you invited the unnoticed, the fearful, the powerless, and those who had given up to see their purpose in your eternal plan. May we see how we are called to be your avenue of mercy, compassion, acceptance, affirmation, and love in a world in need of all that is you. 

Amen

Music 1 (15 slides)

The Name Of The Lord

CCLI Song # 265239, Clinton Utterbach

Chorus 1

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be the name of the Lord most high

Chorus 1

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be the name of the Lord most high

Chorus 2

Holy is the name of the Lord
Holy is the name of the Lord
Holy is the name of the Lord most high

Chorus 2

Holy is the name of the Lord
Holy is the name of the Lord
Holy is the name of the Lord most high

Verse

The name of the Lord is a strong tower
The righteous run into it and they are safe
The name of the Lord is a strong tower
The righteous run into it and they are safe

Chorus 3

Glory to the name of the Lord
Glory to the name of the Lord
Glory to the name of the Lord most high

Chorus 3

Glory to the name of the Lord
Glory to the name of the Lord
Glory to the name of the Lord most high

The Solid Rock

CCLI Song # 25417, Edward Mote | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Verse 2

When darkness veils His lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace
In ev’ry high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Verse 3

His oath His covenant His blood Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Verse 4

When He shall come with trumpet sound O may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone Faultless to stand before the throne

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Scripture (No Slides)

As Jesus walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!” Jesus said, “You’re impressed by this grandiose architecture? There’s not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble.” Later, as he was sitting on Mount Olives in full view of the Temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew got him off by himself and asked, “Tell us, when is this going to happen? What sign will we get that things are coming to a head?” Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming.

“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

Mark 13:1-8, 32-37 (MSG)Music 2 (20 slides)

Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)

CCLI Song # 4662491

Brenton Brown | Paul Baloche

Verse 1

Praise is rising
Eyes are turning to You
We turn to You
Hope is stirring
Hearts are yearning for You
We long for You

Pre-Chorus

‘Cause when we see You
We find strength to face the day
In Your presence
All our fears are washed away
(Washed away)

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises
Hosanna hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here Lord Jesus

Verse 2

Hear the sound of
Hearts returning to You
We turn to You
In Your Kingdom
Broken lives are made new
You make us new

Pre-Chorus

‘Cause when we see You
We find strength to face the day
In Your presence
All our fears are washed away
(Washed away)

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises
Hosanna hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here Lord Jesus

Pre-Chorus

‘Cause when we see You
We find strength to face the day
In Your presence
All our fears are washed away
(Washed away)

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises
Hosanna hosanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here Lord Jesus

Ancient Of Days

CCLI Song # 798108

Gary Sadler | Jamie Harvill

Verse

Blessing and honor glory and power
Be unto the Ancient of Days
From ev’ry nation all of creation
Bow before the Ancient of Days

Chorus

Ev’ry tongue in heaven and earth
Shall declare Your glory
Ev’ry knee shall bow at Your throne
In worship

You will be exalted O God
And Your kingdom shall not pass away
O Ancient of Days

Verse

Blessing and honor glory and power
Be unto the Ancient of Days
From ev’ry nation all of creation
Bow before the Ancient of Days

Chorus

Ev’ry tongue in heaven and earth
Shall declare Your glory
Ev’ry knee shall bow at Your throne
In worship

You will be exalted O God
And Your kingdom shall not pass away
O Ancient of Days

Bridge

Your kingdom shall reign
Over all the earth
Sing unto the Ancient of Days
For none can compare
To Your matchless worth
Sing unto the Ancient of Days

Chorus

Ev’ry tongue in heaven and earth
Shall declare Your glory
Ev’ry knee shall bow at Your throne
In worship

You will be exalted O God
And Your kingdom shall not pass away
O Ancient of Days

Ending

Hosanna hosanna

We Fall Down

CCLI Song # 2437367, Chris Tomlin

Verse

We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus

Chorus

And we cry holy holy holy
And we cry holy holy holy
And we cry holy holy holy is the Lamb

(Possible repeat of Verse and Chorus – not in slides)Message – Out of the Shadows (14 Slides)

Today is Palm Sunday. It is on this morning that most Christian churches around the world, are celebrating the final public entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Today, we mark the observance of what is, ‘Holy Week’. A week that begins with celebration and joy, a week that will end with darkness and tears. It is a Holy Week, in all that is accomplished, all that is achieved, in all that moves life forward for us now and for eternity – however, it is also the most unholy period of all time in history. While mankind has inflicted many unholy periods throughout history, this one was and is different. This week was a brutal attack on heaven and earth, a week of evil versus right. Mostly, the difference about this period in history is that it defined righteousness as the ultimate victor, that hope can be found even in the worst of times, that peace exists even in the midst of wars and turmoil, it was on this week that Love won.

The week began with an unparalleled parade. It would be Jesus’ final public appearance, except for his appearance 6 days later on the cross. On this day, however, Jesus approached the city gates cheered on by a mighty impromptu crowd. It was a hoard of people moved to praise in a way that even they did not understand. The crowds was not unruly, it could not be classified as a mob. It was a loud crowd though, the type of loud that can sometimes become draw unwanted attention, it could be a problem. The religious officials told Jesus to make the crowd be quiet. Jesus answered honestly and said that if he did the rocks and stones would begin to make a much louder noise, a much scarier possibility. 

This was the last time that Jesus appeared in front of a joyful crowd, voices screaming ‘Hosannah!’ Later in the week, this same crowd would gather again, only this time their voices would be hostile and hateful, yelling for Jesus’ death.

Last times and final moments are significant. The last time before an adoring crowd, the last time for a public vocal affirmation. This was Jesus’ last time before he would experience extreme loneliness, vitriol, humiliation, scorn, and death. It would be a week of many last times. It would also be a time of a handful of individuals called out of the shadows, to step up to be a vital part of the work God would accomplish on this week.

After Jesus completed his final official public entrance into Jerusalem, he entered the temple, this too was another last time. 

The Temple. Originally a simple portable tent tabernacle – it was there that God resided among man. It was a holy place, a place where the people could see that God was truly present. Next, an actual brick and mortar structure was built. It was beautiful, it was awe inspiring. It was holy – until it was not.  About 600 years before Jesus would enter this temple for the last time, the Prophet Isaiah pronounced that the Temple was no longer a holy place. That the religious practices taking place there had become meaningless. Isaiah would say that God no longer wanted to attend their church. That temple was then destroyed, to be replaced by a third temple, a second beautiful building, this one, however a little less beautiful and a bit less awe inspiring. Eventually, a wicked king made improvements and enhancements to make the Temple more acceptable to the Jews longing for beauty and impressive architecture of the previous temple. The King’s benevolent effort was self serving and ultimately caused unholiness to seep out into the people. In this second temple building, the very proof that God was present in the temple, no longer officially resided in the building. God’s presence had become an issue personal issue, an issue of each individual and their own trust and reverence. God was there for those truly seeking him, but for many, it was just a beautiful building, something to be proud of. A building to define a people in a way that was no longer authentic.  

[Slide] As Jesus and his disciples exited the Temple, for the final time as a group, one of the disciples commented on the beauty of the structure and the impressive by grandiose architecture. Jesus responded by warning ‘this building already had decay eating away at it, and that it all would soon be a pile of rubble.’

[Slide] “When?” The disciples asked.

[Slide“I don’t know, only the Father knows.” Jesus answered. “So keep a sharp lookout, for you, and no human, knows the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each  assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. 

[SlideSo, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I  say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

The temple, this beautiful building, would indeed be a pile of rubble in less than 75 years. While it would ultimately fall at the hands of the Roman oppressors, the destruction had already begun within the building and within the hearts of the people.

It was during this ‘holy’ week that the disciples and other followers of Jesus would begin to see some of the beautiful bricks of this temple begin to symbolically fall. The pile of rubble would begin to amass. The world of these men to whom Jesus spoke would soon be turned upside down. Their teacher, their savior, would soon be crucified, some of them would soon publicly deny even knowing Jesus, and all would soon be hiding in justifiable fear. Soon, these men would be able to do nothing, others would be called forth to fill the gaps in their absence. Soon, they would think the desolation of their hopes meant a life ahead of hopelessness.

But, Jesus had said, 

[Slide] ‘This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.’

Mark 13:8b

[Slide] ‘Out of birth pains comes life.’

Biblical scholar Samuel Cruz says,

[Slide] In the midst of this apparent chaos and destruction, Jesus brings words of hope: “This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” It is easy to forget that the narrative does not end with gloom and doom. 

[Slide] Although too often this narrative has been used to portray a hopeless and catastrophic situation, in reality, Jesus seems to be speaking about a hopeful and salvific future. We all know, and some have experienced, the   physical pain that women endure while giving birth. 

[Slide] However, after the most powerful forces of pain take place, birth is the result, and the new life is then celebrated. 

[Slide] Therefore, it seems that the apocalyptic words of Jesus were meant to bring a message of hope especially to the subjugated of his society and ours. 

[Slide] The description and verbiage used to explain what was to occur in the future is not even hyperbolic in nature. The changes will be radical and disruptive to the status quo. 

[Slide] The structures that will collapse might not be physical ones, they might be the stones and walls that have kept and continue to keep the oppressed, the marginalized, the undesirables, those living in the shadows, from fully realizing their ministerial potentials. 

[Slide] In our current era and political context, the words of Jesus bring comfort to the church and especially to those who have been kept marginalized.”

Samuel Cruz, Associate Professor of Church and Society, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, New York, N.Y.

Up to this week, inside the temple, was a veil. This veil was a symbolic and very real wall to most that they could not enter the temple inner place. This veil was designated to only allow a few to enter the holy place. The result was that this limited most of humanity from this holy place. It was here that sacrifices were carried out and God’s voice was to be heard. However, this veil had been a creation of humanity to restrict God from humanity, and humanity from God. Centuries before, the Isrealites had requested that Moses speak to them for God and for them before God. Their fear of God had prompted them to distance themselves from God. By the end of this week, the veil would rip, the barrier would be removed – changes were already taking place. Those in the shadows were already being called out.

Jesus disciples, these who would be the leaders of the follower of Jesus, of the new testament church, now began to slip into the shadows.

[Slide] ’At one time Jesus’ disciples had left all to follow him. But now, these disciples would leave everything to get away from Jesus. A total abandonment of Jesus by the band of disciples who would flee to escape the consequences of association with Jesus.’

Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla, Dallas Theological Seminary

I was a time when societal norms would be crumbling, when cultural practices would be challenged, when the ignored would be called to take the risk and step out of the shadows and be seen.

A day or 2 later, a condemned man stepped out and invited Jesus to his home for dinner. The man still carried the label of leper, and all the fear that instilled in the public even though he had been healed or was no longer contagious.

At that dinner a woman stepped out into an unwelcoming space of judgement and condemnation to anoint Jesus – an anointing she would resume after the crucifixion.

During the walk to the cross, a man was pulled out of the crowd to carry the cross for a physically exhausted Jesus.

A group of women stepped up to a visible place in the crowd near the cross on which Jesus hung. A group that was unhidden in the crowd, identified by their grief and pain.

A religious official opposed his contemporaries act of brutality towards Jesus and stepped out to claim the body of Jesus to give Jesus his tomb.

At the same time, this official, made space for the women followers of Jesus to accompany the body to the tomb for the proper anointing.

All of these individuals took a risk stepping out, their gender, their vocational positions, their societal ranking, their culture, their futures, were all secure as long as they could remain in the shadows, unseen, unnoticed. But, as the disciples could no longer meet these needs, another community of followers was called out, called to minister when no one else could address the needs. 

This was the crumbling of the bricks of the temple. A calling to all that followed Christ, a calling that invited all to be a part of the sacrifice. A personal involvement that was unencumbered by any barriers between humanity and God.

Believers were left with a pile of rubble. A dead Savior, a hostile community, a need to run back into hiding, but jobs still needed to be completed, acts of love had to still be carried out. A pile of bricks and stones. It was only the birth pangs of what laid ahead.

This is not the end. The same women that stood before the cross, who followed Jesus body to the tomb, would approach the tomb at sunrise the day after the Sabbath. On their way to the tomb they would worry about how they could remove the stone from the entry of the tomb. Once there, they found that the stone had already been removed, and, as they looked in, they found that the tomb was empty. Soon, they were told, “Jesus is Not Here.” And the next phase of the journey would begin.

Let’s PrayResponse – Congregational Response (6 slides)

Leader: We give thanks for God’s word, God’s truth. 

Response: May we allow God’s truth to guide and lead us.

Leader: We recognize that Holy is always present but often hidden by unholiness.

Response: May we trust the Holy when we only see unholiness.

Leader: We live in the shadows, covered in fear. Fear of others, fear of judgement, fear of condemnation, fear of that which we do not know.

Response: May we trust in God when God calls us to step out of the shadows.

Leader: We are called to the uncomfortable, the unfamiliar. We are invited to be a part of God’s work.

Response: May we offer the sacrifices of ourselves.

Leader: We are invited into God’s work, God’s deliverance, God’s eternal hope given to us.

Response: May we step into God’s calling.

Leader: We are living proof that Love has won, hope is here, peace is always present.

Response: May our lives be the outflow of Hope, Peace, and Love.

Response – Music 3 (18  slides) 

Is He Worthy

CCLI Song # 7108951, Andrew Peterson | Ben Shive

Verse 1

Leader: Do you feel the world is broken
Response: We do

Leader: Do you feel the shadows deepen
Response: We do

Leader: But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through
Response: We do

Leader: Do you wish that you could see it all made new
Response: We do

Verse 2

Leader: Is all creation groaning
Response: It is

Leader: Is a new creation coming
Response: It is


Leader: Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst
Response: It is


Leader: Is it good that we remind ourselves of this
Response: It is

Chorus 1

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s Root
And the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Is He worthy
Is He worthy
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy of this
He is

Verse 3

Leader: Does the Father truly love us
Response: He does

Leader: Does the Spirit move among us
Response: He does

Leader: And does Jesus our Messiah hold forever those He loves

Response: He does

Leader: Does our God intend to dwell again with us
Response: He does

Chorus 2

Is anyone worthy
Is anyone whole
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s Root
And the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

From ev’ry people and tribe every nation and tongue
He has made us a kingdom and priests
To God to reign with the Son

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy
Is He worthy
Is He worthy of this
He is

Ending

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
He is. He is.

Community (5 Slides)

  • Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday April 11 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesday, April 13 (w/lunch at noon), Exodus 11:1-12:51 Please RSVP.
  • Next Sunday, April 17 – Not Here, Mark 16:1-8 (Easter) 
  • An Eggcellent Discussion, registration email link on web site
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Special Gathering today

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calm Jazz’

Music 1 (10:30)  Christian & Team

Come Thou Fount vs.1 and 3,

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2 Fairest Lord Jesus Christian & Team

Scripture John 4:5-15 Online – Hannah

Music 3 Be Thou My Vision Christian & Team

Message Giving Up On A Miracle (John 11) Rick

Music 4 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms – 1 & 3 Christian & Team

Benediction (signal to Dave when slides are ready) Dave

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calm Jazz’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (10 slides)

Come Thou Fount

CCLI Song # 108389

John Wyeth | Robert Robinson

Verse 1

Come Thou fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise


Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Verse 3

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy grace Lord like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee


Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

CCLI Song # 4768151, Chris Tomlin | John Newton | Louie Giglio

Verse 1

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Verse 2

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Chorus

My chains are gone I’ve been set free
My God my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love amazing grace

Verse 3

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Verse 4

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Chorus

My chains are gone I’ve been set free, 

My God my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains, 

Unending love amazing grace

Welcome/Prayer (5th Sunday of Lent – No slides)

God, you said I Am to Moses in his spiral of fear and insecurity. You revealed that you are the I Am to a fearful Elijah as you unveiled his eyes to see your back. You shocked the women mourners as you revealed that you are I Am as you stood before them at your grave. Your I Am assurance comforted your disciples as you appeared to them in their hiding place. You are our I Am. You are on time, you are present, you are life. You are the giver and the lover of Life. You are the God who created us for life. Your life is eternal, your life is hope, your life is joy, your life is peace. God, may we always recognize that you are  life.

Amen

Music 2 (4 slides)

Fairest Lord Jesus

CCLI Song # 27800, August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben | Joseph August Seiss

Verse 1

Fairest Lord Jesus Ruler of all nature
O Thou of God and man the Son
Thee will I cherish Thee will I honor, Thou my soul’s glory joy and crown

Verse 2

Fair are the meadows fairer still the woodlands
Robed in the blooming garb of spring
Jesus is fairer Jesus is purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing

Verse 3

Fair is the sunshine fairer still the moonlight
And all the twinkling starry host
Jesus shines brighter Jesus shines purer, Than all the angels heav’n can boast

Verse 4

Beautiful Saviour Lord of all the nations
Son of God and Son of Man
Glory and honor praise adoration, Now and forevermore be Thine

Scripture (No Slides)

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” Martha went back to tell her sister Mary that Jesus was here. Mary got up quickly and went to Jesus. The Jews who were consoling Mary, followed Mary thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary got to Jesus, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews with her also weeping, he was deeply moved and greatly disturbed in spirit. He said, “Where have you laid him?” Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Jesus, “Lord, there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 

John 11:17-44

Music 3 (4 Slides)

Be Thou My Vision

CCLI Song # 7056332

Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne | Russell Mauldin

Verse 1

Be Thou my Vision O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Verse 2

Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Verse 3

High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my Vision O Ruler of all

Ending

Be Thou my Vision

Message – Giving Up On A Miracle (18 Slides)

The story of John 11 is a story of two women experiencing grief in the time of loss, both fighting their way through the death of a loved one. Big picture though, it is a story of life. 

This story takes place shortly before Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of a week that will conclude with death, grief, and loss. Today’s story picks up as these two women struggle through a journey of Giving up on a Miracle in order to arrive at a Miraculous act of God.

Jesus approaches the home of Mary and Martha four long days after their bother Lazarus had died. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, were soul mates to Jesus, they were chosen family. As Jesus grew nearer to his friend’s home, Martha rushed to meet him.    

[Slide] “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 

Although we often read anger and hostility in the voice of Martha, this was probably just a statement of perceived fact told to another grieving soul. Jesus had healed others, impossible miracles, but he had not been present to heal Lazarus, it was too late.

Later, when Mary was face to face with Jesus, her first words, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Echoed the sentiment of her sister. It was a sentiment that made sense to them and even to the other Jewish mourners. 

Jewish tradition held that the spirit remains with the body for three days after physical death, then, on the fourth day, as the spirit sees that the color of the dead one’s face has changed, death is finished. Lazarus completed process of dying was over, it was too late for a miracle of healing. If only Jesus had arrived one day earlier. Mary and Martha had given up on the hoped for miracle, Jesus didn’t get there in time.

[Same Slide] “Just one day earlier, Jesus, I just wish you could have made it one day earlier.”

Both women were knee deep in the first four stages of the Kubler-Ross non-linear model of grief.  

[Slide] Denial

[Slide] Anger

[Slide] Bargaining

[Slide] Depression

[Slide] Before walking away, Martha and Jesus’ conversation culminates in one of Jesus’ most supremely comforting statements “I am”.  It isn’t that her brother will rise again in the resurrection on the last day, but that Martha is, in fact, face to face with and beloved by the one who is in himself the embodiment of life. Martha responds with a confession of faith. 

[Slide] Being in relationship with Jesus means facing death and grief with him and learning that still, in spite of the death and the dryness and the finality of the door at the entrance to the tomb of our hopes, he can still be said to be life.  Nothing is ever so dead that it keeps Jesus from being life.  Life is not only a future hope.  Abundant life is always and now.

(Meda Stamper, Christian Writer, Leicestershire, England)

[Slide] In the women’s original statement to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died,” there was one other issue. In addition to the issue of Jesus’ timing, the women addressed Jesus’ absence, it was a question of presence. “Why, Jesus, were you not present?”

[Slide] To this question also came Jesus’ answer, “I am.”

[Slide] It was probably not an acceptable answer, it was probably not even a heard answer.  “Yes, you are here now, but what about yesterday, or three days ago? Where were you then? Why were you not here?”

[Slide] Jesus’ answer of “I am” says much, but it has to be heard by the suffering mourner. How is it possible to fully grasp the full definition and presence of Life standing in front of you when all you can think of is death?

[Slide] “I’m here,” Mary. I’m here, Martha.” Jesus says.

[Slide] “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. I am here.” Jesus says.  

Presence, especially full presence, is a tough sell when confined to words only. This is why Jesus does not limit his “I am’ identification to words. As always, Jesus put his presence into action.

The Jewish practice of grief involved mourning associates. Shiva, as it was called, was the practice of mourners joining in the grief process of another. This group of volunteer, and possibly professional, mourners, would come alongside a true mourner to accompany them through the process. Probably lasting a week, these helpers would mourn with the mourner, assuring they journey all the way through the initial process. The grief process was, and is, essential and these individuals participated to assist and guide the one who had suffered loss.

Martha, seems to have refused the help of the mourners, none seem to accompany her on the journey. Mary, however, did have the mourners on her side. As she cried, they cried. When she went to the tomb, they travel alongside of her. When she screamed out in pain and misery, they also screamed out, affirming her pain. 

As Jesus saw Mary crying, he joined her in her grief. Jesus felt the pain of loss of this brother, but even more difficult was watching his dear sister experience this loss. ‘Jesus cried.’ He understood Mary’s grief because he too felt that grief. The two authentic mourners helped each other through the necessary process. 

In our culture we mourn differently, more or less effectively. We send flowers, cards, make phone calls, we sit in the pews to cry with the mourners, – and, the best part, we bring food, and casseroles, and desserts – all as our assistance in the mourning journey. 

It could be said that, once again, Mary was making the better choice. While Martha was attempting to dissect their experience of the past four days,  Mary was choosing to lean in to her grief, she, along with the Shiva mourners, cried. Jesus joined her the journey of grief, he too was in pain. Jesus wept.

However, we see something different with Jesus, something that tells us about the very nature of God. 

“Remove the stone that is sealing the grave shut,” Jesus requested of those present.

“Bad idea Jesus,” Martha said, “my bother has been in the grave for four days now. He is going to look horrible and smell atrocious. Let’s just remember him as he was, it is best for everyone that we keep the tomb sealed.”

Jesus was undeterred, so the stone was moved. Jesus, in an intentionally loud voice, shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And, Lazarus slowly made his way out of the tomb.  His feet, hands, and face were all still bound and covered by his burial cloths. It was messy and smelly, just as Martha had warned.

Then, Jesus gave Lazarus back to the living, it was now their responsibility to help him breath in this refreshed life God had given to Lazarus. “Unbind him, and let him go,”

It was messy and smelly. Rising out of death always is.

[Slide] “Being raised from the dead entails a community dedicated to loving  one another in the liberating love of Jesus Christ.  Jesus does not do the easy thing (keep bad things from happening), Jesus does the hard thing, which is to reverse destruction. Jesus does not hurry to Lazarus’ bedside to nurse him to health. He waits. Takes his time. And then when death has occurred, Jesus appears at the tomb to weep with the mourners.” 

(Melinda Quivik, Liturgical and Homiletical Scholar, St. Paul, Minnesota)

[Slide] But, to fully understand the underlying truth of this story, we must grasp the underlying revelation of this story. “[Jesus] was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.” As Jesus sees, and experiences, the anguish of Mary, the narration tells us that Jesus was deeply disturbed and troubled, Jesus was agitated. It was an inner disgust to an earthly reality. 

Have you ever experienced anxiety. Anxiety mild, extreme, or anyplace in between? It can grip your mind as well as you gut. You are bothered, distracted, aggravated, knowing something is just not right. Anxiety is not just a condition of the mind, it impacts you physically. Many think they may be having a heart attack, or that there is something else wrong within. This is much the same as the physical condition of Jesus at this moment.

Jesus is experiencing God’s disdain, or hatred, towards death. Mankind was not   created for death, it is unnatural, mankind was created for life. Jesus was, Jesus is, life. Death is what happens to our bodies and minds as life in a fallen world that infects and attempted to consumes us. Death is our natural reality but it was not our original created reality, nor is it our intended eternal reality. God, the creator, created us for life. Death is the blasphemy to life. 

Lazarus was not resurrected to this life, he was raised temporarily from the ravages of death. He would still experience a final death soon. Just as humans are not created for death, the body is also not designed to return after a death experience. The bruises and even brutal impacts on the body are still there. This is not resurrection, an eternal new breath of life. Earthly death is an attack on life. This is why we seldom see individuals raised from the dead, it is not necessarily a good thing for the person being raised, instead it is a sacrifice, and probably a disappointment, for them. When someone is raised from death there is a very important purpose for them being called back. Ultimately Lazarus would experience resurrection from the eventuality of death. 

As Jesus saw the periphery destruction of Lazarus’ death on Martha and Martha, the pain of death, the loss, the misery, that remained – Jesus was troubled, disturbed, angered, and agitated. That is what happens when death intrudes on life.

Ginger Barfield, about of 2015 shooting of 9 church goers in Charleston, wrote,

[Slide] “What are we to say in the midst of the suffering and reality and death? Is it enough to toll the bells and read the names? No. We are to proclaim the truth of the sting and stench of death. We are to acknowledge the grief and anger that may never totally depart those who are left in this life. We are to state the reality of the disturbing fact of the brutality of death. Anger, deep disturbing pain, agitation of spirit and body are palpable. 

[Slide] But the gospel truth does reign. We have our hope not on things on this earth but in the power of the cross of Christ and the resurrection of those who are his children. Jesus’ words of John 11:25 are the resounding gospel note that we proclaim this day: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” 

Ginger Barfield, Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies & Theology Lutheran Theological Seminary)

Jesus is the ‘I Am’

We must never marginalize Jesus to the past

We must never narrowly assign Jesus to the future

We must always grasp the fact that Jesus is our now I Am

Jesus is life in the midst of death.

Jesus is hope in the pain of tragedy

Jesus is peace in the midst of chaos and confusion

Jesus sits with us in our tears

Jesus cries with us

Let’s PrayMusic 4 (8  slides) 

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

CCLI Song # 31779, Anthony Johnson Showalter | Elisha Albright Hoffman

Chorus

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Verse 1

What a fellowship what a joy divine
Leaning on the everlasting arms
What a blessedness what a peace is mine
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Chorus

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Verse 3

What have I to dread what have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Chorus

Leaning (leaning on Jesus), 

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning (leaning on Jesus), 

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Benediction (6 slides)

Leader: When this world is in turmoil

Response: Jesus is the I Am.

Leader: When this world is in shambles 

Response: Jesus is the I Am

Leader: When this world is in peace

Response: Jesus is the I Am

Leader: When we cry pain filled tears

Response: Jesus, our I Am, cries with us

Leader: When our voices scream shouts of joy

Response: Jesus, our I Am, shouts with us

Leader: When our world is in need of love

Response: Jesus, our I Am, shares love from God’s abundance

Community

  • Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday April 4 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesday, April 6 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus 7:14-10:29. Please RSVP.
  • Next Sunday – Out of the Shadows, Luke 23:50-56, Mark 14:1-9, John 19:23-30 (6th Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com (over 50,000 helped)

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, the I Am, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 03.27.22

Order

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calm Jazz’

Music 1 (10:30)  Lynn/Abbie

O Worship The King

Come Thou Almighty King

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2 Just As I Am Lynn/Abbie

Scripture John 4:5-15 Online – Sherri

Music 3 Special – Love Can Build A Bridge Lynn/Abbie

Message Vulnerable People (John 4:7-15) Rick

Music 4 Living Hope Lynn/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Isaiah when slides are ready) Isaiah

Anniversary Video

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calm Jazz’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (8 slides)

O Worship The King (Lyons)

CCLI Song # 1486

Johann Michael Haydn | Robert Grant

Verse 1

O worship the King all glorious above
And gratefully sing His power and His love
Our Shield and Defender the Ancient of Days
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise

Verse 2

O tell of His might O sing of His grace
Whose robe is the light whose canopy space
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm

Verse 4

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite
It breathes in the air it shines in the light
It streams from the hills it descends to the plain
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain

Verse 5

Frail children of dust and feeble as frail
In Thee do we trust nor find Thee to fail
Thy mercies how tender how firm to the end
Our Maker Defender Redeemer and Friend

Come Thou Almighty King (Italian Hymn)

CCLI Song # 29073/Felice de Giardini

Verse 1

Come Thou Almighty King
Help us Thy name to sing
Help us to praise

Father all glorious
O’er all victorious
Come and reign over us
Ancient of Days

Verse 2

Come Thou Incarnate Word
Gird on Thy mighty sword
Our prayer attend
Come and Thy people bless

And give Thy Word success
Spirit of holiness
On us descend

Verse 3

Come Holy Comforter
Thy sacred witness bear
In this glad hour
Thou who almighty art

Now rule in ev’ry heart
And ne’er from us depart
Spirit of pow’r

Verse 4

To Thee great One in Three
Eternal praises be
Hence evermore

Thy sov’reign majesty
May we in glory see
And to eternity
Love and adore

Welcome/Prayer (4th Sunday of Lent – No slides)

God, we live in a world where there is continual war and turmoil. You came to give us peace. We survive in a world where those you created cry out for dignity and respect. You came to provide hope. We live in a world immersed in arrogance and insecurity. You came to show us humility and generosity. We survive in this world because you are our confidence and our stability. You came so that we can learn to trust you. Lord, when our patience wains and redirects us to trust in others or ourself, you use our disillusionment to turn us back to you. We are grateful for your overflowing patience. We often give up on you but you never give up on us. Thank you God for your unconditional love.

Amen

Music 2 (3 slides)

Just As I Am (Woodworth)

CCLI Song # 23206

Charlotte Elliott | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

Just as I am without one plea
But that Thy Blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God I come I come

Verse 2

Just as I am and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot
To Thee Whose Blood can cleanse each spot
O Lamb of God I come I come

Verse 4

Just as I am Thy Love unknown
Hath broken ev’ry barrier down
Now to be Thine yes Thine alone
O Lamb of God I come I come

Scripture (No Slides)

So Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. The water well which Jacob had built 2,000 years before was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well around noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (Jesus disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

John 4:5-15

Music 3 (Special – No Slides)

Love Can Build A Bridge

Paul Overstreet / John Jarvis / Naomi Judd

I’d gladly walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet

To share with you the last bite of bread I had to eat

I would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams

When all your hopes are sinking, let me show you what love means

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

I would whisper love so loudly, every heart could understand

That love and only love can join the trials of man

I would give my hearts’ desire so that you might see

The first step is to realize that it all begins with you and me

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

When we stand together, it’s our finest hour

We can do anything (anything)

Anything (anything)

Keep believin’ in the power

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

Message –  Vulnerable People (13 Slides)

Almost 2 thousand years before the birth of Christ, a man named Jacob dug a well. The digging of the well was totally utilitarian, it was dug to meet physical needs of his livestock and workers. It was dug to provide this life sustaining element of God’s creation, much like air, which ties man, animal, and vegetation, to God’s creation. Water.

It was a well dug into the ground of the land promised to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham, a promise that extended to Jacob. Jacob, at this moment, lived on the promised ground, but the promise was still just a promise, it would take a people to make it a home. Jacob’s sons, and 2 of his grandsons, would later be ancestry thread of the people that would make this land a home.

Jacob did not anticipate that this well would be a lifeline for own his descendants thousands of years later. Anticipated or not, roughly 2 thousand years later, Jesus sat at the well. Vulnerable, worn out, exhausted, and in need of, but unable to reach for, the life source of water.

Ironically, Jesus was in his physical state due to a water problem. Many of the religious leaders who had already begun seeking to ways to discredit Jesus, began sowing division between Jesus’ followers and the followers of John the Baptizer. They were pointing out that Jesus and his followers were baptizing more people than John and his disciples. The truth was, both leaders and their disciples, were baptizing people wherever they could find water.

Water. Cleansing, reenergizing, pure, life sustaining, refreshing, water.

Jesus was on a mission, he was exhausted by the efforts of his foes and their attempts to drag him into a ‘we-them’ fight. Jesus had work to do, he was there to proclaim truth, to fulfill the law, to bring peace, and to give back hope to a vulnerable people who were thirsty for truth, fulfillment, peace, and hope.

So, Jesus left the bickering and scheming and traveled back to his homeland. To get there, he and his disciples traveled through Samaria. Traveling through Samaria was the not the desire of most Jews, but the path was quicker, and Jesus was not concerned about the expectations of even his own people. As he, and his disciples approached the Samaritan city Sychar, Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well outside the city. Maybe he was too thirsty and too hungry to travel anymore, maybe he was fully aware of the crowds that gathered around him anywhere he went. Maybe his disciples saw that he was tired and insisted he remain behind. Whatever the reason, he remained at the well alone.

A vulnerable man in need of a drink of water.

As the disciples disappeared in the distant horizon, Jesus saw a woman coming toward the well. It is here we see Jesus’ refusal to let labels govern. We also see  the woman’s ingrained human assumptions based on labels. Jesus sees another vulnerable person, other human sees 2 powerful labels on this man. 

Jesus says, ‘Give me a drink of water.’

The woman can barely hear the actual words of Jesus due to the defining echo of her assumptions about Jesus. ‘He is a man, he is a Jew.’

In an effort to remind him of her labels and his labels, the woman says, “How in the world can you ask me for a drink of water? You are a Jew and you are a man. I am not a man, I am a woman, and I am not a Jew, I am a Samaritan. Men don’t speak to woman and even more importantly, Samaritans don’t speak or share our buckets and cups with your people!  And Your people don’t’ speak, and you definitely don’t share your buckets and cups with us!”

Jesus didn’t need to be reminded of this fact. He was well aware of the views that were held by his people towards the Samaritans and by the Samaritans towards his people. Basically, they held this disdain for each other because each group held to a religious practice of Judaism which conflicted with the other. Jesus had learned early on in life that his people did not like the Samaritans and that his people did not respect women, any women.

Jesus was on a mission, a mission to be the conduit of God’s love to those God had created. He was not on a crusade to establish or enlarge a religious institution, to overturn political governments, to engage in societal rebellions, or even to attack culture norms. Jesus was on a mission to teach all people that God loves them and then let the power of God’s love change religions, confront politicians and governments, reform culture norms. Jesus knew that once we truly understand how loved we are, it is impossible not to understand how loved others are as well.  If we do love God, it is God’s expectation that we will also follow God’s love response towards others.

Jesus did not lecture on the right and correct way to affirm and accept people – his message was not how and to be respectful, he just did it. Even when he was confronted by the Syrophoenician woman he listened and heard. Jesus raised the bar on what love is, he subtly used a parable about the compassion and mercy of a Samaritan traveler, he welcomed those considered too unclean or too sinful to be loved by God, he treated women as human beings. However, Jesus’ verbal message, his empowering passion, was about all people hearing the truth, it was about humanity grasping God’s love for them.

To say that Jesus did not know about the labels which are placed on others would be inaccurate. He had been trained in a culture, that masterfully labeled anyone who was different, powerless, or vulnerable – It was his internal denial of those labels that made the difference in his external actions. 

[Screen Share from here on]

  1. [Slide] Jesus did not give any credence to the culture norms that he had been taught since childhood. He was not bound to the external response to labels that were insisted on by others.  His bar of acceptance was not limited to those he understood, those who made him comfortable, those who were like him – Jesus’ bar of love and acceptance was reflective of God’s love. He saw all people as the loved people that they were and are.
  1. [Slide] Jesus recognized the labels placed on people, not as a sign of worth or worthlessness, but as an alert to their struggle and pain. You have probably heard someone say “I don’t see race.” This was not the case with Jesus, in seeing people and their struggles identified by their labels, he was able to affirm and love them even in the midst of their pain. Struggles that were often passed down ancestrally for generations. Jesus saw the pain of gender, he felt the pain of being an outsider, he experienced the pain of poverty, he understood the pain of being different or considered ‘not normal, he witnessed the pain carried within all of the labels of those he encountered. 

So, a thirsty and hungry man, who was exhausted by all the manipulation and maneuvering going on around him wherever he went, sat resting next to a well dug 2,000 years earlier by his ancestor.

Approaching the well was a woman from the nearby Samaritan city of Sychar – so it would have made sense to assume this was a Samaritan woman. A woman who was carrying a bucket and a cup to get water from the well dug 2,000 years before by her ancestor.

The man was thirsty and knew maybe this woman could assist him with getting a drink from the well. “Could you give me a drink from the well?” He said while squinting his eyes through his sweat.

[Slide] “How can you ask me for a drink? I’m a woman you are a man, I am a Samaritan, you are a Jew!” The woman responded revealing her adherence to the labels attached to her and those attached to this man. In doing so, she revealed her internal felt vulnerability.

[Slide] Jesus, probably with a reassuring grin on his face said to her, ‘This well was a gift from God through our ancestor Jacob to meet our physical needs. “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”’

[Slide] On an interesting side note, we never see Jesus actually get a drink of water. His vulnerable thirst is not quenched. One has to jump forward to another time when Jesus says these same words and only received dehydrating sour wine.

[Slide] Also interesting is the manner in which we see this story, which is to depend on this woman’s labels to interpret her words. We see that the woman has had five husbands and is now with a man that is not her husband. Our immediate interpretation, probably consistently backed up by preachers (including myself), is to say that the woman is of lax moral character, unfaithful to her husbands. We seldom think of the woman as a vulnerable victim, could these husbands have been abusive or something else. 

[Slide] Is it possible that this community placed different labels on this woman, labels like abused, mistreated, abandoned, vulnerable? Labels which led them to strive to protect her from further pain. This would explain why the people later listened to her.

[Slide] Our learned responses to cultural labels govern and define our assumptions and actions. Jesus did not do this. Jesus loved his neighbor as himself. Jesus died on the cross for all of those labeled neighbors. Jesus didn’t work to explain his actions, he allowed his actions to enhance and reinforce his teachings.

[Slide] As the woman turned to run home and tell everyone about her healing encounter with Jesus, his disciples returned. ‘They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman.’

[Slide] ‘Meanwhile, the woman was back in Sychar excitedly telling everyone who would listen, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” Her neighbors left the city and were on their way to Jesus. Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.

[Slide] Later, they affirmed the woman’s testimony by telling her, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that you were right, this is truly the Savior of the world.”

[Slide] How do we allow labels inhibit all people from seeing the God that truly loves us and truly loves them? 

[Slide] How does our own adherence to our labels blind us to a confidence in God’s love?

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (8  slides) 

Living Hope

CCLI Song # 7106807

Brian Johnson | Phil Wickham

Verse 1

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night

Then through the darkness Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished the end is written
Jesus Christ my living hope

Verse 2

Who could imagine so great a mercy
What heart could fathom such boundless grace
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame

The cross has spoken I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ my living hope

Chorus

Hallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope

Verse 3 (x2)

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me

Chorus (x2)

Hallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope


Ending

Jesus Christ my living hope
Oh God You are my living hope

Benediction (6 slides)

Leader: We live in a world where there is continual war and turmoil.

Response: Jesus came to give us peace.

Leader: We survive in a world where those God created cry out for dignity and respect.

Response: Jesus came to provide hope.

Leader: We live in a world immersed in arrogance and insecurity.

Response: Jesus came to show us humility and generosity.

Leader: We survive in this world because God is our confidence and our stability.

Response: Jesus came so that we can learn to trust God.

Leader: When our patience wains and redirects us to trust in others or ourself, God uses our disillusionment to turn us back to God.

Response: We are grateful for God’s overflowing patience.

Leader: We often give up on God but God never gives up on us.

Response: We are grateful for God’s unconditional love.

25th Anniversary Congratulations video

Community

  • Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday March 28 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesdays, March 30 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus 4:18-7:13. Please RSVP.
  • Next Sunday – Giving Up On A Miracle, John 11:17-35 (5th Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Easter eggs for Afghanistan Refugees in San Francisco due today, if you forgot to bring your filled eggs, speak with Rick today.

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 03.20.22

Order

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calm Jazz’

Music 1 (10:30)  Lynn/Abbie

A Mighty Fortress/Spirit of the Living God

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2 To God be the Glory Lynn/Abbie

Scripture Galatians 5:1, 13-18 Online – Randy

Music 3 Breathe on Me Lynn/Abbie

Message Truth – Then & Now Chuck

Music 4 Have Thine Own Way Lynn/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Beth when slides are ready) Beth

Anniversary Video

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calm Jazz’

Words and Voices

Music 1

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Verse 1

A mighty fortress is our God
A bulwark never failing
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing


For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and pow’r are great
And armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal

Verse 2

Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side
The Man of God’s own choosing


Dost ask who that may be
Christ Jesus it is He
Lord Sabaoth His name
From age to age the same
And He must win the battle

Verse 3

And tho’ this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear for God hath willed
His truth to triumph thru us


The prince of darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him

Verse 4

That word above all earthly pow’rs
No thanks to them abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Thru Him who with us sideth


Let goods and kindred go
This mortal life also
The body they may kill
God’s truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever

Spirit Of The Living God

CCLI Song # 23488

Daniel Iverson

Chorus

Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me


Melt me mold me
Fill me use me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me

Welcome/Prayer (3rd Sunday of Lent)

  • God, you have set us free through the life and sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ.
  • You call us to stand firm in that freedom, to not return our existence and choices wooing us back to our former state of slavery.
  • You challenge us to not use our freedom for indulgence but, instead, we are to bond ourselves to each other.
  • You call us to a slavery not of chains and shackles but of love, love for each other and to all of your created.
  • While our human nature prompts us to bite and devour one another, you empower us to love our neighbor as yourself.
  • You, God, given us the Spirit who is a better lead than our flesh.
  • Thank you God for setting us free.

Amen

Music 2

To God Be The Glory

Verse 1

To God be the glory great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the life gate that all may go in

Chorus

Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory great things He has done

Verse 2

O perfect redemption the purchase of blood
To every believer the promise of God
The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives

Chorus

Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory great things He has done

Verse 3

Great things He has taught us
Great things He has done
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son
But purer and higher and greater will be
Our wonder our transport when Jesus we see

Chorus

Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory great things He has doneScripture

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.

Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Music 3

Breathe On Me

CCLI Song # 2449795

Lucy Fisher

Verse 1

Breathe on me breath of God
Love and life that makes me free
Breathe on me breath of God
Fan the flame within me

Chorus

Teach my heart heal my soul
Speak the mind that in Christ we know
Take me to Your sanctuary
(Breathe on me)

Verse 2

Speak to me voice of God
Soft and still inside my heart
Speak to me Word of God
Comfort heal restore with love

Chorus

Teach my heart heal my soul
Speak the mind that in Christ we know
Take me to Your sanctuary
(Breathe on me)

Message –  Truth – Then & Now

  • Grace Fellowship really started on a Thursday night February 13, 1997 when a group of believers met in Bob and Carolyn Waddle’s home and committed to starting a church with a strong belief that God was leading them to continue on in the journey of grace that He had been and was working in their lives. At that meeting they voted to call us to be the founding pastor and wife. A few days later we met at Bill & DeAnn Pollard’s home and came up with the name Grace Fellowship. Our Charter service was March 2, 1997 at the Ballet Studio. We will never forget the excitement and movement of God’s Spirit on that day. We were utterly shocked when 146 people showed up and over 70 people joined together as charter members. Some of you here today were there then.
  • We didn’t know it then but that was the beginning of the best 9 ½ years of our 27 years of pastoring. We learned together the rhythms of grace. We nurtured each other with a commitment to grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And by the grace of Christ, we experienced a healing from performance-based faith and a development of a healthy heart of grace-based relationships.
  • On our 2nd Sunday together I started a series through the Book of Galatians.* The theme of Galatians is Chapter 5 Verse 1. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” On Sunday evenings we studied through a book titled “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.”

• Galatians laid the foundation for us. We agreed to be committed to Christ and Christ alone for our salvation and sanctification. We agreed that the only way we could know how to accomplish that was to “KEEP STANDING FIRM” in the belief that the Bible is the absolute Word of God and our only authority. With the Word as our guide we ACTIVELY, and with VIGILANCE, guarded ourselves from ever being “subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Here is how we did it:

[Slide] I. We seized the truth that we are set free from religious legalism. (2-12)

[Slide] II. We devoted ourselves to the truth that we are set free to choose love. (13-15)

[Slide] III. We accepted the boundaries of the truth that we are free from a license to sin. (16-21)

[Slide] IV. We individually accepted the responsibility that we are set free to live life by the Spirit. (22-26)

*(You can find that series on Galatians at http://therelationalrub.com/galatians/)

Music 4

Have Thine Own Way

Verse 1

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Thou art the Potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting yielded and still

Verse 2

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Search me and try me Master today
Whiter than snow Lord wash me just now
As in Thy presence humbly I bow

Verse 3

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Wounded and weary help me I pray
Power all power surely is Thine
Touch me and heal me Savior divine

Verse 4

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Hold o’er my being absolute sway
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only always living in me

Benediction

Leader: Christ has set us free to live a free life. We must take our stand! 

Response: We shall never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on us.

Leader: It is absolutely clear that God has called us to a free life. Let us not use our freedom to destroy our freedom.

Response: We shall not exchange our freedom for another form of slavery.

Leader: Let us use our freedom to serve one another.

Response: That is how true freedom grows.

Leader: All that we know about truth is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.

Response: Loving others is an act of true freedom, without love our freedom is worthless.

Leader: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit, so you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.

Response: A free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.

Leader: Love and Selfishness are contrary to each other. When we allow our emotions, agendas, judgement, or condemnation, to determine if we selfishness over love, we return to shackles and chains.

Response: We must not let anything take away our freedom.

Leader: Christ has set us free to live a free life.

Response: Christ has set us free of everything that prohibits love.25th

Community

  • March/April Bible Studies details – Mondays beg March 21 (w/dinner) at 6 (tent.) or Wednesdays beg March 23 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus, 6 weeks.
  • Anniversary month luncheon today at Joe’s following worship
  • Next Sunday – Vulnerable People, John 4:7-15 (4th Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Easter eggs for Afghanistan Refugees in San Francisco available today

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Music 1 (10:30)  Victory In Jesus Makaela/Abbie

No Longer Slaves

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2   Blessed Assurance Makaela/Abbie

Scripture Online – Kelly

Testimony Andrew/Jaimie

Music 3 How He Loves Makaela/Abbie

Message Graced With Mistrial Segun

Music 4 Jesus You Alone Makaela/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Petty when slides are ready) Petty

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (19 Slides)

Victory In Jesus

CCLI Song # 1259

Eugene M. Bartlett

Verse 1

I heard an old old story
How a Savior came from glory
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me


I heard about His groaning
Of His precious blood’s atoning
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory

Chorus

O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood


He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood

Verse 2

I heard about His healing
Of His cleansing pow’r revealing
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see


And then I cried dear Jesus
Come and heal my broken spirit
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory

Chorus

O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood


He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood

Verse 3

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea


About the angels singing
And the old redemption story
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory

Chorus

O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood


He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood

No Longer Slaves

CCLI Song # 7030123

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser

Verse 1

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

Chorus

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Verse 2

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

gone

Chorus

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Bridge (x2)

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of Godgone

Chorus (x2)

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides) (2nd Sunday of Lent)

  • God, on this second Sunday of Lent, we thank you for the witness of faith as seen in the risks of the suffering woman and the sacrifice of the oppressed widow.
  • We thank you for the empowerment of faith as we let go of our grasp on control and instead let go and lay it all down exchanging everything for a confidence in trusting you.
  • We understand your encouragement to your followers early in holy week and we respond to that same encouragement to us to trust you instead of others or ourselves.
  • Lord, today we see forgiveness, your mission of deliverance, your offering of reconciliation.
  • Most of all, we marvel that you made the sacrifice we were unable to make, you offer the hope that we cannot create, and you lift us up in a world that easily keeps us down.
  • Father, thank you for your love that endures, your love that affirms and accepts, for your love that is the very core of who you are.
  • May we allow your love flow through us to a world that needs your love as much as we do.

Amen

Music 2 (6 Slides)

Blessed Assurance

CCLI Song # 22324

Fanny Jane Crosby | Phoebe Palmer Knapp

Verse 1

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

Chorus

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Verse 2

Perfect submission perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy whispers of love

Chorus

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Verse 3

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Chorus

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Scripture

While Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

John 8:1-11

Music 3 (11 Slides)

How He Loves

CCLI Song # 5032549

John Mark McMillan

Verse 1

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of


These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Pre-Chorus

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Verse 1

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of


These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Pre-Chorus

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Chorus

(Yeah) He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
(REPEAT)

Verse 2

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So Heaven meets earth


Like a sloppy wet (unforeseen) kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way that

Chorus

(Yeah) He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
(REPEAT)

Pre-Chorus

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so
(REPEAT)

Message –  Graced with a Mistrial (10 Slides) [Slide]

The Lord Jesus had just left a festival where as usual, controversy and arguments and all sorts of opinions about him were spoken by the attendees. Actually, he was almost arrested (John 7: 32-33, 45-47).

Today’s story is itself a controversy:

  • Bible scholars still argue if it belongs in the bible.
  • Putting all the argument aside, we can see that the story is consistent with what the Lord Jesus preached.

As I read through, I just thought to ask these questions of myself:

[Slide]

  • Have you ever been in a situation where the Loving thing to do could result in a violent response towards you?
  • What happens when someone’s strength is been taken advantage of?
  • In this text, two victims turn the tide on a situation that is known today by many as one of the many sweet descriptions of God’s Grace.

There are definitely many more questions the story of today will drop on our hearts but these few just stood out for me personally.

  • [Slide]

8 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came back into the temple [court], and all the people were coming to Him. He sat down and began teaching them. Now the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the center of the court, and they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women [to death]. So what do You say [to do with her—what is Your sentence]?

John 8: 1-5

[Slide Placekeeper]

  • Have you ever seen a situation where a judge receives a judgement without one been given?
  • The story begs many further questions:
  • Where was her partner?
  • Why did they find it easier to present a woman to the Lord Jesus as the criminal?
  • They even misquoted the book of Leviticus.

[Slide]

Investigating deeper, you might want to think and note some of the following:

  • Was this woman lured by a man known by the Pharisees so they could lure another man (The Lord Jesus) they knew very well to commit a NATIONAL offense???
  • It’s important to also notice that she was speechless as the whole conversation took place.
  • What amount of guilt and fear was she carrying at that moment?. 

[Slide]

If he should confirm the sentence of the law, and let it take its course, they would censure him as inconsistent with himself (he having received publicans and harlots) and with the character of the Messiah, who should be meek, and have salvation, and proclaim a year of release; and perhaps they would accuse him to the Roman governor, for countenancing the Jews in the exercise of a judicial power. But, [2.] If he should acquit her and give his opinion that the sentence should not be executed (as they expected he would), they would represent him, First, As an enemy to the law of Moses, and as one that usurped an authority to correct and control it, and would confirm that prejudice against him which his enemies were so industrious to propagate, that he came to destroy the law and the prophets. Secondly, As a friend to sinners, and, consequently, a favourer of sin; if he should seem to connive at such wickedness, and let it go unpunished, they would represent him as countenancing it, and being a patron of offences, if he was a protector of offenders, than which no reflection could be more invidious upon one that professed the strictness, purity, and business of a prophet.

Matthew Henry’s commentary

[Slide 7]

Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women [to death]. So what do You say [to do with her—what is Your sentence]?” They said this to test Him, hoping that they would have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and began writing on the ground with His finger. However, when they persisted in questioning Him, He straightened up and said, “He who is without [any] sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He stooped down again and started writing on the ground. They listened [to His reply], and they began to go out one by one, starting with the oldest ones, until He was left alone, with the woman [standing there before Him] in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]

John 8:5-11

[Slide 7]

“it’s the Holy Spirits job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to Love”

Billy Graham

Without a doubt, this was a clear case of favoritism, a clear case of humans playing judge by deciding who was to be charged and who was let go. These people had formed a Jury that already had a sentence before the trial even began. She practically stood no chance.

What was he writing when he stooped down? Was he trying to analyze the Law of Moses in his heart? 

[Slide 8]

“If Jesus said something more like, “Let he who has led a perfect, sinless life cast the first stone,” we would probably expect that they’d laugh in his face and ask him where the Law ever gives such a standard.  However, it changes completely when he calls out their status as witnesses.  They know they did not come with pure motives, and they know that’s against the Law and invites punishment itself.  They know that he knows it too, and therefore they cannot risk a trial of words with Jesus here.  Jesus was essentially saying, “If you’re confident in your motives as a witness, enough to risk punishment yourself, then come forward.”  That’s why they slowly leave.”

Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary)

[Slide Placekeeper]

The Greek word for “without sin” used here is different from that used for sin.

It was actually only used once in the whole Greek new testament.

Deut 17, 19 and Exodus 23 all give us an in-depth understanding about witnessing in the LAW.

What was it about that phrase that made them disperse?

Those words were definitely inspired by the Holy Spirit.

[Slide 9]

I am not a law expert but according to USLegal, a mistrial is:

  • A mistrial is the termination of a trial before its natural conclusion because of a procedural error, statements by a witness, judge or attorney which prejudice a jury, a deadlock by a jury without reaching a verdict after lengthy deliberation (a “hung” jury), or the failure to complete a trial within the time set by the court..
  • This seemed more like a mistrial according to this definition
  • There prosecutors left the court before any judgement was delivered.

[Slide 10]

  • This story highlighted:
    • The beauty of God’s Grace.
    • The power of God’s forgiveness (John 8: 10-11).

She was strengthened to live above her sin by the words of the Lord Jesus which is a character of his forgiveness.

  • The need to always seek God’s wisdom in situations that may seem alright on the surface but with many layers of danger within.

In this story, the two victims walked out victorious of a dire situation by the utterance of just one statement. Just one!!!

May God always give us the wisdom to do and say the right thing, but not just the right thing, but to say and do the right thing the correct and WISE way as inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Music 4 (14 Slides)

Jesus You Alone

CCLI Song # 7120418

Jesse Reeves | John Larson | Nicole McLean

Verse 1

Who is the great King of glory
Seated on high in the heavens
Oh Jesus You alone


You are the Lord God Almighty
Strong in compassion and mercy
Oh Jesus You alone

Pre-Chorus

I’ve searched the world
For a love that could fill my heart
Nothing compares
To the wonder of who You are

Chorus 1

Holy all the earth singing
Holy all the angels cry
Holy Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone

Verse 2

You set the stars in the heavens
You set the world into motion
Oh Jesus You alone


You breathed Your life in creation
You walked among Your created
Oh Jesus You alone

Pre-Chorus

I’ve searched the world
For a love that could fill my heart
Nothing compares
To the wonder of who You are

Chorus 2

Holy all the earth singing
Holy all the angels cry
Holy Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone


Worthy all creation sings
Worthy all the heavens
Exalt Thee Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone 

Jesus You alone

Verse 3

You shed Your blood for salvation
You broke the curse for our freedom
Oh Jesus You alone


You rose from death with the morning
You’ll come again in Your glory
Oh Jesus You alone
Oh Jesus You alone

Chorus 2

Holy all the earth singing
Holy all the angels cry
Holy Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone


Worthy all creation sings
Worthy all the heavens
Exalt Thee Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone 

Jesus You alone

Chorus 3

Holy
I can’t help but sing holy
How my heart cries out holy
Jesus You alone

Worthy
I lift my voice and sing worthy
I bow my life to exalt Thee
Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone

Benediction (6 Slides) (signal to Petty when slides are on screen)

Leader: We have experienced the hurled stones thrown by others.

Response: We have unjustifiably thrown stones.

Leader: We have knelt on the ground to be invisible, to lessen the impact of the pain inflicted.

Response: We have experienced Christ’s notice and deliverance.

Leader: We live amongst a people who cower as the stones are hurled, as the hate is given a voice.

Response: We know the other voice, the voice that lifts us up in love.

Leader: We have been given the task of letting that love flow through us.

Response: To love God and to love all.

Leader: We live a world that needs that love just as we need that love.

Response: We are called to live out that love to all.

Leader: We rejoice in the forgiveness that could only be given by God.

Response: We rejoice in that forgiveness accomplished for all.

Community (7 Slides)

  • March/April Bible Studies details – Mondays beg March 21 (w/dinner) at 6 (tent.) or Wednesdays beg March 23 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus, 6 weeks.
  • Best Next Update – Masks optional when seated
  • Anniversary month luncheon next Sunday, March 20 at Joe’s following worship
  • Next Sunday – Truth- Then and Now (Chuck Andrews) (3rd Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Easter eggs for Afghanistan Refugees available next Sunday
  • QR codes/‘Order, Words, Voices’

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

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