Worship for Sunday, March 22 – Virtual at Zoom, streaming Facebook, 10:45 a.m. https://zoom.us/j/933171871
All hymns used are from the Moravian Book of Worship, used with permission of the IBOC.
Watchword for the Week — Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. Psalm 23:6
Moravian Daily Text:
There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. Daniel 2:28
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3
God of the universe, there is far more of you that has yet to be seen by us. Increase our faith so that the unknown does not frighten us but instead causes us to marvel at your grandeur. Amen.
CALL TO WORSHIP “Prayer by Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org (used with permission and purchase).
God is in the water that restores our soul.
And God is in the night when we lose our way.
God is in today and tomorrow, raising up leaders, prophets and dreamers.
And God is in the wilderness with us—every step of the way.
So with confidence we declare—
If God is in those spaces, then God is surely here.
Let us open our eyes and see the God of our present days,
Let us worship the God that brings light into darkness, hope into our wilderness spaces.
Moment of Silence
Assurance of God’s Love.
Prayers of the Community:
O Lord, hear our prayers – answer to each prayer offered.
Prayers for hope for those who feel hopeless – in times of wilderness wanderings. ..
O Lord hear my prayers
Prayers for healing for those who need healing from this virus and other illnesses of the mind, body and spirit….
Prayers for jobs for those who are jobless – and those affected by this seismic shift in how we can work and where we can work….
Prayers for community for those who feel lonely … helpless…. adrift…. Think especially of those in nursing homes and retirement buildings,
Prayers for peace for those whose lives are filled with conflict…….
Prayers for comfort those who grieve – places of losses, and in loss of knowledge of way of life….
Prayers for food for those who hunger, shelter for homeless,… those affected when essential services need to be altered….. those in our community Daybreak mental health drop in center closed, homeless shelters, new way to do soup kitchens,
Prayers for wisdom for our leaders…. locally, nationally and in our world.
Prayers for your Kingdom to reign here on earth….
O Lord hear my prayers Amen.
Hymn Guide me o My Great Redeemer.
1 Guide me, O my great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.
2 Open now the crystal fountain,
where the healing waters flow.
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
ever be my strength and shield,
ever be my strength and shield.
3 When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death, and hell’s Destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever sing to you,
I will ever sing to you.
Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7
In a week of very real and literal disruptions, we hear the Israelites’ journey of wilderness wanderings and thirst in a desert. Like I said at our Zoom online mid-week Lenten program, when we picked this Wilderness theme, no one could have imagined navigating through confusing future scenarios, horrible scenes of illness abroad and in our country, and the chaos of predicting, cancelling , scheduling the future. We live thinking we are in control – of the present and yes, even the future. Perhaps this wilderness pushed the Israelites into their present. Give us our daily bread – our manna, give us something to drink now. We do not, nor always can we, know what the future will bring. May we be in the present now, O Lord. Wilderness is a place of disruption and perhaps this disruptions push us in to the present. Nature. Family. Phone Call. God’s presence, voice, peace.
Community Conversation – Where have you felt in the wilderness this week? Has the disruption also been a source of peace or God’s presence – or how could it be?
Scripture. Psalm 23.
Focus on familiar. I was just talking with someone about Netflix shows (big surprise!), and we talked about the uncertainty of trying – investing – in a new show. In a surprisedly philosophical way the person said, You know, there are times for new shows and there are times for the familiar and the comforting. There are days when I just need to watch a Parks and Rec – or you can fill in the blank with your familiar. Is the 23rd psalm that familiar scripture for you? It is here in our lectionary readings for this week, and it occurred to me that it is one of those Scripture verses that can provide the familiar and comfort. Perhaps in praying it, hearing it, singing it, and using spiritual practice of Lectio Divina we can hear it echoed in our wildernesses. We first will begin in song, and then in practice of Lectio Divina.
What is Lectio Divina? Guidelines to this Spiritual Practice – adapt as needed with other readings.
Prepare to Listen: Find a comfortable sitting position and take a few moments to settle yourself. Prepare your heart, mind and body to listen. Perhaps doing some deep breathing exercises, lighting a candle, saying a prayer.
Slowly read Psalm 23 aloud. Notice any words, phrases or sentences that stand out to you. Allow for a few moments of quiet.
Read Psalm 23 aloud again. (this time we will hear with a different voice). Draw your attention again to any words or phrases that stood out to you and now engage with them. Why did they draw your attention? Maybe it is helpful to write them down, maybe draw them, doodle? Allow for a few moments of quiet.
Read Psalm 23 aloud again. Offer any emotions, feelings or thought you have to God as a response. As a prayer. Allow for a few moments of quiet.
Offer a prayer of gratitude for this time. Amen.
Psalm 23 – Lectio Divina.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
Hymn When Peace, Like a River
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.”
Refrain (may be sung after final stanza only):
It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul.
2 Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control:
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and has shed his own blood for my soul. Refrain
3 My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
my sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! Refrain
4 O Lord, haste the day when my 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. Refrain
In the lush pastures of life that hold meeting places with love,
may your feet know the way to find them.
By the still waters of the running stream,
may your hands shape a cup it and drink deep from it.
In the valley of death’s shadow that ever threatens,
may your sense of life find the way through.
At the banqueting table set before your enemies,
may your cup be full and overrunning.
Like the anointing oil that runs down your head,
may the blessing that is you spill into the world with eternal promise.
In the way a shepherd’s staff warms off lameness from fear,
may trust be your protective companion on the way.
Through each day’s living as it unfolds,
may goodness and mercy make their way into every moment.
At the doorway to the house of the Lord of life,
may you recognise your home and your hearth.
And in the song that makes a dwelling-place in your heart,
may its music rise in your soul.
~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws. http://www.nkchurch.org.uk/index.php/mucky-paws
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