March 29, 2020
Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 130)
One: Out of the depths of this moment, we cry to the Lord.
Many: We gather today – at least virtually — to wait for the Lord.
One: Together or apart, in God’s word, we hope.
Many: With the Lord we have steadfast love.
One: As we worship, we trust God’s power to redeem.
Many: So we unite our hearts and minds to worship the Lord our God!
Merciful God, it’s tough for us these days to put our trust in you. Our fears
so easily take hold, and our anxieties rise up like a midnight mist. So we thank you for this time to set our minds and hearts on you, turning away from the constant clamor of cable TV and network news.
Thank you for this time of worship. Thank you for all who are stretching to find new ways to share the Good News of Jesus in the midst of COVID-19. Out of the depths, we cry to you. Hear us, and grant us your peace as we push on through this Lenten wilderness. AMEN
Moment for Stewardship (referring to Ezekiel 31:1-14)
(consider listening to Lauren Daigle’s song, “Come Alive” or seeing it on your
screen after the moment for Stewardship, perhaps while the offering is being taken, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P4YdXz3LAI)
One of the famous scriptures from the book of Ezekiel is “the valley of dry bones”, Ezekiel 37:1-14. The prophet describes being taken to a valley filled with dry bones. God begins a dialog with the prophet, asking him to prophesy to the bones.
Ezekiel prophesied, and the bones came together. God continued to instruct the prophet, and the bones had sinew, flesh, and skin added to them, until they lived!
Explaining this vision, the people declared they were without hope, “cut off completely”. And yet, God promises to “bring you up from your graves”.
Today, many of us may feel cut off, without hope, dis-connected from other people or separated from God, in the face of the unprecedented economic and health challenges of our day.
Today, I invite you to breathe! Breathe in the presence of God, the capacity of God to work wonders, and the hope which rises in us as we remember the valley of dry bones and its transformation into the multitude standing on their feet, ALIVE!
Then, let us respond with thanksgiving, sharing our tithes, our offerings and our gifts, that we may all Come Alive!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
So often, God, we experience seasons of being dry bones. Renew in us the image of Ezekiel, prophesying over our lethargy and lifelessness. Let these offerings and gifts be one way of standing on our feet as your living, loving daughters and sons. AMEN
Invitation to Communion
In this season of Lent, 2020, we’ve been wrestling not only with the liturgical movement toward Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and death, but also with the additional challenge of many congregations moving to virtual worship in an on-line setting.
This opens the door to some creative work on the part of each worshipper. The story of Lazarus’ death comes on a Sunday when many people feel dis-oriented, distant and discouraged.
Yet it was Jesus, himself, who took on the challenge of facing Lazarus’ death, weeping in the presence of the mourners. Then, in a moment of amazing communion, Jesus called Lazarus out of his tomb!
Here faith draws us forward. Jesus is calling us out of our own dry bones valley, out of our own tombs of fear.
At this table, Jesus offers us new life. Together, we take this bread and drink from this cup, knowing all are welcome to share in these gifts. With whatever elements you have, we eat and drink together. Here we experience the love which pulls us into one body, even if we’re separated by “shelter-in-place” regulations.