Recording of livestream:

ORDER OF SERVICE

Centering chimes

Lighting of the solidarity lamp
–Symbolic of our Sister Church relationship with El Divino Redentor

Prelude (Pastor Deb)

Hymnal #167 – “For God so loved us”

Welcome & prayer (Pastor Michael)

Welcome to this holy moment.
Welcome to this time and, strangely, to this place.

Whether you are in central Illinois or Tucson, Arizona or by the Florida beach. Whether in your living room, your bedroom, or your back porch. Whether dressed in your Sunday best or your pajamas (or if your Sunday best is your pajamas), Whether you sit in the physical presence of others, or alone at the kitchen table, Whether your heart is full with hope, or – more likely – you are uncertain, anxious, fearful, concerned, grieving, lonely, or numb: Know that we are gathered in this holy moment, as in every moment, held in the strong, tender arms of God, buoyed by the magnificent love of Jesus, and connected by the unassailable power of the Holy Spirit.

Looking back over the last ten days, it’s incredible how quickly things have changed. Ten days ago I was preparing for a short weekend vacation to Wisconsin and all was business as usual, maybe with a little extra hand sanitizer. 24 hours later schools extended spring break, the University went online, and we suspended in-person worship and other gatherings. Over the weekend nearly everything was canceled. Toilet paper disappeared. Calls for “social distancing” have been reinforced by public health officials and executive orders.

Some jobs feel dangerous but essential – healthcare officials, grocery and hardware store workers, delivery drivers. Some jobs feel unsteady or have already gone away. Some jobs (like pastoring) have changed dramatically, almost overnight. I feel emotional whiplash.

When we started the Lent worship season several weeks ago, I said this year was an opportunity to embody the Passion of Jesus in a new way. This was not what I had in mind. Yet in a way this is a Lenten truth. The Gospel stories abruptly shift course, giving the disciples spiritual and emotional whiplash. One minute there are hopes of liberation, shouts of Hosanna!, loud praise for the coming Messiah. The next there is fear and disillusionment. One minute everyone is TOGETHER. The next minutes Jesus is betrayed, the disciples are scattered, and everyone is ALONE. The poet David Whyte writes: “The first step to being ALONE is to admit how afraid of it we are.”

Let us pray:
[Prayer by Joanna Harader, Pastor of Peace Mennonite Church]

Holy One,
We cannot gather in person this morning, but we are gathered in spirit.
We come together in our uncertainty and our fear.
We come together in our determination and our hope.
We come together to worship you:
Our Creator and Sustainer,
The One whose Spirit hovers always within and around and between us,
Meet us in the desert of our ALONE-ness,
Lead us to the living water of your grace,
Transform our fear,
Restore our weary spirits.
Help us know your presence with us
And our presence with each other
In this time of worship.
Amen.

Call to worship

Deb: Wind of God, blow far from us: all dark despair, all deep distress, all groundless fears, all sinful desires, all false values, all selfish wishes.
Michael: Blow into us: your holy presence, your living love, your healing touch, your splendid courage, your mighty strength, your perfect peace, your boundless joy.
Both: Wind of the God who loves and forgives us, blow strong, blow fresh, blow now. AMEN.

Purple #80 “Jesus walked this lonesome valley”

Hymnal #252 “O sacred head, now wounded” (vss. 1-3)

Confession & assurance

Michael: We are commanded, “Follow God’s example, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us…”
Deb: Almighty God, you love us, but we fail to love those nearest to us with a tender and sturdy love. You love us, but we fail to love others with generosity and compassion. You love us, but we fail to see in our enemies’ faces your image and your dreams. Help us to see as you see.
Michael: Merciful God, we return to you. You refresh our souls and guide us along the right paths. You are the way and the truth and the life. Restore us and free us for joyful obedience.

Children’s story

Scripture: Matthew 27:11-31

Scripture drama by Doug Malcolm

Sermon (Pastor Deb)

Hymnal #540 “Strong Righteous Man of Galilee”

Congregational sharing & prayer

Meditative music (Pastor Deb)

Work of the church

Green songbook #98 “All will be well”

Benediction