Scattered But Worshiping Together
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 29, 2020
Prelude to Worship
It’s 11 am. Welcome to Worship.
There is no right way to do this. It is an act of worship in spirit and truth. If you are a small group or couple, share the readings around. If you are meeting as an individual, saying the words out loud may help with presence. But make it your own, use it as you want to use it.
Hopefully it will be understood by all ages. We encourage you that as you read though the devotional if there are thoughts to engage with, just do that.
I’ll be praying for you.
At 11 am gather in a common area in your home.
In the center, place a lit candle (real or electric)
Someone say out loud;
We give thanks for the light of hope—
Our hope in Christ shines on.
We give thanks for the light of peace—
The peace of Christ lights our way.
We give thanks for the light of joy—
The joy of Christ brightens our lives.
We give thanks for the light of love—
The love of Christ comforts and challenges.
Thank you, God, for your light in this world through Jesus Christ.
The light shines in the darkness.
And the darkness has not overcome it.
Prayer (Or you can pray in your own words)
O Lord, we wait for you,
and in your Word we trust.
By the power of your Spirit,
set our hearts and minds
on the source of life and peace:
Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Scripture Reading for the Day – John 11:1-45
Invite 1 or 2 to read it from a Bible. It’s a long passage for the day.
It’s interesting that our Scripture passage for today, the passage which Christians all around the world are reading on this day, is about life and death.
In our world, death is the worst thing that can happen to us. We fight it, exercise against it, eat properly so we don’t have to face it. It is our enemy. The worst that can happen. In this passage, a good friend of Jesus died. His name was Lazarus.
Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha lived in the little village of Bethany. They had a comfortable home and plenty of good food which they enjoyed sharing with Jesus and his disciples. They loved each other, and they loved Jesus.
But on this day, everything changed. Their brother had died.
What took Lazarus’ life? We do not know. How intense was his suffering? How long did he linger? We don’t know that either, but we do know that his two sisters and others would have nursed him with the most tender care.
During his illness, many times the sisters would have wondered, “Where is Jesus.” There would have been a dread that death would come, before Jesus would get there.
Lazarus grew sick, and died. Some may say, “If Jesus really loved him, he would have been there.” Yet the Bible says, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.”
Love does not always do what we want or expect. God does not always do what we want or expect. Jesus loved these three.
Yet Jesus stayed away from them in their hour of need. Jesus stayed away until under-takers prepared the body of Lazarus for burial and put it into the tomb. That seems so strange to us.
One translation puts V. 6 like this, “So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.”
We would expect just the opposite. We expect the Bible to read, “Jesus loved him, therefore he rushed to go help them.” That is what we expect and want it to say.
God, in his infinite wisdom sometimes delays to act, or refuses to act as we want him to act. For most of us, there is nothing more important than life. For God, death is a transition, not the end. In Christ, Death is not the final act, it’s only the end of the beginning.
Life doesn’t always make sense. But it’s not God’s goal to make sense. His desire is to bring glory to his name, to bring us into right relationship with himself. To build faith in us.
In verses 21 and 32 both the sisters say at different times the exact same words; “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
They asked the same question we ask in these times. Lord, where were you? Why Lord?
Well for these sisters Jesus did it because he loved them and wanted them to know that God had sent him and had power over death.
He wanted them and us to know, that there is something more precious than life, and that is to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ. There is a power greater than death, and that power is in Jesus Christ.
God is working to bring Glory to His name and in that we become convinced that He really is God. We begin to have relationship with Jesus.
The road to God leads through Jesus Christ. His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead makes death only a doorway for us.
Death is no longer to be feared. For the disciples and for followers of Jesus down through the years right down to today, death is a defeated foe.
The very day that Jesus arrived in Bethany, he brought Lazarus back to life from the dead. He did it to exhibit his power over death.
The God we love, the One we serve still has power over death.
He is worthy to be trusted, no matter what it may look like on any given day. We can trust his love for us and his power over everything.
Ask or think of some things to pray for –
Take time to pray together.
May the Lord bless us and keep us.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon us
and be gracious to us.
May the Lord turn his face toward us and give us peace.
In the name of God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Giving our Offerings, An Act of Worship
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