802 12th St

Marion, IA 52302

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Pastoral Letter #26

 
 
 
 
Dear Members and Friends,

 

Things are all mixed up. I’m not sure what I’m feeling. Are you clearer in your own self about your feelings? We won’t worship in our church building. We won’t gather with friends or family. No sharing a meal. Flowers are on the verge of blooming, but they’re not quite there. We’ve been living for weeks with worry, sadness, and scariness. If only Easter worship could lift our spirits! But we won’t hear the organ, a brass ensemble, or feel the joy of singing together. Where and how will we celebrate new life tomorrow?

 

Tomorrow is Easter. I wonder if this year Easter will be a vision, a becoming that calls us into the future. 

 

With gratitude,

 

Terry

 

 

LIFE IN THE CHURCH

 

CALL TO WORSHIP

 

Beloved, why are your weeping?

The tomb is empty,

The grave clothes are cast aside.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR TAMBOURINES AND DANCING,

FOR VICTORY SONGS AND SHOUTS OF JOY!

See and believe: Our redeemer lives!

O GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR GOD IS GOOD;

GOD’S STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!

Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

 

INVITATION TO CONFESSION

 

The Spirit of God helps us in our weakness,

interceding with sighs too deep for words.

Trusting in God’s grace, we confess our sin.

 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

 

LIKE THE WOMEN WHO CAME TO YOUR TOMB

AS THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK WAS DAWNING

AND FOUND THE TOMB EMPTY,

 

WE HAVE SUCH GOOD NEWS TO TELL.

FOR YOU, LORD,

HAVE CAST OFF YOUR GRAVE CLOTHES

AND SHATTERED THE POWERS OF SIN AND DEATH.

 

BUT WE HAVE HEARD THIS NEWS BEFORE.

HOW OFTEN HAVE WE LET OUR “ALLELUIAS” FALL SILENT

AS WE PASSED THROUGH THE CHURCH DOORS?

HOW OFTEN HAVE WE RETURNED TO DAILY ROUTINES

AS IF EASTER CHANGES NOTHING?

HOW OFTEN HAVE OUR ACTIONS BELIED

THE POWER OF RESURRECTION TO

TRANSFORM OUR WORLD?

 

RISEN LORD,

FORGIVE US FOR OUR HALF-HEARTED WITNESS.

FREE US FROM THE BINDINGS OF FEAR OR INDIFFERENCE,

DISAPPOINTMENT OR DISENCHANTMENT.

FILL US WITH THE LIGHT OF RESURRECTION

AND SEND US INTO THE WORLD

TO PROCLAIM IN WORD AND DEED

THAT WE HAVE SEEN THE LORD!

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

 

Hear the good news of God’s promise.

I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord

will be saved.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

THANKS BE TO GOD!

 

PASSING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

 

The peace of Christ be with you.

AND ALSO WITH YOU.

 

SONG: BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

 

NURTURING GOD, FEED OUR HUNGRY SPIRITS WITH YOUR LIFE-GIVING, HOPE-INSPIRING WORD. AMEN.

 

SCRIPTURE

Jeremiah 31:1-6

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-34

Matthew 28:1-10

 

SERMON

 

“Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers and sisters that I am going into Galilee. They will see me there.”

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH             from a Brief Statement of Faith,1991

 

IN LIFE AND IN DEATH WE BELONG TO GOD. 

THROUGH THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, 

THE LOVE OF GOD, 

AND THE COMMUNION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, 

WE TRUST IN THE ONE TRIUNE GOD, 

THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, 

WHOM ALONE WE WORSHIP AND SERVE.

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION AND LORD’S PRAYER

 

The Lord be with you.

AND ALSO WITH YOU.

Lift up your hearts.

WE LIFT THEM TO THE LORD.,

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

IT IS RIGHT TO GIVE OUR THANKS AND PRAISE.

 

INVITATION TO THE OFFERING

 

HOW DOES GOD’S LOVE ABIDE IN ANYONE

WHO HAS THE WORLD’S GOODS

YET REFUSES TO HELP A SISTER OR BROTHER IN NEED? REMEMBERING GOD’S GREAT LOVE FOR THE WORLD, WE OFFER OUR LIVES TO THE LORD. AMEN.

 

*PRAYER OF DEDICATION

 

ALLOW US, O GOD, TO BE BEARERS OF YOUR GOOD NEWS: DEATH IS NOT THE FINAL WORD BECAUSE JESUS LIVES. EMBRACE US AS PARTNERS IN BRINGING YOUR JUSTICE. AMEN.

 

BLESSING

 

This liturgy comes from Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts, Published by the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Vol. 53.1.

 

 
 
 

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