Virtual Worship for April 19, 2020

The Presbyterian Church, Coshocton, Ohio

Pastor Karen Crawford

 Mark Wagner and Caroline Heading, Pianists

Liturgists: Mason Gano, Ashley Bryant, Ethan Swigert, Courtney Snyder

jesus-and-thomas

Prelude: Shall We Gather at the River?

Caroline Heading, piano

Greeting/Announcements: Pastor Karen

Choral Introit: Deep and Wide

Vintage Carol Choir

Opening Sentences:  Ashley Bryant   

Gathering Prayer: Mason Gano

Hymn 399   We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight

Lyrics by Henry Alford; Sung by Marty Haugen

https://youtu.be/6hk_7EUvwv8

  1. We walk by faith, an not by sight: No gracious words we hear of him who spoke as none e’er spoke, but we believe him near.
  2. We may not touch his hands and side, nor follow where he trod; yet in his promise we rejoice, and cry, “My Lord and God!”
  3. Help then, O Lord, our unbelief, and may our faith abound; to call on you when you are near. and seek where you are found:
  4. That when our life of faith is done in realms of clearer light We may behold you as you are in full and endless sight.
  5. We walk by faith, an not by sight: No gracious words we hear of him who spoke as none e’er spoke, but we believe him near.

Call to Confession/ Prayer of Confession/Assurance (Pastor Karen)

Risen Lord, you have breathed the Spirit upon us, and sent us forth to testify to what we have heard and seen. Yet we resist this calling, huddling behind locked doors rather than stepping out with confidence. We yearn for more—more proof, more courage, more guidance, more faith—and forget that you have given us all we need: the gift of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us, we pray. Free us from fear and send us forth to proclaim: “We have seen the Lord!” Amen.

Time with Children

Prayer for Illumination: Ethan Swigert

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-9 : Courtney Snyder

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

Anthem: Lord, I Have Seen by John D. Cooper

https://youtu.be/yR3r_47LjyM

Video courtesy of First United Methodist Church, Pittsfield, MA. Song played and sung by Music Director Joshua Birns-Sprague, July 9, 2017

Scripture: John 20:19–31

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ!

Message  Known By the Scars  Pastor Karen

Hymn  495   We Know That Christ Is Raised

Video courtesy of First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska, July 24, 2016. Tom Trenney, Organist.

  1. We know that Christ is raised and dies no more.
    Embraced by death, he broke its fearful hold,
    and our despair he turned to blazing joy. Alleluia!
  2. We share by water in his saving death.
    Reborn, we share with him an Easter life
    as living members of our Savior Christ. Alleluia!
  3.  The God of splendor clothes the Son with life.
    The Spirit’s fission shakes the church of God.
    Baptized, we live with God the Three-in-One. Alleluia!
  4. A new creation comes to life and grows
    as Christ’s new body takes on flesh and blood.
    The universe, restored and whole, will sing: Alleluia

Text: John Brownlow Geyer (b. 1932)

Affirmation of Faith: Apostles’ Creed (Traditional) 

Let us say what we believe.

I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.  Amen.

Invitation to the Offering/Prayer of Thanksgiving/Lord’s Prayer

Generous God, you are our portion and our cup. In you our hearts are glad, our souls rejoice, and our bodies rest. Bless and multiply our offerings and pledges that they may bring the joy of your presence more deeply into the world. And we continue our prayer as Jesus taught us. Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Hymn 108   Christ Is Alive!

Sanctuary Choir, Cynthia Douglas, Director; John Gearhart, organist; Jonathon Saint-Thomas, pianist; First Methodist Houston, Downtown May 5, 2019

  1. Christ is alive! Let Christians sing. His cross stands empty to the sky. Let streets and homes with praises ring. His love in death shall never die.
  2. Christ is alive! No longer bound to distant years in Palestine. He comes to claim the here and now and dwell in every place and time.
  3. Not throned afar, remotely high, Untouched, unmoved by human pains, but daily, in the midst of life, our Savior in the Godhead reigns.
  4. In every insult, rift, and war, where color, scorn, or wealth divide, He suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives, though ever crucified.
  5. Christ is alive, and comes to bring good news to this and every age, till earth and all creation ring with joy, with justice, love and praise.

Charge/Benediction

Postlude: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above

Mark Wagner, Piano

 

He Has Been Raised, As He Said!

Empty Tomb

Meditation on Matthew 28:1-10

The Presbyterian Church, Coshocton, Ohio

Easter Sunday

Pastor Karen Crawford

       After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

      How are you feeling today, friends? I hope everything is well with you and if you need anything, will you let me know?

My family and I are doing well. Some of you have asked about my mom. She is doing fine. Jim, Jacob and I and Mabel the Pomeranian are home together. Mabel is especially happy that we have been home, now, for, what has it been? A month? It seems like a long time, doesn’t it? It would be for Mabel, who hasn’t had to be locked in her crate for hours each day, while we are out working. She has had plenty of attention with us at home. She has often been in the same room with us, and this includes when we are recording our worship services. If you listen closely to some of our services, you can probably hear the jingling of the tags on her collar as she walks or shakes herself. And speaking of walks. Mabel has had more walks in the last month than she probably has had in the last year. It’s good for her. It’s good for us.

But how ‘bout the weather this week? It was warm; it was wet; it was cold and, did you see it? It even snowed! Yes, it’s true. If you don’t like the weather in Ohio, wait a minute. It’ll change.

Lots of things are changing around us. Uncomfortable change. I think you will agree with me that this has been a Lent and Holy Week unlike any other we have experienced. Today, Easter will be different, too. And I am pretty sure it will be like the title of Nat King Cole’s song, Unforgettable.

I bought all kinds of Easter candy to give to the children during the children’s moment today and throughout the season of Easter in the coming weeks. That’s not going to happen. I left it in the church refrigerator so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it all at home. Cause I would.

We usually gather for a wonderful Easter breakfast in the parlor at church during the Sunday school time.

That won’t happen this year.

We usually have an Easter Egg Hunt in the fellowship hall after the Easter breakfast. And the adult and children’s choirs were going to sing, the pipe organ and other instruments were going to play, and we were going to dress up in our Easter clothes to worship in our sanctuary filled with the scent of Easter flowers–lilies, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

That won’t happen this year, either.

I could go on with the list of things that won’t happen this year because of our need to stay home and stay safe. But I don’t need to. You already have your long list, possibly including the disappointment of not being able to travel and gather with extended family for your traditional Easter meal.

But is it really Easter that is different this year?

Or, is it just the celebration that has changed? Because Easter has come. Quietly, simply, softly, peacefully, joyfully. No matter who we are with, no matter where we are, no matter what we do today. Easter has come.

And WE who are the Redeemed are the same. We still have hope as we expectantly come to the tomb, like we do every year, on this first day of the week.

We come with the women, walking by faith, to discover the stone has been rolled away. And the tomb–empty, still.

We rejoice with angels in the resurrection of God’s Son. Everything we believe as Christians depends on this—that through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our merciful Savior, we have the promise of forgiveness and eternal life because he was raised, as he said.

The resurrection story in Matthew emphasizes the significance of the women as the first witnesses at the empty tomb. This is remarkable in a society where women were not generally regarded as credible witnesses, especially since this singling out of the women for this honor detracts from the prestige of the male disciples.

Where were the men that morning? Asleep, probably. It WAS early. Their absence points to their lack of hope, despite what Jesus had said.

Only in Matthew, the chief priests and Pharisees remember, after he dies, Jesus saying that he would be raised on the third day; only in Matthew, they demand from Pilate an armed guard, “so that his disciples cannot come and steal him,” says Matthew 27:64, “and then say to the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’”

The guards serve several purposes in this account, as I see it. One, they reveal the ignorance and arrogance of human beings who try to control what God is doing and thwart his plans for salvation. Two, they are proof that no human took Christ’s body away. And three, the guards are a witness—to the dramatic appearance of the angel, stirring an earthquake when the stone is rolled away, and to the two women being the first to discover the empty tomb.

The guards can’t help but be changed by their encounter with the angel, but when they later try to do the right thing and speak up, the chief priests and elders get together and make a plan to conceal the truth. In Matthew 28:11-15, they give a “good sum of money” to the soldiers and tell them to lie and say that the disciples came and stole Christ’s body when the guards were sleeping. There’s a pattern here. Judas was also given money to betray Jesus. Jesus words in Matthew 6:24 come to mind. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Just imagine the emotion of this day for the two Mary’s—Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, according to Mark’s gospel. Yes, I was disappointed, too, that she isn’t Mary, the mother of Jesus. Their day begins with terrible sorrow and the exhaustion of grief and sleepless nights after watching the one they love suffer and die. They are taking a big risk coming to the tomb. This wouldn’t be safe for women, even if they weren’t followers of the one who just been crucified.  They come with the first light of day and this reference isn’t by accident. This first light is a revelation of God’s love, hope shining in the darkness. And they don’t have any reason to come to the tomb in Matthew’s gospel, other than just to be near him, and not very near, for he is sealed in the tomb by the heavy stone. His body has already been anointed with spices and oils and wrapped in grave clothes.

But God sends an angel, who terrifies the guard but comforts the women, saying to them, “Do not be afraid.” The one they are looking for—he’s not here anymore. And this is good news!

Jesus meets the two Marys on their way to share the good news with the disciples—that he, the Risen Christ, will reveal themselves to Him. Unlike the gospel of John, the Marys don’t mistake him for a gardener or assume his body was stolen when they see the empty tomb; they recognize him and fall down to worship him, even clinging to his feet, unwilling to let him go. He says, “Greetings” in the NRSV, but don’t miss this important detail. The word translated “Greetings” or simply “Hello” is the Hebrew word, “Shalom.”

“Peace be with you!” says the Living Lord. “Do not be afraid.”

Friends, those who come seeking the Lord in hope and faith will be blessed with Christ’s peace. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. You may look for peace in all kinds of places. You might look everywhere. But you won’t find it until you come to the Lord and accept his gift of a peace that won’t be shaken. A peace that doesn’t make sense to us because it comes in the worst of times. It surpasses human understanding.

The promise in scripture is that we who have hearts to seek him will be with him. And we will see him. He is already here and everywhere. Wherever we are, wherever we go, whether we are in a church building or worshiping together only by the Spirit and separated in our homes.

We might not know what tomorrow holds for us—and we don’t. We made all these plans for Lent and Easter and after Easter and trips this summer—and we don’t know what tomorrow holds. What matters is today, on this first day of the week, the dawning of a new creation and knowing the One who holds us in the palm of his hand.

Turn to the person you are with and say, “Do NOT be afraid.” Or if you are watching this by yourself, say, “I am NOT alone! And I am NOT afraid.”

For the grave couldn’t hold him! And the grave won’t hold us either.

Easter has come. It’s here! A way was made where there was no way! Forgiven and freed from the bondage of sin, we are a new creation in Him.

He was raised from the dead, as he said.

Say it with me! He is Risen! Alleluia! Amen!

Let us pray.

Holy One, we give you thanks and praise on this first day of the week, as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection and our new life in Him. Thank you for your love and mercy that moved you to send your Only Son to be our Redeemer. Our debt was paid on the cross, our sins forgiven! Help us to live each day as forgiven people, as your Redeemed, shining the light of the new dawn, revealing your love. Thank you that you were willing to suffer and die for our sakes, because there was no other way to be reconciled with you. In Christ we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday Virtual Worship

Empty Tomb

The Resurrection of Our Lord

Easter Sunday

The Presbyterian Church, Coshocton, Ohio

Pastor Karen Crawford

Mark Wagner, Pianist

Mindy Brems and David Baker, Liturgists

Matt Downing, Soloist

April 12, 2020                                                                                                   10:30 a.m.

Prelude:  Because He Lives, arr. by Albin C. Whitworth

Mark Wagner, Piano

Greeting/Announcements

Choral Introit: Risen by Shawna Edwards

When darkness veiled the sky the day that Jesus died
In agony upon the bitter cross
They took His body down and laid it in a tomb
His friends believed that everything was lost.
But when the third day came, the darkness turned to light
For Mary heard her name and saw the living Christ.
Risen
To set the captives free
Risen to ransom you and me
To bind up every broken heart
To conquer death and sin.
Risen
To bring us home again.
And in that barren place the world forever changed
For hope was born when Jesus rose that day and
Still His wounded have revealed the love He has
For every fallen soul He came to save
And He will come again, and I’ve by one we’ll rise
To praise His Holy Name and see the Living Christ.
Risen
To set the captives free
Risen to ransom you and me
To bind up every broken heart
To conquer death and sin.
Risen
To bring us home again.

Opening Sentences: Mindy Brems & David Baker

The Lord is risen! Alleluia!

Alleluia! The Lord is risen indeed!

Gathering Prayer: David Baker

Brightness of God’s glory and exact image of God’s person, whom death could not conquer nor the tomb imprison, as you have shared our frailty in human flesh, help us to share your immortality in the Spirit. Let no shadow of the grace terrify us, and no fear of the darkness turn our hearts from you. Reveal yourself to us this day and all our days, as the first and the last and the Living One, our immortal Savior and Lord. Amen.

Hymn 113    Christ the Lord Is Risen Today! 

  1. Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!  Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!  Sing, ye heav’ns and earth reply. Alleluia!
  2. Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the vict’ry won, Alleluia! Jesus’ agony is o’er, Alleluia! Darkness veils the earth no more, Alleluia!
  3. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

(arr. by Mack Wilberg; video courtesy of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Salt Lake City, Utah)

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Holy One, 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 o-en have we let our “alleluias” fall silent as we passed through the church doors? How o-en have we returned to daily routines as if Easter changes nothing? How o-en have our ac ons 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! Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Soloist: Matt Downing

I Know That My Redeemer Liveth from Messiah by G. F. Handel (1685-1759)

Time with Children

Prayer for Illumination           Mindy Brems

Colossians 3:1-4  Mindy Brems & David Baker

This is the Word of the Lord.   Thanks be to God!

Anthem: Easter Song by Keith Green

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead
The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead
Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ, He will reveal it now
The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus’ power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour
Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah

Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10

     After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.       Praise to you, O Christ!

Message      He Has Been Raised, As He Said

Hymn 122    Thine Is the Glory

  1. Thine is the glory, Risen, conquering Son; Endless is the victory Tho’er death hast won. Angels in bright raiment Rolled the stone away, Kept the folded graveclothes Where Thy body lay. Thine Is the glory, Risen conquering Son; Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.
  2. Lo! Jesus meets us, Risen from the tombl Lovingly He greets us, Scatters fear and gloom. Let the church with gladness Hymns of triumph sing, For the Lord now liveth; Death hath lost its sting. Thine is the glory, Risen conquering Son; Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.
  3. No more we doubt Thee, Glorious Prince of life! Life is nought without Thee; Aid us in our strife. Make us more than conquerors Through Thy deathless love; Bring us safe through Jordan To Thy home above. Thine is the glory, Risen conquering Son; Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.

(Arr. by Robert Hobby; video courtesy of First-Plymouth Church; Lincoln, Nebraska)

Affirmation of Faith: The Nicene Creed

Let us say what we believe.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God; eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, being of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made; For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became truly human; For our sake, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. One the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, And his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken by the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins; We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Invitation to the Table

The Great Thanksgiving and Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Breaking the Bread

Distribution of the Bread and Cup

Share with one another. “The Body of Christ given for you.”  “The cup of salvation, shed for the forgiveness of sins.”

Prayer After Communion

Gracious God, we give you thanks that by the witness of your word and the sharing of this meal you have opened our hearts and eyes to the presence of Christ among us. Now send us forth from this place by the power of your Spirit to tell this good news to the world: The Lord has risen indeed! Amen.

Hymn 118: The Day of Resurrection!
  1. The day of resurrection!  Earth, tell it out abroad; the passover of gladness, the passover of God. From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky, our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory.                                                 
  2. Our hearts be pure from evil, that we may see aright the Lord in rays eternal of resurrection light; and listening to his accents, may hear, so calm and plain, his own “All hail!” and, hearing, may raise the victor strain. 
  3. Now let the heavens be joyful! Let earth the song begin! Let the round world keep triumph and all that is therein! Let all things seen and unseen their notes in gladness blend, for Christ the Lord hath Risen, our joy that hath no end.
(arr. by Shelton Ridge Love; video courtesy of Beckenhorst Press, Inc.)
Charge/Benediction
Receive the good news! Christ is risen from the dead. Tell the good news: the power of death shall no more oppress us. Live the good news: we are free to love as he has loved us. May God who raised Jesus from the dead bless you and by the power of the Holy Spirit raise you with him in glory. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Postlude: Come, Christians,  Join to Sing , arr. by Mark Hayes

Mark Wagner, Piano

Good Friday Virtual Worship

 The Presbyterian Church, Coshocton, Ohio

Pastor Karen Crawford

Mark Wagner and Caroline Heading, Pianists

Today You Will Be With Me

 

April 10, 2020                                                                                                        7 p.m.

Prelude:                                     Mark Wagner, Piano

 What Wondrous Love Is This / Jesus, Lover of My Soul;

The Old Rugged Cross                          

What Wondrous Love Is This/Jesus, Lover of My Soul:

The Old Rugged Cross:

  

To hear my greeting, the opening sentences and the opening prayer:

Greeting

Opening Sentences

Christ Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.

Blessed is the name of the Lord.

Opening Prayer

Almighty God, look with mercy on your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and to be given over to the hands of sinners, and to suffer death on the cross; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Musical Meditation            Beneath the Cross of Jesus           

                                                   Mark Wagner, Piano

Beneath the Cross of Jesus:

 

Prayer for Illumination

Listen to the prayer for Illumination:

Holy One, our strength in suffering and our hope for salvation, lift up your Word of Life and pour out your Spirit of grace so that we may follow faithfully all the way to the cross; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

John 18:1- 11         The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus               

 John 18:1-11:

18 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

John 18:12-14          Jesus Before the High Priest                   

Listen to John 18:12-14 and 15-18:

12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

John 18:15-18                 Peter Denies Jesus                              

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

John 18:19-24           The High Priest Questions Jesus               

Listen to John 18:19-24:

19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

John 18: 25-27       Peter Denies Jesus Again                       

Listen to John 18:25-27:

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

John 18: 28-38                Jesus before Pilate                                 

Listen to John 18: 28-38:

28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32 (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

John 18: 38b-19:16          Jesus Sentenced to Death                

Listen to John 18: 38b-19:16:

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 40 They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Hymn 93 (stanzas 1-3)   Ah, Holy Jesus         

Caroline Heading, Piano

Ah, Holy Jesus:

  1. Ah, holy Jesus, how has thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate pretended? By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted!
  2. Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee. ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.
  3. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered; for our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God interceded.

I Thirst

John 19:16b-30            The Crucifixion of Jesus                              

Listen to John 19:16b-30:

So they took Jesus; 17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, “I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25 And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I Commend My Spirit Into your hands

John 19:31-37                  Jesus’ Side Is Pierced                                   

Listen to John 19:31-37:

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35 (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36 These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

It Is Finished

Hymn 98 (stanzas 1&2) O Sacred Head, Now Wounded     

                                                Caroline Heading, Piano

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded:

  1. O sacred head, now wounded, with grief and shamed weighed down; now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown; O sacred head, what glory, what bliss till now was thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call thee mine.
  2. What thou, my Lord, has suffered was all for sinners’ gain; mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall, mu Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place; look on me with thy favor, and grant to me thy grace.

John 19:38-42                  The Burial of Jesus                              

Listen to John 19:38-42:

38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Closing Prayer:

Prayer 

Loving Creator, we thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world.  We thank you for the mystery of your love as revealed to us on the cross.  We cannot understand all that the cross may mean but we feel your hand upon us and we would give ourselves afresh to you.  Take our lives, use them in your ministry of reconciliation to a world deeply in need of love and mercy and justice and righteousness.  Send us out to do your will.  In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Postlude      O Sacred Head, Now Wounded     

Caroline Heading, Piano

Postlude: 

“Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

jesus-washing-disciples-feet-by-takla

Meditation on John 13: 1-17; 31b-35

  Maundy Thursday

The Presbyterian Church

Pastor Karen Crawford

Here is an audio file of my message:

For a video clip of the message and the full service, with Mark Wagner’s music, go to:

https://pastorkaren.org/2020/04/09/virtual-worship-for-maundy-thursday/

 

      Thank you so much for joining with me for worship on Maundy Thursday. This is the first time we will be celebrating virtual communion—we are together, by the Spirit, but partaking separately, in our homes, with our families. It felt strange to me, at first, to consider presiding over virtual communion. But connecting back to my childhood, growing up in an interfaith family—Jewish and Christian—it feels strangely familiar to me to be here at my dining room table, remembering our merciful God of redemption and love who sent His Son to be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world.

        Maundy Thursday doesn’t always fall on the same night as the first day of Passover, but it does this year. So, while we are remembering Christ’s last supper with his disciples in the upper room, his new commandment, and his showing his love by washing their feet, Jewish people around the world are celebrating around their dinner tables our merciful God of redemption and love revealed through the Exodus story, as I did with my father’s family, years ago.

         Some of us are having trouble keeping track of time since our daily routine has been disrupted by the coronavirus. For some who aren’t leaving homes for work or those who are no longer working or gathering for worship on Sunday, every day may seem much the same. I heard the same prayer request this week in both our prayer fellowship group that meets by conference call and our confirmation class that meets by Zoom video conferencing— for this health crisis to soon be over and that we may get back to our “normal” lives, once again.

      But one member from our prayer group then wondered aloud, “What will normal be?”

       This is the question on the minds of the disciples in the upper room, when the act of eating and drinking together takes on a whole new meaning. Jesus’ suffering and death will lead to a new life, which is a frightening prospect for the 12 men who have lived and journeyed together with Jesus for 3 years, like a family unit. They have left behind their biological kin to follow Him, with the exception of the two sets of brothers—Peter and Andrew, James and John.

How will the disciples continue on after these things that Jesus has said will come to pass? As he will say in John 13:33, “Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’”

Time is measured in a unique way in John’s gospel—by their nearness to the festival of the Passover and whether or not Jesus’ hour has come. John has reasons for doing this. Our scripture tonight begins with identifying the time of this gathering of Jesus with his disciples as “before the festival of the Passover.”  This is different than in chapter 2, right before Jesus cleanses the temple and promises to raise up a new temple in 3 days and says the Passover is “near.” The Passover is “near” right before Jesus feeds the 5,000 in chapter 6:4-14. The Passover is “near” right before Jesus is anointed by Mary as a sign of his burial, an event that occurs “six days before the Passover” (11:55-12:8).

Thomas Long, a biblical scholar and writer, says, “For John, the naming of the Passover is not merely a reference to the liturgical calendar but an expression of his… conviction that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a fulfillment of the Passover,” when the faithful remember and give thanks to God for Israel’s “freedom from slavery, redemption, formation as a people, and feeding in the wilderness. John keeps saying, ‘The Passover’s coming!’”

Jesus has been saying that his hour had not yet come since his mother asked him to change water into a wine at a wedding in chapter 2. His hour had not yet come when he is protected from harm after speaking boldly to the treasury in the temple in 8:20.

We have been waiting for this moment since the beginning of the gospel, when John says in 1:10-13, “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own and his people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”

And now, when Jesus knows that his hour has come to depart from this world and go to the Father, Christ is, of all things, washing the disciples’ feet. No one expects a foot washing, least of all his disciples. This is something that has never happened before with Jesus and his disciples and it only happens here in the gospel of John. It was as out of place for the disciples then as it would be now, if, as we are eating at a church potluck, someone decides to walk around the room with a basin of water and towel tied to their waist and offer to wash the feet of our congregation.

I can understand why Peter objects. This is an intimate act—washing someone’s feet. Foot-washing is common back then only for the wealthy and high-status people in society. Women and servants were frequently called upon to wash the feet of high-ranking men. So, going by the wisdom and practice of their world, if anything, the disciples should be washing Jesus’ feet. Right?

We understand Peter’s amazement and disbelief when he says, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus tells him that although he doesn’t understand what he is doing now, he will later. This isn’t enough to convince Peter. “You will never wash my feet,” he says. But he is wrong, just as he will be when he insists that he will never deny him and be faithful till the end.

Peter allows Jesus to humbly serve him only when the Lord says, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Peter, who will be the rock upon whom Christ will build his church, says then, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

Friends, in a few moments, we will partake of Christ’s bread and cup at His table. His table is wherever you are. For it is by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit that we commune with Christ and one another, all the saints, in every time and place. This act of eating and drinking will help us remember what God has done for us and be grateful for our merciful and loving God of redemption. But communion is more than a ritual to remember; it is an opportunity for the Spirit to work in us, refresh and renew us and equip us so that we might be Christ’s Body for the world.

This is a God whose love may make us uncomfortable because of his intimate knowledge of us. Our human reaction to anyone wanting to know us as well as the Lord does is to run and hide. Some of you might be doing that now in your walk with God. You are holding back and not giving your whole heart.

Friends, we know our sin. We know that we have been unfaithful. We have fallen short of God’s glory. We are ashamed of our complaining and worrying, though God has been providing for all our needs every single day of our wilderness experience, just as the Israelites complained bitterly as they wandered in the wilderness of old, loved and cared for by the same God.

This is a God who is close enough to hear our thoughts and know every word we are going to say. And yes, a God who can wash not only our feet but cleanse and heal us body, mind, and soul. This is a God who doesn’t push his will on us, but instead invites us to accept and receive Him and believe in His name. For the promise is that when we do, we become His children.

This is a God, the only true God, with whom we can and should allow ourselves to be vulnerable. For as he tells Peter, this is the only way we can have a share with him in glory.

Friends, I invite you to welcome into your hearts and lives the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Let us pray.

Holy One, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Lamb and wash us clean of our sins, to be the fulfillment of the Passover with his death and resurrection. Stir us, Lord, to accept and receive you and believe in your name so that we may be called Children of God. Help us all to live out our faith during this time of separation, without grumbling or complaint. Empower us to love and forgive one another as Christ has always loved and forgiven us, so that all the world will know that we belong to Him. In His name we pray, Amen.

Virtual Worship for Maundy Thursday

jesus-washing-disciples-feet-by-takla

The Presbyterian Church, Coshocton, Ohio

Pastor Karen Crawford

Mark Wagner, Pianist

April 9, 2020                                                                                       7 p.m.

Prelude           What Wondrous Love Is This / Jesus, Lover of My Soul 

Listen to Mark’s prelude here:

  Greeting                                                                        

Listen for my greeting, call to worship and opening prayer and join me in the prayer of confession:

Greeting                                                                                        

Call to Worship

On this day
Christ the Lamb of God
gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him.

On this day
Christ gathered with his disciples in the upper room.

On this day
Christ our God gave us this holy feast,
that we who eat this bread
and drink this cup
may here proclaim his holy sacrifice
and be partakers of his resurrection,
and at the last day may reign with him in heaven.

Opening Prayer

Prayer of Confession

Eternal God, whose covenant with us is never broken, we confess that we fail to fulfill your will. In Jesus Christ you serve us freely, but we refuse your love and withhold ourselves from others. We do not love you fully or love one another as you command. In your mercy, forgive and cleanse us. Lead us once again to your table and unite us to Christ, who is the bread of life and the vine from which we grow in grace. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Hymn (stanzas 1 and 2)     An Upper Room Did Our Lord Prepare

Listen to Mark’s piano accompaniment for the hymn:

  1. An upper room did our Lord prepare for those he loved until the end; and his disciples still gather there to celebrate their risen friend.
  2. A lasting gift Jesus gave his own: to share his bread, his loving cup. Whatever burdens may bow us down, he by his cross shall lift us up.

Listen to the prayer for illumination and scripture here:

Prayer for Illumination

Reading: John 13: 1-17  

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Meditation    “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?        Pastor Karen

Here is my meditation:

 

Listen to the reading of John 13:31-35:

Reading: John 13: 31-35

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Musical Meditation:  O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus     Mark Wagner, Piano

Listen to O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus:

Join me for virtual communion:

Invitation to the Table

This table is open to all who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and seek to follow Him.  Come to this sacred table not because you must, but because you may.   Come not because you are fulfilled, but because in your emptiness you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance.  Come not to express your opinion, but to see God’s presence and to pray for the grace of God’s Spirit. Come to this table then, sisters and brothers.  Come just as you are and partake.  It is spread for you and me, that we might again recognize that God has come to us, shared our common lot, and invited us to join the people of God’s new age.

Great Thanksgiving & Lord’s Prayer

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place. As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

Remember your church. . . .Unite it in the truth of your Word and empower it in ministry to the world.

Remember our family and friends. . . . Bless them and watch over them; be gracious to them and give them peace.

Remember the sick and the suffering, the aged and the dying. . . . Encourage them and give them hope.

In union with your church in heaven and on earth, we pray, O God, that you will fulfill your eternal purpose in us and in all the world.

Keep us faithful in your service until Christ comes in final victory, and we shall feast with all your saints in the joy of your eternal realm.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, we pray these words:

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.  

Breaking the Bread

The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Break a piece or loaf of bread in half

Pouring the Cup

In the same way he took the cup, saying: This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.

Pour the juice into a cup

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord, until he comes.

A moment of silent preparation

Distribution of the Elements

The body of Christ, the bread of heaven.

Eat the bread

The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.

Drink the cup

Prayer After Communion

God of grace, we give you thanks for the feast of redemption we have shared in the body and blood of our Savior. As you have nourished us with love, let our lives proclaim your great love for the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The light is extinguished. Service ends in silence.

 

 

 

 

 

Children of the Light

Are you living as children of the light?
Listen to my voice or read my devotion below:
This is the Tuesday of Holy Week and we are on our journey to the cross with Christ.
journey-to-the-cross-2017--website-large-37
        Today’s daily gospel reading is John 12:20-36. People outside Christ’s community have heard about him–and they want to see Jesus, too. He sees this as a sign from God. He says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified….unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it; and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.”
       Then Christ admits the trouble in his soul. He knows what’s coming and it makes him “troubled.” He is anxious, unhappy. He is human, like us! And yet, without sin. In John 12:27, he says, “And what should I say–‘ Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.” He has sought the will of God and he chooses to do it, without question or complaint, despite the anxious feelings inside. 
        I think most of us are crying out, “Save me from this hour.”  We are feeling anxious and want this situation to end so that we may return to the routine of our lives as they were before COVID-19. The Lord wants us to share those feelings with Him. He wants us to be our true selves with Him. But he also wants us to be obedient and trust in Him, in spite of how we feel. We all want to be spared from pain and suffering, and yet, our Savior says, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” He didn’t seek out the easy path. He trusted God to lead and strengthen him on the righteous path. 
        Instead of focusing today on how we want the difficulties and uncertainties to end, or what we don’t have or can’t do, let us focus on Jesus and seeing the goodness of God in this world. I see it in the kindness of my family and community. I see it in the beautiful blossoms on the flowering trees. Spring is lovely in Ohio! I hear it when the birds sing as the rain waters the earth. They are singing God’s praises.
        This is an opportunity for our faith to shine and grow– and that we may reveal to the world that we are children of the light, not because of what we can do in our own strength, but because the Light of the World lives in us–and we have hope in Him.
Let us pray.
       Holy One, thank you for sending Jesus to be the Light of the World, a light that never dims. Help us to focus on the light within and around us and not dwell in the darkness. Grant us your peace as we focus on you and what you are doing in us as we “shelter in place,” for the sake of our well-being and the well-being of our community and world. Help us to see your goodness and grace all around and sing your praises with all Creation. Amen.
Music: “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,” sung by Susan Boyle
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