The 5th Sunday in Lent
March 29, 2020
Emmanuel & St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church
Mecan & Montello, WI
✠P R E P A R A T I O N F O R W O R S H I P ✠
We prepare ourselves to worship the one Savior God by expressing our humble repentance, offering our fervent prayers and singing our thankfulness of praise.
WELCOME, EXPLANATION OF WHAT WILL FOLLOW & WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
HYMN 440 On Eagles’ Wings
Led by soloist Lucas Stelter.
INVOCATION hymnal page 15
M: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
OPENING PRAYER hymnal page 10
M: O Lord — our Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter — we are assembled in your presence to hear your holy Word. We pray that you would open our hearts by your Holy Spirit, that through the preaching of your Word we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus, and grow day by day in grace and holiness. Hear us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
CONFESSION & ABSOLUTION hymnal page 38
M: We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. But we have disobeyed him and deserve only his wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy.
C: Merciful Father in heave, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.
M: God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, he has removed your guilt forever. You are his own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to his will. Amen.
PSALM 116 hymnal page 107
Refrain led by soloist Lucas Stelter.
I love the Lord, for he hear my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and will be forever. Amen.
✠T H E W O R D ✠
The Lord Jesus speaks to us in Scripture reading, preaching and song.
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON Ezekiel 37:1-14
Summary: God gives hope to the hopeless and life to the lifeless
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, `Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet– a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, `Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”
EPISTLE LESSON Romans 8:11-19 Summary: God gives spiritual and eternal life
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation– but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs– heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
GOSPEL LESSON John 11:17-27, 38-45 (today’s sermonette text underlined)
Summary: Jesus is the resurrection and the life
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Eternal God and Father, help us to remember Jesus, who obeyed your will and bore the cross for our salvation that through his anguish, pain, and death we may receive forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
SERMONETTE John 11: 17-27
“Christians Comfort Christians!”
APOSTLES’ CREED hymnal page 41
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker or heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
LENTEN SEASON PRAYER & INTERCESSORY PRAYERS read by pastor, bulletin page 13
LORD’S PRAYER hymnal page 43
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
CLOSING PRAYER hymnal page 43
M: O Lord God, our heavenly Father, pour out the Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep us strong in your grace and truth, protect and comfort us in all temptation, and bestow on us your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
BLESSING hymnal page 44
M: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Live in harmony with one another. Serve the Lord with gladness.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
Then Lord look on you with favor and + give you peace.
HYMN 327 God Be with You till We Meet Again
Led by soloist Lucas Stelter.
CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENTS, INSTRUCTIONS AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Next week’s theme: April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday: “The King Comes To Us”
Emmanuel & St. John’s Lutheran Church leaders offer their response to COVID-19 to align with all current bans and guidelines for the next few weeks.
1 “God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Following the announcement from government officials on March 16, all worship services and gatherings are suspended at Emmanuel & St. John’s. However worship services will be offered online via our stjohnsmontello.org website “Videos” menu button & linked You Tube channel, or via recorded DVDs, or via printed bulletins and sermons.
4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.”
Every Saturday at 11:00am, I will record an abbreviated service that will be uploaded to our website/linked You Tube channel together with a bulletin (.pdf) file and available for viewing at your convenience. Remaining Wednesday Lenten Devotions (3/25 & 4/1) via printed materials will be e-mailed out to our members and made available on our website via the “Bulletins” menu button.
7 “The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
While we might be tempted to face this situation with a great deal of disappointment and chagrin, we also recognize the opportunity God is placing before us to ponder and grasp ever more firmly his promise of spiritual health for our souls and to reflect the light of his love to others. We can:
– pray for God’s healing for those affected by the virus
– pray for those involved in essential services – medical personnel, first responders, and those who keep the peace
– share the links to our website and worship service with family, friends, and acquaintances
– renew our daily devotional life
– continue to support the message and ministry of our congregation by responding in thanks to God for his gift of eternal life through offerings mailed to the church office or by electronic giving. Call secretary Ciara Neuhauser at the church office 608-297-2866 for details.
– offer care and compassion for those who need support and a listening ear
8 Come and see what the Lord has done.
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Church elders and I have begun contacting all E/SJ members (via email, text, and phone) to make all aware of the situation, to offer alternatives for those who do not have a computer or Internet access, and to offer any special assistance during these challenging times. Following our governor’s announcement on 3/24, all WI residents are to “stay safe at home”. We are suspending all communion distribution until further notice. Pastor Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text) and our E/SJ Elders are also available for emergency home visits. Please reach out to them directly.
Jerre Duerr – (608) 697-6706, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Eisermann – (608) 297-8171, email@example.com
James Wachholz – (608) 369-2635, firstname.lastname@example.org
Darrell Buchholz – (608) 215-7871, email@example.com
Wayne Stelter – (608) 297-2761, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” – Psalm 46
We as your church family want to be able to help and serve you, but we can all rejoice as we look to the One who is our real and lasting helper. He is our strength and that’s especially comforting in a time like this, when our human weakness is made so clear!
In Jesus Christ our loving & protecting Savior,
Pastor Pete Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text & ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com)
Through Faith We Are Raised
from Death to Life
The Fifth Sunday of Lent – A
God’s Word for Today
We are drawing ever closer to Holy Week, when Jesus undergoes the incredible events of his Passion. Now, one week before that begins, we hear about our progress from death to life. Through faith in Jesus, we are raised from our spiritual death to a new life in Christ, and we are nurtured in this new life through the Word and Sacraments.
First Lesson (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
- How does the vision of the dry bones characterize God’s people in Ezekiel’s time?
- What tool was used in restoring life to the dead bones?
Second Lesson (Romans 8:11-19)
- Through his Spirit, Paul says, God has breathed new life into our mortal bodies (v 11). What changes does that bring about?
- Though life in Christ Jesus means sharing his suffering, what other observation is made?
Gospel (John 11:17-27,38-45)
- What does Jesus mean by saying that he is life?
- How would Mary and Martha see the glory of God in the raising of Lazarus?
- The bones were many and very dry. This indicates the widespread condition of God’s people as they were exiled in Babylon. Their unfaithfulness had brought about God’s judgment, and they seemed beyond the point of resuscitation. Yet God’s grace is apparent.
- The same tool we use today—the Word of God. “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”
- Paul previously had said that those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (vv 5-8). We now seek to put to death the misdeeds of the body (v 13) and willingly share in Christ’s suffering with a view also to sharing in his glory (v 17).
- Paul suggests a wise perspective: our present sufferings are “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” As a runner endures the pain of the exertion by keeping his eyes focused on the finish line, so the Christian’s perspective will always be goal-oriented. What waits for us at the end far outshines the clouds that we encounter along the way.
- More than saying that he is the source of life or the giver of life, Jesus for the first time (see also 14:6) claims to be life itself. There is no life apart from him. As life itself, final death is impossible for him. The events surrounding the raising of Lazarus occur just days before the Passion events in Jerusalem. What a comfort to know that Jesus was confidently assured of the outcome of his upcoming battle with evil—he would be victorious!
- Jesus would perform what only God could do—raising someone from death. The glory of God would be seen in Jesus himself both here and then in the future as these events helped to initiate the events leading to the cross, where’s God’s true identity and love were revealed.
By: Pastor Mark Schroeder
After earlier placing restrictions on the size of public gatherings, today Wisconsin governor Tony Evers issued an even more restrictive “Safer at Home” directive. The directive effectively closes all Wisconsin businesses and entities other than those that are deemed essential. Other states have issued, or likely will issue, similar directives.
Already after the first restrictions were imposed, many WELS congregations found ways to continue to serve their members with God’s Word and with new and different types of worship formats. I am thankful at the way so many of our congregations have put these things into place with only brief notice, and pray they will be able to continue in those efforts.
On Sunday, my wife and I worshiped via an online worship service provided by my home congregation. The service that was broadcast was a complete service with the normal liturgy, hymns, and prayers. Before we began, we wondered just how “worshipful” such a service would be. But by the time the service was over, we agreed that it was one of the most meaningful and moving worship experiences we had ever had.
First, we were reminded that the power of God’s Word and the comfort of the gospel is not in any way diminished by the way it is delivered. We heard law and gospel. We were assured of our forgiveness in Christ. We were directed as always to the cross and empty tomb. Our faith was nourished and our trust in God’s unchanging promises was strengthened.
Second, I couldn’t help but think that being prevented from gathering physically with other believers helped to renew our appreciation for corporate worship, where believers gather not only to be strengthened by the means of grace, but also to provide encouragement and love to each other. Perhaps God will use this experience to lead our WELS members to never take public worship for granted again. Perhaps he also will use this entire crisis as a time to draw many in our nation to see the value of faith and the Word of God.
Finally, we were not alone in this experience. Congregations around the synod moved quickly to see to it that the Word of God would not be silenced. Worship services were streamed live in many places. Devotions and sermons were posted online. Materials and words of comfort and instruction were sent via e-mail. Pastors assured their members that they continued to be ready to serve their flocks whenever called upon to do so.
I pray that the need for online remote worship will end soon. In the meantime, I will join you in thanking God that his Word will not be silenced. As he told us, “[My Word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).