The 5th Sunday of Easter
May 10, 2020
Emmanuel & St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Churches
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.
P: Christ is risen!
C: He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
HYMN 141 At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing
INVOCATION hymnal page 15
P: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
OPENING PRAYER hymnal page 10
P: 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
P: 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 heaven, 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.
P: 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.
✠ T H E W O R D ✠
The Lord Jesus speaks to us in Scripture reading, preaching and song.
FIRST LESSON Acts 17:1-12
Summary: The apostle Paul proclaims Jesus, only Jesus
When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
PSALM 33 hymnal page 79
*Read verses and sing refrains.
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
It is fitting for the upright to praise him.
For the Word of the Lord is right and true;
He is faithful in all he does.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,
Their starry host by the breath of this mouth.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
He commanded, and it stood firm.
The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
The purposes of his heart through all generations.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of his unfailing love.
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.
EPISTLE LESSON 1 Peter 2:4-10
Summary: The disciple Peter describes Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone of the Church
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
VERSE OF THE DAY John 14:6
P: Alleluia. Alleluia. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord. Alleluia.
♫ Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
GOSPEL LESSON John 14:1-12
Summary: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
P: O God, you form the minds of your faithful people into a single will. Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that among the many changes of this world, our hearts may ever yearn for the lasting joys of heaven; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
SERMON HYMN 356 You Are the Way; through You Alone
SERMONETTE John 14: 1-6 (underlined in Gospel lesson)
“I Am the Way”
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of 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.
HYMN 367 Christ By My Leader
EASTER SEASON PRAYER
*Read by Pastor
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
P: 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.
CLOSING HYMN 759 Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled
*Canter sings verses, everyone sing refrains.
Next week’s theme: May 17, 2020 The 6th Sunday after Easter:
“Living In and For the Living Lord”
(The LORD said:) “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). For the past 6 weeks now, our nation’s “Safe at Home” social distancing mandate has changed how we live and how God feeds and leads us with his Word. However, we need to remember that the power of God’s Word and the comfort of the gospel is not diminished by the way it is delivered. You will hear law and gospel. You will be assured of Christ’s forgiveness. Your faith will be nourished and our trust in God’s unchanging promises will be strengthened.
Perhaps God will use this experience to lead us to never take public worship for granted again. I pray that God is also using this crisis to draw many in our nation to see the value of forgiveness, faith and the Word of God. As He tells 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). If you know of someone who doesn’t have access to these on-line worship opportunities, please let us know. Call (608-297-2866) or email <email@example.com> church/school secretary Ciara Neuhauser at the church office or leave a message.
At the encouragement of our church synod leaders, we will be reserving distribution of the Lord’s Supper for its regular and normal use within the gathering of the body of believers, except in special circumstances. We take comfort in knowing that we have two forms of the means of grace – Word and sacrament. Forgiveness received through God’s Word is no less powerful and effective than the sacrament.
Every Saturday at 11am (either at Emmanuel at St. John’s) we will record an abbreviated service that will be uploaded to our website <www.stjohnsmontello.org> & linked You Tube channel together with a bulletin file available for viewing at your convenience. These services will also be available via DVD, printed sermon & bulletin mailings. Many thanks to those helping with our recorded services including: Darrell Buchholz, Pastor John Dolan, Kerry Mann, Rachel Naumann, Ciara Neuhauser, Larry & Lynn Sellnow, Lucas Stelter, Sue Tutaj, James Wachholz and Lauren Zietlow. Thanks also to the Sellnow’s for recording weekly school chapel devotions and for Pastor Dolan for recording weekly Bible studies.
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, by electronic-ACH-auto-pay-direct-deposit giving or via credit card at <www.stjohnsmontello.org> menu button “Church Recorded Service” DONATE NOW yellow button. Call Ciara at the church office for direct depost giving details.
– offer care and compassion for those who need support and a listening ear
Church elders, shepherd, trustees, other concerned members and Pastor Zietlow have been 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”. President Trump also advises that we continue this “social distancing” until May. These are trying times..times for personal reflection, Bible study, devotion and prayer. Pastor Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text) and our E/SJ Elders are available for emergency home visits. Please reach out to them directly.
Darrell Buchholz at E – (608) 215-7871, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerre Duerr at SJ – (608) 697-8706, email@example.com
Jim Eisermann at SJ – (608) 297-8171, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Stelter at E – (608) 297-2761, email@example.com
James Wachholz at SJ – (608) 369-2635, firstname.lastname@example.org
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, crucified & risen Savior,
Pastor Pete Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text & ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com)
“The Lord knows the way that I take, and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
Dear School Children & Families:
Your goodness and generosity have been displayed by the offerings already made to the 2019-2020 Kids C.A.R.E. mission project: Early Childhood Education in Indonesia. Why do we support a mission project? God gives us, even as children, the opportunity to serve Him by sharing Jesus, the Best Gift God gave to us and the Best Gift we can give to others. While we live on earth, God gives us the task of sharing the Hope that we have in our Savior Jesus with others. Giving to missions is one way to do just that! Kids C.A.R.E.–Kids Care About Reaching Everyone with the Gospel.
While the children cannot meet at chapel, they can still share their final gifts for children in Indonesia, and we hope parents will encourage their children to do so. Most children brought weekly offerings through March. Since social distancing continues during the weeks of April and May, perhaps you would take that into consideration as final gifts are made. Place your gift in an envelope labeled “Kids C.A.R.E.” and drop in off with school work to your child’s teacher or mail it to “Kids C.A.R.E., St. John’s Lutheran School, 313 East Montello Street, Montello, WI 53949. All gifts must be received No Later than Friday, May 15.
Working together wonderful things can be achieved. The Kids C.A.R.E. Giving Thermometer currently stands at $966.96—wouldn’t it be great to stretch that figure to over $1,000 to share Jesus with children in Indonesia!
Our Hope Is Built On Christ
The Fifth Sunday of Easter – A
God’s Word for Today
The creative, sustaining Word of Christ brings people into fellowship with the one, true God. Christ, the “Living Stone,” builds up his people like living stones into a spiritual house. Such people of “noble character” now search the truth of God’s Word receiving from it every spiritual blessing.
First Lesson (Acts 17:1-12)
- Why was it important for Paul to show the Jews in the synagogues that Christ had to suffer? (v. 3)
- For what activity should we remember the Berean Jews?
Second Lesson (1 Peter 2:4-10)
- What description does Peter give of all who are joined to Christ by faith?
- According to Peter, to what purpose did God call us, his own people, out of darkness? (v. 9)
Gospel (John 14:1-12)
- Why was Jesus’ departure not a source of sorrow but a reason for rejoicing?
- Must we wait for eternal life to be united with Jesus?
- What is the comfort of knowing that a place in heaven exists with our name on it?
- Jesus calls himself “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” What is the significance of the three definite articles?
- The idea of a suffering Messiah was a stumbling block to the Jews, and so it was important to show that he must suffer.
- They took their Bibles seriously. Each day they would test the message of Paul by comparing it with the Scriptures.
- He describes them as living stones being built into a spiritual house. Believers are like a temple in which God dwells and where living sacrifices are continually being offered to him.
- God called us to declare his praises, that is, to tell the whole world what he has done for us through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- He was leaving in order to prepare for them a place in his Father’s house. And, he added, he would return and take them to the place he had prepared. There they would all be together again!
- In John 14:23 Jesus stated that he and the Father will come to us and make their home with us. Thus the mystic union is a reality already in this life.
- Things in this life come and go, they change, they see decay. But our God is our one constant in our lives. What comfort to know that beyond this ever-changing world we have a place prepared for us by Christ in heaven.
- It clearly points out that Jesus is the only way to heaven. He is the world’s one and only Savior (Luke 2:32). Only through Christ our Savior do we ever come to the Father.
Dear members of Emmanuel and St. John’s,
As you all are very aware, we have not been able to physically worship together as a church family or have our students attend school since mid-March. That does not mean that our ministry has slowed down.
In almost every way our ministry here at Emmanuel and St. John’s has had to be retooled and redoubled efforts to meet the challenge that COVID-19 placed before us. And, with any great challenge lies great opportunity.
Your Emmanuel and St. John’s church leadership put together an emergency team in March and met to outline how the churches could carry on our ministry to get the Sunday sermons to our members. In that meeting we decided to have Pastor record his sermons and have them uploaded to our YouTube channel. It was also decided that Pastor and the Elders of both congregations would identify and reach out to the members they KNEW would not be able to utilize the YouTube sermons and provide a different format for those members.
Even though our St. John’s and Little Lambs students have not been able to be in the school physically, our staff have continued to work tirelessly to provide for their spiritual and academic needs via technology and distance learning. Our staff has been there to support school parents through the transition to this new way of spiritual and academic learning.
The Synod recommended for churches to apply and utilize the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program through the CARES Act. Emmanuel and St. John’s financial team met, filled out the loan application, and turned it in to FORTIFI Bank. We were granted the loan on the second round of funding from the federal government. This loan gives us the two and a half months of payroll that is completely forgivable as long as we utilize it for payroll.
After having our teacher calls returned, the St. John’s School Board has requested a Martin Luther College graduate from the WELS assignment committee. Assignments will be announced on May 16. Please keep the assignment committee, MLC graduates, and our school in your prayers.
The St. John’s council will be meeting later in the month in anticipation that at that meeting we can be laying the ground work to a return to physically worshiping together and, God willing, preparing for the physical return of our students our classrooms in the fall.
Please keep our ministry, staff, and leaders in your prayers until we meet again. Know that YOU are in our prayers as well.