Lectionary -- Lent 5 Year A

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Ezekiel 37:1-14 The valley of dry bones
Psalm 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord
Romans 8:6-11 life through his Spirit that dwells in you
John 11:1-45 The raising of Lazarus

Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book.)
3 All Creatures of our God and King [verses 1-3 and 7]
22 Lord from the depths I cry to you
46 O God our help in ages past
91 Morning has broken
138 And can it be
148 Love divine, all loves excelling
165 What friend we have in Jesus
200 Come thou long expected Jesus
257 My song is love unknown
271 Lift high the cross
274 Man more than man
320 Breathe on me breath of God
377 Spirit divine attend our prayers
482 How can a sinner know
503 O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother
542 O God of earth and alter
555 In faith and hope and love

Sermon summary [Click here for Complete Sermon]

New life for old bones

Back in the sixties, we used to call him the psychedelic prophet, old Ezekiel. He was a man of strange visions -- those conscious dreamlike states that were then being sought out by people, usually young people, "seeking" something new in human consciousness. But, the quick "trip" to an exotic land of "liberated" human consciousness failed to provide the foundations for an alternative life style that could endure. Yet the yearning for new life that drove them to these extremes is still with us today.

Searching for alternatives
Many and various ways have been tried and still are tried to "catch a glimpse into the spirit land" as the hymn writer put it many years ago. Besides drugs, others means were tried too -- much of it includes a great deal of nonsense. These things all show that people are made for spiritual communion -- with what, they do not quite know, "God or something like that" perhaps. As St. Augustine prayed: You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.

Ezekiel's vision [Ezekiel 37:1-14].
God can breathe new life into old bones; it applies to a community of faith; and it applies to the individual person who feels defeated in life and faith and has no hope. First face the reality. We hope only when we cease to hope [Kierkegaard]. In the New Testament, the raising of Lazarus gave promise of the raising of others from the dead. [John 11]. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give new life to your mortal bodies through the indwelling Spirit. [Romans 8:11]

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Order of Service - Lent 5 Year A

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP
Let us worship God.
I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning. -- Psalms 130:5-6

HYMN 3 All Creatures of our God and King [verses 1-3 and 7]

PRAYER OF APPROACH AND ADORATION
O God, you are near as the very air we breathe and the light around us, yet our thought's farthest reach falls short of you.
We yearn to reach you. We seek the light and warmth of your presence, for we are lost without you. Though we say you are near, we are lonely and alone.
O let our desire be so strong that it will tear the veil that keeps you from our sight! Let you light penetrate our darkness, to reveal to us the glory and joy of your eternal presence.
As the fish gives himself to the sea, as the bird gives herself to the air, as all life gives itself to life, so may we give ourselves to you, O God.

CONFESSION ... Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS
The good news is that all who trust in Christ will have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life. As you hold this faith, I declare that you are set free from all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Thanks be to God.

WELCOME AND GREETING EACH OTHER

Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: The breath of God breathes life into us.
A word to the children

OLD TESTAMENT Ezekiel 37:1-14 The valley of dry bones
PSALM 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord
EPISTLE Romans 8:6-11 life through his Spirit that dwells in you
GOSPEL John 11:1-45 The raising of Lazarus

HYMN 138 And can it be

SERMON

HYMN 320 Breathe on me breath of God

OFFERING AND DEDICATION
SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE Peace of God by Bruce Prewer
When my days become over-busy,
and I get hassled by too many worries:
Sweet Lord, give me your peace.
When my vision begins to fade
and weariness infiltrates the soul:
Strong Lord give me your peace.
When disgusted by my own faithlessness,
I toss on my bed through the night:
Faithful Lord, give me your peace.
When worship becomes routine,
and prayer has the taste of sawdust:
Renewing Lord, give me your peace.
When my hair turns grey above a wrinkled face,
and my energy is spent before the day is done:
Unfailing Lord, give me your peace.
When I'm retired from work with joys,
and wonder what it means to grow older:
Nurturing Lord, give me your peace.
When my mind glimpses strange sights,
and my heart ceases to beat:
Deathless Lord, give me your peace.

COLLECT FOR THE DAY
Loving God our Father, we see your compassion revealed in the tears of Jesus for Lazarus his friend. Look today upon the distress of your church, mourning and praying for your children dead in their sins. By the power of your Spirit call them back to life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN 271 Lift high the cross

WORD OF MISSION
BLESSING
DISMISSAL
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.______________________________

The Prayer of Approach and Adoration O God, you are near... is a contemporary Jewish prayer from Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book. Central Conference of American Rabbis 1975 p. 665

Peace of God by Bruce Prewer is from Australian Prayers, 1983. p.148, Lutheran Press.
 

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