Narrative Lectionary Themes and Resources for Easter: Luke 24: 1-12


An overview from addressing some of the aspects of meaning of Luke 24 can be found at where the passage is part of the lectionary texts addressed there.

Another intro is found in a Working Preacher podcast* on the text, see

The arresting aspect of the text for me is that it stops short of where we usually go on Easter. The aspect of the incredulity of the resurrection and what they have to go on in these first verses from Luke 24 is taken up at minute 3 of the NL podcast listed above.  What is it that the disciples and Peter have in this pericope?  They are given an empty space into which a testimony/the word comes. Circling back to the tomb and finding nothing, they are called to go and tell others. This is also what we have—testimony to share.  Doubt on Easter (and not just by Doubting Thomas!), with an emphasis on the Greek is addressed at  For more on this, see my separate post “Perplexed, Afraid and Amazed.”

Taking this in a slightly different direction is “How can we believe the unbelievable?” by Eric Barreto

Preaching professor Tom Long also takes up the theme of the resurrection as unbelievable, too good to be true, at

Another take on this is to think of ourselves as entering, vs. solving, the mystery. See    or as improv and surprise (by Homer Henderson), see                                                                                        

Giving death its due (which might be appropriate these days) provides fodder for “We are all terminal, but… “ by Princeton Seminary President Craig Barnes at                         

The resurrection as an unnatural event, presenting a similar theme, w/ emphasis on the but, is Theodore J. Wardlaw at                                                    

The above WP podcast* (minute 7:30) also unfolds the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” We tend to look for the dead among the dead, but the dead are no longer dead. Sin has been forgiven; we no longer reside in brokenness and imperfection and despair. See also Joseph S. Pagano

This year’s written Working Preacher commentary** lifts up the theme of the relationship between Jesus’ absence/the empty tomb and Jesus’ presence and also the related theme of remembrance. The theme of remembrance is also found in

The podcast* also addresses the role of the women (beginning and end of the podcast) and “on the first day of the week,” echoing Genesis to talk about a new creation, in which the future re-creation breaks into the now. (minute 6)

Narrative Lectionary for Pentecost: Acts 2:1-4 & 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 Resources: Bulletin (sermon to follow)

Worship Without Walls

Pentecost                                                                May 31, 2020  

Facebook:      Trinity United Presbyterian Church    Clifton Heights

Prelude   There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place[1]

Opening Prayer[2]

Pentecost us, God.

Inspire us to shed the comfortable accents of churchy insider talk.

Teach us to speak digital. Enable us to worship virtually.
Fit our mouths to something strange, speaking through a mask of love–.
Conjugate the Spirit in and through us. Empower our worry,                                                                                               like the worry of those who waited in the Upper Room so long ago,
to lead us to the active voice of love—mostly verbs, present tense,

not passive voice–and not many possessive pronouns.

Call to Worship[3]

Come Spirit like rain, refresh, renew, revitalize.

Come Spirit like fire, embolden, enlighten, enable.

Come Spirit like a mighty wind, move, challenge, enkindle.

Come Spirit like a wave, move, tear down, lift up.

Come Spirit, come Breath, draw us close, make song, bring intimacy.

Come Spirit, come Love, make one, make justice, make peace.

Come Spirit, come Kingdom, come Love.


*Opening Hymn Come, O Spirit, Dwell Among Us[4]

First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln, Nebraska

Come, O Spirit, dwell among us, Come with Pentecostal fire;

Give the church a stronger vision, Help us face each crucial hour.

Built upon a firm foundation, Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone,

Still the church is called to mission That God’s love shall be made known.

We would raise our alleluias For the grace of yesteryears

For tomorrow’s unknown pathway, Hear, O Lord, our humble prayers.

In the church’s pilgrim journey You have led us all the way

Still in presence move before us, Fire by night and cloud by day.

Come, O Spirit, dwell among us; Give us words of fire and flame.

Help our feeble lips to praise You, Glorify Your holy name

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three in one: what mystery!

We would sing our loud hosannas Now and through eternity.

Call to Confession:  

Let us ask for God’s forgiveness for the ways we do not heed the Spirit.

Prayer of Confession:1  
O God, when we let the Spirit deflate, forgive us.

When we lose the Spirit of love or hope, of liveliness or adventure,

of tenderness or courage, forgive us.

When we do not breathe inspiration into all your people, or when we puncture joy,

forgive us.

When we let go of the church just because it isn’t exactly as we wish it,

forgive us.  (Silent confession)

Assurance of Pardon

God is merciful and gracious – a patch to our leaking faith,

the helium lifting us into joy —
the breath for all who are suffocating.

Thanks be to God for the Good News:

In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Gloria Patri: (Blue #579) Glory Be to the Father

Sharing of the Peace: The peace of Christ be with you.             And also with you.

Prayers of the People/Lord’s Prayer (traditional)                       

Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries                                       

Offering Hymn  Spirit[5]                                                                  Kristina Ahlstrom

REFRAIN: Spirit, Spirit of gentleness,

blow through the wilderness, calling and free.

Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness, Wind, Wind on the sea.You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep,
and over the eons you called to each thing:
Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings. REFRAINYou swept through the desert, you stung with the sand,
and you goaded your people with a law and a land,
and when they were blinded with their idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes. REFRAIN

You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still,
and down in the city you called once again,
when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind. REFRAINYou call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes,
from the bondage of sorrow the captives dream dreams,
our women see visions, our men clear their eyes,
with bold new decisions your people arise. REFRAIN

* Doxology (Blue, #592)   Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

* Prayer of Dedication

May the words of our mouths, the dedication of our hearts,

and the gifts of our time, talents and money be acceptable

and pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.

Prayer for Illumination Though I May Speak[6]

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control, Our spirits long to be made whole,

Let inward love guide ev’ry deed; By this we worship and are freed.

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 (see end of bulletin)

Message Why the Spirit?                                                                    Pastor Barb                                  

Confession of Faith: The Brief Confession of Faith

We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life.
The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith,
sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor,
and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church.

The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles
rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture,
engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism,
feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation,
and calls women and men to all ministries of the church.

In a broken and fearful world, the Spirit gives us courage
to pray without ceasing,

to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
to unmask idolatries in Church and culture,

to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit,

we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks
and to live holy and joyful lives,

even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth,

praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

*Closing Hymn God, Bless Your Church with Strength![7]

  1. God bless your church with strength! Wherever we may be,
    upbuild your servants as we work in common ministry.
    Urge us from fledgling faith to venture and to soar
    through open skies to sing the praise of Christ whom we adore (interlude)

    2. God bless your church with life! May all our branches thrive,
    un blemished, wholesome, bearing fruit, abundantly alive.
    From you, one holy vine, in freedom may we grow;
    sustain us in our mission, Lord, your love and peace to show.

(Longer interlude)

3. God bless your church with hope! Despite chaotic days,
may we in darkness shine to light a pathway through life’s maze.
May justice be our aim, and kindness ours to share;
in humbleness oh may we walk, assured our God is there! (end)

*Charge and Benediction                                                Pastors Barb and Len

Postlude The Lord Bless You and Keep You                Julliard Christian Fellowship 

[1] Words and Music – ©1990 Manna Music

[2] Adapted from a prayer by Maren

[3] By Martin Brown, posted on the CAFOD website. 

[4] Words: Doris Akers ©1979 Hope Publishing Company

[5] Words and Music: James K. Manley ©1978 J. Manley Publishing

[6] Words: Hal H. Hopson ©1972 Hope Publishing Company. y

[7] Words: John A. Dalles ©2000 GIA Publications, Inc. Music Diademata, George Elvey © OCP

All music reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #A-733426. All rights reserved.

Pandemic Gifts of the Spirit by Rev. Katy Stenta, from blog katyandtheword

Lord God Almighty, I am on my knees, with my arms outstretched to you,            because I am in need of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit

I need encouragement as a parent of a child                                                               who has been faking their online schooling for the last two weeks.

Patience as I wait for more information, so that my job can make the next decision about how we are running things this week.

Courage as I realize that every single person has their own idea about what is               and isn’t safe and we have to navigate relationships together.

Inspiration as I try to figure out how to connect with the people in my lives                           in new and not discouraging/draining ways.

Hope as death after death, sick after sick case comes in                                                   and the solution seems no closer than it was two months ago.

Breath as I am working too many hours of too many days                                                      and don’t know when it’s all going to end.

Love as all of my imperfections have been laid bare in this time                                  where self-examination is unavoidable                                                                       and all the things I’m carrying have been stuck in quarantine with me.

Lord remind me that I am more than my job or my role in my family                                      or my material worth.

Lord, remind me that I am God-breathed,                                                                      gifted by the Holy Spirit, and sibling of Jesus Christ.

In this time of crises–when every way I function is under a microscope                                 and every emotion I am having is magnified–allow me to fully discern                          and differentiate myself as a child of God.

And even if these aren’t exactly the things I need, and I am too mired to know what it is I really need.

Please grant me the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I pray.

And if I can’t pray to the Holy Spirit, help me to breathe:



and in

and out again

until the Holy Spirit prays me, instead.

In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Apocalypse Now? Narrative Lectionary: Mark 13:1-8, 24-37 (March 29, 2020?) Resources

Note: The apocalyptic nature of this reading gave me pause! Some exegetes (esp NL Podcast) see this as referring to Jesus’ Passion as the space/place when God draws near to us. Our current times raise largely unanswerable questions about theodicy (why). While why is fascinating, more often what we really have to answer is “Given the situation, now what? What are we called to be and do?” I do have to confess to having a list of questions for God for when I get there. Don’t know if I’ll just know the answers; won’t feel the need to know anymore; or will have them answered. But I definitely have a list!


Presbyterian Hymnal

Mark chapter 13

77.5 Forty Days and Forty Nights  (means 5th verse esp. relevant)

86 When We Are Tempted to Deny Your Son

87.4 The Glory of These Forty Days

272.2 God of the Sparrow

282 If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee

301 Lord Jesus, Think on Me

307 Fight the Good Fight

342 By Gracious Powers

360.5 Hope of the World

361 How Firm a Foundation

388 O Jesus, I Have Promised

389 O Jesus, I Have Promised

401.2 When Will People Cease Their Fighting?

410.3 When I Had Not Yet Learned of Jesus

419 How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

420 God of Grace and God of Glory

442 The Church’s One Foundation

443.1 O Christ, the Great Foundation

447 Lead On, O King Eternal

448 Lead On, O King Eternal

461.4 God is Here!

538.2 Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

559.3 We Gather Together


7.2 Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth


5 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

6 Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending

9 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

153.1 He Is King of Kings

293.2 This Is My Father’s World

379.4 My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less ELW 596/597, GG 353, NCH 403, UMH 368, TFF 192Link

449 My Lord! What a Morning

467.4 How Great Thou Art


15 Rejoice! Rejoice, Believers

17 “Sleepers, Wake!” A Voice Astounds Us

341.3 Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!

379.4 My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

456 Awake, My Soul, and with the Son


83.3 O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High

My Lord, what a morning   ELW 438, GG 352, UMH 719, TFF 40

Link to contemporary songs appropriate for Mark 13

See also These are the days of Elijah coming with line about him coming riding on the clouds at the trumpet blast

Link for for this text


Both of these include Agnus Day and other cartoons
Mark 13:1-8…41904.41904..42272…0.0..……0….1..gws-wiz-img.PRHG9Ft3uy4&ei=aTl1XrrJLtu7_Aa_rb84&bih=576&biw=1366&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS891US891

Mark 13:24-37…223984.226104..227297…0.0..0.87.616.8……0….1..gws-wiz-img…….35i39j0i8i30.kld4u3pJeTQ&ei=ljl1XoegA8i9_AbAm4RY&bih=576&biw=1366&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS891US891

Images of church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (cock-crow)

See exegesis below re the places to “stay awake” including at the time of cockcrow


When things fall apart (good for preaching to grownups too!)

Carolyn Brown on children and the apocalypse


Link to our bulletin including youtube music & Scripture links. links!AuB3z496aTHTgcFAoraAggfvHmcIJg

Will add sermon link to that site when it is written.

Reader’s Theater Mark 13:1-8

Prepare a Way

(referencing Isaiah 40:3-5, Mark 1:3, Matthew 3:3, Luke 3:4)

In the lonely places
The wilderness
Where we stand forlorn
Windswept and alone
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

In the dark places
The shadows
Where we hide our fears
Embrace our tears
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

— written by John Birch and posted on the Faith and Worship website.

God of hope, we come to you in the midst of a world fraught with troubles. Although the darkness is powerful, open our eyes, Lord, to the light of your presence. Give us faith to stand against the voices of division and violence. Through your Spirit remake us into hope-filled disciples, discovering lives attune to your wonder, and sparking in others a desire to know you more. In the name of the One who comes to us, we pray, Amen.

— Rev. Nancy J, on her blog, wonderings through life and other such nonsense


ere’s a prayer from Walter Brueggemann.  It references Romans 8:18-25.

Waiting and Longing

God of the seasons,
God of the years,
God of the eons,
Alpha and Omega,
before us and after us.

You promise and we wait:
we wait with eager longing,
we wait amid doubt and anxiety,
we wait with patience thin
and then doubt,
and then we take life into our own hands.

We wait because you are the one and the only one.
We wait for your peace and your mercy,
for your justice and your good rule.

Give us your spirit that we may wait
obediently and with discernment,
caringly and without passivity,
trustingly and without cynicism
honestly and without utopianism,

Grant that our wait may be appropriate to your coming
soon and very soon,
soon and not late,
late but not too late.

We wait while the world groans in eager longing.

~ written by Walter Brueggemann, in Prayers for a Privileged People. Posted on the Prayers and Creeds website.

Call to Worship

Pecking away at our computers, sitting in a knot of traffic:
we wait for you, God of all words, to speak to us.
Pacing the halls of a hospital, sitting outside the principal’s office:
we wait for you, God of comfort, to fill us with hope.
In the silence of each night, beginning each day’s new journey:
we wait for you, Steadfast Love, for you are our safe place.

Prayer of the Day

Keeper of every moment in eternity:
we come, not only to hear
those words which can transform us,
but to be filled with your grace and hope.
We have come, not out of habit,
but to respond to your call,
willing to be called away
from the familiar ways of our lives.

Walker of our journeys,
in the midst of our harried lives,
you call us to lay aside all that entangles us,
to follow you into service to others.
You invite us to step into
the waters of life and hope,
reaching out to draw others
to our side so, that together,
we might enter your kingdom
of laughter and joy.

When uncertainty fills every block
in our daily planners,
you come, Grace’s Companion,
to offer that hope which anchors
us in God’s heart;
to place our feet firmly
on that rock called peace;
to bring us safely to that haven
filled with God’s steadfast love

God in Community, Holy in One,
Rock of every age,
we offer the prayer Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

— written by Thom Shuman, and posted on his Lectionary Liturgies website.  

Call to Worship Litany: Psalm 62: 5-12

Our salvation and honour come from God alone.

He is our refuge, and a Rock of safety.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

O my people, trust him at all times.

Pour out your heart to him, for he is our refuge.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

From the greatest to the lowliest—all are nothing in his sight.

If you weigh them on the scales, they are lighter than a puff of air.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

Don’t try to get rich by extortion or robbery.

And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the centre of your life.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

God has spoken plainly—we have heard it many times.

Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

— based on the New Living Translation.

Call to Worship Litany

(based on Isaiah 40:21-31)

Have you not known?

Even youths will faint and be weary,

and the young will fall exhausted;

but we who wait for the Lord shall renew our strength.

Have you not heard?

We shall mount up with wings like eagles.

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

We shall run and not be weary.

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

We shall walk and not be faint.

They who wait for the Lord.

We who wait for the Lord.

— written by Katherine Hawker, and posted on her Liturgies Outside website. 

Sending Out: Good Friday

Here is a responsive closing for a Good Friday service.  It was written by Rev. Gord and posted on Worship Offerings.

Good Friday Sending

The story has been told,

and now we return to the world where we live and wait.

The worship is over?

No, the worship continues while we wait and watch.

Our worship will close after the stone has been removed

and the flame of hope has been re-lit.

So we go out to wait,

we watch for the hope that defies despair,

the life that defies death,

the beginning that defies the end.

While we wait,

while darkness covers the land of faith,

remember that no matter how abandoned we may feel

we are not alone.

God has not and will not abandon us.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

~ posted by Rev Gord on his blog, Worship Offerings.

Prayer of Intercession

(Luke 21, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Psalm 25:1-10)

Our Lord Jesus calls us to watch and pray, so let’s do that now,

responding to Lord, in your mercy with come and save your people.

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming in the flesh at Bethlehem, and for coming to us whenever we gather in your name. Keep us alert and watchful through the dark night of this world, and give us confidence as we wait for your coming in glory.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

We pray for your church—its people and pastors. Keep us alert and watchful in support of one another, guard us from everything false and untrue, and shine on us with the light of your holy word.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

We pray for the people of the world. Wake all people up to your just judgment and to your saving blood.  Keep us alert and watchful as your witnesses in the world.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

We pray for the nations. Lift the eyes of those in authority to their duty to govern wisely and well, for the good of all. Curb all terror and replace it with peace.  Keep us alert and watchful to serve you by giving good service to others on our daily lives.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

Thank you for providing us with everything we need for daily living. Bring relief to all those affected by drought, and poverty. Keep us alert and watchful to the needs of others, and move us to give generously to appeals at Christmas time.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

Lord, stand by those who wake or watch or weep. Rest those who are weary. Soothe those who suffer.  Shield those who prosper. And come to those we know in particular need and whom we now name silently in our hearts… (brief silence)

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

Lord Jesus, we do not know the day or the hour that you will come with great power and glory. Keep us always alert and watchful so we may welcome you with joy. For you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.  Amen.

~ posted on the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Worship Planning Page.

Here’s a call to worship and opening prayer based on the scripture readings for Proper 8 B (Ordinary 13 B).  They come from the Ministry Matters website.

Call to Worship

(based on Psalm 130)

Wait for the Lord, like those who hope in God’s mercy.
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Watch for God, like those who eagerly await the morning.
We watch for God, whose power redeems us.
Hear God’s hopeful word, like those who long for pardon.
Sing praise to God and rejoice in God’s love.

Opening Prayer

(inspired by Mark 5:21-43)

Loving God,
we are yours.
We come as we are,
with our cares and concerns.
We long to touch you
and find healing in your embrace.
Strengthen our faith
and heal our brokenness,
that we may worship you with joy. Amen.

— adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press.  Posted on the Ministry Matters website.

Pastoral Prayer for Lent 2 B

(inspired by Mark 8:31-38)

God of compassion, the way of the cross is as much a mystery to us as it was to the immediate followers of Jesus. But we have heard how your grace is exercised in the journey of suffering and rejection experienced by Jesus. Help us to hear with ears inspired, to see with eyes opened to your ways, and to respond with lives committed to your service.

God of our Lenten journey, we watch and walk with Jesus.

We repent O God. We cannot name our own cross even though we try. You must show us the cross you give us. Help us see. Give us the faith to respond and follow Jesus. We have heard that it is in losing our life for the sake of Gospel of Jesus that we find our life.

God of our Lenten journey, we watch and walk with Jesus.

— from The Prayers of Our Church, written by Bishop Telmor Sartison.  Posted on the Worship website of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. 

The Path Ahead

(based on Mark 13: 24-37)

Watch out! Be alert!

Christ comes when you least expect it.

     In the beggar on the street,

     In the loved one at our table,

     In the stranger in our pew,

     In the refugee on our shores,

     In the hour of birth.

     In the hour of death.

With judgement and mercy, Christ comes.

Watch out! Be alert!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,


be with you now and always.


— written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s HomepageVisit his site for other wonderful lectionary-based worship resources.


Call to Confession:

Nothing makes our lack of control more obvious than our current situation; let us confess our reliance on God.


Lord, we had the best laid plans. The teacher were teaching, the doctors were healing, the calendars were full. And we had everything set. But plans are ephemeral, the illusion of control. Now all our best laid plans fail. We cobble together new ones, but they are ragged and imperfect. We have no best laid plans. All we have is you, O God. Be with us we pray. (Silent confession) Amen.

Adapted from Best Laid Plans Prayer by Barb & Len’s daughter, Rev. Katy Stenta.


Exegetical excerpts from my faves among the links below can be found at!AuB3z496aTHTgcFWlDPYFyomsajWcw

Greek lectionary for vv. 1-8 What is the foundation of your life?  And second, what is the destiny of life? Jesus as the cornerstone (cf. 12:10) and the days of fulfillment. The disciples actually ask, “Where are these stones from/What kind of stones are these?” (no adjective)

Greek lectionary for vv.24-37 Power and suffering/tribulations in the passage

NL links re this passage:,%2024-37&cof=FORID:10&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&search_domain=WWW

Includes these individual links:

A take on the apocalyptic power of the God

The birthpangs of deliverance—and remaining ready. Parallels between the times Jesus says the master may return and the upcoming betrayals related to his Passion. Yet there is still hope even for the faithless disciples.

What about the apocalyptic Jesus? it may be an important reminder to hear an ancient prophet cry out about the fragile nature of the world.

NL Holy Week context. How is Jesus near? In the Passion, the night, the darkness.**

Mark 3:1-8 as apocalyptic

NL: The Greatest Commandment and the Widow’s Mite: Mark 12:28-44 (March 22, 2020/Fourth Sunday of Lent)

Note: This passage raises questions about what Jesus means by noting the widow’s contribution. It is not clear whether he is commending her, condemning the authorities and/or both. We serve a congregation where we have many people living on fixed incomes in homes that are already paid for and who have very little, if any, “expendable” income, so caution and prayer are in order!  For a discussion of the pitfalls of the passage, see devouring the widows as primary to understanding “the widow’s mite”


From Working Preacher from the NL perspective:

Includes addressing the horizontal/neighbor dimension as the necessary corollary to the vertical/Godward directive to love God and the widow’s mite as admirable due to her motivation.

Includes which notes this is (for a change) a friendly scribe. Only addresses vv. 28-34. also addresses only vv.28-34 from the perspective of a communal (rather than individual) identity.

Includes, which notes that widow’s mite is tied to what comes before and, in addition to being about giving one’s all, it exposed the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. And, it may just expose us all! Podcast: If you can’t remember all the commandments, can you at least do two?  Simple—but not easy. vv. 28-34 Podcast addressing the status of the poor widow and the most vulnerable and her living out the loving of neighbor of the great commandment in the context of the temple & Jesus’ interactions with the religious leaders of the day. vv. 35-44.

Other exegetical resources Catholic resource addressing love beyond formalism, love at the heart of our perfection. This sermon includes an illustration and a poem; only addresses vv. 28-34. Sermon addressing loving God in the different ways of the passage (only vv. 28-34). What keeps you from loving your neighbor? Busyness? Not wanting to see need? Uses Bob Dylan’s quote:  “May you always do for others and let others do for you” and has a story illustrating letting others do for you.  “Serving while living with disabilities” Every person is called to serve as they are able. Everybody belongs. Everybody serves. Addresses vv. 35-44. Pastor’s Bible study addressing the synoptic versions of the Great Commandment. Addresses vv. 28-34. Sermon series on loving God and loving neighbor.

Liturgical Resources  Reader’s theater version of Mark 12:28-34

Here’s the link to my bulletin!AuB3z496aTHTgcEOBjQ3Twy3sqAMzQ

Prayer Reflection: Mark 12: 28-34

“Love the Lord, your God
with all your heart
with all your soul
and with all
your mind.”

let this be.
Show us how.

“And love your neighbor as yourself.”

let this be
Take us where
we surely need to go.

your love be
the lens that lets us see,
the power that enlivens our lives,
light that points to the path,
and the very grace
that saves

Kindly fill us with your love.

— A. Osdieck. Copyright © 2011, The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University. Visit that site for other lectionary-based prayers.

Benediction: The Lord is One

Here’s a closing commission and benediction based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Matthew 12:28-34.  It was written by Nathan Nettleton.

Commission & Benediction

(inspired by Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 12:28-34)

Hear this: the Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
Therefore go out into the world
and love the Lord your God 
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love others as you love yourself.

And may God give you justice and freedom;
May Christ Jesus set you free for love;
and may the Holy Spirit go where you go
……..and protect you on your way.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.

~ Copyright © 2000 Nathan Nettleton

Children’s message (includes hymn & prayer of confession, see below)

 Sing one song with which to love God and one about loving each other.  Introduce each identifying its purpose.  Two possibilities:

“For the Beauty of the Earth” for loving God

“Lord Help Us Accept Each Other” for loving each other

>  Base the Prayer of Confession on the two great commandments.  As you do, remember that children respond more to specifics than to generalities.  So you may want to name the currently “in” sport rather than simply “our sports.”  Read the commandments just before the congregation prays as follows

Lord God, we know that you are ONE and that you are the center of the whole universe

but we treat all sorts of things as if

they were more important than the one true God.

We say we give our hearts to you

but often our hearts are more devoted to

what we wear, to our sports, and to our friends.

We pour out our souls to you when we need you

but not when life is smooth and easy.

We mean to love you with all our minds

but our minds stray to what we want

and what others are saying.

We are more likely to use our strength to get what we need and want

than to get what you want for us and those around us.

We love the neighbors we choose to love

and only when they love us back.

Forgive us.  Write your commands on our hearts and souls and in our minds.  Work it into our muscles so that we may truly be your people.

We pray in the name of Jesus who poured out his heart and soul and mind and strength for us and forgives us when we turn on him.  Amen.


Christ is made the sure foundation   ELW 645, H82 518, NCH 400, UMH 559
Blessing and Honor   ELW 854

A new source I just found for contemporary Christian songs that includes the NL passages can be found at:;%20Psalm%2089:1-4%7D

For this pericope, they list:

No Other Gods

By David Moffitt. As performed by ZOE Group.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:28-34
Related to tags(s): Reign (via Mark 12:36);


Love the Lord

By Lincoln Brewster.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:30; Mark 12:33
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


Hear Our Song

By Jadon Lavik, Marc Byrd, et al.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1-2


Pour My Love On You

By Dan Dean, Gary Sadler.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1
Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);


Sing Of Your Great Love

By Darlene Zschech.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


Look To You

By Marty Sampson.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:32
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


While We Still Have Time

By Ted Wortham, Cynthia Biggs. As performed by Cindy & Roy.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:38
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


You Are The One

By Keith Green, Melody Green-Sievright.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:2
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


More Love More Power

By Jude Del Hierro.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:30
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever

By Martin Smith. As performed by Delirious?, SONICFLOOd, Encounter Worship Band.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);


You Are Mine

By Brad Avery, David Carr, et al. As performed by Third Day.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Love (via Mark 12:30);


Come Now is the Time to Worship

By Brian Doerksen.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:30


Beautiful Saviour

By Stuart Townend.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1


Winter Snow

By Audrey Assad.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:33


Back where i belong

As performed by Life Worship.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:4


To Know Your Name

By Matt Crocker. As performed by Hillsong.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Love (via Mark 12:30); Name of Jesus (via Mark 12:35);


Concrete Castle King

By Lloyd Oliver Willis Sr.. As performed by Dennis Brown.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:38


No Greater Love

By Audrey Assad, Chris Tomlin, et al.

Related to tags(s): Poverty (via Mark 12:41); Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


Kings & Queens

By Chuck Butler, Joel Parisien, et al. As performed by Audio Adrenaline.

Related to tags(s): Poverty (via Mark 12:41); Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Love (via Mark 12:30);


If We Are The Body

By Mark Hall.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Love (via Mark 12:30);


Compassion Hymn

By Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, et al.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


God Of Justice

By Tim Hughes.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Poverty (via Mark 12:41); Justice (via Mark 12:31);


The Lost are Found

By Ben Fielding, Sam Knock.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Justice (via Mark 12:31);


One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)

By Brian Johnson, Christa Black, et al. As performed by Kristian Stanfill, Jesus Culture, Bethel Live.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30);


Lead Me

By Chris Rohman, Jason Ingram, et al.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


The Power Of The Cross

By Keith Getty, Stuart Townend.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);



By Vicky Beeching.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);


Oh, Great Love Of God

By David Crowder, Mark Waldrop, et al. As performed by David Crowder Band.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


My Hope

By Edward Mote, Matt Redman, et al.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Name of Jesus (via Mark 12:35);


This Is How We Know

By Beth Redman, Matt Redman.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);


Ancient Skies

By Michael Gungor, Michael Rossback. As performed by Gungor.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);


I Will Go

By Allen Salmon, Jon Neufeld, et al. As performed by Starfield.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Poverty (via Mark 12:41);


Rock Of Ages You Will Stand

By Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30);


Micah 6:8

By Charlie Hall.

Related to tags(s): Justice (via Mark 12:31); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Witness (via Mark 12:33);


Jesus You Are Worthy

By Brenton Brown, Don Williams.

Related to tags(s): Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


Jesus Messiah

By Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, et al.

Related to tags(s): Messiah (via Mark 12:36); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


How Beautiful

By Twila Paris.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);



By Brad Avery, David Carr, et al.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);


I Will Always Love Your Name

By Paul Oakley.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);



By Martin Smith.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Love (via Mark 12:30);


There Is A Redeemer

By Melody Green-Sievright.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Messiah (via Mark 12:36);


How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

By Stuart Townend. As performed by Instrumental Worship.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


Good To Me

By Craig Musseau.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);


You Never Let Go

By Beth Redman, Matt Redman.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Love (via Mark 12:30);



By Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche.

Related to tags(s): Judgment (via Mark 12:40); Kingdom (via Psalm 89:4); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);



By Chris Tomlin. As performed by Encounter Worship Band, Robin Mark.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30);


Amazing Love

By Graham Kendrick.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);


You Are Good

By Israel Houghton.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);


Sweetly Broken

By Jeremy Riddle.

Related to tags(s): Justice (via Mark 12:31); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Love (via Mark 12:30);


You Bled

By Rend Collective Experiment.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

NL: Mark 10:17-31 “The Rich Young Man” (March 1, 2020?)!AuB3z496aTHTgcAKyY5pnXsGsK8Axw

Narrative Lectionary: Isaiah 5:1-7 & 11:1-5 (11/17/19?)

Narrative Lectionary: Isaiah 5:1-7; 11:1-5 (November 17, 2019?) Peaceable kingdom is 11;6-9; some resource below focus more on these additional verses. For another take on God as the vintner, see Psalm 80.

Overview of Isaiah focusing on judgement and hope; doesn’t deal directly with Isaiah 5 but applicable nonetheless; does deal with Isaiah 11’s burned stump’s new branch. The triangle of the poet, the vintner and the vineyard; what one expects vs. what one gets; word plays and metaphors.   Podcast on the two passages.

Isaiah 5:1-7 suggests that the establishment of a just society in which people do right by those in need was the single desired outcome of God’s relationship with Israel and Judah. By failing to achieve this, they have both angered and grieved God.

Crying out in the face of injustice; for me these two raise the question of how the relationship between God and government/country should be understood in light of the judgment of Isaiah 5–not an easy question in these polarized days.

Maybe one way to deal with the God/government question is to take up the passage’s cry to help the underdog and then talk about who that might be. (I’m thinking of starting with a Phils/Cubs illustration!) This exegetical take on the passage is from the Lutheran Seminary folks but from the RCL context. It deals with word play, justice for the underdogs, and God singing the blues.(The peaceable kingdom from Isaiah 11:6-9 could help with this too—who are unlikely companions/friends? How can we make these friendships happen?) Answering the fear of Assyria with the fear of God.

RCL context on Isaiah 5 The call to do justice is rooted in God’s love and Christians’ mission to the world.  Peaceable Kingdom 11: 6-9  God as gardener and what the Isaiah 11 prophecy means in relationship to Jesus Peaceable Kingdom 11: 6-9 Reflection on Isaiah 11’s root of Jesse/stump image in light of (upcoming) Advent Peaceable Kingdom 11: 6-9

Leading and living with lions (Isaiah 11 incl. 6-9 from NL folks but from RCL context)  Sermon proclaiming the word of Isaiah: Even though the world has become a living nightmare and even though there is no sign anywhere that peace will ever come, the promise of God is more powerful than the destructiveness of humanity. Sermon (c. 1993) on Isaiah 11:1-10 addressing what it can mean to “set things right.” Lots of illustrations. The Peaceable Kingdom Repentance (Isaiah 11) in Advent Vineyard texts in the Bible


Call to Worship from Isaiah 11 (from The Message translation)

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting

God send your life-giving Spirit over us–

the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding.

God send your life-giving Spirit over us–

the Spirit that gives direction and builds strength.

God send your life-giving Spirit over us–

The Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.

God send your life-giving Spirit over us—

this day and throughout our lives.

Call to Worship: Advent 2A

Here’s a responsive call to worship inspired by the suggested scripture readings for the second Sunday of Advent, Year A (Isaiah 11: 1-10, Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-19 and Matthew 3: 1-12).  It comes from the Ministry Matters website.

Call to Worship for Advent 2 A

(inspired by Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72, Matthew 3:1-12)

In this season of prophecy, promise, and preparation,

we come to be renewed and refreshed.
We come to be inspired by stories of a messiah
who will change the world—and change us.
We come to listen for words of hope and joy,
promise and challenge.
We come with open ears, open minds, and open hearts.

We come to receive the blessings God has in store for us
in this season of waiting.
Come! Let us worship our God—
the One who brings all things to fulfillment.

~ posted on the Ministry Matters website. reposted on

Rite of Confession

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting.

*Call to Confession***                                                                                  Reader
Faith rooted deeply in God reflect God’s justice and righteousness—but we know that this is not always how we live. Let us ask for God’s forgiveness and renewal.

*Prayer of Confession-unison***                                                                  Reader

O God, sometimes we are led more by what we hear and see than by your ways.                     We get caught up in how someone looks, or what we have heard.                                      We forget that appearances can be deceiving and that some voices are silenced.                   Help us to look deep within your word and deep within ourselves.                                 Reveal to us the places where our judgments are faulty and our hands are dirty,                       so that we may repent and be made clean. [Silent Confession]
                                                                                                                                      Assurance of Forgiveness While all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, God continues to re-make us. God brings new life out of the death. Thanks be to God for God’s continual righteousness and faithfulness: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Confession: Advent 2A

Here’s a prayer of confession inspired by the suggested scripture readings for the second Sunday of Advent, Year A.  It was written by Jane Stranz.

Prayer of Confession

(inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10, Psalm 72, Matthew 3:1-12)
When our faith is rooted deeply in you, O God,

our lives reflect your kingdom values of justice and righteousness,

but sometimes our lives become so entangled with the values of the world,

that your values take second place.

Forgive us, O God,
and reconnect us to the Holy Spirit,

source of power and life.

Merciful God, strip our hearts and minds

of all that prevents our lives being firmly rooted in you.
May our lives bear fruit worthy of our faith in you,

as we watch and wait for your breaking into our world once more,

in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Assurance of Forgiveness 

Blessed be the Lord our God, who does wondrous things. (Psalm 72: 8)
The most wondrous of all being God’s entry into our world in Jesus Christ,
“not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
“Those who believe in him are not condemned.”
 (John 3:17,18)
Thanks be to God!


Isaiah 11 prayer (Advent context)  Lord, you know all too well that to be human–to be able to feel joy and delight–is also to be able to feel pain and sadness.  So come to us all this Advent, O God, bringing glad tidings and good cheer, comfort and hope, for we celebrate that marvelous mystery we call incarnation–when you became one of us, born a baby, who grew up and lived and breathed, seated and cried, ate and drank, lived and died.

Through him, bring us hope, bring us joy, bring us healing and wholeness, bring us a sure refuge in the darkness as we await for something new to be born in us, something small and bright, a tiny flame that will carry us into the future.  In the name of that light which sure came to save us, even Jesus the Christ, Amen.


Isaiah 11 offering prayer Gracious God, we lift our voices to glorify you! You sent your Son Jesus to lead us in wisdom and mercy. His kindness to the poor and meek reveals the harmony of your heavenly kingdom. Help our church’s ministries to demonstrate your love for the world. We dedicate our tithes and offerings to bless people in our community who are searching for Christ’s abiding peace. We pray in his name. Amen. From Discipleship Ministries, an agency of The United Methodist Church

Opening Litany: Return of the King

Here’s an opening litany for Advent from the Wellsprings website.  It is inspired by verses from Psalm 72 and Isaiah 11. Litany: The Return of the King

(inspired by Psalm 72 and Isaiah 11)

In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails

In his days, justice shall flourish

and the voice of those who are oppressed will be heard.

The poor will receive enough on which to live

and the rich will share gladly

the abundance they have received at the hand of God.

In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.

The wolf lies down with the lamb:

the fierce gives way to the tame,

the weak protect the strong,

the powerless contain the power of the mighty.

In his day justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fades.

God will give judgment to the King,

to the One who comes in the name of the Lord,

to establish peace and justice

with integrity and with mercy.

~ from the Wellsprings website.

Call to Worship Based on Isaiah 11:1-10

We come to worship the coming King. The One who was and is and is to come!
Robed in Justice, carrying equity in his heart,
Righteousness is a belt around his waist, faithfulness in the clasps of his sandals.

We have prepared ourselves for worship.
We intend to do no harm; to love our neighbors and to stay in love with God!

We look forward to the Reign of the coming King!
The wolves will walk with the lambs; the leopards skip with the kids;
and the calves will be friends with the lion cubs.
Peace will come through the root of Jesse, and we will abide with the King!

The Rev. Nathan Decker is the pastor of the South Sussex Charge of the Petersburg District of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Nathan has great love for the diversity and inspiration of God’s creative nature in worship.

Prayer of Intercession: Advent 2A

Here’s a prayer of petition and intercession inspired by Isaiah 11:2 and Matthew 3: 1-12, two of the suggested scripture readings for Advent 2, Year A.  It was written by Terri.

Prayer of Intercession

(inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10, Matthew 3: 1-12)

Let us pray for the Spirit of Wisdom to rest upon us

A spirit of understanding and knowledge

Grant us to live in harmony

God’s mercy prevail

Let us pray for God’s steadfastness to gird our spirit

May peace prevail like lamb and wolf

Grant us to live in harmony

God’s mercy prevail

Let us pray, for voices crying out in the wilderness

Women living in fear, children hiding

Grant all a place of harmony

God’s mercy prevail

Let us pray, repent of harm done to the innocent

Clear the chaff of abuse and hurt

Bear the Spirit of harmony

God’s mercy prevail

Let us pray for the God of hope, joy and peace to fill

All hearts, one voice glorify

God, prepare the way

God’s mercy prevail

~ written by Terri, and posted on RevGalPrayerPals.  Reposted at

Gathering Words for Advent

Here’s a gathering rite or opening litany inspired by Isaiah 11:1-10: “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot….”  It was written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws.

Gathering Words

(inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10)

From the bulb there comes a flower
from the desert rock a flow of water
from the rainbow there come the hope of life
from the bible there comes the word of truth
from the cross there comes the love of God
from the tomb there comes the resurrection
from the prophet comes the vision of new earth

but from the stump
from this dried out log
from a family tree that has lost all integrity…

…there comes the shoot of David
the lifeline of salvation
the promise of justice
the longing for transformation
the word of life
the expectation of Messiah

from the stump of Jesse
comes a covenant

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, copyright © Mucky Paws. Reposted at

Isaiah 11: A Creed

Here’s an affirmation of faith inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10, the suggested scripture reading for the second Sunday of Advent, Year A.

We Believe

(inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10)

In that day, the wolf and lamb will live together….  Isaiah 11:6

Jesus has taught us to speak of hope as the coming of God’s Kingdom.

We believe that God is at work in our world

turning hopeless and evil situations into good.

We believe that goodness and justice and love will triumph in the end,

and that tyranny and oppression cannot fast forever.

One day ‘all tears will be wiped away’

and ‘the lamb will lie down with the lion.’

True peace and true reconciliation are not only desirable,

they are assured and guaranteed.

This is our faith, and our hope.

~ from Third World Solidarity Day, from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, 1987.  Posted in Liturgy, Justice and the Reign of God Integrating Vision and Practice

Prayer: Isaiah 11: 1-10

Here’s a prayer inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10. It comes from the Vanderbilt Divinity Library website.

Clear a Holy Space

(inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10)

Laboring God,

with axe and winnowing fork

you clear a holy space

where hurt and destruction have no place,

and a little child holds sway.

Clear our lives of hatred and despair,

sow seeds of joy and peace,

that shoots of hope may spring forth

and we may live in harmony

with one another. Amen.

~ from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.  Posted on Thematic, Intercessory and Scripture Prayers for the RCL, Vanderbilt Divinity Library.


Isaiah 5.1-7

6.2 Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending

7 Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth

76.2-4 My Song Is Love Unknown

158 The One Is Blest

161.2 As Morning Dawns

400.2 When We Are Living

409 Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice

418.2 God, Bless Your Church with Strength!frankh

538.2 Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

551.3 Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Isaiah 5.7

405 What Does the Lord Require

421 The Church of Christ in Every Age

Isaiah 11:1-10

1 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

2 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

9.3 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

13 Prepare the Way

40 Joy to the World!

204 Psalm 72

205 All Hail to God’s Anointed

230 This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made

332 Live Into Hope

337 Isaiah the Prophet Has Written of Old *

386 O for a World

423 Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun

431 O Lord, You Gave Your Servant John

452 O Day of God, Draw Nigh

453 O Holy City, Seen of John

601 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)

602 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)

Isaiah 11.1,10

Isaiah 11:1-10

1 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

2 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

9.3 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

13 Prepare the Way

40 Joy to the World!

204 Psalm 72

205 All Hail to God’s Anointed

230 This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made

332 Live Into Hope

337 Isaiah the Prophet Has Written of Old *

386 O for a World

423 Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun

431 O Lord, You Gave Your Servant John

452 O Day of God, Draw Nigh

453 O Holy City, Seen of John

601 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)

602 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)

Isaiah 11.1,10

48 Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming *

58 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

59 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

69 O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright

95.2 He Never Said a Mumbalin’ Word

99 Throned Upon the Awful Tree

102.2 Were You There?

104.1 Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!

Isaiah 11.2-3a

70 Christ, When for Us You Were Baptized

Isaiah 11.3b-5

3 Comfort, Comfort You My People

5 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

10 On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry

14 Savior of the Nations, Come

161.2 As Morning Dawns

194 Peoples, Clap Your Hands!

202 Psalm 67

217.6 O Sing a New Song

219.6 To God Compose a Song of Joy

222.6 Psalm 103

225.3 Praise the Lord!

254 Psalm 146

409 Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice

413 All Who Love and Serve Your City

442.3+4 The Church’s One Foundation

449 My Lord! What a Morning

483.2 Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above

551 Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Isaiah 11.4b

159.4 Why Are Nations Raging

260.3 A Mighty Fortress is Our God


“O God Among Us, Come” is on pp. 64-65 of Advent Ethics. A version with the melody only is available online at

music and lyric by Steve Bell
lyrics adapted from the four advent oracles of Isaiah:
2:1-5, 7:10-16, 11:1-10, 35:1-10

Isaiah 11 verse: And it will surely come to pass
Justice will reign on earth at last
The wolf will lie down with the lamb
No beast destroy, no serpant strike the child’s hand

The Vineyard of the Lord, two versions of the same contemporary setting of Psalm 80

Another setting of Psalm 80

O come, green shoot of Jesse, free

your people from despair and apathy;

Forge justice for the poor and the meek,

Grant safety for the young ones and the weak.

Rejoice, rejoice! Take heart and do not fear,

God’s chosen one, Immanuel, draws near.

A verse for/from O Come, O Come Emmauel

Barbara Lundblad

Narrative Lectionary: 1 Kings 12:1-7, 25-29 (October 27, 2019)


A Question/Crisis of Servanthood: 1 Kings 12:1-17; 25-29; (Mark 10:42-44)



The labor protested by the people is depicted in 1 Kings 5

Two golden calves cf Exodus 32

Comparison of Aaron (Ex. 32) and Jeroboam

God’s response to Israel’s request for a king 1 Samuel 8:11-17

The king as the helper of the needy Psalm 72:12-14

Bethel (where Jeroboam puts a golden calf): Genesis 12:8; 28:10-19 and 35:9-15.

Ahijah info:



Servant leadership means that the leaders serve the people rather than vice versa

This means that Christians are called to serve the world, and also to let others help/serve them. (While some help too little, others do not accept help enough.)

Of course there is a whole field in and outside of Christian circles dealing with servant leadership For a general overview, see (not very well-written)

See also noblesse oblige-the duty of the nobility to take care of and serve the people


For a Christian overview, see

This articles focus on learning servant leadership through suffering is an interesting juxtaposition to the response of Rehoboam’s subjects to his inability to hear their cries & respond appropriately to their suffering. Sometimes Christians seem to call one another to suffering as though all suffering is good–some suffering requires protest, leaving, or refusing to participate.


Patheos has numerous articles on Christian servant leadership; see


Theology of Work has a five day devotional on servant leadership

and an article dealing directly with the story of Rehoboam

Other articles by Theology of Work at


Institute of Faith, Work and Economics offers this take



The servants (and lords!) at Downton Abbey, who see service as honorable and rewarding


Public servants today: Marie Yovanovitch (could be contrasted with others!)




Children’s illustration

Servant leadership images




Mighty God, your servant Rehoboam divided your kingdom with his tyranny, yet you remained faithful to both kingdoms, even in the midst of conflict. Show us your presence in conflict, and help us to resolve our differences, uniting this world in your name. Amen.


Built on a rock   ELW 652
God of tempest, God of whirlwind ELW 400

CITY (Presbyterian Hymnal)

348 Christian Women, Christian Men

408 Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

413 All Who Love and Serve Your City

424 O Jesus Christ, May Grateful Hymns Be Rising

431 O Lord, You Gave Your Servant John

437 Our Cities Cry to You, O God


Also PH 477 Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim


100.2 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

101.2 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

157 Our King and Our Sovereign, Lord Jesus

183.4 In You, Lord, I Have Put My Trust

227.3 Not Unto Us, O Lord of Heaven

252.1 O Lord, You Are My God and King

339 Be Thou My Vision

342.4 By Gracious Powers

343 Called as Partners in Christ’s Service

350 Fill My Cup

364 I Sing a Song of the Saints of God

365 Jesus, Priceless Treasure

369 I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me

370.4 Just as I Am, Without One Plea

372 Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

375 Lord of All Good

384 O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

388 O Jesus, I Have Promised

389 O Jesus, I Have Promised

391 Take My Life

392 Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord

398 There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit

410 When I Had Not Yet Learned of Jesus

354 Index of Topics and Categories

414 As Those of Old Their Firstfruits Brought

427 Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service

447 Lead On, O King Eternal

448 Lead On, O King Eternal

461.4 God is Here!

516 Lord, We Have Come at Your Own Invitation

522 Lord, When I Came Into This Life

525 Here I Am, Lord



132.1 Come, Great God of All the Ages

316.3 Breathe on Me, Breath of God

321 Holy Spirit, Truth Divine

339 Be Thou My Vision

351 Give to Me, Lord, a Thankful Heart

357 O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee

360 Hope of the World

366 Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me

378 Make Me a Captive, Lord

387 Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

396 O for a Closer Walk with God

397 O for a Closer Walk with God

425 Lord of Light, Your Name Outshining

456 Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun

461.4 God is Here!

516 Lord, We Have Come at Your Own Invitation

522 Lord, When I Came Into This Life

535 Go with Us, Lord


333.1 Seek Ye First

398.2 There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit

490.4 With Glad, Exuberant Carolings



Brueggemann on the results of oppressive leadership (last 3 paragraphs deal with this passage):


Working Preacher’s commentaries and podcasts:,%2025-29&cof=FORID:10&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&search_domain=WWW


Working Preacher podcast addressing servant leadership, faithfulness of God, Reformation Sunday setting, and Jeroboam’s actions

Another entry on leadership


Working Preacher podcast addressing bully leadership and how to understand power & God’s power


Working Preacher: The yoke amid the rivalry


America, Trump and the Two Golden Calves. Written right after Trump’s election, this Israel-based evangelical/conservative author proposes the two golden calves, placed by Jeroboam in two very different geographic/socio-political settings could represent the Democrats and Republicans (neither one actually being God!)


Blogging the Bible: Two golden calves. Actually. So, why doesn’t God get angrier about them?  Asks lots of questions about God’s actions in this time period; addresses broader context of chapters 12-16.



Except the Sarasota Statement, these are all by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting.


Opening Prayer (Psalm 72:12-14 The Message)

God, our Parent and Creator, you are worthy to rule over us.

You rescue the poor and the destitute.

You open a place in your heart for the down-and-out.

You restore the wretched of the earth.

You free them from tyranny and torture.

You bleed with those who bleed.

You die with those who die.

Teach us, your people, to be more like you.                                                                                  In the name of Jesus, our best example,                                                                                          and in the power of the Spirit, we pray. Amen.



Call to Worship

One: O God, you have served us from eternity.

Many You made us. You provide for us. You watch over us.

You rescue us. You stay with us. You save us.

You have compassion on us. You love us.

And so, O Lord, this day and forevermore

we love and serve you.


*Opening Hymn  O Worship the King, O Glorious Above               Blue Hymnal, 476

*Call to Confession                                                                                             Reader

We are called to serve one another and to serve the Lord. This call is not easy,                      and we do not do it consistently or well. Let us ask for—and receive–God’s forgiveness.

*Prayer of Confession (unison)                                                                           Reader

God, sometimes we are all too human.                                                                                          We hedge our bets by not giving you our all.                                                                            We like to be needed, serving others to feel important.                                                    We like to be in charge, refusing the help offered by others. 

(Silent confession)

Forgive us and cleanse our motives.                                                                              Empower us to serve you fully.                                                                                              Enable us to treat those we help as the important ones.                                          Humble us so that we accept the help of others.

*Assurance of Pardon (Matthew 20:28)                                                                                              The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,                                                                 and to give his life as a ransom for many.                                                                                Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Offering Hymn Lord of Light, Your Name Outshining                             Blue Hymnal, 425

* Prayer of Dedication (unison)                                                                           Pastor Barb

O God, make us servants of your grace. Use our talents in your service.                       Commission us to fulfill your purpose. Invest these gifts with your love. Amen.                                         

Prayer for Illumination (sung )                                                         Blue Hymnal, #129 v. 3

Come, O spirit, dwell among us; Give us words of fire and flame.

Help our feeble lips to praise You, Glorify Your Holy name.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Three in one: what mystery!

We would sing our loud hosannas Now and through eternity.


Hebrew Scripture Reading: I Kings 12:1-19                                                               Reader

Message Are You Being Served?                                                                   Pastor Barb

*Confession of Faith (Preamble to the Sarasota Statement**)

      We are people of hope who confess Jesus Christ is Lord over a Kingdom                     in which no one is hungry, violence is no more, and all suffering is gone.                     All sit together around a shared table, wolves and lambs enjoy each other’s company, and every tear is wiped away from every eye.

    Our hope is not simply that we will experience this Kingdom in the future,         but that, as Christ’s prayer demands, this Kingdom comes “to earth as it is                    in heaven.” So, we lament any and all instances of its absence. When we witness hunger, injustice, discrimination, violence, or suffering, we grieve deeply and repent of our sins that have enabled such brokenness to persist – knowing that these things should not be.

     Furthermore, we are incited to act and to be vehicles of change through          which God’s Kingdom breaks into the world and our earthly lives.                                    Our commitment is to acts that feed, clothe, instruct, reconcile, admonish, heal,   and comfort – reflecting the power of God’s hope and an eagerness to see  the Kingdom made manifest.

     We believe God’s Kingdom comes not because we are confident in our own capacities, but because we trust in God, who can do more than we can ask                  or imagine. We are humbled and amazed that, in and through the life, death,              and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God includes us in the work of redeeming all creation and reconciling the whole world. And so we thank and praise God. Amen.


*Closing Hymn  Lord, You Give the Great Commission                   Blue Hymnal, 429





Narrative Lectionary: Ruth 1:1-17 (10/13/19)

Ruth was present with Naomi; see Pooh parable below about presence. Here’s a blow-up from part of picture at as an illustration to go with the presence of Pooh with Eeyore. Need to change “Piglet” in the story to “Tigger” if using the picture. (Couldn’t find one of Pooh, Piglet & Eeyore, which actually illustrates how this is a Pooh parable rather than originally being from the AA Milne Pooh stories.)

It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s stick house. Inside the house was Eeyore.

“Hello Eeyore,” said Pooh.

“Hello Pooh. Hello Piglet,” said Eeyore, in a Glum Sounding Voice.

“We just thought we’d check in on you,” said Piglet, “because we hadn’t heard from you, and so we wanted to know if you were okay.”

Eeyore was silent for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked, eventually. “Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you, Pooh and Piglet, is that right now I feel really rather Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. Which is why I haven’t bothered you. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time hanging out with someone who is Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All, would you now.”

Pooh looked and Piglet, and Piglet looked at Pooh, and they both sat down, one on either side of Eeyore in his stick house.

Eeyore looked at them in surprise. “What are you doing?”

“We’re sitting here with you,” said Pooh, “because we are your friends. And true friends don’t care if someone is feeling Sad, or Alone, or Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. True friends are there for you anyway. And so here we are.”

“Oh,” said Eeyore. “Oh.” And the three of them sat there in silence, and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all; somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a very tiny little bit better.

Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more; no less.



World Communion Sunday


Storyteller gives the whole story of Ruth. Recommends CEV.\


Podcast: Ruth is from Moab but Boaz is from Bethlehem—is Ruth a humble servant approaching Boaz? Or a feisty woman taking action?

Ruth and Star Wars—is Naomi deserted by God? Or is Ruth evidence otherwise? Naomi’s complaints are not rhetorical flourish. They are the author’s explicit means of establishing the book’s central crisis: Is Naomi right? Has Yahweh forsaken her and shamed her household? If Naomi’s plight were indeed the thrust of the story, then one would expect the rest of the book to resolve this crisis, particularly at the end. This is precisely what happens.

Who is the main character in Ruth (follow-on to Star Wars article above)

More academic take on hesed in Ruth (follow on to main character question)

Working Preacher commentaries on Ruth 1:1-17

Ruth refuses to be left out/leave the focus on Naomi. Ruth emerges as an acting agent in verse 14: she clings to Naomi, a term used in contexts of profound love, inalienable possession, unshakable commitment (see, e.g., Genesis 2:24; Numbers 36:7, 9; Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 11:22). As Naomi remains convinced that her bitterness is solitary, she makes another appeal, urging Ruth to follow Orpah.

(Word study on “cling”

At that moment, Ruth adds speech to her action. Indeed, she utters what might be a speech-act, in which she actually does something in and by saying something (cf. “I do” in weddings or “I believe” in the Creed). What she says-does is powerful and it is poetic, lining out in nicely parallel lines like the best of Hebrew poetry.

Four-part sermon series on Ruth

The book of Judges, which comes right before Ruth, ends with inter-tribal conflict and these ominous words: “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25)…In this context, we get the book of Ruth, which is a tale about belonging, about blessing, about faithful love (in Hebrew, hesed), God’s faithfulness, incarnated in human beings.

Ruth, a woman, and a foreigner at that, chooses to join her story to the story we’ve been hearing the last several weeks; she chooses to enter into Israel’s covenant with God. She chooses thereby the life of being a stranger in a foreign land. She chooses to leave all that she has known and to go to a place she’s never been, with no assurance of security. A childless widow in ancient Israel had to rely on the kindness of those around her. In this story, Naomi relies on Ruth, and Ruth herself has to rely on the kindness of strangers.

One of the beautiful themes in the book is that hesed meets hesed; that is, faithfulness engenders faithfulness, kindness meets kindness. Ruth goes above and beyond the minimum requirements of the Law out of love for Naomi. And when Boaz learns of Ruth’s loyalty to her mother-in-law, he blesses her:

Whatever Ruth’s circumstances may be, her clinging to her mother-in-law is a gift of grace that Naomi cannot at first see.  Naomi says God has turned against her (verse 13), and later she tells the women of Bethlehem, “The Almighty has dealt bitterly with me … brought me back empty … dealt harshly with me, and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me” (verses 20-21).  This is Naomi’s theology, and at first it is all she can see.

But the narrator sees things differently, attributing none of Naomi’s tragedies to God, not even the famine.  Rather it is God who has given the people food (verse 6).  This point is underscored at the end of the chapter: “They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest” (verse 22).  Near the end of the book, the Bethlehemite women will articulate to Naomi what has been evident all along, that Ruth’s love is worth more than seven sons.  Grace is walking right beside Naomi, unseen, yet refusing to leave her.

Ruth holds a thoroughly action-oriented, thoroughly pragmatic theology.  She does not argue with Naomi’s perception of events, nor does she assert her own.  She simply communicates presence.  She refuses to leave.  It’s not about God’s actions or intents, but her own.  Ruth will worship the God that Naomi believes abandoned her.  And she swears to do what four other people — Elimelech, Mahlon, Chilion, and Orpah — couldn’t do: to stay.  Not even death, the chief resident of their household, will get in her way.

Ruth and immigration from Bruce Epperly

Ruth.  She comes closer to God and God’s ways through her deep love for her mother-in-law.  She leaves behind her own family and her own religion and traditions not for complex theological reasons, but out of the affection for someone who loved her first.

PRAYERS and other bulletin pieces

Opening Prayer:

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting.

O God, wherever you go, we will go.                                                                                                Where you lodge, we will lodge.                                                                                                          Your people will be our people,                                                                                                          and you will be our God.                                                                                                                      We will serve you all our lives.                                                                                                          We will not be parted from you even in death.                                                                                In the name of Jesus, who joins us to you, Amen.

Call to Worship

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting;                     (slightly adapted from prayer for Genesis 2 on companionship)

One: O God, we come one by one.                                                                                                      Many: O God, we come with each other.                                                                                    We come because it is not good to be alone.                                                                                  We come because we want to be companions on the journey.                                              We seek communion with you.                                                                                                      We seek communion with one another.                                                                                     Make us companions to one another,                                                                                                that we may walk faithfully and joyfully in your way.                                                         ALL: IN JESUS’ NAME, AMEN.

Rite of Confession

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting;

*Call to Confession  (from Colossians 3:12-14, The Messsage)

Chosen by God for the new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God has picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, and quick to forgive. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

*Prayer of Confession (unison)

O God, at times we fail to act in love. Wrapped in our own concerns, we may not hear the cries of others. We can be slow to listen, but quick to give advice. Promising prayer, we may not add the power of being present with others. Uncomfortable with the pain and needs of others, we may want them to just get over it. Empower us with your love, that we may meet and hear others where they are.

*Assurance of Pardon (from Colossians 3:15-17 The Message)                                                 The peace of Christ keeps us in tune with each other. The power of the Spirit keeps us in step with one another. The grace of the Father grants forgiveness, making us grateful. Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

* Prayer of Dedication (unison)

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting;   Maker of all things, you bless us with many gifts: our lives, our possessions, and our time and our talents. Use this food and money—and our very lives—to show the world your presence and your love. Amen.

Eucharist Prayer/Prayer of Great Thanksgiving

One: The Lord be with you.

Many: And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

O God, you create the vast universe and call it good. You make us in your image

and call us very good. Declaring that it is not good for us to be alone,

you make us companions on our journey.

And so we thank you, O God.

Throughout human history, you declare your presence with your people.

You speak to us through the law and the prophets, demonstrating your love and care.

You speak to us through your Son, Christ Jesus.

You speak to us through the Holy Spirit.

And so we thank you, O God.

Your Son proclaimed your reign and presence:                                                                           preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives,
teaching by word and deed, blessing the children,
healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted,
eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners,

and demonstrating and proclaiming your love for all people.
And so we thank you, O God.
When your Son was crucified, giving his life for the sins of the world.
you raised him from the dead, breaking the power of sin and evil,

demonstrating your triumph and presence.

And so we thank you, O God.

Today we gather in your presence.

You are here in the support and love we offer each other.

You are here in our praying and singing, in our words and our silences.

You are here in your Supper.

And so we thank you, O God.


HYMNS I used

Not so much out there on human companioning. I used

Prelude: Faithful Friend                                                                                Twila Paris

*Opening Hymn I Come with Joy                               Presbyterian  Blue Hymnal,507

Offering Hymn  God is Here!                                                                    Blue Hymnal,461

Prayer for Illumination (sung )                                                   Blue Hymnal, #430 verse 3

This day God’s people meeting, The Holy Scripture hear                                                          Christ’s living presence greeting, Through bread and wine made near.                                    We journey on, believing, Renewed with heav’nly might,                                                             From grace more grace receiving, On this blest day of light.


Closing Hymn  Called as Partners                                                  Blue Hymnal, 343

Postlude He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother                                                The Hollies

Prayer for Illumination (sung )                                                   Blue Hymnal, #430 verse 3

This day God’s people meeting, The Holy Scripture hear

Christ’s living presence greeting, Through bread and wine made near.

We journey on, believing, Renewed with heav’nly might,

From grace more grace receiving, On this blest day of light.


Hebrew Scripture Reading: Ruth 1:1-17                                                                                           Reader

Message The Present of Presence                                                                Pastor Barb


*Confession of Faith: The Nicene Creed (Ecumenical version)      Blue Hymnal, p. 15

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (see insert)


*Closing Hymn  Called as Partners                                                  Blue Hymnal, 343

*Charge and Benediction                                                             Pastors Barb and Len  Postlude He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother                                                      The Hollies




Narrative Lectionary: Exodus 1:8-2:10, 3:1-15 (9/29/19)

See file on One note:!AuB3z496aTHTgapshfJy9s21rlAGVQ

Bulletin on One note (we’re using the Exodus passage on 9/22):!AuB3z496aTHTgapjYP12mqWqSLJJyA

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