ST. JOHN’S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH 45817
March 28, 2021
Sixth Sunday in Lent
Rev. Katherine Beckett (567-226-1009) Church (419-358-5641)
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!
People gathered around Jesus as his reputation became known from town to town. As we gather virtually, we too are yearning for presence, for peace, for help.
Prelude “All Glory, Laud and Honor” P. 265
Welcome and Announcements
One: When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion: Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
One: “Hosanna to the Son of David!
Many: “Hosanna to the Son of David!
One: Blessed is the one who comes
Many: Blessed is the one who comes
One: in the name of the Lord!
Many: in the name of the Lord!
One: Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Many: Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
One: When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Opening Hymn “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” P. 267
One: We have seen that the stories of Jesus’ healing ministry are filled words and deeds. When he rides into Jerusalem, the people had hopes he would heal the oppressive system they were living under. We know that his healing was not confined to that moment in history, but offers a new way of life that has made a case for compassion for all, especially “the least,” ever since.
As we head into the events of Holy Week, we begin to see that our ability to forgive ourselves and others is the foundation that can transform infirmities and allow us to move on. We integrate our beliefs and actions for the health of the whole. The parade of compassionate power we celebrate today is underscored by another healing story of transformation, symbolizing our ability to fuel our movement of recovery. We glorify God for beautiful words and works of wholeness and share that treasured beauty with others. We know there will still be pain, but we also know love will win.
People opened their lives to Jesus. We are drawn to the
Healer – opening our hearts with honesty and finding assurance that offers peace.
Opening Prayer of Confession*
One: Continue as we integrate all we have learned with all that we will do moving forward. For now, we remember how hard it is to move from thinking to doing. Let us pray:
Many: Forgiving God, we have opened ourselves to healing and sometimes it is easier to pray nice prayers than to do the hard work of putting into action what needs to happen. Help us remember the sacred nature of the holy vessels that we are, fragile and susceptible to shattering and yet capable of transformation. Help us to see ourselves as you see us. Help us to believe in our ability to change and heal as you believe in us.
Help us, Healer. Show us our strength. Forgive our inertia. Move us to move one step at a time toward greater care. In this silence, we sense and acknowledge our yearning for wholeness.
Assurance of Forgiveness
Passing of the Peace
People were fortified by Jesus’ words and deeds that revealed
care for all especially those marginalized. We strengthen our belief in the possibility of renewed health and vigor for all.
Hymn “At the Name of Jesus” P. 321
A Contemporary Word
Mother Teresa, honored in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was a Catholic nun and missionary. She is quoted as saying:
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
Scripture Matthew 9:1-8
One: Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Many: Thanks be to God!
Reflection Holy Wholly Reverend Katherine Beckett
People who were healed by Jesus were not afraid to ask. And so,
we come before the Holy One, making our petitions and our
desires known, trusting the work of the Spirit.
Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer
Response to Prayer “There is a Balm in Gilead” (Refrain only)
The parting words Jesus gave to those he healed were often as much balm as the act of healing itself. We hear encouragement from the One who makes beauty from brokenness.
Scriptural accounts of healing often end with responses from the “crowd” of witnesses. How will we proceed into the brokenness of this world and respond as the Body of Christ?
Closing Hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” P. 466
Postlude “Ride On, Ride On in Majesty!” P. 268
*adapted from Worship Design Studio. Used with permission.