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Archive for the ‘Exodus’ Category

Exodus 16:2-15

  1. Way In

    When people start to worry about scarcity, they get anxious – there’s not going to be enough

    Examples

    Time

    People get anxious when they’re afraid that, “time’s running out”

    You’re going to miss your ride, not get your grass cut, not get your project or homework finished …

    Starting your summer reading list at the end of August

    Everyone here seems well-organized and planned

    But maybe you’ve had this experience, if even just a few times – “time’s running out!”

    In which case you’ve had a taste of the anxiety from running out of time

    Or maybe you’re like the expression, “if it wasn’t for the last minute, I’d never get anything done.”

    In which case, you’re well acquainted with this anxiety

    In fact, they say that people like us, I mean, people like that
    thrive off of the anxiety

    Food, especially candy

    Trick or Treat season is coming up, extra candy rows set up at the store

    we can’t buy too early at my house, or it will be gone by 10/31

    but you know about how you keep on going, one more house, one more stop

    just to be sure you get enough goodies

    real emergencies – storms, hurricanes, tornadoes

    see how groceries, gasoline, ice, etc. are stock-piled

    Bridge

    This is scarcity, “there’s not going to be enough,” people get a little panicky,

    Hoarding

    Storing it up, “just in case”

    Biblical narrative, up until now, had been the story of abundance

    God created the world

    Called it “good, very good.”

    Made plants, and animals, fish, and birds, and humans

    Saying, “be fruitful and multiply”

    God created the universe and everything in it

    Celebrated in the overflowing abundance

    God blessed Abraham and Sarah

    Blessed them to be a blessing

    Their descendants are numbered more than grains of sand on the beach or stars in the heavens

    Later in Genesis, as a great famine spread, Pharaoh took over the food supply with an iron fist. He did this to keep control over the food supply

    He made the situation worse, the hungry suffered

    Scarcity introduced into the culture of abundance in God

    Today’s reading is a story of humankind’s struggle between the history of God’s generosity and the human myth of scarcity (Brueggeman)

    God promises to provide enough of everything we need, but we insist on acting as if there will never be enough.

  2. Tell the Story

    Today we find the people of Israel, not long after God delivered them from slavery in Egypt – they are grumbling

    There wasn’t enough to eat

    At least they had food in Egypt

    Why did Moses and Aaron bring them out to the wilderness to starve to death?

    God’s promise

    I will rain bread from heaven

    Each day the people shall gather what they need for that day

    This will be a test, “whether they follow my instruction or not”

    On the eve of the Sabbath, they will gather twice as much; so they will not have to labor after food on the sabbath.

    Moses and Aaron told the Israelites what God said

    Tonight you will know that it was God who delivered you

    And in the morning you will see God’s glory

    These things God will do because he has heard your complaints

    There will be meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning

    Meat and bread

    In the evening, quails came into the camp

    They were all over the place

    This was food God had not even said much to Moses about

    In the morning, bread covered the ground

    The people asked, “what is it?”

    Which, in Hebrew, is
    !m’ (((mannah)

    How to get your bread – your “what is it?”

    Gather as much as you need for today, about an omer per each person in your family (about 6.5 pints)

    This was new food for them, a new dining experience

    Bread from heaven, to them it was manna – “What is it?

    Some who probably couldn’t eat a full omer, some might have eaten a little more

    Maybe finishing up what was on somebody else’s plate

    But the commandment was to take what you need for today

    Don’t take more for tomorrow – God will provide then, too

    You don’t need to store anything up

    But trust in God to provide

    In fact, the scriptures tell us that whatever was left aside for tomorrow was spoiled by the next day

    God’s provision was enough

    And God would always provide

    God’s message, “Just take what you need for today, I will provide what you need each and every day”

    God even provided for the Sabbath

    On the day before, the people were able to gather extra

    So they could rest on the Sabbath day

    But stockpiling in the other days, just to have extra was punished

    Still, some saved some over for tomorrow, in case God forgot

    And what they saved was spoiled the next day

  3. So What?

    God provides enough for us every day

    “give us this day our daily bread”

    Yet, over the ages, we have not always trusted in God’s provision

    We tend to store up God’s bounty

    Although it’s reasonable for a people to store food and provisions aside

    As in storing food up before the harsh winter when harvesting isn’t possible

    There are ways like this that are consistent with God’s commandment to the people

    There’s a difference in taking in what we need for our family

    And storing some away as we need it

    One of the Hebrew people’s need was to minimize what they had to carry

    They were always on the move, during the wilderness times

    So they also trusted in God to be there when they needed God – to provide for them as they travelled

    Food is an example …

    others

    We must use God’s gifts as God instructs us

    there is enough for everybody,

    but there will be those who take extra rather than trust God for their share, in case God forgets them tomorrow

    What does this mean for us today?

    God has always promised to remember us and not leave us alone

    God already had a plan to feed the Israelites while they were in the desert.

    It had already occurred to God that his people would need to eat while they were in the wilderness 40 years

    God was patient with the people’s grumbling, and told Moses to go ahead and tell them how the food would come

    The manna came every day

    God’s promise is fresh and new each day

    And there will be enough

    The test of faith is, will we trust in God to provide?

    We are not altogether unlike the people in the wilderness. There is a teaching that, “If you ask anybody in the church whether they believe that God is the only God, the Creator of the Universe, they will surely answer ‘Of course he is! Everybody knows that!’ But if you ask them if they trust in God alone to provide everything they need, they may be taken a little aback, ‘Sure, but I have something saved up just in case.’

    Belief and trust go together. Faith is believing in something you can’t see.

    The one who believes completely, trusts completely. But when belief is a little short, so is trust – and faith

    So when we believe, that is when we trust in God, we may gather in a day’s portion every day and not worry about tomorrow.

    Heard a story about a relief truck that arrived in MS after Katrina

    giving out hot dogs

    they had enough to give everybody all they wanted that day

    the people were taking what they needed right then – there was not stockpiling.

    Surely there were some greedy

    But most wanted to be sure everybody got something to eat

    Will we trust in God to provide? Or will we fall under the myth of scarcity?

    Do we take all we can get today, because there might not be enough tomorrow?

    Do we take what we need, but resent those who got what they need, too – even the ones we think don’t deserve it?

    Do we take extra and store it away, even when we can hear the cries of those who are going without? For this is what spoils our hoarded away portion.

    What is it? !m’ That’s what the Israelites called the bread from heaven.

    What is it for us?

    Is it money, power, privilege, status, etc.?

    That is for each of us to decide.

    The lesson is, will we take extra just in case God forgets, or will we trust that God will provide the amount we need … every day, and not second-guess God about tomorrow.

So may it be with us. Amen.

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Welcome

Tonight we remember the final supper Jesus shared with his disciples

simple and contemplative

scripture reading (OT, Epistle, Gospel) and prayer

name for this service comes from John’s gospel

“I give you a new commandment,

love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34

Latin: mandatum novum

communion tonight will be by intinction

come forward as you are able

if you are not able, I will come and serve you

our table is arranged to remind us of three sides – triclenium

how people ate in the time of Christ

reclined around tables

with space in the middle for serving

at the end of tonight’s service,

I will extinguish the candles, as …

we hear the passion story from the gospels

listen as the shadows fall over our Lord Jesus’ journey …

to the cross

Note: after the benediction,

please depart in contemplative silence

reminder about Good Friday services

12-3pm: Sanctuary open for meditation and prayer

7pm: Shadows of the Passion

reminder about Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

Call to Worship

    + The Lord be with you

    And also with you

    + We gather to remember …

The night that Jesus shared his last supper

        with the disciples.

What shall we give to the Lord for all goodness to us?

    We will lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of the Lord

Opening Prayer (unison)

Gracious and merciful God, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper you give us a memorial of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant that the ones who receive these sacred mysteries may grow into him in all things until we come to your eternal joy through Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior. Amen

Scripture Readings

Exodus 12: 1-4, 11, 14; God’s instructions to Moses for the preparations for the Passover meal, which is the same meal Jesus and his disciples gathered for on this night in the Upper Room

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.

This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.


1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Paul reminds the emerging church that the Lord’s Supper is the practice and proclamation of the living Lord Jesus Christ.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

John 13: 1-17, 31-35. Jesus serves his disciples and gives them a new commandment.

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord– and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Invitation

This is not the table of the church, but of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been prepared for those who love him

This table is open to anyone and

everyone who wishes to come

There are no barriers to this table

So come, you who feel your faith is strong today,

and the ones who feel you are struggling;

The ones who have come to this table often,

and those who have been away for a while

or the ones here for the first time.

The ones who have tried to follow,

and the ones who feel you have lost your way.

Come, each one of you, not because I invite you,

for it is our Lord Jesus who calls, saying

“I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…

anyone who comes to me, I will never drive away.”

Prayer Before Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,
you draw us in and welcome us,
you invite us to be empty of pride and hungry for your grace,
to this your kingdom’s feast.
Nowhere can we find the food

for which our souls cry out, but here, Lord,

at your table.

Invigorate and nourish us, good Lord.
As we break this bread and take this cup

your love meets us
and your life completes us

in the power and glory of your kingdom.
Amen.

Words of Institution

    Bread

    Cup

Prayer after Communion

Gracious and loving God, we are grateful for this meal that nourishes our soul. May we go forth, strengthened with compassion, to work together for the coming of your kingdom of justice, love and peace, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Extinguishing the Candles

“Listen prayerfully to the reading of the scriptures for the passion of our Lord, and may the extinguishing of the lights be a reminder of his suffering, even when our hope for the resurrection may seem like a dim memory.”

The Shadow of Betrayal; Matthew 26:20-25

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”

He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”

The Shadow of Agony; Luke 22:40-44

When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

The Shadow of Loneliness; Matthew 26:40-45

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is ˃ weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

The Shadow of Desertion; Matthew 26:47-50, 55, 56

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

The Shadow of Accusation; Matthew 26:59-67

Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him…

The Shadow of Mockery; Mark 15:12-20

Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Shadow of Death; Luke 23:33-46

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,” If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Only the Christ candle remains lit

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Then slowly and deliberately extinguish the Christ candle

Blessing and Benediction

Keep us safe Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ.

Now, may the peace of God, which passes all understanding

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God

and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

And may the

Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Love of God

Communion of the Holy Spirit

Be with you – and everyone you love

Tonight, tomorrow, and forever. Amen

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Welcome and Call to Worship

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

We gather to remember the night that Jesus shared his last supper with his disciples.  What shall we give to the Lord for his goodness to us?

We will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.

 

Prelude                     I to the Hills Will Lift My Eyes  (Martin)

                                    David Broerman and Dana Geuy

Opening Prayer  (in unison)

Gracious and merciful God, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper you give us a memorial of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Grant that the ones who receive these sacred mysteries may grow into him in all things until we come to your eternal joy through Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior.  Amen  

Scripture Readings 

Exodus 12:1-4, 11, 14         “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.”

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.  If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.  This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD.  This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26       “Eat this bread and drink the cup.”

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

John 13:1-17, 31-35                “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”

 13:1 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.  Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Anthem                     The Sound of Running Water

                                                Presented by the combined choirs:

                                                            + First Presbyterian Church of Sidney, OH

                                                                Dana Geuy, Director of Music

                                                            + Westminster Presbyterian Church of Piqua, OH

                                                                David Broerman, Director of Music

 The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

 Invitation

This is not the table of the church, but of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has been prepared for those who love him

and want to love him more.

So come, you who feel that you have much faith,

and the ones who feel you are struggling;

The ones who have come to this table often,

and those who have been away for a while.

The ones who have tried to follow,

and the ones who feel you have lost your way.

Come, not because I invite you,

for it is our Lord Jesus who calls, saying

“I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…

anyone who comes to me, I will never drive away.”

Prayer

Words of Institution

Communion by Intinction

Prayer

 

Extinguishing the Candles

“Listen prayerfully to the reading of the scriptures for the passion of our Lord, and may the extinguishing of the lights be a reminder of his suffering, even when our hope for the resurrection may seem like a dim memory.”

 

The Shadow of Betrayal; Matthew 26:20-25

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”  And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”

He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.  The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”  Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  He replied, “You have said so.”

 

 

The Shadow of Agony; Luke 22:40-44

When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”  Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

 

The Shadow of Loneliness; Matthew 26:40-45

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

 

The Shadow of Desertion; Matthew 26:47-50, 55, 56

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

 

The Shadow of Accusation; Matthew 26:59-67

Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him…

 

 

The Shadow of Mockery; Mark 15:12-20

Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”  So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

 

 

The Shadow of Death; Luke 23:33-46

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,” If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Only the Christ candle remains lit

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Then slowly and deliberately extinguish the Christ candle

(while Joe is draping the large cross in black)

Blessing and Benediction

Keep us safe Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ.

Now, may the peace of God, which passes all understanding

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God

and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

And may the blessing of God Almighty,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

remain with you always.  Amen.

Depart in Silence

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Exodus 3:1-15


 

I.      Way In

A.   Friday afternoon, to EPC, run in and get something from my desk

1.    Hall on main floor, a sound like Niagara Falls in men’s room

a)    This is never good news

b)    Went in with trepidation

2.    Saw the urinal

a)    Handle stuck

b)    Water overflowing

c)    Water on floor

d)    How long had it been going?

3.    Tried to fix it

a)    Fiddled with the handle

b)    Looked for a turn off knob there

c)    Went to basement, boiler room

(1)  Found main shut-off valve

(2)  Warned Salvation Army

(3)  Shut off all water

4.    Did the trick

a)    Flow stop must have reseated the valve

b)    When I turned the water shut-off back on there was no more flood

c)    Still some work to do on the bathroom

B.   Bridge

1.    When I came in the church, something caught my attention

a)    Preferred not to hear it

(1)  Like I said, knew it would not be good

(2)  Knew I was not going to spend the next hour or so the same way I had planned

b)    But there was  no way I could just not hear the water

(1)  No way I could just turn away

C.   Today’s reading:

1.    So it was for Moses the shepherd

a)    Certain things he could expect to happen at work

(1)  Finding lost sheep

(2)  Getting the flock to the watering hole

(3)  Chasing away wolves

b)    But you never saw a burning bush

(1)  Not one like this

(2)  Burning, but not consumed

(3)  Not natural

c)    But he couldn’t turn away

2.    turned aside to get a better look at something by the side of the road that caught his eye

II.    Tell the Story

A.   Context

1.    today’s reading is one of the most familiar stories, Moses and the burning bush

2.    Previously, chapt. 2, we are introduced to Moses

a)    Born during Pharaoh’s pogrom against Hebrew boy children

b)    His mother hid him away, found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in his household

c)    When Moses was grown, he saw how the Egyptians kept the Hebrew people in forced labor

(1)  Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinfolk

(2)  Moses killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand

d)    The next day he went out and saw 2 Hebrews fighting and tried to break them up

(1)  One said, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us?  Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”

e)    Moses was afraid his secret had gotten out

f)     Pharaoh did hear about it, and set out to have Moses killed

g)    Moses fled to Midian

(1)  There he married Zipporah

(2)  And had a son, who they named Gershom (meaning “foreigner”)

h)   In the days to come, the Hebrews were treated worse and worse under Egyptian slavery

B.   Today we find Moses, the shepherd, keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro

1.    led the flock to Horeb, the mountain of God (a.k.a. Sinai)

2.    Saw the burning bush, on fire yet  not consumed

3.    “I must turn aside and look at this great sight”

4.    When God saw that Moses had turned aside, God called to Moses from the bush.  “Moses, Moses!”

5.    Moses said, “Here I am.”

6.    Holy Ground

a)    God said to stop, come no closer.

b)    “Take off your shoes for this is holy ground.”

7.    God said, “I am …

a)    The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob

8.    Moses hid his face, he was afraid to look at God

9.    God said, “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt…

a)    I have heard them cry out

b)    I have come to deliver them from Egypt

(1)  Into a good land flowing with milk and honey

c)    “I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.”

10. Moses tried to talk God out of sending him

a)    Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?

(1)  God said, “I will go with you.”

(2)  God said that this, the burning bush, shall be the sign that God has sent him

(a)  Then you shall bring the people here to worship God on this mountain

b)    Who shall I tell the Israelites is sending me?

(1)  “I am who I am.”  hy<h.a, rv,a] hy<h.a,

(2)  Tell them, “I Am has sent me to you …

(a)  The Lord, the God of your ancestors

(b)  The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob

(3)  This is my name forever … for all generations

III.   So What

A.   Moses turned aside to look at the miracle

1.    How many times do we pass by, preferring not to look?

a)    Maybe an unpleasant sight

b)    Maybe something we don’t want to get involved in

2.    Wonder if God had some other things in mind if the burning bush didn’t get Moses to stop

3.    When God saw Moses turn aside to look, God spoke to him

B.   God gave Moses a job to do, to free the oppressed Israelites

1.    Moses unfit?

a)    A murderer

b)    We find out later, he does not speak very clearly

c)    God said, never mind, you are the one I choose

(1)  God wasn’t waiting for the first one to come by and see the bush, God was waiting for Moses

2.    God promised to never leave Moses by himself

C.   Conclusion

1.    God initiates to us in miracle

a)    God of compassion, not like the other Gods that require obedience and sacrifice without compassion

b)    The visible miracle – the burning bush that is not consumed

2.    God calls his people as partners

a)    Even if we think we are unfit

(1)  Imperfect

(2)  Broken

(3)  “Not ready for prime time”

b)    To work out miracles of compassion

c)    As agents of restoring love

d)    God goes with us as a sign

e)    Instructs us to claim our calling in his name

3.    So let us  not look away when God shows us a sign, but look aside and pay attention

4.    God started the story of the liberation of the Hebrew people with a sign to Moses, a sign he could not ignore.  God called Moses to a task, and equipped him for it.

a)    You know the story of the plagues Moses foretold to Pharaoh, and God made them happen…

b)    God promised to be with him, and even when it was unimaginably daunting, there was God

5.    God has called us into his service as well

a)    Sign may not be the burning bush

(1)  What has yours been?

(2)  What has God shown you?

(a)  a new way of worship or service?

(b)  Practice or discipline

(c)  Relationship to renew or restore

b)    Task may not be as daunting as freeing the Hebrew people

(1)  But it may make a big difference to somebody. Maybe even you

(a)  Hungry are fed

(b)  community is made of strangers

(c)  relationships are restored

(d)  brokenness is healed

c)    Through a miracle, we have been called into God’s service as witnesses to and agents of his reconciling love.  Let us not look away, but turn aside and open our eyes to God’s calling.  Then let us go, with God’s guidance and presence, into the places he is calling us to be  … to make a difference.

d)    So let it be with us.  Amen

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