At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
March 28, 2021
6th Sunday of Lent/Palm Sunday
- Communion Elements
- A computer/tablet/phone for looking up the worshipful songs. You could also use a hymnal and an instrument.
- YOUTUBE Sermon and Hymns – A video of Pastor Brad preaching will be on the First Christian Church Youtube site. Visit the First Christian Church Grand Junction Colorado YouTube Channel to find the playlists for the sermon and the hymns for the day. The playlists of the videos for each are also accessible from our website.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Palm Sunday Reading 1 – Mark 11:1-11
11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
(You can look up the lyrics/music in a hymnal or on hymnary.org…or watch the playlist on our YouTube channel or website.)
- “Ride on, Ride on in Majesty!” #191
God of Lent, God who calls us to return from the wilderness of sin to your kingdom. Attune us to your heart and your desires as we worship, that this time in your presence will renew our passion for you – our desires to participate in your plan – and set a pattern for our living throughout the rest of the week. We pray these things in the name of Jesus, our Lord, who taught us to pray…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Lead us, not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory
Anthem – “Can’t Take the Pain” by Third Day
(Share joys and concerns, then have someone pray the following prayer or one of your own.)
God Who Calls us Into a Closer Walk with You,
We learn from the scriptures of your great and steadfast love for us. We learn from the scriptures how much you desire the absolute best for us, in this lifetime and always. We remember during the season of Lent how you call us to turn away from all that separates us from you so that we might live into what you know is best.
So grant us an awareness of your love and your great desires. Grant us a renewed remembrance of the goodness that has resulted from each time we – and our spiritual ancestors – have lived into your desires instead of the desires of people. Grant us by your presence a quickening, an awakening, of our spirit individual spirits and collective spirit. Grant each time we experience a joy in life – joys like those mentioned in this service of worship – that we might consider how you made each joy possible…so that we might choose in our joy to continue to turn away from the ways of the world and toward your ways.
Even as we give thanks for the joys you make possible, we know there are people who struggle to find joys you make possible and so we ask also for your strength to entrust the needs of this world and its inhabitants to you. We entrust to your care this day:
- All who are on our congregation’s prayer list, and all who have been mentioned by name in our worship;
- All who suffer from abuse or oppression;
- All who struggle with anxiety or distress;
- All who suffer from lack of food, water, shelter, or loving relationships;
- All who suffer from injury or illness;
- All who mourn or grieve;
- All who struggle with quarantines and lockdowns, as well as those whose bodies are being ravaged by COVID-19;
- All who struggle in their efforts to follow Jesus;
- All who fear the power of your outpoured Spirit;
- All who struggle or refuse to turn to you this Lenten season;
- For all who have need but who go unnamed;
For all who have need of your intervention, O God, grant them what you know they need; respond to these prayers in the way you see as being best, the way that will turn shouts of pain and suffering into shouts of joy, the way that will bring glory to your name.
God who calls us to return to you and to turn away from the ways of the world, the ways that call us into physical, emotional, and spiritual apathy, grant us the strength we need to resist the temptation of the world and return from the wilderness of sin into your loving arms and loving ways this season of Lent and always.
We pray, as we live, through Jesus, who calls us out of the wilderness and back toward you, and by the power of your Holy Spirit…Amen.
Scripture and Message (Sermon)
Read the scripture passages from Pastor Brad’s sermon and then read, listen to, or watch (on YouTube) the sermon. The text and audio of the sermon – as well as a video – can be found on our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org under the “Sermons” tab.
Invitation to Discipleship
God offered the Israelites in the time of Moses something amazing, something extraordinary: a miraculous exodus from slavery, an equally miraculous journey through the desert wilderness, and a land of milk and honey to call home. How did the Israelites respond to God’s plan? I suppose the word “apathy” would be a very nice way to say it, a way that is considerably nicer than those Israelites deserved. Regardless of what we call it, the reality is that those Israelites missed out on the joy that comes from living into God’s desires…all as a result of their spiritual sloth.
Out of this sermon, out of the wilderness of the sin of sloth, God calls to us – to you – to listen to God’s desires for your life…to live out of spiritual wholeness instead of spiritual brokenness. How will you respond?
Hymn of Invitation – “Where He Leads Me” #346
I didn’t mention this during the sermon. I suppose I worried that you might not hear anything else I said about spiritual sloth, about acedia, if I had said this up front. But one of the ways spiritual sloth MOST manifests itself is in our giving. God calls to us – to you – to give as much as we can to God and toward God’s desires, to love God (to prefer God) more than we love all the other stuff we can do with our money. Yet so many of us – even devoted followers of Jesus – respond to this call to give about the same way the Israelites responded to God’s call for them to follow the path of deliverance: out of our broken spirit, we will not follow.
I wonder: whom do we think our decision to NOT follow God’s call to give more will benefit? Did it benefit the Israelites to not listen to Moses? Did it benefit Jonah to desire death because God helped someone ELSE? Did it benefit the servant of Jesus’ story to bury money in the ground? Did it benefit the disciples to sleep while Jesus prayed?
When we follow God’s plan, when we participate in God’s desires, things turn out BETTER. Let’s be in the spirit of Christian giving.
Response. If you feel called to respond by making a monetary gift to continue God’s work through FCCGJ, you can do so right now in one of three ways:
- Write a check to First Christian Church and mail it to FCCGJ, 1326 N. 1st Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
- On your cellphone, text GIVE2FCCGJ (plus the dollar amount you want to give) to 73256. For example, if you want to offer $50, text GIVE2FCCGJ $50 to 73256.
- Via the internet on your computer, go to our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org, click “online giving” on the top menu bar, and then click on the link under the second bullet point to make an online contribution.
Offering Prayer. God of Lent, help us to return to you, to turn away from apathy, even apathy in our giving to you and your purposes, this Lenten season. Bless these gifts we offer, and help us to experience the goodness that results from turning toward you with the material possessions we think of as “ours”. We pray this in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Communion:
If you worry that you suffer from spiritual sloth from time to time, don’t worry. Don’t worry because you’re not alone; there’s a reason the early church fathers talked and wrote about this extensively. And don’t worry because Jesus provided a weekly opportunity for your spirit to be renewed, a place where you can go every single week to experience again God’s breath enlivening you to love God, love other people, and participate in God’s desires for you and all the world.
Let us prepare to partake of this meal and receive the breath of life, the breath of God’s spirit, anew.
Communion Hymn – “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” #202
God of saving activity, as you bless these elements and as we partake of them, strengthen us by this bread and cup to encounter you in a way that will renew the passion of our faith, our passion for you and your call to us to serve you by helping those around us out of love. I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.
Words of Institution: We remember that on the night Jesus was to be betrayed, he sat around a table with his disciples and shared a meal. While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and, after giving thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat. This is my body, broken for you.” In the same way, Jesus took a cup, and after blessing it, said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Partake of the bread and cup in your own time.
“Were You There” #198
Palm Sunday Reading 2 – “A Cheering, Chanting, Dizzy Crowd” (#193 in Chalice Hymnal)
A cheering, chanting, dizzy crowd
Had stripped the green trees bare,
And hailing Christ as king aloud,
Waved branches in the air.
They laid their garments in the road
And spread his path with palms
And vows of lasting love bestowed
With royal hymns and psalms.
When day dimmed down to deep’ning dark
The crowd began to fade
‘Till only trampled leaves and bark
Were left from the parade.
Lest we be fooled because our hearts
Have surged with passing praise,
Remind us, God, as this week starts
Where Christ has fixed his gaze.
Instead of palms a winding sheet
Will have to be unrolled,
A carpet much more fit to greet
The king a cross will hold.
Go now as the people of God,
Loving God and others with all you’ve got.
And finding renewed passion for life from your acts of love.
Go in the name of Jesus
And by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.