Sunday, March 22nd Service
The above video allows everyone to share in the March 22nd Service of the Word. Click here to view the Service of the Word PDF.
TexTalk To Go
March 25, 2020
Hello all! While we work on getting things together for this coming Sunday's worship, I wanted to reach out to you and offer something different during this time of social distancing. So, while we cannot be together, we can still share conversation within our families, and among those we are keeping in touch with via social media or even just our phones!
To that end, my dad and I have teamed up to look at the scripture texts for the upcoming Sunday (so in this case, March 29th) and offer some reflective questions for you to consider. We've sent out two today, the Old Testament Lesson and the Psalm. You'll get two more (the Epistle and the Gospel) later this week. When you get a chance, take a look at the lessons, as well as the reflections and suggested questions.
Again, you can spend time in quiet contemplation of these questions on your own, or you can engage others in conversation and discussion. Let us know what new ideas and insights came to you, what you learned, and what old thoughts came back to you. This is very much like our weekly TexTalk, thus the name - TexTalk To Go. At some point, I hope that this will become the weekly Wednesday Zoom Bible Study that I mentioned earlier this week. But we will not meet by Zoom this week. And don't forget that if you would like to participate in Holden Evening Prayer, Saint Armand's Key Lutheran Church in Sarasota is offering it online each Wednesday during Lent at 7pm (www.saklc.com).
Thank you again for your patience as we try to get all this put together. And my prayers are with all of you, that you and yours stay safe and healthy - and at an appropriate social distance from one another!
Please find below notes on our First Lesson and the Psalm.
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know." 4Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord."
7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.'
12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people.
14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord."
Reflection by Pastor Rusty May
The story in our Ezekiel text is very familiar (sing along with me...dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones). The prophet's vision is a visual depiction of the despair of the Hebrew people living in exile in Babylon. The prophet was among the people who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and among those led away to live in exile. They were captive far from home in a very unfamiliar place surrounded by a very strange culture and wondering about where they could find God. In the vision, the bones represent the Hebrew people, whose faith during the exile has withered and decayed. Our situation is very different...we are captive in our homes...a place that is most familiar to us and we are separated from the other places that are important and familiar to us. How is God (or God's Word, or your own spiritual life) renewing you at this time? What lifts your spirits? What else would help lift your spirits?
1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
2O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
3If you were to keep watch over sins, O Lord, who could stand?
4Yet with you is forgiveness, in order that you may be feared.
5I wait for you, O Lord; my soul waits; in your word is my hope.
6My soul waits for the Lord more than those who keep watch for the morning, more than those who keep watch for the morning.
7O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love; with the Lord there is plenteous redemption.
8For the Lord shall redeem Israel from all their sins.
Reflection by Pastor Jenn Kopacz
This psalm was a favorite of Martin Luther, and the inspiration for his hymn, "Out of the Depths I Cry to You" - a favorite of mine. Luther's hymn, and this psalm, are a prayer to God for help, for forgiveness and for favor. The author begins by pleading for God to hear the prayer, but then the tone switches to one of trust and expectation - trust in God's promise of forgiveness and eager anticipation that it will come to fruition for them. The repetition in verse six about 'those who keep watch for the morning' may refer to the fact that "confirmation of God's help often came in the early morning, after a night of praying and waiting." And by the end of the psalm, we see that the hope of the one individual is now commended to the whole community. All of Israel shall hope in the Lord, and know God's steadfast love and redemption. God will redeem the whole community from its sin. We, too may find ourselves pleading with God to hear our prayers. What things are you praying for? If we imagine that this is a time of darkness, and we are praying and waiting for the light to return, what is it that gives you hope right now? In what ways do you see the light of Christ present even in the midst of all of this? How can we share this hope, this light with others, even when we are not physically together?
And - just for fun: have you ever prayed for something at night and woken up the next morning to find that your prayer has been answered?