March 29, 2020

Show us, God, your power over death itself

First Mennonite Church

Sugarcreek, Ohio March 29—April 5

We believe in Jesus and take his life, teachings, death and resurrection as the
model for how we live and the message we proclaim
We seek to be a caring and discerning community,
the gathered body of Christ,
that welcomes all to join in worship, study, and service.
We embody God’s transforming and redeeming Spirit in the world through our
prophetic witness and action.


Lent 5:
Show us, God, your power over death itself


Ringing of the Bell:
Scripture Reading:
Psalm 130
Welcome & Announcements:
Focus Statement:

We hold in tension the truth that Jesus is the resurrection, and the reality that death does have some sting. Jesus, we need you to show us you have power over death itself.

Time of Meditation:
*Call to Worship:
L: In ancient time, Yahweh asked the prophet, “Do you believe these dead bones can live again?”
P: The prophet answered, “O God, you know!”
L: In the time of Jesus, he asked Martha, “Do you believe I am the resurrection and the life?”
P: Martha answered, “Yes Lord, I believe.”
L: Today God asks, “Do you trust that mourning can turn into joy? That your weary bones will live again?”
P: The people answer, “O God, show us!”
*Opening Prayer:
From the depths of our sadness we cry out to you, merciful God: hear us, heal us, strengthen us. Show us how to be your people. Teach us to walk in your ways, without fear. Encourage us to build bridges and not walls, to risk our lives for your reign.

Rock our complacency, mighty God. Give us a vision of the New Jerusalem. For you have surely walked with us in the past. You have taught us and carried us to this pace. Therefore, we sing of you goodness as we wait in hope for your love to cast out fear and change our lives. Amen.

*Gathering Hymn:
“God is here Among Us” Hymnal a Worship Book #16


Offering Invitation & Prayer:
Let us pray: O Holy God, you speak to us in wonders and whispers, in silence and scripture, in darkness and light, and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Your gifts are boundless! May we respond fully and freely with hearts and lives given to your service. Amen.
Old Testament Scripture:
Ezekiel 37:1-14

Hymn of Praise:
“I Sing the Mighty Power of God” Hymnal a Worship Book #46

Congregational Prayers:
Ending Prayer:
Let us pray—Gracious God, God of all compassion and consolation, your breath alone brings life to dry bones and weary souls. Pour out your Spirit upon us, that we may face despair and death with the hope of resurrection and faith through Christ, our Lord. Help us to dance with the spirit, the breath of life, which calls us out of the valley of dry bones and into the Kingdom of God, both a present reality and the grounding of our future hope.

Holy Father, Father of Christ who revealed the way of life, inscribe your law on our hearts that in this life, we may be the body of Christ. Help our hands to hold the sick and suffering. Help our feet to walk with the poor. Help our ears to listen to those who live in despair. May our eyes be affixed upon the suffering of the cross and the hope of the empty tomb so that we may live as resurrection people. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


New Testament Scripture: Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45
Sermon seeds
While it is not yet Easter, the Scripture for this week speaks about the resurrection. Sundays during Lent are intended to be mini Easters, so it feels right to give a taste of joy this Sunday before we can fully celebrate the resurrection. This may be a good Sunday to wrestle with the mystery of resurrection. We all experience death in different ways and depending on the death of loved ones it raises questions for us about God. In the story of Lazarus, we see both Mary and Martha asking why Jesus didn’t show up. In order for our faith to feel real, we need to be open and ask God those questions. In the life out of death.
Affirmation of Faith:
All: Into the silence of the void our Creator spoke, bringing life.
L: The Cosmic Christ and the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters—
Right: matter from mothing,
Left: flesh from dust,
L: Life from lifelessness.
All: We believe Jesus can bring life out of nothing,
L: but three days is a long time to wait.
All: Jesus, in our waiting for new life, give us hope. Show us your resurrection power that we may fully believe.


“Out of the Depths I Cry to You” Hymnal a Worship Book #133

Ritual of Response:
As a symbol of the resurrection and Jesus’ words from John 12:24, purchase flower seeds or plant seeds, or possibly even get small acorns. Put the seeds/acorns in a bowl on the altar. Invite people to come forward and get a seed/acorn, hold it in their hand, and pray for an area in their life that needs resurrection power. After praying, invite them to place it in a pot or box of soil as a symbol of trust and hope that Jesus will bring new life. If flower or plant seeds are used, it’s possible that they will bloom in time for Easter. In this case, the flower or plant can be placed somewhere in the sanctuary or among the rocks on the worship table as a reminder to hope in the resurrection.

*Sending Hymn:
“Abide, O Dearest Jesus” Hymnal a Worship Book #426

L: Come out! Jesus commands,
P: and calls us from the tombs of our existence into the brightness of a new day.
L: Come out! Jesus cries,
P: and unbinds us from the chains of our past.
L: Come out! Jesus calls,
P: and entice us into a world filled with grace and possibility.
L: So. Go out!
P: Into a world that needs our life, our breath, our spirit!
L: Go out!
P: Into a world that needs the Spirit of God, carried on our lips and in our loving arms.
All: Go out into the world to live as God’s resurrected people and go on the breath of God’s holy wind!

For God’s gracious presence in our lives.
*Bertie Showers:
It’s good to be home after her time in Florida. Brother Kenny is 94 and is doing well despite health issues.
*Tally Maust: Tabatha continues to heal after surgery on her broken leg.

THE CHURCH PRAYS FOR____________________
*Lizzie Keim: Prayers for the families of Teresa Pfister who passed away from liver cancer.
*Lizzie Keim: Prayers for neighbor Elaine who has pneumonia and a bladder infection.
*Tally Maust: Continued prayers for Janet Maust as she continues to work on healing and getting stronger at Aultman hospital.
*Julie Gerber: Prayers for Kim Schearer who has had a knee replacement and is at home recuperating.
*MMN: The first professors and administrative personnel to serve Benin Bible Institute when it opened in 1994 are nearing retirement age. Mennonite Mission Network requests prayer for the next generation of teachers and administrators to respond to God’s call, and the resources to train them.
*Prayers for Faith and Learning-Lezha (Albania) Academic Center: Our school has been helping the Roma people who are living in shelters after the Nov. 25th earthquake. Recently we heard that 29 people from this community, including children and elderly, are living on the streets. Please pray for our school and community.
*MMN: Faith Manickam, serving through Mennonite Mission Network, is assisting medical personnel in hospitals and mobile clinics in India. Pray that God would guide her as she helps provide marginalized people with care and dignity, and as she discerns how God is leading her into the future.
*Prayers for Faith and Learning-Warwick River Christian School Newport News, Virginia: Please pray for Warwick River Christian School that God will continue to grace us with our mission of providing faith-based education to children in our community.

Next Week’s Texts
: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Matthew 21:1-11; Philippians 2:5-11
Harbor of Hope: Paper Products and is due on March 25th. Next month is Spaghetti Sauce & Pasta and is due on April 22nd.
Mission Projects for March: Harbor of Hope: Paper Products; Hygiene Kits; Homeless Shelter Meal, WIM in charge
Hygiene Kits: Keeping clean is an important part of remaining healthy, but families who have fled their homes because of disaster or war often s56truggle to afford these necessary supplies. Hygiene kits also are given through schools or orphanages to encourage healthy habits for children. 48,160 hygiene kits shipped last year to Jordan, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea), Syria, Ukraine, Lebanon, Burkina Faso, and the U.S. There are contents sheets on the Harbor of Hope table.

THIS WEEK_________________________________
March 31st Homeless Shelter Meal 6:00 p.m. Pizza will be ordered
April 1st Leadership Team Meeting 7:00 p.m. ?
April 4th April Shupe has a Birthday
April 5th Susan Yoder has a Birthday
April 5th Palm Sunday

UPCOMING EVENTS__________________________
April 6th Candlelighters 7:00 p.m. Julie Gerber leader ?
April 9th Maundy Thursday
April 10th Good Friday
April 12th Sonrise Service/Breakfast 8:00 a.m.
April 12th Easter Sunday Main Service 10:00 a.m.
April 20th Candlelighters 7:00 p.m. Suzanne Stauffer leader
April 22nd Harbor of Hope items due: Spaghetti Sauce & Pasta
April 22nd Earth Day
April 24th Senior Breakfast @ Dutch Valley 9:00 a.m.
May 4th Candlelighters 7:00 p.m. JoAnne Pyle leader
May 4th May the Fourth be with you!
May 10th Mother’s Day
May 11th Community Arts Council 6:00 p.m.
May 25th Memorial Day
May 27th Harbor of Hope items due: Laundry & Cleaning Supplies
May 29th Senior Breakfast @ Dutch Valley 9:00 a.m.

From MC USA:

We pray for people in the U.S and around the world impacted by coronavirus. We pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones, and for those who have been quarantined and are feeling alone. We pray for healing for those who are sick. We pray for safety, strength and compassion for medical workers who may be overwhelmed caring for those who are battling various illnesses, and workers who are exposed to greater risks.

We pray that our public officials act with compassion and wisdom as they work to contain the virus. We pray for those without access to health care, and for those who don’t know how they will make it if they get sick and can’t go to work. We pray that your peace will guard our hearts and minds so that we are not overcome by anxiety and fear.

God, inspire in us ways to show your love to one another and to ourselves. Guide our hearts and our actions to greater care, kindness and generosity in the midst of these fears and uncertainties.

NEXT WEEK___________________________________
Greeters:                                 Wayne & Dorothy Schrock
Minister:                                 Mike Gehman
Worship Leader:                   Bruce Stauffer
Song Leader:                          April Shupe
Head Usher:                           Herb Torgler

CHURCH LEADERSHIP_______________________
Pastor: Mike Gehman:
Pastor’s Hours: Wednesday 9:30a.m.-2:30p.m.
Secretary: Tally Maust
Phone: 1-330-852-2822
Website: http//
113 W. Main St. P.O. Box 250
Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681

Mike Keim:
Office Contact:
Linda Yoder:
Trustee Contact:
Jim Armstrong:
Mission Contact:
Reno Stevanus:
Secretary Contact: Jo Anne Pyle: