A Service of Worship
for the Fifth Sunday in Lent
Liturgy provided from Feasting on the Word- Reprinted by permission of Westminster John Knox Press from Feasting on the Word Lenten Companion. Copyright 2014.
Call to Worship
O mortal, can these bones live?
Only the Lord God knows.
O people, hope in the Lord.
With the Lord there is steadfast love and great power to redeem.
HYMN RIse, Shine, for Thy Light Is Comin'
Prayer of Confession
O Lord, if you held our sin against us,
who could live, who could stand?
We seem to have more faith in death
than hope in your promise of life.
Uncomfortable and fearful of the way things are in our lives, in the nation, in the world,
we do not always welcome the new life you offer in Christ.
Even now with so many in need, we hoard our assets and the gifts you have given us.
Forgive us, we pray, and help us bend our lives toward your self-giving and sacrifice.
Fill us, our homes, churches, nation, and the world with the abundant love of Christ until we rise unbound by sin and in newness of life.

In Christ, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness
If Jesus Christ dwells in you, the Spirit of God will be your life and the grace of God will be your righteousness. And if the Holy Spirit dwells in you, then God, who raised Jesus from the dead, will also give you life.
This is the good news of the gospel, in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
God's Word Read and Proclaimed
John 11 selected verses
  A certain man, Lazarus, was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This illness isn’t fatal. It’s for the glory of God so that God’s Son can be glorified through it.”  Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.  When he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was. After two days,  he said to his disciples, “Let’s return to Judea again.”
17  When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.  18  Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem.  19  Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death.  20  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house.  21  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  22  Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”
23  Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24  Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”
25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die.  26  Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27  She replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, the one who is coming into the world.”
28  After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.”  29  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus.  30  He hadn’t entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him.  31  When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.
32  When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
33  When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled.  34  He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
35  Jesus began to cry.  36  The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!”  37  But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
38  Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance.  39  Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”
40  Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?”  41  So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me.  42  I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.”  43  Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  44  The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
Message(s) There are three opportunities for engaging the Scripture. The first is a sermon by Dr. F. Scott Spencer, Professor of New Testament and Preaching at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond. If you choose this sermon, you may also want to read John 12:1-8, as Dr. Scott links the passages of the death and resurrection of Lazarus with the anointing of Jesus by Mary at LAzarus' home. The second is from The Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. If you choose this sermon, you may also want to read Ezekiel 37:1-14 as Rev. Campbell links the death of Lazarus with Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones. The third is an audio from Day1 featuring Rev. Dr. Wiley Stephens: The Road to Easter...
Prayer of Intercession

In desperation we cry to you, O Lord. We know you hear. We know you care.
We pray for those whose hope is lost, who feel dried up and cut off from you.
By your grace, open their graves; bring them back to the land of the living.
We pray for those who weep, lost in fear and regret.
Grant them the peace of your presence, show them what love can do.
We pray for those who are oppressed and all who grow weary of isolation.
Release them from their chains; unbind them and let them go.
Hear our prayers, O God, for all others we would name...
We thank you, Lord, for having heard our prayers.
Enable us to trust in you and in your presence, through Christ the resurrection and the life. Amen.

Lord's Prayer
The Lord Bless You and Keep you

Charge and Blessing
Go peaceably, looking on the hearts of others with the same compassion Christ has shown you.
Trust that he is able to open your eyes, enabling you to walk by faith in his name.

And may the love of God pursue you,
the light of Christ enfold you,
and the Holy Spirit keep you,
now and all the days of your life.