The Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 22, 2020
Our reading for this Sunday are:

I Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9: 1-41

Please click here to read these scripture lessons.
Happy Sunday!
Welcome to St. James the Less Virtual Worship. I am so happy you are here. We are tucked in at home apart form each other, but we are not alone.

Take a moment to breathe in and out a couple of times. Now offer a prayer asking God to bring you what is needed.

Look at the picture of Jesus healing the man born blind by a wonderful contemporary artist named Ann Lukesh. Notice the color and emotion and especially the physical connection in the painting.

What is spiritual also affects us physically. As we are not together in person and yet our practice of being together spiritually will affect us physically. Like the blind man was healed so we are made more whole in our Christian practices of prayer, singing, conversation, bible study and so on.

This morning there are opportunities for every age and stage to connect to God and in community. What is offered is best if it is viewed on a computer screen rather than a phone, but a phone works too.

Down the left column are a variety of ways to connect. Primary to communicate is a Zoom conference at 10:00 a.m. Rev Lisa will share some encouraging words followed by a Bible study led by Rev. Tommy. You can be a part of this real time gathering by phone or by using your computer if you have a video feature. With Zoom over a hundred of us can connect at one time. Detailed instructions are at the very bottom of this email.

Also down the left column:
  • Video from Josh Langhoff on several beloved hymns about healing and their history
  • Children’s Sermon Video from Rev. Lisa on the 23rd Psalm
  • Link to St James Cathedral in Chicago for a pre-recorded service and sermon with Bishop Lee.

Down the right hand column is a written meditation by Rev. Lisa.

Intentionally enter this time of spiritual connection knowing even though we are apart we are not alone. 
The Fourth Sunday in Lent from
St. James the Less
Stay at Home and join Rev. Lisa and Rev. Tommy
at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday Morning via your computer or phone
We will gather virtually on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Lisa will have a message for us and then Rev. Tommy will lead us in a Bible Study on this morning's gospel, John 9:1-41.

You may join this meeting from your computer. Or you may use your land line or cell phone to call in as well.

The instructions for getting logged into this Zoom meeting are at the very bottom of this email. (Yes, you will have to keep scrolling past Rev. Lisa's meditation!) It's not hard, but you will want to allow yourself time to get set up. We suggest logging in by 9:45 a.m.
Hymns of Healing
Josh has recorded "Hymns of Healing", a meditation on selections made especially for this Sunday.

Click on the image above to access the video.
Children's Sermon
with Rev. Lisa
Psalm 23
Rev. Lisa has recorded a Childen's Sermon in the style of Godly Play, focusing on Psalm 23. Click on the image above to access the video.

Rev. Lisa has included a craft project for you to do in the video. Click here to download the pdf of the craft project.
Prayers of the People for Sunday, March 22
Click on the image above to open this Sunday's Prayers of the People.
Giving to Those in Need
We will be making a donation to A Just Harvest out of our outreach funds this week. As the need continues, we may ask for additional funds.

Our church expenses continue even though we are not meeting in person. Please keep your gifts to St. James the Less current.

Click on the image above to pay your pledge or make a gift to St. James the Less.
Zoom Youth Group Meeting for Junior and Senior High Kids
Rev. Lisa will meet by Zoom with the youth of our parish beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Parents have already received information about how to join this meeeting.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Lisa.
Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind -- John 9:1-41
By Rev. Lisa Senuta
“The only thing more contagious than a virus is hope.” -- Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven

I do not know if Admiral McRaven is a religious person, but his statement is a perfect piece of timeless Wisdom pointing beyond any single human effort toward a Creator of Hope.

We are in times in which fear is as contagious as Coronavirus. All week I have noticed the tension rising in me as my slow growing awareness came to understand just how tragic this pandemic will prove to be for our world.

Stunned by facts and numbers we have not seen our Governor, Mayors and every public official make so many televised statements affecting each and every household in their care.

We are in an uncharted experience. Texts and phone calls with neighbors, family, and friends share our corporate fears. With no memory to call upon on how to get through this, we are finding our way…the blind leading the blind.

A million questions like a river flow in our minds. Questions full of grief one moment like, “How many will die?” are followed by something simple the next like, “Will my toilet paper supply last”. Challenging questions fill us with dread like, “What will life be for all those who are laid off?” and others reveal how our habits have changed, “How will I fill all this empty time?” Perhaps all of our questions truly are one singular question in disguise, "Why is this happening"?

The Bible is such a spiritually helpful resource. This passage in John’s Gospel is worth your reading. In it Jesus heals a man born blind. And this obviously miraculous and wonderful thing sent people spinning into a million questions. Why was he born blind? Who sinned him or his parents? Is it right that Jesus healed him (and not others)? Did Jesus really heal him? How did he do it?

The questions that fill our minds reveal what we set our hearts on or what we believe. What we believe frames how we see the world we inhabit and all that makes up our lives.

So that this is true: the spiritual life is how we see real life. 

If we frame our questions, thoughts and lives in Hope then we trust God has not made us to die but rather for love. Our real lives are defined inside and out by love.

Breath. Rest in this truth.

Bishop Curry expressed this so perfectly in his sermon last week at the National Cathedral, he reminded us of Jesus’ words at the last supper, “No one has greater love than this, when they give up their lives for their friends.” He went on “That kind of love must be contagious. And that kind of contagious love can change the world. We will fight this particular kind of contagion and all of our preexisting social contagions and divisions by the disciplined labor of love. Love working through medical folk, Love working through leaders, and Love working through each one of us who can help and heal.”

There is only one thing more contagious than a virus and that is hope.

Sense God’s outstretching and undying love reaching out to you and to our world this morning. Healing our blindness. For as certain as we will be grieved by what comes in the days and weeks ahead we will also see Love in action in ways untold before. God is a God of life and we are not made to die, we are made for Love. 

Blessing

Go in safety, because you can go where God is not.
Go in love, for God's love alone endures.
Go in peace, for that is God's gift to those whose hearts and minds are on God's Son Jesus.
And May the Blessing of God Almight, Father, Sone and Holy Spirit be upon you this day and always. Amen

How to Join a Zoom Meeting
To connect via computer

To log on with your computer click on this link: https://zoom.us/j/396782814?pwd=WWZHd2lxQVBTM2VLY0d4SHlLOExUUT09  If you log in and it asks for a meeting number and password use, Meeting number:  396 782 814 Password:  499383

To connect via phone

Dial +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Put in the meeting number when asked for it.
396 782 814

Now that technology is out of the way, once you are in the meeting here are a few pointers to help it work better:
 
  1. Please be on time (or even arrive early!).
  2. Please be in a quiet place free from distractions. If it is just you joining and not others with you, it might be helpful to use headphones to reduce background noise. 
  3. It is helpful to mute yourself when you aren’t speaking to also help reduce background noise. There is a small icon that looks like an old studio microphone – if it is grey, your sound is on. If it is red, you are muted.
  4. Find a nice comfortable chair to sit in for approximately an hour (perhaps even trying it out ahead of time). It is distracting in online meetings when someone has to get up and go to the bathroom or shift their weight a lot.
 
We look forward to trying out this new medium together. I hope we also bring a good dose of humor since I doubt things will go 100% smoothly with technology!
The Fourth Sunday
in Lent
St. James Cathedral
Bishop Lee has recorded a service for the Fourth Sunday in Lent.

Click on the image above to access this video at any time.
The Fourth Sunday
in Lent
National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral is live streaming their service. You may watch it at any time.