Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church
Worship Focus for March 29
Rev. Hardy H. Kim, preaching
Greetings!

What a strange couple of weeks it has been! Over the course of the past two Sundays we’ve streamed worship from an almost-empty sanctuary, shuttered our campus and suspended classes at the PELC and Music School—and this past Sunday we livestreamed a service from various worship leaders’ homes using an online seminar platform. All of this on top of our whole community living under a shelter-in-place order; so many of us worried about the health and well-being of our families and loved ones. Some of us worried about job statuses and bank accounts.

This is more Lenten wilderness than I had bargained for.

Yet as we journey through these hard times there are clear signs of God’s grace. I was so moved by the beauty of the music these past two Sundays. I’ve been buoyed by the words of encouragement many of you have sent, as well as by your online reactions and affirmations. And even though we are separated by distance it really has felt to me like we’ve come together in faith and fellowship! Thank you all for the ways that you are being the church in these troubled times.

This Sunday, we will be worshiping online again: the church Facebook page is the best place to view it. We are making the intentional decision to worship at 2 p.m., so that we can avoid the high-traffic hour that resulted in so many church services being derailed last Sunday.

I hope you will join us at 2 p.m. as we attempt to continue to worship God in new and changing ways. We will do our best to make sure you can feel connected to one another as well. In our coming together and turning to God we’ll follow the example of Jesus’ friends, who turned to their great teacher and guide when they were in a distressing time, following the death of Lazarus.

I pray that God will work life-giving miracles for us during our time of worship as well.

Yours in faith,
Hardy

SVPC RESPONSE TO COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) HEALTH CRISIS: The session of Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church has decided to cancel all large church gatherings, including worship, through at least April 11. We will update you about when regular services will resume.

Although we will not be worshiping together in the sanctuary, please plan to worship with us "virtually" at 2 p.m. on Sunday when we will livestream our service on Facebook or the church website. The worship service can also be viewed on the church website during the week.

For other church programs and events, please check the church website frequently for updates.

Image: "Unbind Me," by Lauren Wright Pittman, A Sanctified Art
Theme for Sunday
All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain, with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust and the undeserved—all of which eventually come into every lifetime. If only we could see these “wounds” as the way through, as Jesus did, then they would become sacred wounds rather than scars to deny, disguise, or project onto others. I am sorry to admit that I first see my wounds as an obstacle more than a gift. Healing is a long journey.
—Richard Rohr
Questions for Reflection
  • What has been most painful to you about the present situation we are in?
  • What do you think Jesus would say to you, if you were to talk to him about it?
John 11:1-45
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.