Worshiping Together in Different Places–Online Worship on the fifth Sunday of Lent (Year A)

  . Welcome to worship for the fifth Sunday of Lent, March 29, 2020. 

For worship you may wish to have a candle to light and to have bread and a beverage for communion – whatever you have available will be sufficient.

Bold text – say aloud, if desired.


The Raising of Lazarus (after Rembrandt)
Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890), Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, May 1890
Credits:  Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)




Acknowledgement of Land

(an act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years, First Nations people have walked on this land; their relationship with the land is at the center of their lives and spirituality. We are gathered on the traditional territory of the Coastal Salish and Puyallup people, and we acknowledge their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.



You are invited to follow along with this worship clip using the liturgy below it.


Lighting of the Community Candle

We light this flame in honor of the work of God in our past.

We light this flame in gratitude for the grace of God in our present moment.

We light this flame in trust for God’s direction into our future.

Opening Prayer


Gathering Song        Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land        Dave LeMieux and friends


Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Pardon

We confess to you, O God and to one another: 

we are bound by our self-serving motives,

held captive by our hurtful actions,

paralyzed by our apathy.


Forgive us and set us free.

(silence for reflection)


Bring our wandering spirits back, O God.

Forgive and renew us.

Restore our hearts with your abundant goodness and mercy,

so that we may find our true rest in you. Amen.



Scripture Readings: You can find all of the lectionary readings for Sunday, March 29, 2020 at this website:  https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=28, a link to the Revised Common Lectionary readings, a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.   .


Gospel Reading        John 11


You are invited to follow along with this reading with the Scripture below the video.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

A reading from the prophet Ezekiel, from The Message, translated by Eugene Peterson

God grabbed me. God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones.  He led me around and among them—a lot of bones!  There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun.

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Master God, only you know that.”

He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!’”

God, the Master, told the dry bones, “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life.  I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you.  You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!”

I prophesied just as I’d been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone. I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But they had no breath in them.

He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘God, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!’”

So I prophesied, just as he commanded me. The breath entered them and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army.

Then God said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they’re saying: ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there’s nothing left of us.’

“Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.’”


        God be in our listening.

        God be in our seeing.

        God be in our understanding. Amen.


Sermon      Lingering in Graveyards        Pastor Nancy Gowler



Song for Reflection        O Death        Ranky Tanky

As we pause together, we invite you to listen to the song, O Death.  Live at Philadelphia Folk Festival – 8/19/17



We have a number of ways to participate and contribute when you are unable to attend worship in person:

You can make a one-time donation, or manage ongoing giving on our website at https://fccpuyallup.com/donate.

You may also choose to use the GivePlus Mobile App.  Simply download the GivePlus app from the App Store or Google Play, and then search for “First Christian Church” using our zip code: 98371.  Through the app you can also set up one-time or ongoing giving from your phone.

Or, you may send checks via the Postal Service by mailing to: 
First Christian Church, P.O. Box 516, Puyallup, WA 98371.


Prayers of the People

You are invited to follow this worship clip using this response and the Lord’s Prayer below it.

Out of the depths we cry to you…O Lord, hear our prayers.


Our Father in heaven, 

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, 

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.


  . Sharing of the Peace

May the peace of Christ be with you.

We encourage you to share a sign of peace and reconciliation with those who are near you. Take a moment to think through people you know.  How might you reach out to someone who may be feeling isolated?  Is there someone you might reach out to with a text message of peace?  or a check-in message of connection?  Take a moment to do that now, or after your worship time write a note of greeting to mail to them.



You are invited to follow along with this worship clip using the words below it.


Invitation to Communion

All are welcome at Christ’s table.

Everyone is welcome at Christ’s table.

A Celebration of Faith

Our Celebration of Faith is from the Iona Abbey Worship Book © 2017 Wild Goose Publications, the publishing division of the Iona Community. 

With the whole church

we affirm we are made in God’s image,

befriended by Christ,

empowered by the Spirit.

With people everywhere

we affirm God’s goodness at the heart of humanity

planted more deeply than all that is wrong.

With all creation

we celebrate the miracle and wonder of life,

the unfolding purposes of God

forever at work in ourselves and the world.

Prayer of Thanksgiving


Holy, holy, holy, God of abiding love.

All the earth is alive with your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who waits for the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Our Sacred Story at the Table

Communion Prayer

  . Sharing of the Bread and Cup

You are invited to share the elements you have set aside for this worship time.  Bread, crackers, juice, wine, or water – all are signs of Christ’s abiding presence with us.


Communion Response




Closing Benediction        (adapted from William Sloane Coffin and H. Stephen Shoemaker)


May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.

May God give you grace never to sell yourself short,

grace to risk something big for something good,

grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth,

and too small for anything but love.

So may God take your minds and think through them,

your lips and speak through them,

and your hearts and set them on fire.


Closing Song        Awake, My Soul        Mumford and Sons


Minister: Rev. Nancy Gowler; Elder: Gretchen Mertes; Scripture: Karrie Cheek; Prayers of the People: Katie Peterson


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