Weekly News from St. John’s and St. Paul’s for April 5, 2020

A Note from Pastor Will: 

Dear Church members and friends,

Because of the current crisis that our world is facing, it is now clear that we will not be able to worship together in person for Holy Week and Easter. As I mentioned in the April Parish Twine, that does not mean that Easter will not happen. We remember that the wonderful promise of the resurrection does not depend on circumstances in our world being perfect.

It does, however, mean that this year Holy Week and Easter will be different than what we’re used to. We will have the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil services live streamed on the church Facebook page at their scheduled times. The services on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday will also be streamed live on Facebook at 9 a.m., or you can reach it through a program called Zoom, which allows a more interactive experience, including conversation with one another through video chat after the service. Join us for Sunday Worship, 9:00am by clicking here. The Sunday services can also be reached by calling 646-558-8656 and entering code 887 508 411#. This is particularly helpful information to share with family members and neighbors who might not have access to the internet. 

Finally, there are ways that we can connect that do not require any technology at all. Those of you who live near enough to either St. John’s or St. Paul’s to hear the church bell will have heard it ringing each evening at 8:00 p.m. This is a reminder to join in prayer, and also a reminder that, though we are physically separated from one another, we remain united with one another in Jesus Christ. I also encourage you to consider the practice of worshipping at home. The ELCA has put out some wonderful resources for worship at home. You can find them by clicking by visiting https://blogs.elca.org/worship/

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me by phone, text, or email at any time if you need someone to talk to, prayer, or if you need help with anything. Several church members have also volunteered to run errands for folks who are at a higher risk and unable to leave their homes. 

These are strange times, but we will get through them together with God’s help. 

Pastor Will 

In our prayers: Judy Ambrosy, Jane Barnes, Christine Burns, Shirley Busch, Mary Ann Clasen, Erwin Felderman, Janice Felderman, Reese Felderman, Roger Hanselmann, Tom Harmon, Ruth Hingtgen, Mary Kay Hobart, Elaine Hueneke, Joy Hueneke, Richard Hueneke, Lorraine Knief, Kielyn Pitts, Rev. Duane Priebe, Abraham Saraka, Lorna Swehla, Kemora Von Thun, Diane Wallace.

Our sympathy and prayers are with the family of Sue Hanselmann (Bob Cartigny’s sister-in-law) who died April 3 at Manor Care in Dubuque.

Church Bells: Along with other churches throughout our region, we will begin ringing the church bells at 8:00 p.m. every evening as a reminder to gather together in prayer. As you hear the bells, you are invited to pray and remember that, though distant, we are never truly separated from one another.

Pastoral Visitation: Local hospitals and care facilities have suspended in-person pastoral visitation in most cases at this time. Pastor Will does plan to check in with church members over the phone during this time, so please continue to keep him informed about pastoral needs. 

Women of ELCA Cluster Gathering scheduled for April 25 is cancelled.

Every day is Earth Day! The St. John’s Sunday School will be collecting used markers and batteries between now and Earth Day, April 22nd.  

Hold the date for VBS 2020:  Saturday, June 28, at St. John’s. Watch for details.

Support St. John’s Through Your Purchases! Are you an Amazon shopper?  We have signed up with the Amazon Smile Foundation to offer a program by which a percentage of your purchases with Amazon will come back to St. John’s.  It’s super easy. When you first start out, you have to use the following link:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/421101128  You will use this link each time you want to shop and support!  This link still will work with your regular Amazon account but will direct link to St. John’s.  It asks if you will be supporting the church through this link, and you do have to use it every time you shop.  I’ve bookmarked it on my computer for easy access, and it shows the organization we are supporting right underneath my search bar on the site. It does say Bellevue, which is our mailing address, but we are linked correctly, and it’s all ready to accept contributions. If you have any questions, please let me know!  Happy shopping and supporting! – Julie Busch, Treasurer

Electronic Giving

During this time that we are unable to gather in person, you can still support your congregation through electronic giving. 

St. John’s* has signed up with Tithe.ly and now offers a way you can do electronic giving right from the convenience of your home. 

On the giving form, you can also choose to cover that additional fee. You can also set up an account, where you can instantly see your personal giving statements and other information.

To get started, visitstjohnsandstpauls.org/give/  

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Busch @ jkb2280@gmail.com or call 563/599-5968.

*St. Paul’s has not yet set up this program. St. Paul’s members, please contact Pastor Will or church treasurer Ruth Hintgen for information about ways to contribute during this unusual time. 

Readings for This Week: Palm Sunday, April 5th 2020

A Simple Palm Sunday Liturgy for Worship in the Home: 

Set out on a table in front of you a green branch, a house plant, or simply a drawing of a leaf or branch. Then speak this acclamation:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Processional Gospel  Mathew 21:1-11

The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And they will be sent immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

About this reading:

When in the past we have read this text in church and carried the palm branches, we were celebrating the presence of Jesus Christ coming among us as we began all the services of this Holy Week. But you may trust that Christ comes also now to your home, to be with you as you begin this week of prayer, apart from others but still together with the whole church. Blessed indeed is the One who comes!

If you have a hymnal (or using the link below), you might now sing or read “All Glory, Laud and Honor.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 344)

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

The Prayer of the Day may be prayed.

Let us pray.

O God of mercy and might, in the mystery of the passion of your Son you offer your infinite life to the world. Gather us around the cross of Christ, and preserve us until the resurrection, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a

4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. 7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. 9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?

Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away. 11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror all around!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.

Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Gospel: Matthew 27:11-54

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. 15 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17 So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” 24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. 32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.’ “ 44 The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. 45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”