A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.




GATHERING SONG           “What Feast of Love”           red book # 487


KYRIE                                                                      red book page 98 (set 1)



JEREMIAH 31:31-34

PSALM 51:1-12

HEBREWS 5:5-10

JOHN 12:20-33

SERMON                                                                  Pastor Chris Halverson

Here we are, close enough to Easter, or at least close enough to Holy Week, that we can see, in the distance, the resurrection Dawn… and we are deep enough into Lent, that we can see the story of this season in full.
Covenant after covenant has come before us, so that the one promised by Jeremiah, the one placed within us and written on our hearts,
this covenant is a relief to us.
We know of the condemnation that is to come, we’ve heard of Christ’s upcoming death, we’ve been commanded to bear his cross, we’ve been driven out into the wilderness with him these 40 days… so Christ’s promise to draw us to him… Christ’s promise, more literally, to drag us to himself, comes as a great comfort.
Drawn to our Lord, who is the life giving Seed,
promise placed in our hearts, so that we may know the LORD
The graciousness of this strikes us dumb
—or if we can speak, the best we can come up with is the pleading, yet wonderful, words of the Greeks in today’s Gospel, “We want to see Jesus.”… I want to see Jesus.

I want to see Jesus
I want to see Jesus, but
But I look in the mirror.
I look and see, that I am not right.
I look at those heavy stones, etched 10 times.
I look at the commands of God, and know I do not measure up… I know I’ve committed so many acts of idolatry, in so many ways
—I seek cover in those things, which are convenient, to be saved by them, instead of being covered by the Covenant God made with me.
I look to my neighbors, and do not love them
—I injure them in many ways, by things I do and by things I don’t do. Even moral neutrality is active rebellion.
I want to see Jesus but I am a sinner from way back
—every covenant, every agreement with God glints with my guilt
Paradise Garden, gutted
All of God’s promises to Abraham, undermined at every turn
Freedom from slavery in Egypt, “let’s make a U-turn back to bondage.”
God provides at every turn, let’s complain about it.
Time and time again, I want to see Jesus, but
But I am separated from God by my own sin.

I want to see Jesus
I want to see Jesus, but
But this sinful world keeps me away.
Measures me as not only failing, but by my very nature not welcome
I’m a Samaritan
—as close as a shadow to being God’s people
—yet as unwanted as a pagan priestess, or any other pest.
I’m Cain, Esau, Ishmael, Hagar, Edom… Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman… Pagan, Jewish, Heretic, Muslim, Catholic… Indian, Slave, Woman, Immigrant… Gay, Illegal, Single, Addict, Disabled, Elderly, Convict…
I want to see Jesus—but I’m outside the gate, I’m one step too far, I’m not allowed at the feet of the Lord.

I want to see Jesus
I want to see Jesus, but I’m immoral, and I’m unwelcome.

I want to see Jesus
I want to see Jesus, because
Because all those laws which convict me,
all those times I’ve harmed other people instead of helping them,
all those idols I’ve made…
all those covenants…
all those promises I’ve made…
all those promises I’ve broken,
all those contracts I’ve cut with God and then cut up in the wrongness of my soul…
They have been picked up,
put together,
made whole,
put into me.
Yes, I broke it all, yet God refuses to be through with me. God makes my soul right,
writes a new contract signed by him alone,
promises me promises that are true,
takes those laws meant to convict and makes them into teachings that are inside of me.
I want to see Jesus, because the LORD has forgiven our iniquity and remembers our Sin no more!

I want to see Jesus
I want to see Jesus, because
Because he draws me in.
I want to see Jesus, because he drags me to himself.
He, this seed once sown, who grows into many
His roots grow deep, and destroy the fence that keeps me out
His many arms and branches billow out and blow by any barrier.
His goodness brings me in,
his leaves are for the healing of all the nations
—for all of us,
healing us all
—healing Cain and Egypt,
salve for Pagan and Slave,
food for Immigrant and Addict.
I want to see Jesus, because as he is lifted up the very gravity of the universe is changed
—we are pulled to that pole and brought in from the cold.
The gatekeepers flee,
the rulers of this world are driven out,
for they drove out the true ruler, they kicked to the curb the Christ.
And with that we see everything in a new light
—we, like plants ourselves, are drawn to that light, birthed again in him.

I want to see Jesus, because he upholds both halves of the bargain, for I cannot.
I want to see Jesus, because his calling upon my life is irresistible.
The fruitful life he bears will feed us forever.

Eat of this feast of bread and wine
—the grain of God, the fruit of salvation, poured out for us.
Ingested, put within us.
Drawing us in, toward our Lord and our God.

HYMN of the DAY           “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling”           red book # 608






OFFERTORY ANTHEM              “Remember”



COMMUNION SONGS           “Lamb of God”
“The Old Rugged Cross”
Also, red book # 337, red book # 338




SENDING SONG           “God Loved the World”           red book # 323