Our 2021 Lenten Services Theme:

 “Our Spiritual Vision Problems….and How They Can Be Corrected”


God’s Remedy for Spiritual Far-Sightedness

            Astigmatism…..Far-Sightedness….Near-Sightedness….Macular Degeneration….. Glaucoma…..and Cataracts.  What the preceding have in common is that they are vision disorders – disorders that more than one among us (or someone we know) struggles with.    This Lenten season 2021, they also have something else in common:  These physical vision impairments and afflictions will serve us as illustrations that remind us of certain Spiritual maladies and deficiencies that each of us – sadly – posses due to our inherent and active sinfulness.   As God’s redeemed children, we want to be rid of them, since we do not enjoy struggling with them in connection with our lives of faith and faithfulness.

            Our Ash Wednesday service saw us examining the affliction of Spiritual Astigmatism.  While physical astigmatism occurs when the curvature of a person’s eye is not right, hindering that individual from seeing as clearly as he/she should, spiritual astigmatism is worse.   The sinner (you and me) by nature looks at his/her life (and God’s Word and Will) from a Spiritually  impaired perspective.   Our will, wishes and “needs” too often get in the way of the Lord’s expectations for us. 

            Tonight, we’re going to consider the “Pros and Cons” of being Spiritually Far-Sighted.  On the one hand being Spiritually far-sighted has us looking forward to the eternal life in heaven that is ours through faith in Christ.   But that can also be problematic if we rely on faith almost exclusively for heaven, and so don’t use our faith-relationship with Christ as thoroughly as we could for the here-and-now that we might grow Spiritually today in grace and godliness.  Being far-sighted can also present a problem for us Spiritually if we critically focus too much on the sins and shortcomings and, in so doing, we fail to see our own sins and the need for us to repent of them and cling more closely to Christ, our Savior.

            And so, whether it’s regarding for our Spiritual astigmatism, or tonight’s malady – our Spiritual far-sightedness – you and I can benefit significantly from a thorough Spiritual vision examination built around on God’s Word.  More than that, let’s want to repent of our Spiritual vision deficiencies and tendencies and instead rely on the “corrective lenses” of God’s grace in Christ and His Word.   God-enabling we will endeavor to do that this evening, as the Holy Spirit enables us, speaking to us through His powerful and productive Word.





The Pre-Service Prayer     In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen                                

I thank You, Heavenly Father,   through Jesus Christ,   Your dear Son,  that You

have graciously kept me throughout this day.   Forgive me all my sins    wherever I have done wrong,   and graciously keep me this night.    I commend my body and soul and all things  into Your gracious hands.     Let Your holy angel be with me,   that the wicked Foe may have no power over me.     Amen.




Silent Prayer                                                                                                                                                       

Pre-service Music

We Approach The Lord With Praise And Prayer


The Service Introduction and Invitation to Worship


at the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


The Opening Psalm:   Psalm 32


P:         Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

C:         Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, +    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

P:         For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

C:         For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; +   my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.


P:         I acknowledged my sin to You,  and I did not cover my iniquity;

C:         I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” +   and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.


P:         Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to You at a time when You may be found;  surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.

C:         You are a hiding place for me;    + You preserve me from trouble;   +   You surround me with shouts of deliverance.


P:         I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;   I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

C:         Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,   +   which must be curbed with bit and bridle,   +    or it will not stay near you.


P:         Many are the sorrows of the wicked,  but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

C:         Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,   +    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


After which the Congregation may be seated for



The Opening Hymn                                                        Hymn 111  “Sweet The Moments Rich In Blessing”


1 Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,  Which before the cross we spend,

Life and health and peace possessing  From the sinner’s dying friend.


2 Here we rest in wonder, viewing  All our sins on Jesus laid;

Here we see redemption flowing  From the sacrifice he made.


3 Here we find the dawn of heaven  While upon the cross we gaze,

See our trespasses forgiven,  And our songs of triumph raise.


4 Oh, that, near the cross abiding,  We may to the Savior cleave,

Naught with him our hearts dividing,   All for him content to leave!


5 Lord, in loving contemplation Fix our hearts and eyes on you

Till we taste your full salvation And your unveiled glory view.

After which the Congregation will rise for


The Order of Vespers/Evening Worship


Pastor              “O Lord, open my lips.”


                                                Congregation              (Sung)   And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise



Pastor              “Hasten, O God, to deliver me.”


                                                Congregation              (Sung)   Hasten to help me, O Lord.


            Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

            As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.

            World without end.   Amen.



We Confess our Sins Before the Lord


Congregation –            “Holy and most merciful Father,  +   I confess that I am by nature sinful, +    and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions; +     Each day I turn away from Your Will.

 +   I have left undone those things which You have asked me to do,   +   and I have done those things which You tell me not to do.  +    I do not love You or my neighbor the way I should.    +     Because of these, and all of my other sins,   +   too numerous for me to recall,    +   I acknowledge that I deserve nothing less than Your punishment    +    both now and for eternity.    +   But I am truly sorry for the evil that I have thought, spoken, and done,   +    and trusting in the perfect life, +   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray:   +   Lord, forgive me all my sins,     + restore to me the joy of Your salvation,   +   and strengthen my weak faith through the promises of Your divine Word   +    that I may obtain Your promised grace.


Pastor –            “Find comfort for your souls, then, in these words of our Lord:   “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will purify us from all unrighteousness, because we have One Who speaks

to the Father in our  defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.   We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”   And now, upon this, your voluntary confession,  I, because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word,  announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place of, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   May the peace of God be with you.  Amen.”



We Meditate On God’s Word


The Scripture Reading:        

The account of Jesus’ Passion as it is recorded for us through a

harmony of the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John.


Tonight’s Reading:  Jesus In Gethsemane


While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, “Amen I tell you: One of you will betray me, one who is

eating with me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I, Lord?” He said to them, “It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping bread with me in the dish. Indeed, the Son of Man is going to go just as it has been written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” After saying this, Jesus was troubled in his spirit and testified, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: One of you will betray me.”

            The disciples were looking at each other, uncertain which of them he meant. One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. Simon Peter motioned to him to find out which one Jesus was talking about. So leaning back against Jesus’ side, he asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus replied, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread, after I have dipped it in the dish.” Then he dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.  So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do more quickly.” None of those reclining at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. Because Judas kept the money box, some thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the Festival,” or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

            After Judas left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.” While they were eating, on the night when he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples. He said, “Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the new testament, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

            “Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.  “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!” Jesus replied, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Simon, Simon, pay attention: Satan has asked to have you all, so that he may sift you as wheat. But I prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers.” Peter answered him, “Even if all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Amen I tell you: Tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” And all the disciples said the same.  

            He said to them, “When I sent you out without money bag, traveler’s bag, and sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they said.   Then he told them, “But now, let the one who has a money bag take it, and likewise a traveler’s bag. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘He was counted with transgressors.’  Indeed, what is written about me is going to have its fulfillment.”   They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” He said to them, “That is enough.”

            Then Jesus said to them, “This night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after  I have been raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”   After they sang a hymn, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, to the Mount of Olives, where there was a garden called Gethsemane. He and his disciples went into it.

            Now Judas, who was betraying him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.  When he reached the place, Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray. Keep praying that you may not enter into temptation.” Then he took Peter, James, and John along with him and began to be troubled and distressed. He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow, even to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” When he rose from prayer, he went to the disciples and found them sleeping as a result of sorrow. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Were you not strong enough to keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass from me unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Again he returned and found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what they should  answer him.  He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time. He said the same words as before.

            An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. As he was in agony, he prayed more fervently. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise. Let us go. Look, my betrayer is near!”

The Sermon Hymn:                          Hymn 306  “Before You God, the Judge of All”


1 Before you, God, the Judge of all, With grief and shame I humbly fall.

I see my sins against you, Lord, My sins of thought and deed and word.

They press me sore; to you I flee: O God, be merciful to me!


2 O Lord, my God, to you I pray: Oh, cast me not in wrath away!

Let your good Spirit ne’er depart, But let him draw to you my heart

That truly penitent I be: O God, be merciful to me!


3 O Jesus, let your precious blood Be to my soul a cleansing flood.

Turn not, O Lord, your guest away, But grant that justified I may

Go to my house at peace to be: O God, be merciful to me!



The Evening’s Meditation                                                                                                                                               based John 8:1-11


But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning, he came back into the temple courts. And all

the people kept coming to him. He sat down and taught them.

            3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and had her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 They asked this to test him, so that they might have evidence to accuse him.

            Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. 7 But when they kept on asking him for an answer, he stood up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote on the ground.

            9 When they heard this, they went away one by one, beginning with the older men. Jesus was left alone with the woman in the center. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”    11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.   Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”


“The Pros and Cons of Spiritual Far-Sightedness”


The Post Sermon Blessing


And now may the peace which surpasses all understanding

guard your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus.   Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts And Prayers To The Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord  


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today during today’s worship  service those in attendance may leave their offerings in the plates  by the exit door at the close of our service today.

For those watching today’s service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to the church address

(415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also visit our website (www.gracelutherannwa.com) and use the giving option there.

At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

Any Special Prayers

Included in our prayers are prayers of intercession for:

For Mary Fisher (wife of Pastor Wayne Fisher)…in a Springfield ICU due to a brain aneurysm;


The Prayer for this Evening


The Lord’s Prayer      


Our Father, Who art in heaven,    hallowed be Thy name,  Thy kingdom come,    Thy will be done    on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread,    And forgive us our trespasses     as we forgive those who trespass against us.     And lead us not into temptation,     but deliver us from evil;     for Thine is the kingdom,   and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.   Amen.



We Conclude Tonight’s Worship Service


The Benediction


P:         May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.   Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                       Hymn 588 “Abide With Me, Fast Falls The Eventide”


1 Abide with me; fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!


2 Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away.

Change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me!


3 Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,  But kind and good, with healing in thy wings,

Tears for all woes, a heart for ev’ry plea; Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.


4 Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,  And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,

Thou hast not left me oft as I left thee. On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.


7 Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; 

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!


Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-Service Music                                                                                  



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,  

The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission