The Third Sunday in Lent

Occuli (“Eyes”) Sunday   March 03, 2024

To Repent, Or Not To Repent?

That Is the Question….

            The day began like any other. Mattathias got up early in the morning, ate breakfast and dressed in his priestly garb. He set out for the temple to help with the morning sacrifice. Along the way, he met another priest who asked him if he heard about the insurrection which started in Galilee. “Yea, there were some of these Galileans who were like, ‘we don’t want this lousy Roman government any more.  We’re God’s people!  We deserve better!’” Mattathias knew the story of insurrection well. His parents had named him after the famous Maccabean ruler who had led the rebellion almost two centuries ago against the Selucid empire.  Apparently, the Jewish idea of freedom hadn’t died with them.   Mattathias wasn’t against the idea of freedom, he just knew the people of God would be free again only when God said the time was right, not when some rebels did.

            Mattathias arrived at the temple and went about his daily routine. But just as they were offering the morning sacrifice, the sound of hurried footsteps echoed through the temple grounds. Six men, raced around the corner and into the temple;   close on their heels was a detachment of Roman soldiers. “Not in the temple!” Mattathias moaned, and yet that was precisely what happened.  As the fleeing men reached out for the horns of the altar,  the Roman soldiers pulled them away one by one.   They resisted.    Blood was shed…not Roman blood, but Jewish blood.   And then – just as suddenly as it had begun – it was all over.  Another insurrection was squashed, as were the lives of the six Galileans who were some of its instigators.

            The account you just read is apocryphal.   But the events in the opening part of today’s Sermon Text could have happened very much like the above.   The real story, as Jesus related it (and as Luke records it) doesn’t give us all the information curious minds would like to have.   But whatever the details were, this story was a very familiar one on the street corners and in the living rooms of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day.   A group of Galileans (and Galileans were well known for their anti-Roman views) had suffered a terrible fate at the hands of the Romans….and  in the temple of all places – the dwelling place of God with His people!   No doubt there were critical murmurings in Jesus’ day not only against the bloody Roman government and governor, but perhaps also in connection with those Galileans so horrifically slaughtered inside the temple.   Was it possible that they deserved such an awful death?   Had they sinned in some terrible way that required God to punish them in such a horrible manner – a way that made them ceremonially/ religiously unclean as they passed from their earthly lives to the next life?   Was it even possible that God consigned them to hell because of their sins….whatever those sins were?

            …..Those speculations are not unlike some of the questions that people today pose about God when something terrible happens, whether a natural disaster, personal crisis, or some manmade tragedy. “Why would God allow this?” folks wonder.   Or perhaps others suspect that the victims must have done something bad to deserve what happened to them…..that God was punishing them for their transgressions.    Perhaps you’ve even wondered – in a moment of spiritual weakness – whether or not God was punishing you for some sin because you just lost your job, or because your spouse suddenly left you for someone else, or because you came down with some terrible physical affliction, or something else bad happened to you…..

            Questions like that are why we need to look to God’s Word (not our thoughts, or feelings, or the opinions of others) for our answers.   For example, in today’s Sermon Text, Jesus did not support the popular speculation that God must have been punishing those Galileans for their sins because of the way they died.   Nor did Jesus say anything similar about the people who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them and crushed them.  Jesus turned that popular conversation on its ear.  He said to those people speaking with him that what they should really be concerned about was not figuring out why those tragedies happened to the Galileans or the tower collapse victims, and whether or not God was punishing the victims.   Instead each of them should be concerned about a different question….a matter intensely personal……namely, “Are YOU going to repent of your sins, or not repent of them?”   That was – and remains – the important question for everyone…..including you and me.   And, on the basis of God’s Word, that’s what we’re going to consider today.

Today’s Scripture Lessons

            We’ll see the grace of God in action today to people who are penitent (even if they aren’t repentant initially) through our Old Testament Lesson.   Here the Lord speaks to the people of Israel through His prophet Isaiah, regarding their sins, about confession, about genuine repentance, and about His mercy to them.

            The Epistle Lesson before us urges us not to have any “fellowship” with the ways of darkness (sin), but rather to walk in the light (the righteous truths of God).  Furthermore, we are encouraged to acknowledge the many occasions when we have sinned, repent of them, receive from Jesus the assurance that our sins are all forgiven, and produce godly fruits of faith in keeping with that repentance. 

            Of course, when it comes to seeing their own sins, some people just don’t get it.   They can “see” everyone else’s sins with crystal clarity, but they simply won’t admit their own spiritual faults, flaws, and failings.   Simon the Pharisee, in today’s Gospel Lesson was that sort of man.   The “sins” of the sinful woman who crashed his dinner party for Jesus were more than evident to Simon.   He was offended not only by her presence in his home, but by the fact that she approached Jesus AND that the Rabbi from Nazareth welcomed her penitent presence.   Sadly, Simon’s proud, self-righteous attitude kept him from recognizing that he needed to repent of his own sinfulness and that he needed God’s grace every bit as much as the “sinful woman” did.  

            In our Children’s Lesson we’ll talk about what real repentance isn’t (just feeling sorry or bad) compared to what it is (sorrow that we’ve disobeyed  the God who loves us – which will lead to a change in/turning away from our sinful behavior).

The Third Sunday in Lent

            Down through the centuries the Christian Church has used the 40 day period of Lent as a time during which its members can contemplate, in an even more serious than usual fashion, the Spiritual significance of our Savior’s sufferings and death for our redemption.  We are continuing that time-honored practice of Lenten reflection during our Sunday worship services, as well as our midweek Lenten services. 

            However, these “solemn” 40 days of Lent (which began with Ash Wednesday and will continue through “Holy Saturday”) technically don’t include the six Sundays in Lent.   The worship services on Sundays – as is the case for us today –  are used as minor respites from the heavy penitential emphasis of the Lenten season.   While there remains a “penitential” character associated with the Sundays in Lent (as we’ll see in our service), over these Sundays we especially focus on portions of Scripture that encourage our faith due to the victories over sin, death, and Satan, that our Savior secured for us and shares with us

            Incidentally, the Sundays in Lent have been identified for many centuries by Latin names taken from the first words (from the Latin “Vulgate” translation…..which for centuries was the Bible used in worship services throughout the Western Church) of the Psalms traditionally appointed to be read in worship on these Sundays.  This Third Sunday in Lent, then, is known as “Occuli Sunday,” taken from verse 15 of Psalm 25  (“Occuli” means “Eyes” — it’s underlined in today’s responsive reading). 

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 Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831

Pre-Service Prayer – Dear Father in heaven, let me rejoice with my fellow Christians gathered here this morning as we worship You in Your house.   Reassure me of Your love and forgiveness for me as I confess my sins to You today.   Receive my praises and prayers, humble and imperfect though they be.  Renew my faith and improve my Christian living through Your Word.   And then, return me to my appointed calling in this world, invigorated, equipped, and eager to serve You with all that I am and have, until the day when You call me to that heavenly home which You have promised and prepared for me and all believers, through Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.  In His name I pray.  Amen.

Pre-service music

Silent Prayer

We Praise Our God

Greeting and Introduction to Worship

After which, the Congregtion will rise

The Invocation

P:         We make our beginning this morning, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.     Amen.

             The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you

C:   (Sung)        And also with you.


The Psalm for Today                                                                                                  Psalm 25, selected verses

P:         My Eyes are always on the Lord, because He frees my feet from the net. 

C:         Turn toward me and be gracious to me,   +   because I am lonely and afflicted.

P:         The distress of my heart increases.   Bring me out of my anguish.

C:         See my affliction and my trouble,    +   and take away all my sins.

P:         Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your mercy, for they are from eternity. 

C:         Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways.   +   According to Your mercy remember me,   +   because of Your goodness, O LORD.

P:         To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul;   in You I have trusted, O my God.

C:         Do not let me be put to shame.   + For I have taken refuge in You.

After which the Congregation may be seated for

Opening Hymn                                                                           Hymn 226   “To Your Temple I Draw Near”


1 To your temple I draw near;   Lord, I love to worship here.

Here are sacrament and Word;   Here believers meet their Lord.


2 I through Christ am reconciled;   I through Christ become your child.

Abba, Father, give me grace   In your courts to seek your face.


3 While your glorious praise is sung,   Touch my lips, unloose my tongue,

That my joyful soul may bless   Christ the Lord, my righteousness.


4 While the prayers of saints ascend,   God of love, to mine attend.

Hear me, for your Spirit pleads;   Hear, for Jesus intercedes.


5 While I listen to your law,   Fill my soul with holy awe

Till your gospel brings to me   Life and immortality.


6 While your ministers proclaim   Peace and pardon in your name,

Through their voice, by faith, may I   Hear you speaking from the sky.


7 From your house, when I return,   May my heart within me burn,

And at evening let me say,   “I have walked with God today.”



After which the Congregation will rise for


The Confession of Sins


Pastor              God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and  penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.

Congregation               Holy and merciful Father, +   I confess that I am by nature sinful   +   and that I have  disobeyed  You in my thoughts, words, and actions;    +    I have done what is evil in Your

 sight   +   and have failed to do what is good.   +    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment,   +    both now and for eternity.     +     But I am truly sorry for all my sins,     +   and trusting in the perfect life   +   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, +   I plead:    +  God have mercy on me, a sinner.

Pastor               Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save  us from all  our sins.     And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according

 to His command and authority,   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 rest upon all of you.   

Congregation   (Sung) Amen.



Lord Have Mercy


P:         For all that we need in life, and for the wisdom to use all Your gifts with gratitude and joy, hear our prayer,  O Lord.

C:         (sung)              Lord have mercy

P:         For the steadfast assurance that nothing can separate us from Your love and for the courage to stand firm against the assaults of Satan and every evil, hear our prayer, O Christ:

C:         (sung)              Christ have mercy.

P:         For the well-being of Your holy Church in all the world and for those who offer here their worship and praise, hear our prayer, O Lord

C:         (sung)              Lord have mercy.

P:         Merciful God, Maker and Preserver of life, uphold us by Your power, and keep us in Your tender care:

C:         (sung)              Amen.

P:         The works of the Lord are great and glorious;   His name is worthy of praise.

(Sung)      O Lord, our Lord,

How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

Almighty God, merciful Father,

Your crown our life with Your love.

You take away our sin;    You comfort our spirit;

You make us pure and holy in Your sight.

You did not spare Your only Son,

but gave Him up for us all.

O Lord, our Lord,

 How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

O Son of God, eternal Word of the Father,

You came to live with us;

  You made Your Father known;

You washed us from our sins in Your own blood.

You are the King of glory;   You are the Lord!

O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth

The Prayer for this 3rd Sunday in Lent

O Almighty God, Heavenly Father,   +     by Whose grace we have been brought out of spiritual darkness   +    into the light of saving faith,   +     we thank You for choosing us to be Your children now and eternally.   +     We also implore You to be merciful to all who have gone astray from Your ways      both those persons we know who have wandered from You,   +   and the masses who are unknown to us but known to You.   +     Enable them also, with penitent hearts and steadfast faith   +     to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word.     +     And finally, be our defense against all the enemies of our souls,   +    that we might never forfeit Your grace,   +    but ever remain true to You.    +     All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,   +     Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, +     one God, now and forever.   +   Amen.

After which the Congregation may be seated

Feed Us, Lord

The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                      Isaiah 59, selected verses

Listen to me! The Lord’s arm is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear.   2 No, it is your guilt that has separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden God’s face from you, so that He does not hear.   3 Look, your hands are polluted with blood,   and your fingers drip guilt.  Your lips speak lies.   Your tongue mutters dishonesty.

……7 Their feet run to do evil, and they hurry to shed innocent blood.   Their thoughts are futile thoughts.   Destruction and ruin are the destination of their highways.   8 They do not know the road to peace, and there is no justice on the route they follow.  They made crooked paths for themselves.   No one who walks on them will experience peace.   9 Therefore justice is far from us,  and righteousness does not reach us.  We hope for light, but look, there is only darkness.   We hope for bright light, but we walk around in the darkest gloom.   10 We grope along a wall like blind men.  We grope like people with no eyes.   We stumble at noon as if it were twilight.  Among the healthy, we are like dead men.  

…….12 Yes, our rebellious deeds are many before You, and our sins testify against us.    Our rebellious deeds are with us, and as for our guilty deeds, we are aware of them.  13 Those deeds are rebellion and treachery against the Lord.   We turn back from following our God.    We incite oppression and apostasy.   We conceive and mutter deceitful words from our hearts.

…..15 The Lord looked and saw something evil—there was no justice.  16 He saw that there was no one.  He was appalled that there was no one who could intervene. 

So His own arm worked salvation for Him,  and His own  righteousness supported Him.   17 He clothed Himself with righteousness like armor and wore a helmet of salvation on His head.  He dressed in garments for vengeance,  and He wrapped Himself with zeal like a cloak.  18 He will repay in full what they have earned,  namely, wrath to His foes and full payment to His enemies.  He will repay even the distant coastlands.  19 From the west they will fear the Lord’s name, and from the rising of the sun they will fear His glory, for He will come like a raging river,  driven by the Spirit of the Lord.   20 Then a Redeemer will come for Zion and for those in Jacob who turn from rebellion.  This is the declaration of the Lord.

The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                       I John 1:5-2:6

5 This is the message we heard from Him and proclaim to you: God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him but still walk in darkness, we are lying and do not put the truth into practice. 7 But if we walk in the light, just as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His Word is not in us.

2 My children, I write these things to you so that you will not sin. If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate before the Father: Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole world.

3 This is how we know that we have known him: if we keep His commands. 4 The one who says, “I know Him,” but does not keep His commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 If anyone keeps God’s word, the love of God is truly made complete in him. This is how we know that we are in Him: 6 The one who says he remains in Him should walk as Jesus walked.

after which the Congregation will rise for

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                                                       Luke 7:36-50


36 A certain one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him. Jesus entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 Just then a sinful woman from that town learned that He was reclining in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 stood behind Him near His feet weeping, and began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she began to wipe them with her hair while also kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a Prophet, He would realize who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is, because she is a sinner.”   40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”   He said, “Teacher, say it.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”   43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the larger debt forgiven.”   Then He told him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, but you did not give Me water for My feet. Yet she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give Me a kiss, but she, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with perfume. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that is why she loved so much. But the one who is forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

49 Those reclining at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is This Who even forgives sins?”   50 He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

The Nicene Creed                                                                                                                                             


We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  + of all that is, seen and unseen.    +   We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God;   + eternally begotten of the Father;  +  God from God; + Light from Light; +   true God from true God;   + begotten, not made;   + of one being with the Father. + Through Him all things were made. + For us and for our salvation, He came down from heaven,   + was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, + and became fully human.   + For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. + He suffered death and was buried.   + On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. + He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. + He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, + and His kingdom will have no end.    We believe in the Holy Spirit, + the Lord, the Giver of life, + Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, + Who in unity with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, + who has spoken through the prophets. + We believe in one Holy Christian and apostolic Church. +  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.   + We look for the resurrection of the dead   + and the life of the world to come.  Amen.



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                        II Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorry brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorry brings death.

What Do You Mean When You Say To God,             “I’m Sorry” ?



The Sermon Hymn                                                                         Hymn 304  “Jesus, Sinners Does Receive”

                                                                                                                                                 verses 1, 2, 5 , & 7

1 Jesus sinners does receive;   Oh, may all this saying ponder

Who in sin’s delusions live   And from God and heaven wander.

Here is hope for all who grieve–   Jesus sinners does receive.


2 We deserve but grief and shame,   Yet his words, rich grace revealing,

Pardon, peace, and life proclaim;   Here their ills have perfect healing

Who with humble hearts believe–   Jesus sinners does receive.


5 I, a sinner, come to you   With a penitent confession.

Savior, show me mercy, too;   Grant for all my sins remission.

Let these words my soul relieve–   Jesus sinners does receive.


7 Jesus sinners does receive.   Even I have been forgiven.

And when I this earth must leave,   I shall find an open heaven.

Dying, still to him I cleave–   Jesus sinners does receive.

After which the Congregation will rise for


The Greeting

Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!   Amen.


Sermon Text                                                                                                                                    Luke 13:1-9

At that time there were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 He answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered these things? 3 I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you will all perish too. 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse sinners than all the people living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you will all perish too.”

6 He told them this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it, but he did not find any. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘Look, for three years now I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and I have found none. Cut it down. Why even let it use up the soil?’ 8 But the gardener replied to him, ‘Sir, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put fertilizer on it. 9 If it produces fruit next year, fine. But if not, then cut it down.’”


What About Those Galileans?


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for

The Post-Sermon Blessing

May the God of peace, Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, now equip you with everything good for doing His will!   Amen.

We Bring our Offerings and Prayers to the Lord

Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

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

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:



Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

after the offerings are brought forward the Congregation will rise

  • Lord, Receive our Prayers

    Today’s Prayers

    Included in our prayers today is a prayer of intercession

    for Fred Cusanelli, who will undergo back surgery tomorrow;

    We also offer a prayer of thanksgiving on behalf of our brother

    Roger Wilkins, whom God graciously called home

    to heaven this past Friday morning.   And, finally

    we offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Kent and Karen Swogger,

    who celebrated their wedding anniversary yesterday.


    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 Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


    P:         The Lord be with you.

    C:         (sung)  And also with you.


    P:         Lift up your hearts.

    C:         (sung)              We lift them up to the Lord.


    P:         Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

    C:         (sung)              It is right to give Him thanks and praise.



    P:         Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!   In love He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.   He made His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    Now have come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.  To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and thanks and honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen

    (Sung)  Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts. 

    The whole earth is full of Your glory

    You are my God and I will exalt You.

    I will lift You up for You have become my salvation.

    Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts.

    The whole earth is full of Your glory


    The Words of Institution

    P:         “The peace of the Lord be with you always.”

    C:         (sung)    Amen.

    O Christ, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;

    Have mercy on us.

    O Christ, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world,

    Have mercy on us.

    O Christ, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;

    Grant us Your peace.   Amen.


    After which the Congregation may be seated.

    The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper                                                                                               

    The Distribution of the Sacramental Elements





                At Grace Lutheran Church, we practice what is known as “Close Communion.”   That means we are able to offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who have already committed themselves to be members of our fellowship.  In so doing we are endeavoring to express the comprehensive commitment (and unity which we – as a congregation – share with each other) to all the teachings of God’s Word, and to our striving to put them fully and faithfully into practice in our ministry.  

                That “comprehensive commitment” requirement (which our Lord expects of all His children – please see Romans 16:17-18;  2 John 10-11;   I Corinthians 1:10;   I John 4:1-3;   John 8:31-32;   Matthew 28:19-20 …among other portions of Scripture that express this)  allows us only to offer the Lord’s Supper to those persons who are already committed, confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation, or who have become members of one of the congregations of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.   

                To our Guests this morning,  we appreciate your presence among us and celebrate the faith in Christ which we know we share with you.   Please understand that by asking you to refrain from communing with us this morning we are not judging your faith in Christ.   What we are doing is expressing – as a congregation – our unity of faith in Christ, as well as our comprehensive commitment to all the teachings (doctrines) of God’s Word.   Consequently, we ask that you will kindly respect our close communion practice and refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper with us this morning.  

                A brochure further explaining the Biblical basis for this Close Communion practice is available on the entryway tract/brochure rack.    We encourage you to carefully examine it – especially the Biblical references within it –  and also to speak with our Pastor after the service (at your convenience) so that you might better understand and appreciate our Biblically-based “Close Communion” practice.    It is our hope that you – and many others – will one day share with us in the “close” fellowship we enjoy, by your studying God’s Word with us , by committing yourself to membership in our church family and by joining us in this joint, comprehensive commitment to His Biblical teachings that our Lord wants us to have with each other.

                Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and for your presence here among us this morning.

    The Distribution Hymns                                                                                                  Hymn 302   “Lord, to You I Make Confession”


    1 Lord, to you I make confession:   I have sinned and gone astray;

    I have multiplied transgression,   Chosen for myself my way.

    Led by you to see my errors,   Lord, I tremble at your terrors.


    2 Yet, though conscience’ voice appall me,   Father, I will seek your face.

    Though your child I dare not call me,   Yet receive me to your grace.

    Do not for my sins forsake me;   Do not let your wrath o’er take me.


    3 For your Son has suffered for me,   Giv’n himself to rescue me,

    Died to save me and restore me,   Reconciled and set me free.

    Jesus’ cross alone can vanquish   These dark fears and soothe this anguish.


    4 Lord, on you I cast my burden–   Sink it in the depths below!

    Let me know your gracious pardon;   Wash me, make me white as snow.

    Let your Spirit leave me never;   Make me only yours forever.



                                                                                  Hymn 309  “Draw Near And Take The Body Of The Lord”


    1 Draw near and take the body of the Lord,  And drink the holy blood for you outpoured.

    Offered was he for greatest and for least,   Himself the victim and himself the priest.


    2 He that his saints in this world rules and shields   To all believers life eternal yields,

    With heav’nly bread makes them that hunger whole,   Gives living waters to the thirsty soul.


    3 Come forward, then, with faithful hearts sincere,   And take the pledges of salvation here.

    Before your altar, Lord, your servants bow;   In this your feast of love be with us now.



    After the distribution of the Lord’s Supper, the Congregation will rise

    The Thanksgiving


    (Sung)   Thank the Lord and sing His praise.  

    Tell everyone what He has done.

    Let all who seek the Lord rejoice,

    and proudly bear His name.

    He renews His promises and leads His people forth in joy,

    With shouts of thanksgiving, Alleluia!   Alleluia!



    We Leave with the Lord’s Blessing

    The Closing Prayer

    Hear the prayer of Your people, O Lord, that the lips which have praised You here may glorify You in the world, that the eyes which have seen the coming of Your Son may long for His coming again, and that all who have received in his true body and blood the pledge of Your forgiveness may be restored to live a new and holy life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

    C:         (sung)     Amen.



    The Benediction


    Brothers and sisters, go in peace.      Live in harmony with one another.      Serve the Lord in gladness.

    The Lord bless you and keep you 

    The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

    The Lord look upon you with favor, and grant you His peace.   

    C:         (sung)              Amen.   Amen.  Amen.

    The Closing Hymn    Hymn 330   “Now the Hour of Worship O’er”


    1 Now, the hour of worship o’er,   Teaching, hearing, praying, singing,

    Let us gladly God adore,   For his Word our praises bringing;

    For the rich repast he gave us   Praise the Lord, who deigned to save us.


    2 Now the blessing cheers our heart,   By his grace to us extended.

    Let us joyfully depart;   Be our souls to God commended.

    May his Spirit ever guide us   And with all good gifts provide us.


    3 Bless our going out we pray.   Bless our entrance in like measure

    Bless our bread, O Lord, each day.   Bless our toil, our rest, our pleasure.

    Bless us when we reach death’s portal.   Bless us then with life immortal.


    silent prayer


    post-service music