Saturday, January 23, 2016

Alternative Worship Service: January 24, 2016

Due to the extraordinary amount of snow, we will not be having our traditional church service this Sunday, January 24.  We pray that you are home, safe and warm.

However, we didn't want to miss an opportunity to worship our Creator God - the maker of all seasons.  So, grab a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and prepare to worship in this "nontraditional" way, knowing that your praise is music to God's ears.

Opening Hymn - Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
 (If you click on the title, it will open a window where you can hear the hymn and read the lyrics as it plays - feel free to sing along).

Pastoral Prayer
Since we are not together to pray this morning, please join me in a bidding prayer.  Read along in prayer, and then insert the names and things on your heart where guided.

Never-changing God,
Though your flock in not together in body, we are gathered in spirit in praise to you.
This morning, we are reminded of the power that is not ours to wield.  We are made to rest, and to take note of the awesomeness of your creation. 

Lord, we are grateful for this time to reflect on all that you are, and on how dependent we are on you.  Thank you for the warmth of our homes, for the provision of food, for the love of those near us.  We are grateful for the men and women who are even now out in the storm taking care of our needs:  the police and firemen, the utilities workers, the doctors and nurses, and the plow drivers.  Lord, bless them.

We lift up the following names in gratitude to you:

Lord, we are concerned for those who are ill or alone during this time of storm.  Bring comfort and healing to those in need, and bring someone along side who can help them dig out.  Make us mindful of those we may be able to help. 

We lift up the following names of those who need your healing touch:

Lord, bringer of peace - in times of rest, our brains often remain busy.  We worry.  What will the storm bring?  What will tomorrow bring?  Are we prepared?  These worries may reflect cares far beyond the current weather.  Help us to turn our worries over to you.  Strengthen our faith to know that you are working.  Give us courage to let go of our need to control, and to let your abundant plan for our lives play out. 

We lift up the following cares and concerns - knowing you are in the midst of them:

Thank you for this day and for your unending presence with us. 
In gratitude and praise,

Scripture Reading:   2 Kings 2:1-13
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Elijah Ascends to Heaven
Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10 He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 

Sermon  "Change is Hard"

(If you click on the sermon title, you will get to see and hear a sermon I wrote last March.  I was asked to provide pulpit supply for a church that was in the midst of another change - and I was also in the midst of my own change - having not yet been called to serve your church.  I prepared this sermon in advance for one of my preaching classes, so you'll see that I share the "context" for this sermon prior to starting.  May you be blessed by what you hear).

Closing Praise MusicPraise You in this Storm

(Click on the song title to be taken to a video with lyrics)

Thank you Lord, for making a way to intentionally spend time in worship and praise.  As we continue about our day, may your name be on our lips and your ways be our ways. 


  1. Excellent, timely words for us to hear and be able to participate with! Thanks for your leadership and thoughtfulness in choosing this scripture, these words, and the music to go with them!! I particularly like Casting Crowns and for me that was most appropriate!

  2. It's good to spend time with the Lord, whether during an online worship or outdoors enjoying the sun and the beauty of the fallen snow. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Angela.