Midweek Lenten Service

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March 20, 2024

Worship Theme

Welcome to today’s service. This year’s theme for Lent is, “God on Trial”. Tonight we worship under the theme: “Sympathy”.

Thank you to Pastor John Borgwardt from Living Word in Waukesha for leading us in worship. We pray the Lord will richly bless our hour of worship.


Pastor Borgwardt’s Welcome

Service of Light

Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world;
the light no darkness can overcome.

Stay with us now, for it is evening,
and the day is almost over.

Let your light scatter the darkness,
and shine within your people here.

Evening Thanksgiving

May God be with you all,
and also with you.

Let us sing our thanks to God;
it is right to give him thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, Creator of the universe –
from old you have led your people by night and day.
May the light of your Christ make our darkness bright,
for your Word and your presence are the light of our pathways,
and you are the light and life of all creation.
Amen.

Reflections – By His Wounds

Confession of Sins

In the name of our God, to whom all hearts are open and from whom no secrets are hidden.
Amen.

I confess that I am by nature sinful.
I am guilty of many sins.
I am distressed by the sins that trouble me.
For all this I am sorry. I pray for forgiveness.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.

Jesus says to his people, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven.” His death paid for the guilt of your sins and the sins of the whole world. Do you believe this?
Yes, I believe.

By the authority of Christ, I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Psalm 138

    I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
    I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name

    for your love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

    When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
    May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
    when they hear the words of your mouth.

    May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
    for the glory of the LORD is great.

    Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
    but the proud he knows from afar.

    Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;

    you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
    with your right hand you save me.

    The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your love, O LORD, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.

Prayer

Lord, we bow down to you in thankful praise. You have made your ways known to both lowly and great on the earth. You have not abandoned the work of your hands, but instead you have redeemed us through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen.

Passion Reading

Calvary

M: Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus. He was passing by on his way in from the country. They seized him, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

A large number of people followed Jesus, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, 
C: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then ‘they will say to the mountains: “Fall on us!” and to the hills: “Cover us!” “For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

M: Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called Golgotha, they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. It was the third hour when they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left, and Jesus in the middle. Thus the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 
C: “He was counted with the lawless ones.” Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

M: Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened above his head on the cross. The written charge against him read, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. The sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, 
Women: “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 

Men: Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

M: When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them. They cast lots to see what each would get. The undergarment remained. It was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 
C: “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

M: This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among themselves and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.

The people too stood watching. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, 
C: “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

M:  Even the rulers sneered at him. In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves.
C: “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself. Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “

M: In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him heaped insults on him. The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, 
C: “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” 

M: One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 
Men: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 

M: But the other criminal rebuked him.
Women: “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 

M: Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, 
C: “Here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” 

M: From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “EIoi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

When some of those standing there heard this, they said,
C: “He’s calling Elijah.”

M: Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, 
C: “I am thirsty.”

M: A jar of wine vinegar was there. Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. But the rest said,
C: “Leave him alone now. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him and take him down.”

M: When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 
All: “It is finished.”

M: Then he cried out again with a loud voice,
C: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

M: When he said this, he bowed his head and gave up his life. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified. The centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, said, 
All: “Surely he was the Son of God!”

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Into your hands I commend my spirit. 
Into your hands I commend my spirit. 

You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Into your hands I commend my spirit. 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. 
Into your hands I commend my spirit.

A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth – CW 422

1 A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
    our guilt and evil bearing
and, laden with the sins of earth,
    none else the burden sharing,
goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
to slaughter led without complaint,
    that spotless life to offer;
bears shame and stripes and wounds and death,
anguish and mockery and saith,
    “Willing all this I suffer.”

2 This Lamb is Christ, the soul’s great friend,
    the Lamb of God, our Savior;
him God the Father chose to send
    to gain for us his favor.
“Go forth, my Son,” the Father said,
“and free my children from their dread
    of guilt and condemnation.
The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
but by your passion they will share
    the fruit of your salvation.”

3 “Yes, Father, yes, most willingly
    I’ll bear what you command me.
My will conforms to your decree;
    I’ll do what you have asked me.”
O wondrous Love, what have you done!
The Father offers up his Son,
    desiring our salvation.
O Love, how strong you are to save!
You make his bed within the grave
    who built the earth’s foundation.

4 From morn till eve, in all I do,
    I’ll praise you, Christ, my treasure.
To sacrifice myself for you
    shall be my aim and pleasure.
My stream of life shall ever be
a current flowing ceaselessly,
    your constant praise outpouring.
I’ll treasure in my memory,
O Lord, all you have done for me,
    your gracious love adoring.

Sermon

Sympathy

Reading – Luke 23:26-34

  As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

    “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
      and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’

  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
  Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

God Was There on Calvary – CW 433

1 God was there on Calvary,
God the Father’s only Son,
dying that the world might live,
    there on Calvary.

2 All the world on Calvary
crucified the Prince of life,
pierced the hands of God’s own Son,
    there on Calvary.

3 Sin was there on Calvary,
all the sins of ev’ryone,
laid upon God’s sinless Lamb
    there on Calvary.

4 Love was there on Calvary,
streaming from the heart of God,
reaching out for ev’ryone
    there on Calvary.

5 Life was there on Calvary,
flowing from his wounded side,
spent that death itself might die
    there on Calvary.

6 We were there on Calvary;
we were pardoned, saved, set free,
saved to live eternally –
    blessèd Calvary!

Offering

Responsive Prayer

O God our Father, by your mercy and might the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light.
We place into your hands our unfinished tasks, our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes, knowing that only what you bless will prosper.

To your great love and protection we commit each other and all those we love, knowing that you alone are our sure defender; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done
        on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those
    who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
    and the glory are yours
    now and forever. Amen.

Final Blessing

Let us praise the Lord:
thanks be to God.

May God the Father bless us and keep us,
  may Christ be ever light for our lives,
    may the Spirit of Love be our guide and path,
for all of our days.
Amen.

Not All the Blood of Beasts – CW 398

1 Not all the blood of beasts
    on Israel’s altars slain
could give the guilty conscience peace
    or wash away the stain.

2 But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
    takes all our sins away,
a sacrifice of nobler name
    and richer blood than they.

3 In faith I place my hand
    on that dear head divine,
as penitently here I stand
    and lay on him my sin.

4 My soul looks back to see
    the burden you did bear
when hanging on the cursèd tree;
    I know my guilt was there!

5 Believing, we rejoice
    to see the curse remove;
we bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
    and sing his bleeding love.

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