Saturday, March 31, 2018

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Prayer in Preparation  God of passionate and vulnerable love, whose body, broken on the cross, rebukes us still:  Save us, hold us, and forgive us, so that you, both victim and victor, might lead us from death to life; through Christ our Savior.  Amen.

Call to Worship (Isaiah 53:4)
Surely he has borne our griefs
            and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken
            smitten by God, and afflicted.

Unison Prayer
Almighty God, look with mercy on your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and to be given over to the hands of sinners and to suffer death on the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession
God the Merciful, we come to you having missed your way.  We confess our abiding concern for our own interests and our thoughtlessness of others.  We confess our self defeating anxieties and fears.  Where we have clung to old errors and distrusted your truth, where we have put our faith in power and security, grant us a portion of your love for humanity and for the world you have made.  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, grant us the strength to begin again.  This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 15-16

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday

Call to Worship
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
            have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
            have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
            have mercy on me, a sinner.

John 19:16-42New International Version (NIV)

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth,the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”[a]
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crossesduring the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled:“Not one of his bones will be broken,”[c] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[d]

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[e] 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 13-14

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Maundy Thursday

Click here for Pastor Dave's Third Wednesday presentation on "Jesus's Last Week"  Maundy Thursday worship will be at 7 PM.

Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 11-12

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Psalm 5

Morning Psalm 5
1   Give ear to my words, O LORD;
          give heed to my sighing.
2   Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God,
          for to you I pray.
3   O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
          in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

4   For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
          evil will not sojourn with you.
5   The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
          you hate all evildoers.
6   You destroy those who speak lies;
          the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.

7   But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
          will enter your house,
     I will bow down toward your holy temple
          in awe of you.
8   Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
          because of my enemies;
          make your way straight before me.

9   For there is no truth in their mouths;
          their hearts are destruction;
     their throats are open graves;
          they flatter with their tongues.
10  Make them bear their guilt, O God;
          let them fall by their own counsels;
     because of their many transgressions cast them out,
          for they have rebelled against you.

11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; 
          let them ever sing for joy. 
     Spread your protection over them, 
          so that those who love your name may exult in you. 
12  For you bless the righteous, O LORD; 
          you cover them with favor as with a shield.

Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 9-10

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Death

Luke 23: 44-46
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

If I did a pop-up poll right now and asked for a show of hands from those who have ever questioned their faith, probably more than a few hands would be raised. Maybe some of us are questioning it even now; maybe you’re here this evening seeking a faith that has been lost, or one that has not yet been discovered.

From our earliest Sunday School days, we are taught to believe that it is our faith in God that lights our path during our darkest times. But what does that mean for those of us who continue to grope our way through the darkness, searching for that light that others seem to find so easily?

In July, I sat there in the front pew, celebrating the life of my strong, funny, dear, sweet husband of nearly 17 years, my cohort, my partner in crime, my partner in just about EVERYTHING, the father of my three beautiful kids—who died quite suddenly at the age of 41. While most of us have been touched by death in some form, a select few of us have been slapped in the face by it.

In the months that followed, a darkness descended over my life. The sun stopped shining, and my heart was torn in two. 

I lived, I breathed, I functioned. I got out of bed each morning. I fed my children breakfast, I drove them to school, I did my job, I picked them up, brought them home, fed them dinner, helped them with their homework, tucked them into bed and got up the next day and did it all over again.

In the midst of this dark existence, I wondered if people looked at me and thought, “It must be her faith in God that is carrying her through.”
It was not. 

Because there were many days when there was little faith, if any at all. 

It was a time when I needed to believe that God was in control of my life. 

It was a time when I needed to believe that when we pass from this Earth, we really do go to something greater and more beautiful than what we hold so dear right here. 

But at a time when I most needed FAITH—I found myself completely and utterly lacking.

I would have welcomed anger toward God with open arms; to have been able to blame him, or even just to have been able to question his judgement, would have meant a prevailing belief that he was there. That he was present. But instead, there was nothing but quiet. Emptiness. And the stifling darkness.
(Prayer) Heavenly Father, tonight as we prepare our hearts for the crucifixion, we reflect on the darkness that passed over our world. We thank you, O God, for the peace that comes with knowing that because of Christ’s sacrifice, even when we feel nothing but the oppressive darkness, your light awaits. Amen.

From Maundy Thursday Service 2017 K. Deters

St. Mark Presbyterian has a Grief Share program that meets on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30.  For more information, click here.

Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 7-8

Monday, March 26, 2018

Marion Medical Missions: Children

Kimberly Richey of Marion Medical Missions shares some memories of her visits to Africa. Remember we will be having a special collection of money you have set aside from your Lenten sacrifices for this mission.
 I got to hold beautiful newborn twins, only a week old.  The entire village proudly showed us the babies. One of the grandmothers said, "Thank you - now we don't have to wonder which of our babies will grow up." It's impossible to imagine a world where parents don't expect to raise their children to adulthood -- your donations are helping to change the future!

I saw a young girl drinking  water so cloudy that you could barely see the gravel at the bottom of the container. Her brother had somehow gotten a koolaid packet, so seconds after my photo was taken, he walked past with bright red, but still filthy water in his bottle! It might have made the taste more tolerable, but it was still disgusting...but no more!   Now, he and his sister have plenty of cool, clean water to keep them healthy. 

Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 5-6

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Worship Prayers for March18

CENTERING PRAYER:  Loving God, you offer the gift of new life each day.  Open my heart to receive this grace that I may be wholly yours, then give me the courage to share this gift wherever I go as I seek to walk in your way of mercy, forgiveness, and newness of life.  Amen.

Jesus said, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.”
Blessed be the God of our salvation who bears our burdens and forgives our sins.
Come! Let us worship our God together!

Redeeming God, we confess we have not loved you with our whole heart, and we have not loved our neighbors as we ought; we have strayed from your commandments.  Do not remember our sins, but forgive our iniquities, that we may fix our eyes on you and sin no more. We pray this in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  (Silent Confession)

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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.
[Prayer requests may be given to one of the pastors before the service.]

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – Heidelberg Catechism Question One:
   Q.    What is your only comfort in life and in death?
   A.    That I am not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my     faithful         Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.  He also watches over me in such a way that not a         hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.  Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit,    assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to   live for him.

SCRIPTURE READING     John 12:20-33

For the sermon "Laying Down and Lifting Up" click here.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Daily Prayer March 24


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever. Because I live, you also will live.

Exodus 10:21-11:8; 2 Corinthians 4:13-18; Mark 10:46-52

O God of grace, you have given us new and living hope in Jesus Christ. We thank you that by dying Christ destroyed the power of death, and by rising from the grave opened the way to eternal life. Help us to know that because he lives, we shall live also; and that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come shall be able to separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. By your power, great God, our Lord Jesus healed the sick and gave new hope to the hopeless. Though we cannot command or possess your power, we pray for those who want to be healed. Mend their wounds, soothe fevered brows, and make broken people whole again. Help us to welcome every healing as a sign that, though death is against us, you are for us, and have promised renewed and risen life in Jesus Christ the Lord. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)
Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 3-4

Friday, March 23, 2018

Feasting on the Word: Hosanna to Crucify Him

We are going to have a combined Sunday school class on March 25th to discuss water issues around the world and ways we can respond to make sure all God's children have access to clean living water. The Marion Medical Mission is accepting applications for their trip to Africa in September/October.

Mark 11:1-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10     Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Mark 15:1-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus before Pilate

15 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do[a] with the man you call[b]the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters[c]); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18 And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus[d] to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.[e] 29 Those who passed by derided[f] him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah,[g] the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

The Death of Jesus

33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land[h] until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[i]35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he[j] breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”[k]


  1. Mark 15:12 Other ancient authorities read what should I do
  2. Mark 15:12 Other ancient authorities lack the man you call
  3. Mark 15:16 Gk the praetorium
  4. Mark 15:22 Gk him
  5. Mark 15:27 Other ancient authorities add verse 28, And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “And he was counted among the lawless.”
  6. Mark 15:29 Or blasphemed
  7. Mark 15:32 Or the Christ
  8. Mark 15:33 Or earth
  9. Mark 15:34 Other ancient authorities read made me a reproach
  10. Mark 15:39 Other ancient authorities add cried out and
  11. Mark 15:39 Or a son of God
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Read the Gospels in 40 Days: Mark 1-2