QUESTION OF THE DAY: Reflection & Response

Each Sunday in Lent, worship participants are encouraged to reflect upon a specific question related to the theme for the day. At the end of the service, each worshipper is prompted to write their response on a piece of paper and bring it forward to the altar. In the week that follows, the slips of paper are turned into cocoons and added into the liturgical installation in the Sanctuary. 

We encourage worshippers in the virtual acre to participate by use of this anonymous survey tool. We’ll transpose your typed response onto tangible paper to create a cocoon. 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8S22VZZ

Sunday, March 29 | Lent Five

We strive to be a congregation rooted in the participatory worship of God, where personal relationships are nurtured and all persons are encouraged to creatively and meaningfully express their unique gifts and stories in the worship experience. While our expression of worship looks a little different in this season, we are so glad to be able to participate together via Livestream.

This worship guide is meant to be a companion to the Livestream service. You can join us live at 11am on Sunday morning, or watch the recorded service later, following along with the words to Hymns, etc. in a separate window, or print this guide out if you like!

Worship: Sunday, March 29 | Lent five

CHORAL CALL TO WORSHIP: “Deliver Us” (Peterson)
CALL TO WORSHIP: “Returning to the Soil” (Cherwien)

Every fall, we cut our garden to the ground: perennials, herbs, shrubs, roses.
We cut our garden to the ground, for the winter must come.
The flowers have bloomed and gladdened the days of many.
The herbs have refreshed and healed.   
The roses have given fragrance and color to our home. 
It is not cruelty that we cut our garden to the ground:
it is simply the right time.
And so the stems are cut and returned to the soil, and the stems will become soil and nourish the next generation of flowers, just as the leaves that fall become soil and nourish the next generation of leaves.
When our winter approaches it is not cruelty that we are returned to the soil.
It is simply the right time.  
It is simply the right time.
And our stories, our songs, our lives will nourish the next generation in the great cycle of life that turns about us.


HYMN #281: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”

V. 1: Love, divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven to earth come down,
fix in us Thy humble dwelling; 
all Thy faithful mercies crown. 
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love Thou art;
visit us with Thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

V. 2: Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit,
let us find the promised rest. 
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty. 

V. 3: Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all Thy grace receive;
suddenly return, and never,
never more Thy temples leave.  
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
pray, and praise Thee without ceasing,
glory in Thy perfect love. 

V. 4: Finish, then, Thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee: 
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise.


THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by 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. Amen.


ANTHEM: “The Tree Song” (Medema)

V. 1:  I saw a tree by the riverside one day as I walked along, Straight as an arrow and pointing to the sky  growing tall and strong. “How do you grow so tall and strong?” I said to the riverside tree. This is the song that my tree friend sang to me:

Chorus:  I’ve got roots growing down to the water, I’ve got leaves growing up to the sunshine, and the fruit that I bear is a sign of the life in me.  
I am shade from the hot summer sun-down, I am nest for the birds of the heaven. I’m becoming what the Lord of Trees has meant me to be:  A strong young tree.

V. 2: I saw a tree in the wintertime when snow lay on the ground, Straight as an arrow and pointing to the sky, and winter winds blew all around.  
“How do you stay so tall and strong?” I said to the wintertime tree. This is the song that my tree friend sang to me: [Repeat Chorus]

V. 3: I saw a tree in the city streets where buildings blocked the sun.  Green and lovely I could see it gave joy to ev’ryone: How do you grow in the city streets?” I said to the downtown tree. This is the song that my tree friend sang to me: [Repeat Chorus]


HYMN #272: “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” (ST BRENDAN’S)

V.1:  We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord. We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord. And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

V. 2: We will walk with each other; we will walk hand in hand. We will walk with each other; we will walk hand in hand. And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.
[Repeat Chorus]

V. 3: We will work with each other; we will work side by side. We will work with each other; we will work side by side.  
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride by our love, by our love, Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

V.4: All praise to the Father, from whom all things come. And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son. And all praise to the Spirit, who makes us one.
[Repeat Chorus]


DOXOLOGY

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
praise Him all creatures here below,
praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,
praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Amen.

Rend Your Heart: A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

To receive this blessing,
all you have to do
is let your heart break.
Let it crack open.
Let it fall apart
so that you can see
its secret chambers,
the hidden spaces
where you have hesitated
to go.

Your entire life
is here, inscribed whole
upon your heart’s walls:
every path taken
or left behind,
every face you turned toward
or turned away,
every word spoken in love
or in rage,
every line of your life
you would prefer to leave
in shadow,
every story that shimmers
with treasures known
and those you have yet
to find.

It could take you days
to wander these rooms.
Forty, at least.
And so let this be
a season for wandering,
for trusting the breaking,
for tracing the rupture
that will return you
to the One who waits,
who watches,
who works within
the rending
to make your heart
whole.

—Jan Richardson

Death and Dying Series (Lent 2016)

If you missed our four-week series “On Death and Dying,” our 2016 Wednesday night Adult Lenten Series, here are links to podcasts of all four sessions. We’re grateful for your willingness to delve into this subject, and found that we had very meaningful dialogue around tables when given permission to talk about this most challenging topic. We hope you’ll find the podcasts and the discussion questions helpful for you as you wrestle with what it means for us to be mortal human beings who believe in an infinite God.

Series Overview and Schedule

“Dying is the most general human event, something we all have to do. But do we do it well? Is our death more than an unavoidable fate that we simply wish would not be there? Can it somehow become an act of fulfillment, perhaps more human than any other human act?” (Henri Nouwen). Join us for this special four-week Lenten series in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings after the fellowship dinner. Led by Jeff and Julie Walton and Art Wright, this series will explore practical and theological aspects of what it means for us to prepare for a good death. Please contact Art Wright (wright@tbcrichmond.org) if you have any questions.

Week 1 (Feb 17) – Introduction and Big Questions
Week 2 (Feb 24) – The Dying Process, How to Prepare Well for Death
Week 3 (March 2) – After Death, Funerals
Week 4 (March 9) – Grieving

On Death and Dying: Week 4 (Adult Lenten Series 2016)

This is the fourth and final week of “On Death and Dying,” our 2016 Wednesday night Adult series during Lent. Our session this week is led by Rev. Jeff Walton and includes discussion of the grieving process. We’re making these podcasts available if you are unable to join us on Wednesday nights in the fellowship hall.

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Series Overview and Schedule

“Dying is the most general human event, something we all have to do. But do we do it well? Is our death more than an unavoidable fate that we simply wish would not be there? Can it somehow become an act of fulfillment, perhaps more human than any other human act?” (Henri Nouwen). Join us for this special five-week Lenten series in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings after the fellowship dinner. Led by Jeff and Julie Walton and Art Wright, this series will explore practical and theological aspects of what it means for us to prepare for a good death. Please contact Art Wright (wright@tbcrichmond.org) if you have any questions.

Week 1 (Feb 17) – Introduction, Big Questions
Week 2 (March 2) – The Dying Process, How to Prepare Well for Death
Week 3 (March 9) – After Death, Funerals
Week 4 (March 16) – Grieving

On Death and Dying: Week 3 (Adult Lenten Series 2016)

This is the third week of “On Death and Dying,” our 2016 Wednesday night Adult series during Lent. Our session this week is led by Rev. Julie Walton and includes discussion of the physical process of dying, what happens to one’s body after death, and making decisions about what happens to our bodies after we die. We’re making these podcasts available if you are unable to join us on Wednesday nights in the fellowship hall.

Questions for Discussion this Week:

  • What values or theological underpinnings do you have today in living that you hope show through in your dying and in the next steps after your death?
  • What scares you about death the most? What gives you peace?
  • What do you want done with your body & what services/rituals?
  • What do you hope your legacy is?
  • What do a good death & and good service look like?
  • What questions do you need clarification on in order to prepare well for a good death?
  • What loose ends do you have in your life right now that you hope will be resolved prior to death, and what steps can you take to move in that direction?

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*Clarifying note: Approximately 12 minutes into the podcast, Julie mentions the relationship between brain death and continuing mechanical life-sustaining measures. She refers to the Terri Schiavo case from the early 1990’s, saying that Schiavo was brain dead and was kept on mechanical support for life sustaining measures. Schiavo was actually in what is often called a “persistent vegetative state” (without recourse for any meaningful recovery even with medical treatment) rather than brain dead, which is a clinical definition for death. The important part of the discussion, at this point in the audio, is underlining the importance of making sure our healthcare wishes for our medical treatment are known to family and loved ones. It’s important to share these decisions and make sure our loved ones understand and are able and willing to respect our healthcare instructions. This is also why it is important to have a medical decision maker, on one’s behalf, in the case that one is not able to speak for themselves. This person should be someone who will honor your wishes and respect your healthcare decisions.*

Series Overview and Schedule

“Dying is the most general human event, something we all have to do. But do we do it well? Is our death more than an unavoidable fate that we simply wish would not be there? Can it somehow become an act of fulfillment, perhaps more human than any other human act?” (Henri Nouwen). Join us for this special five-week Lenten series in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings after the fellowship dinner. Led by Jeff and Julie Walton and Art Wright, this series will explore practical and theological aspects of what it means for us to prepare for a good death. Please contact Art Wright (wright@tbcrichmond.org) if you have any questions.

Week 1 (Feb 17) – Introduction, Big Questions
Week 2 (March 2) – The Dying Process, How to Prepare Well for Death
Week 3 (March 9) – After Death, Funerals
Week 4 (March 16) – Grieving

On Death and Dying: Week 2 (Adult Lenten Series 2016)

This is the second week of our five-week series “On Death and Dying,” our 2016 Wednesday night Adult series during Lent. Our session this week includes discussion of the importance of talking about death, how to prepare for death, and how to die well. We’re making these podcasts available if you are unable to join us on Wednesday nights in the fellowship hall.

Questions for Discussion this Week:

  • Stanley Hauerwas says that “death” is something of which modern Christianity does not want to deal. We seem to want to die by our terms, telling physicians how we want to exactly die. However, the Book of Common Prayer asks God to deliver us from dying “suddenly and unprepared.” How is this different from our modern desire for how we want to die?
  • In the Middle Ages, people wanted to have a lingering time before death in order to get their lives right with others and God. In other words, they feared God more than death. How have we, in modern times, lost the ability to come to terms death and therefore come to terms with our lives? How can we pace our lives in order to be reconciled to God and others?
  • How does talking about how we “want to die” make you feel?  How do you and your family talk about death (or did you talk about it when you were a child)?
  • What is a good death for you?
  • What does it mean for you to die well as a person of faith?

[display_podcast]

 

Series Overview and Schedule

“Dying is the most general human event, something we all have to do. But do we do it well? Is our death more than an unavoidable fate that we simply wish would not be there? Can it somehow become an act of fulfillment, perhaps more human than any other human act?” (Henri Nouwen). Join us for this special five-week Lenten series in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings after the fellowship dinner. Led by Jeff and Julie Walton and Art Wright, this series will explore practical and theological aspects of what it means for us to prepare for a good death. Please contact Art Wright (wright@tbcrichmond.org) if you have any questions.

Week 1 (Feb 17) – Introduction, Big Questions
Week 2 (March 2) – The Dying Process, How to Prepare Well for Death
Week 3 (March 9) – After Death, Funerals
Week 4 (March 16) – Grieving

On Death and Dying: Week 1 (Adult Lenten Series 2016)

This is the first week of our five-week series “On Death and Dying,” our 2016 Wednesday night Adult series during Lent. Our session this week includes an introduction to the series, some assumptions that we have in talking about death, and some big questions that we will be asking in this series. We’re making these podcasts available if you are unable to join us on Wednesday nights in the fellowship hall.

Questions for Discussion this Week:

  • What is your earliest memory of death?
  • How did you understand death as a young child?
  • How did your family talk about and respond to death?
  • Do you have any positive experiences with death? What made it a positive experience?
  • Do you have any negative experiences with death that you feel comfortable sharing?
  • Assumptions about death and dying?
  • Why do you think it’s so hard to talk about death?
  • What do you think it’s going to be like to be dead?

[display_podcast]

 

Series Overview and Schedule

“Dying is the most general human event, something we all have to do. But do we do it well? Is our death more than an unavoidable fate that we simply wish would not be there? Can it somehow become an act of fulfillment, perhaps more human than any other human act?” (Henri Nouwen). Join us for this special five-week Lenten series in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings after the fellowship dinner. Led by Jeff and Julie Walton and Art Wright, this series will explore practical and theological aspects of what it means for us to prepare for a good death. Please contact Art Wright (wright@tbcrichmond.org) if you have any questions.

Week 1 (Feb 17) – Introduction, Big Questions
Week 2 (Feb 24) – The Dying Process, How to Prepare Well for Death
Week 3 (March 2) – After Death, Funerals
Week 4 (March 9) – Grieving