Armadale Uniting Church

29th March 2020

Learning the Lazarus Blessing – Jan L. Richardson

`Fear of life`

Lent 5

Introit – read out loud or sing, if you know the tune

`Don`t be afraid. My love is stronger.

My love is stronger than your fear.

Don`t be afraid. My love is stronger.

And I have promised, promised to be always near.`

(Wild Goose Worship Group – Iona Community)

Readings

Ezekiel 37: 1:14 and John 11: 1-45

Reflection

Images of a valley of dry bones are hard to contemplate – especially in these days of national and global disease when we are confronted so inescapably by our own fragility and mortality. Surprisingly – the story and images of the new life of Lazarus and a whole swirling valley of skeletons coming to life, are just as, if not more, terrifying. The life God offers is beyond what we can imagine. Are there places in our lives, parts of our lives which are dead and dry? Are we brave enough to welcome God`s new life into those places? What would that mean for each of us today? Don`t be afraid.

Lazarus Blessing

The secret

Of this blessing

Is that it is written

On the back

Of what binds you.

To read

This blessing,

You must take hold

Of the end

Of what

Confines you,

Must begin to tug

At the edge

Of what wraps you round.

It may take long

And long

For its length

To fall away,

For the words of this blessing

to unwind

In folds about your feet.

By then

You will no longer

Need them.

By then this blessing

Will have pressed itself

into your waking flesh,

will have passed

into your bones,

Will have travelled

Every vein

Until it comes to rest

inside the chambers of your heart

That beats to

The rhythm

Of benediction

And the cadence of release.

Lazarus Blessing” Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons.

Jan L. Richardson

Notices

These are extraordinary times. We will be meeting as a `virtual` or `digital` community for the next while.

This week is a bit of an experiment!

(We`re all learning new skills!)

There are several options for engaging with worship material:

  • this order of service – take time to read, pray and consider

  • a power point presentation – pictures and a spoken reflection (to follow)

  • an attached Word document with text and pictures  (here)

All of which – hopefully – will be sent out via email and also available on the website.

(Go to: armadale.ucavictas.org.au)

There is the possibility for a `virtual` gathering on a Sunday morning via Zoom webinar – mixture of website and seminar – if people wanted to try that?

(Not this week. Let`s see how we go…)

I would value constructive feedback.

Please feel free to talk with me about worship possibilities or any other matters of concern just now.

The phone number – 0403 66 27 86

As human beings we can be overcome by the situation or, as people of faith, we can overcome it.

We can resist this time in fear or anger or we can live into it with curiosity, faith and hope.

`Is the Lord among us or not?` Exodus 17: 7