Message for Mar. 29, 2020

Worship 3-29-2020


Ogilvie – Food for the Soul is prepared and being delivered to several homes. Thank you to the faithful servants of this ministry.

Mora-Mailing coming out with stamped and addressed envelops for giving and electronic giving form

Mora and Ogilvie United Methodist Churches are closed from Saturday, March 28, through Friday, April 10, in keeping with Gov. Tim Walz’ executive order to stay at home the next two weeks.

Bishop Bruce Ough supports this decision and has asked all United Methodist churches in Minnesota not to host in-person worship through May 10.

Pastor Comments

  • Letter soon going out with scheduling and known plans for worship
  • Committee meetings are transitioning to virtual meetings

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

And also with you

 The risen Christ is with us.

Praise the Lord!

 Opening Prayer

Almighty God,
to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 Children’s Message with Ben

 Scripture              John 11: 1-9

The Death of Lazarus

1-3 A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”

When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”

5-7 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”


There is a common saying said by many a support personPoor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.”

How many times have you been in a situation that was presented to you as urgent or an emergency but, was caused by someone’s procrastination, poor planning or lack of preparation?

Sadly I must admit that at times I have been the procrastination and poor planner.

Our scripture today is in the book of John just after Jesu describes himself as the “good shepherd” and just before His anointing and final entry into Jerusalem.


Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are three adult siblings living in Bethany. They are followers and friends of Jesus. Lazarus, the brother, is gravely ill, and his sisters Mary and Martha send for Jesus.

There was a time my sister was suffering with some severe mental health issues.  Her husband was traveling so one of her daughters called me. I dropped everything and within one hour headed to Detroit Lakes. From the time I got the call at my office to the time I entering her home was five hours. And it felt like it took forever!

Mary and Martha send word to Jesus, no telephone, no text nor email. They probably sent a messenger to find him.

Jesus’ response to their situation seems surprisingly casual. Scripture says, “Though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (11:5-6).

Now when I got the call about my sister, I immediately had my calendar cleared, I called Rod, drove home, packed and was on the road in an hour for the four-hour drive.

So what’s the deal with this casual approach Jesus seems to take? We know Lazarus is his friend and follower. We know that when Jesus was in Jerusalem, he used Bethany as his base so it must not have been too far away.

By the time Jesus finally gets to Bethany, Lazarus is already dead and buried. In fact in John 11:17 we read that Lazarus had already been dead for 4 days

Assuming it took a messenger one day to reach Jesus and a day for Jesus to get to Bethany – what happened to the other two days? The natural question is “why did it take an extra two days for Jesus to get there”.

Imagine the agonized cries of Martha and Mary to Jesus., Separately they both greet him with the same words: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21, 32).

Reading between the lines this statement seems to have some unspoken questions, perhaps even accusations.

  • Where were you, Jesus?
  • Why did you take so long getting here?
  • I thought you loved my brother.
  • I thought you cared about us.

 Aren’t these exactly the kinds of questions we ask, or would like to ask, when tragedy strikes? When a global pandemic hits us?

  • Where were you, Lord?
  • How could you have let this happen?
  • Couldn’t you have prevented all this pain and suffering?

Jesus had seemed so slow in coming. It seemed as if he was too late.

But with Jesus, we find out, it is never too late.

Even when we are convinced that all is lost, even when we are ready to accept the power of death,

Jesus demonstrates that

  • there is no loss,
  • no tragedy,
  • no power in heaven or on earth or under the earth, that can place us beyond the reach of his infinite love and abundant life.

 Much of the time, honestly, it does not feel like death has been defeated. Like Mary and Martha, we cry out in pain and ask our agonizing questions –

  • about job loss,
  • wayward children and grandchildren,
  • financial crises,
  • chronic illness,
  • loss of loved ones,
  • war and terrorism
  • a pandemic or — whatever casts death’s shadow across our lives.

Even as we cry out, we live and wait in hope.

Like Martha and Mary, we learn that God does not act exactly when, where, or how we think He should.

But God will act in God’s good time, and death will not have the final word. The day of resurrection will come.

God of new life,
As Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, renew and restore us to new life, leaving in the grave all that prevents us from loving you fully. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as 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

 I am closing with a poem titled Detours, written by Rev. Craig Finnestad taken with permission from the book Prayers From The Waters Edge

Dear God,

Sometimes life works out as I plan.

Sometimes life takes me on a detour.

I’m grateful when plans become reality and dreams come true.

I’m grateful for Your presence and guidance when I’, on a detour.

I want to grow. I desire to develop. I need to learn.

I seek to deepen my dependence on You,

May these things happen as my plan’s become reality and as my dreams come true.

May these things happen on the detours.

I’m impatient. I want to arrive at my destination on my terms and timing.

But my planning isn’t perfect and even when it is good – detours happen.

Give me patience like a river-steady moving forward until the destination is reached,

Teach me the fulness of life that comes through daily progress and perseverance.

I’m too self-dependent. I want to arrive at my destination by my strength.

But my performance isn’t perfect and even when it is good – detours happen.

Direct my day by day. Protect me from myself and provide me Your Holy Spirit.

Guide me by night. Be my beacon of hope and my light in darkness.

Show me that a detour isn’t a dead end. Only an alternative route.

Help me enjoy and embrace the detours.

Give me the courage and commitment to explore the road I didn’t choose.

May I be blessed on the detour and emerge as stronger because of the detour.

On days when quitting is the easy thing to do, help me continue.

When I feel overcome with doubts and hurts, give me faith and healing to overcome.

When I am a victim, lift me up and make me a victor.

When the detour seems like it’s too much – speak to me that You are more than enough.

I’m going to keep praying and planning and preparing.

For the ordinary days and for the detours.

Either way, my days and nights will be spent loving others and loving You.

Either way, I will enjoy You and Your creation in the weeks and months and years to come. Amen


Go forth in peace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all. Amen.



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