Sunday Worship Service: Fifth Sunday in Lent: 21 March 2021

Grace and Peace to you!

This is our last entirely online service, hopefully for the foreseeable future!

Beginning next Sunday, March 28, we will gather in our sanctuary in person with safety precautions in place. Please contact the office at 309-788-9661 or by email if you would like to reserve a spot for Palm Sunday!

Pastor Chris Lee

Order of Worship for March 21, 2021:


God promises Jeremiah that a “new covenant” will be made in the future: a covenant that will allow all the people to know God by heart. The church sees this promise fulfilled in Christ, who draws all people to himself when he is lifted up on the cross. Our baptismal covenant draws us to God’s heart through Christ and draws God’s love and truth into our hearts. We join together in worship, sharing in word, song, and meal, and leave strengthened to share God’s love with all the world.

Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, the keeper of the covenant, the source of steadfast love, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.

God hears us when we cry, and draws us close in Jesus Christ. Let us return to the one who is full of compassion.

Fountain of living water,

pour out your mercy over us. Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free. Rebuild what we have ruined and mend what we have torn. Wash us in your cleansing flood. Make us alive in the Spirit to follow in the way of Jesus, as healers and restorers of the world you so love.


Beloved, God’s word never fails. The promise rests on grace: by the saving love of Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God, your sins are ☩ forgiven, and God remembers them no more. Journey in the way of Jesus. Amen.

Opening: ELW 334- “Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery,” verse 1 & Lent verse 5.

Prayer of the Day

O God, with steadfast love you draw us to yourself, and in mercy you receive our prayers. Strengthen us to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, that through life and death we may live in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

The Judeans in Babylon blamed their exile on their ancestors, who had broken the covenant established at Sinai. Here the prophet looks to a day when God will make a new covenant with the people. There will be no need to teach the law, because God will write it on their hearts.

31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Gospel: John 12:20-33

Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time to celebrate the Passover festival. Here Jesus’ words about seeds planted in the ground turn the disaster of his death into the promise of a harvest in which everyone will be gathered.

20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

Sermon: Pastor Chris Lee

Hymn of the Day: ELW 330- “Seed That in Earth is Dying,” all verses.

Prayers of Intercession

Relying on the promises of God, we pray boldly for the church, the world, and all in need.

You wash us through and through and remember our sin no more. Make your church a community of forgiveness throughout the world. Give your people courage to forgive; through them show the world new possibilities. Bless ministries of repentance and reconciliation. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You fill the earth—from tiny grains of wheat to the mighty thunder—with your presence, and you call us to attend to your will for all creation. Grant weather that prepares the soil for seeds; protect all from violent storms, flooding, and wildfires. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You promise to write your law on our hearts. Guide citizens throughout the world to shape communities that reflect your mercy, justice, and peace, and give them creativity to work for the welfare of all. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You sustain us with your bountiful Spirit. Restore the joy of all who need to know your presence: those who are lonely or feel unforgivable, those who need healing of mind or body, those who are dying, and all who grieve especially Nancy Johnson; Ryan Raymond; Patrick Esping; Ricky Lindquist; Helen Schubert; Dan Wolever; Rick Sandway, and all those we name before you now. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We pray for those who grieve, especially the family of Scott Holtan. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Jesus calls us to follow him in life and death. Empower this congregation in discipleship. Equip children and teachers in Sunday school, confirmation, and learning ministries. Give us your truth and wisdom and teach us to follow Jesus. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the cross of Christ, your name is glorified. We praise you for those who have given us words to worship you especially Thomas Cranmer. With all those who have died in Christ, bring us into life everlasting. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We entrust ourselves and all our prayers to you, O faithful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Great Thanksgiving

Communion Music: “What Wondrous Love Is This?” – Paul Manz. Organ Solo from Improvisations for the Lenten Season. (One License #10-300.1) Contributors: Paul Manz


God of steadfast love, at this table you gather your people into one body for the sake of the world. Send us in the power of your Spirit, that our lives bear witness to the love that has made us new in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


Siblings in Christ. You are what God made you to be: created in Christ Jesus for good works, chosen as holy and beloved, freed to serve your neighbor. God bless you ☩ that you may be a blessing, in the name of the holy and life-giving Trinity. Amen.

Sending Hymn: – ELW 538- “The Lord Now Sends Us Forth” (Enviado soy de Dios), sing 2 times in English.


Go in peace. Share the good news.

Thanks be to God.

Postlude: ELW 379- “Now the Green Blade Rises,” verses 1, 2, & 4. Vocalist: Abbigail Lee

Facebook link to worship service for Sunday, March 21, 2021:

Image credits: Wheat, and Lent,

Music credits:

Vocalists: Abbigail Lee and Miriam and Brittany Anderson. Pianist/ Organist: Pam Edwards.

“Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery.” Text: Marty Haugen, b. 1950. Music: Marty Haugen. Text and Music copyright 1984 GIA Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

“Seed That in Earth is Dying.” Text: Svein Ellingsen, b. 1929; tr. Hedwig T. Durnbaugh, b. 1929. Music: Harald Herresthal, b. 1944. Tr. copyright Hedwig T. Durnbaugh. Music copyright Norsk Musikforlag. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843

“What Wondrous Love Is This.” – Paul Manz. Organ Solo from Improvisations for the Lenten Season. (One License #10-300.1) Music – ©1990 MorningStar Music Publishers / Birnamwood Publications. Copyright (C) 1990 Birnamwood Publications (ASCAP), a division of MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

“The Lord Now Sends Us Forth” (Enviado soy de Dios). Text: Anonymous, Central America; tr. Gerhard M. Cartford, b. 1923. Music: Anonymous, Central America. English text copyright 1998 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

“Now the Green Blade Rises.” Text: John MacLeod Campbell Crum, 1872 – 1958. Music: French carol. Text copyright Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Permission to podcast/stream and print the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-704843.

Sundays and Copyright 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, 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. Reprinted/ streamed with permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS006904. Duplication in any form is prohibited without permission or valid license from the copyright administrator.