March 29th, 2020

Gathering God’s People

Opening Prayer

(inspired by John 11: 1-45)

Holy God, Creator of Life,
you call us out of our dark places,
offering us the grace of new life.
When we see nothing but hopelessness,
you surprise us with the breath of your spirit.

Call us out of our complacency and routines,
set us free from our self-imposed bonds,
and fill us with your spirit of life, compassion, and peace,
In the name of Jesus, your anointed one, we pray. Amen.

Scripture Reading – Psalm 28

1 To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.

6 Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

8 The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Space for Grace

Hearing God’s Word – John 11

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Responding to God’s Word

Spend some time in prayer and reflecting about how you are navigating the struggles you face.

  • Recognize and name the struggles you face.
  • Remember the hope available to you in Jesus, despite the struggles you face.
  • Where is a space in your life where God might want you to move from being an onlooker to a participant in resurrection?

Supporting Central

We encourage you to continue your faithful support of Central’s ministry in these days. Checks can be mailed to Central’s office (501 S. 4th St Springfield, IL 62701) or you can make an online donation by clicking here:

Sending God’s People

(based on 2 Corinthians 1)

All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the source of every mercy, the God of all consolation.
Do not rely on yourselves alone, but put your trust in him.
For the God who can raise the dead to life again
will also deliver you!


  • Thank you for all your continued efforts to care for one another so well, if staff can be helpful in any way you can email the church office at
  • FAMILIES – The Meeting House has a great lesson for different age groups that follows along with the Lazarus story, you can find it and a variety of activities and resources here:
  • Aaron Niequist and the Eternal Current podcast have been focusing on helpful spiritual practices in the time of a pandemic, you can listen and participate in these contemplative practices by listening here:
  • Several people have asked about ways to support others during this time. One great option is the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, you can donate to this offering that will go to support people throughout the world during this time by mailing a check to the church with One Great Hour of Sharing – COVID 19 in the memo line.
  • Our National Executive Council and the members of the Regional Executive Ministers Council have issued a Call to Prayer for 21 days spanning from March 21 to April 11. Find out more here:
  • Zoom is a great tool for creating virtual space to help foster meet-ups for classes, small groups, and other gatherings. With a free account you can host a 40 minute video meeting for up to 99 people. More information at