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The Immediate Word
Chris Keating

Can These Bones Live?

Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; John 11:1-45
Squinting, Ezekiel holds his hand above his eyes, trying to grasp the array of inexplicable hopelessness set before him. Dust moves around the heaped piles, dried by the heat of desert winds and stripped of all semblance of structure. The lifeless piles of skeletons, devoid of ligament and muscle, weep silent tears in remembrances of the horror which they have witnessed. In that valley, all semblance of hope is reduced to rubble.
     But out of that rubble comes God’s life-giving ruah, the creating Spirit breath which will summon new life from Israel. God’s intervention begins with a question to Ezekiel: “Can these bones live?”
     It’s a good question, and only God knows the answer.
     Today, Iraq remains one of many places where piles of lifeless bones continue to amass. There are, at last count, only ten countries that can be considered free from violent conflict. Nowhere is the stench of hopelessness more noxious than the Middle East. In 2016, the Global Peace Index noted that 75 percent of the world’s battlefield deaths occurred in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.....
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Raising Lazarus

According to the Gospel called John, this miracle reveals the sixth sign of Jesus' acts that tell us God is with us. (See "Sign" in Cycle C, Miracle 3, "The Wedding At Cana.") Some scholars believe the healing of Lazarus may have been the reflective construction of later writers. The text is packed with study material juxtaposing life with death, hope with despair, and light with dark. For the writer of John, the text of 1:4 -- "[I]n [God] was life, and the life was the light of all people" -- expresses the crux of God, creation, and God's continuing presence.
     Unlike in most miracle stories, the storyteller avoids a terse summary form. Extra, painstaking details fill 45 verses. For example, the storyteller makes certain the hearer knows who Lazarus, Martha, and Mary are in the first two verses and again at the tomb (John 11:39). The following conversations accept this story on the good faith of those who told it to illustrate lasting truths....
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David Coffin

Spirit of life

Usually we emphasize the spirit around the season of Pentecost. However, this same spirit is present for all believers even during times of trials, testing, and journey though life’s difficulties. All three of this week’s lessons serve to remind us that the outcome of the Lenten journey is intended to point toward new life. While Christians are reminded all year that we might see and experience the shadow of the cross, the spirit of life is also ever present....
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John Fitzgerald

Lord of Light

Romans 8:6-11

This first Sunday in April we come to worship with thoughts of mowing green grass for a first time and entering into the Opening Day of baseball. Signs of spring are all around us. To capture the mood of today hear these words of a familiar poem written by Cecil Alexander:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful;
The Lord God made them all.
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Land rights

For centuries, an Englishman's home has been regarded as his castle. In other words, an Englishman has the right to defend his own property against any who would abuse it in any way. But in recent years this concept has been challenged and it seems that legally, the concept is nothing like as clear-cut now as it always appeared to be....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Kay Eichelman

The Big Little Word

Object: The letters 'I' and 'F' from a game of Scrabble

Have you ever played a word game called Scrabble? The bigger the word the more points that you get. The word I have made today is quite a small word, I wouldn't get very many points! But it is a "BIG" word in many ways. It is a word that we find in our story today....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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