The Hills of Lent | Online Church at Home Service Bulletin | March 13th, 2024

March 13, 2024 | The Hills of Lent
The Psalms for these services are taken from that portion of the Psalter titled “Songs of Ascent” (Psalms 120 through 134) which were offered by the faithful pilgrims as they made their way up, through the hills of Judea, to Jerusalem for the great festivals. Today’s Psalmody includes Psalms 121, 120, 126, and 134 from that collection.
PINNACLE LUTHERAN CHURCH | “Mount Zion”

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Opening Hymn: #424 O Christ, You Walked the Road
HYMN #430 My Song Is Love Unknown vs 1-4

PINNACLE LUTHERAN CHURCH

The Hills of Lent

Mount Zion

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 – 7:00 p.m.

+ AS WE GATHER +

The Hills of Lent

A Series of Services for Lent

Mount Zion

The Psalms for these services are taken from that portion of the Psalter titled “Songs of Ascent” (Psalms 120 through 134) which were offered by the faithful pilgrims as they made their way up, through the hills of Judea, to Jerusalem for the great festivals. Today’s Psalmody includes Psalms 121, 120, 126, and 134 from that collection.

WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Opening Hymn: #424 O Christ, You Walked the Road

LITANY

P   I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?

C  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

P   He will not let your foot be moved, and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

C  Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

P   The Lord himself watches over you.

C  The Lord is your shade at your right hand, so that the sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

P   The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; it is he who shall keep you safe.

C  The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.

P   “Greatly have they oppressed me since my youth,” let Israel now say;

C  “Greatly have they oppressed me since my youth, but they have not prevailed against me!”

P   The plowmen plowed upon my back and made their furrows long.

C  The Lord, the Righteous One, has cut the cords of the wicked.

P   Let them be put to shame and thrown back, all those who are enemies of Zion.

C  Let them be like grass upon the housetops, which withers before it can be plucked, which does not fill the hand of the reaper, nor the bosom of him who binds the sheaves; so that those who go by say not so much as, “The Lord prosper you. We wish you well in the name of the Lord!”

P   Out of depths have I called to you, O Lord;

C  Lord, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

P   If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand?

C  For there is forgiveness with you; therefore you shall be feared.

P   I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope.

C  My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

P   O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy; with him there is plenteous redemption,

C  and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

P   Behold, now! Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, you that stand by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the Lord.

C  The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.


PRAYER OF THE DAY

HOLY SCRIPTURE

Hebrews 2:10-18

P   A reading from Hebrews, chapter 2:

It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many sons to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation.

He purifies people from their sins, and both he and those who are made pure all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers. He says to God, “I will tell my brothers what you have done; I will praise you in their meeting.” He also says, “I will put my trust in God.” And he also says, “Here I am with the children that God has given me.”

Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the devil, who has power over death, and in this he set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death. For it is clear that it is not the angels that he helps. Instead, as the scripture says, “He helps the descendants of Abraham.” This means that he had to become like his brothers in every way, in order to be their faithful and merciful high priest in his service to God, so that the people’s sins would be forgiven. And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered.

The Word of the Lord.

HYMN #430 My Song Is Love Unknown vs 1-4

Matthew 24:3-14

P   The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, the 24th chapter:

As [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”

And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places; all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Sermon

Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes: Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise? From God the Lord doth come my certain aid, From God the Lord, who heav’n and earth hath made.

He will not suffer that thy foot be moved; safe shalt thou be. No careless slumber shall his eyelids close, who keepeth thee. Behold, he sleepeth not, he slumb’reth ne’er, who keepeth lsrael in his holy care.

Jehovah is himself thy keeper true, thy changeless shade; Jehovah thy defense on thy right hand himself hath made. And thee no sun by day shall ever smite; No moon shall harm thee in the silent night.

From ev’ry evil shall he keep thy soul, from ev’ry sin; Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in. Above thee watching, he whom we adore Shall keep thee henceforth, yea, forevermore.

SERMON: MOUNT OLIVE

Participants for this presentation:

NARRATOR: (probably the pastor), speaking from the pulpit.

All others read from the front of the church:

VOICE

JESUS

NARRATOR: Where shall we begin our journey to the Mount of Olives? Perhaps, to find some perspective and some direction for what is about to happen here, we should begin atop another mountain, three years earlier.

VOICE: If you are the Son of God …

NARRATOR: Now there’s a theme to bear in mind.

VOICE: If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.

NARRATOR: A simple enough task, one would think, for the Son of God.

JESUS: It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

NARRATOR: An answer worth remembering, as well.

VOICE: If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from this temple pinnacle, for it is written, “He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

JESUS: Again, it is written, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

NARRATOR: Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.

VOICE: All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.

JESUS: Begone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”

NARRATOR: And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an oppor-tune time, a time that is now growing very close, and that will take us to another hilltop, and another confrontation, one foretold by Jesus on this very night.

JESUS: Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me. For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to the man by whom he is be-trayed!

VOICE: Master, is it I?

(pause)

JESUS: I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gath-ered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

NARRATOR: Do you notice how Jesus consistently says, “My Father”? Even as his hour draws near, he speaks as the Son of God, inviting us to be God’s children too, by our union with him.

JESUS: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s com-mandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I com-mand you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

NARRATOR: “Ask the Father,” says the Son of God. He is about to do just that.

JESUS: The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation …

NARRATOR: He knew that, of course, from personal experience, there on that other mountain.

JESUS: … but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world!

NARRATOR: And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

(pause)

JESUS: My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.

NARRATOR: And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and fell on the ground, and prayed.

JESUS: Abba, Father …

NARRATOR: There is that address again, the prayer of one who IS the Son of God:

JESUS: My Father, all things are possible to thee. If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.

NARRATOR: Does that prayer sound familiar? As familiar as, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones that they become bread”?

JESUS: Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.

NARRATOR: And does that answer sound familiar too? As familiar as, “It is written.”

JESUS: Thy will be done.

NARRATOR: And he came and found them sleeping.

JESUS: So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.

NARRATOR: Remember that other mountain!

JESUS: The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

NARRATOR: Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed.

JESUS: My father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.

NARRATOR: And again, he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling upon the ground.

JESUS: Not as I will, but as thou wilt.

NARRATOR: Three temptations, three prayers.

JESUS: Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise and behold, my betrayer is at hand.

VOICE: Master!

JESUS: Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

VOICE: Lord, shall we strike with the sword?

JESUS: Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?

NARRATOR: But that had NOT been his prayer on the Mount of Olives, had it?

JESUS: But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?

NARRATOR: “It is written.”

JESUS: Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Let the scriptures be fulfilled!

NARRATOR: The mountaintop experience of Olivet ends quickly, and in disarray. “They all forsook him and fled.” And the Son of God is left alone in the hands of sinful men.

(pause)

NARRATOR: This mountaintop experience has been somewhat different from the others we have undergone this Lent; have you noticed? On Mount Moriah, God was there, to stop the hand of Abraham before his son could be sacrificed. On Mount Sinai, God was there, even in the thunder and the smoke, to speak to Moses and his people words of saving grace and love. On Mount Carmel, God was there, answering Elijah’s prayer with fire from on high. And on Mount Zion, year by year and festival by festival, God was there, to meet his joyful people as they came to worship him. Even on the mountain of temptation, where we listened briefly on our way to Olivet, God’s word was evident, his victory made known. At each of these high points in this, our Lenten pilgrimage, the prayers of God’s people—spoken aloud or merely hoped for silently—were an-swered. Moments ago, we heard the Savior promise that ours will be as well. But his were not! In one way or another, those other mountains beckoned us on in our jour-ney—this one thrusts us forward, almost ruthlessly. The story is not done, not even when prayers have been offered fervently. For there are times, it would appear, when God’s good answer to our prayers must take its time, when darkness falls and deepens before the dawn appears, when God’s good will is not immediately evident in

the trials and temptations which his children must endure. But right there is the answer, isn’t it? We face these trials and temptations AS HIS CHILDREN, praying as our Savior did, “Father …”

VOICE: If you are the Son of God …

NARRATOR: That very issue faces Jesus now, beyond the Mount of Olives, as he stands trial-—with us, in our place, as he was with us, in our place there on the mountain of temptation.

VOICE: I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God!

NARRATOR: What should he do? Turn stones to bread? Jump from the roof?

VOICE: We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.

NARRATOR: “If you are the Son of God,” the tempter once had said. And Jesus’ answer then, as now, is couched in God’s good will and his strong Word: “Not my will, but thine, be done.” His will … is that WE might be children of God too. He spoke of that before we ever got to Olivet; that was the purpose of his praying there; and that is the reason why, beyond the Mount of Olives, he continues on his way … for us. And as we join him on the way, what shall WE pray?

VOICE: If you are the child of God …

NARRATOR: “Father”?-—that is how our prayer begins, because the Son of God was there, on Olivet as on the mountain of temptation, to keep God’s Word for us, all the way to Calvary, the mountain that awaits. “Father,” we are privileged to pray. And if we have learned what that means, the other prayer will follow too: “Not my will, but thine, be done.”

Apostles’ Creed

         I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

     maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

     who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

     born of the virgin Mary,

     suffered under Pontius Pilate,

     was crucified, died and was buried.

     He descended into hell.

     The third day He rose again from the dead.

     He ascended into heaven

     and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

     From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

     the holy Christian Church,

          the communion of saints,

     the forgiveness of sins,

     the resurrection of the body,

     and the life T everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING

RESPONSIVE PRAYER

P   Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem.

C  You are truly worthy of our praise, O God, for you have made us in your image, provided us with all we need, and called us into the fellowship of those who hear and trust your holy Word.

P   Everything that is written of the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.

C  Help us to hear all that you would speak to us, O God, and let your Word be heard, your praise be sung, not only here but everywhere in all the world that Jesus came to save.

P   For he will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.

C  Let the Gospel of his all-embracing love be told wherever evil rules, and let it overcome all darkness there, that all may be united in your love and service everywhere.

P   They will scourge him and kill him.

C  Grant that all who hear the Word of your great love in Jesus Christ may trust its message for their salvation.

P   And on the third day he will rise.

C  Bring us at last, with all your saints, to that great celebration of your goodness which shall never know an end. Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER   Matthew 6:9–13

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,

      Thy kingdom come,

      Thy will be done on earth as it is 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 and ever. Amen.

BENEDICTION

Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish, Series C, Quarter 3. Copyright © 2022 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.