Worship in a Blizzard

April 15, 2018

On Friday, this deck was clear. Then the hail came, followed by a couple inches of rain and sleet. When the snow started early Saturday morning, there was no way to know how much we would get, or how long it would last. By early afternoon, however, it was clear we needed to cancel worship. Highways and county roads had been closed, and the blizzard warnings had been extended into Sunday afternoon. By Sunday morning, we had more than a foot of snow, and it was still coming down.

So we tried something new. We broadcast the worship service from my living room on the church’s Facebook page.  With only a couple of small changes from what would have been the order of worship at First United Methodist Church, my husband played the piano for all the hymns. We even had an Offering! – inviting people to contribute via the church PayPal account.

Using my laptop to run the presentation slides for the service, and my phone to record the video, I preached from my tablet – a technological trifecta. Here is the order of worship, with the link to the Facebook Live video and a link back to the sermon text. Here’s the best part: about six times as many people have watched the video in the first few hours of its existence than would have participated in corporate worship on a normal Sunday at First Church. Here’s the Order of Worship we used:

First United Methodist Church New Ulm, MN
Third Sunday of Easter
April 15, 2018
See what love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1
Facebook Live!

Leader:      The Lord is risen!
People:      He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

UMH 154 (1-2, 4, 6)         All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

CALL TO WORSHIP from Psalm 4
Leader:     People of God, the Lord gives you room when you are in distress.
People:     The Lord is gracious and hears our prayers.
Leader:     Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
People:     The Lord hears when we call to him.
Leader:     Offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord.
People:     The Lord puts gladness in our hearts, and fills us with joy.
Leader:     In peace we will lie down and sleep,
People:     For the Lord alone makes us lie down in safety.

FIRST READING     1 John 3:1-7
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

GOSPEL READING     Luke 24:36-48
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

UMH 70         Glory Be To The Father

UMH 162       Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks

MESSAGE         Why Do You Wonder? (Acts 3:12-19)


We offer our best to God as an act of commitment and sacrifice. We give in order to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ is available to all people everywhere, starting right here. Let us give as our faith in God directs each of us.
Just because there is no offering plate today doesn’t mean you can’t give! Click on the “Shop Now” button on the church Facebook page to contribute … or look for the Donate button in the lower right hand corner of the church website’s front page. Either one will take you to the church’s PayPal account where you can give online!

DOXOLOGY         UMH 95

Gracious God, we give thanks that we can call on you in all times and places, knowing that your strength is available to sustain us. We offer these tithes and offerings to you with great joy, and ask your blessing on them, so that your church may be empowered to proclaim the good news that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. Alleluia. Amen.

UMH 304         Easter People, Raise Your Voices

Go now in the love of God, the peace of Christ Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the Good News that the Lord is risen, he is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

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