In a Time of Social Distancing | Sermon for March 22, 2020

In a Time of Social Distancing | Sermon for March 22, 2020

Worship Service for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Rev. Gregory Mech | Sunday, March 22, 2020 | Immanuel Lutheran Church ONLINE – Joplin, MO

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Jesus healing the Blind Man, 2008 © Brian Jekel. In a Time of Social Distancing. Immanuel Lutheran Church LCMS. Joplin, Missouri.

“When we are feeling disowned, depressed, deceitful, dishonest, devastated, disappointed… Jesus comes and touches us and sends us to the water, and says, ‘Fear not, I am with you. I never leave you or forsake you. I never will.'” —Pastor Mech from Today’s Sermon, “In a Time of Social Distancing”

Opening Hymn

“God, Whose Almighty Word” LSB 905, st. 1, 2, 4

God, whose almighty Word
Chaos and darkness heard And took their flight:
Hear us, we humbly pray, And where the Gospel day
Sheds not its Glorious ray, Let there be light!

Lord, who once came to bring,
On Your redeeming wing, Healing and sight,
Health to the sick in mind, Sight to the inly blind:
Oh, now to humankind, Let there be light!

Δ Holy and blessed Three,
Glorious Trinity, Wisdom, love, might!
Boundless as ocean’s tide Rolling in fullest pride
Through the earth far and wide, Let there be light!


This is the day the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
The name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10
Make me to know Your ways, O Lord,
Teach me Your ways. Psalm 25: 4
Sanctify us on Your truth.
Your Word is truth. John 17:17
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
The name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

(10:30) Holy Baptism of Andrea Sutton Mello

Readings from Holy Scripture

Ephesians 5:8-14

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

John 9

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


Forever, O Lord, Your Word is firmly set in the heavens. Psalm 119:89
Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Psalm 26:8
Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it. Luke 11:28
Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Psalm 26:8
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Psalm 26:8

The First Article of the Apostles’ Creed

What is the First Article?
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
In so saying, what do you confess? What does this mean?
I believe that God has made me and all creatures;
That He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses,
And still takes care of them.
He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals and all that I have.
He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.
He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.

What motivates Him to show you such love and care?
All this He does out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.
How shall we then respond to such love and care?
For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.


“Just as I Am” LSB 570, st. 1, 3, 4

1  Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

3  Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

4  Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


“In a Time of Social Distancing” by Rev. Gregory Mech, Pastor

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

Additional Collects

Morning Prayer

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.


Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you.


“My Song Is Love Unknown” LSB 430, st. 1, 4

1  My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.

Oh, who am I
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

4  Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight.

Sweet injuries!
Yet they at these
Themselves displease
And ’gainst Him rise.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

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