Tiny Desk Worship – March 29th sermon

To just listen to the audio for this week’s sermon, on Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130 and John 11:1-45, scroll to the bottom of this post.  For the full Tiny Desk Worship experience, this week featuring the Mizelles, check out Shepherd of the Mountains’ facebook page!

  • You do not need to have a Facebook account to see the Facebook video
  • Facebook is a business so it will keep asking you to sign up. You do not need to sign up–ever.
  • Just keep clicking things like “Not Now.”
  • Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/shepherdofthemountainsjh/
  • Scroll down to the area that says “Posts” and look for the Tiny Desk Worship – Lent 5 video.
  • You can also search the video sections.

I am also trying to attach a google drive link here.


A note on our song for reflection.

One of my favorite devotions by UCC Pastor Quinn Caldwell reminds us that

“Humans are the only singing species with a precise and shared sense of rhythm, which is what allows us to sing together.  Two birds might sing the same song, but they can’t coordinate it.  They can sing next to each other but not together.”

That shared sense of rhythm is what helped us record these voices in separate sessions but at the same tempo, so that I could overlap them in editing.  Please forgive any errors in that overlap; my rhythm precision might not be quite as sharp the rest of the species.

It’s a meditative chant, so it repeats over and over again as cantors sing the verses over the ostinato.  I invite you to listen and join in as soon as you feel comfortable.

But join in, even if it feels silly.  Because when we sing at the same time, Caldwell continues, [we] start to breath at the same time as well.  And not only that, but studies have also shown that when people sing together, their hearts start beating together too.  And if we’re singing together and breathing together and our hearts are beating together, then it’s like we’re one body – no matter that we have to gather virtually.  That one body experience is nice “when you’re at a stadium concert or whatever and all the fans are singing along with an artist you love.  But in the church, we make a bigger claim than just that we’re fans vibing together; we claim that we actually become the body of the One to whom we’re singing.”

“Most other animals stop singing when danger approaches.  But humans, [at least humans in Lent, or humans in the face of a pandemic,] can sing louder the closer the danger gets.  We know what stalks us, and we won’t let it shut us up.  We sing together and we become large and we become a Body that does not back down.” (adapted from Caldwell’s “All I Really Want” Advent devotional)

May this song assure you of that connection and togetherness.

One of the verses will repeat a variation on Ezekiel’s invocation: “Come, from the four winds, O Spirit, come, breath of God.”

May this song help you feel God’s breath even if your own lungs feel tight,

and may it assure you of God’s presence with you and all around you.

Thanks for your patience and grace as we try to be church together in new ways.

In Christ,

Pastor Inger



Tiny Desk Worship – Sermon March 22

Try tuning in to the first video premier of Tiny Desk Worship on Shepherd of the Mountains’ facebook page!
Things you should know about Facebook Live:
  • You do not need to have a Facebook account to see the Facebook video
  • Facebook is a business so it will keep asking you to sign up. You do not need to sign up–ever.
  • Just keep clicking things like “Not Now.”
  • Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/shepherdofthemountainsjh/
  • Scroll down to the area that says “Posts”
  • If you are not able to join us on Sunday morning, follow the same link and search the video sections.
The scripture reading for today and the audio of the sermon are available below.
Thanks for your patience and grace as we try to be church together in new ways.
In Christ,
Pastor Inger

John 9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We[a] must work the works of him who sent me[b] 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.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 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 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus[c] to be the Messiah[d] would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 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?” 28 Then 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.” 30 The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

Spiritual Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[e] 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir?[f] Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38 He said, “Lord,[g] I believe.” And he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.


  1. John 9:4 Other ancient authorities read I
  2. John 9:4 Other ancient authorities read us
  3. John 9:22 Gk him
  4. John 9:22 Or the Christ
  5. John 9:35 Other ancient authorities read the Son of God
  6. John 9:36 Sir and Lord translate the same Greek word
  7. John 9:38 Sir and Lord translate the same Greek word

In-Person Worship Suspended

We are suspending in-person worship tomorrow (March 15th) and into the coming weeks as we take precautions with our community for COVID-19.

Read more about we can worship together in spirit, and an important blood drive March 19th, here:COVIDandSMLC2

Tiny Desk Worship: March 15th Sermon

While in-person worship is suspended, we are worshipping together in spirit!

The readings and prayers are attached to this post, as well as the sermon for the day.  As an alternative to our normal introductions to the readings, you might check out the short clips from the Bible Project – they have often been a favorite of our confirmation students.

After the sermon, I’d invite you to follow the link to Page CXVI’s version of “Come Thou Fount” as a way to reflect on the living water Christ offers us anew, even in the midst of social distancing.
The peace of Christ be with you always.
+ Pastor Inger

Consider the following format:

First Reading:  Exodus 17:1-7
If you want to connect with scripture in a new way and remember the context for this story, watch the Bible Project’s overview of the first part of Exodus.  Our reading for today is summarized in the last 35 seconds.
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
The Bible Project puts this passage in the context of the whole book of Romans here.  Our reading is summarized in the first two minutes.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SVTl4Xa5fY

John 4:3-42 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[a]10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you[b]say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he,[c] the one who is speaking to you.”

27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,[d] can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving[e] wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”


  1. John 4:9 Other ancient authorities lack this sentence
  2. John 4:20 The Greek word for you here and in verses 21 and 22 is plural
  3. John 4:26 Gk I am
  4. John 4:29 Or the Christ
  5. John 4:36 Or 35 . . . the fields are already ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is receiving
Song for Reflection – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (ELW #807)
Prayers, and a special prayer for a pandemic (by Cameron Bellm)

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between their health and making the rent.
May we who have flexibility to care for our children when the schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the turmoil of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other
Let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbor.

Lord’s Prayer
Now is the acceptable time.
Now is the day of salvation.
May God bless you and keep you, offer you anew the living water,
and through Christ, connect you to this world in new ways.

COVID19 and Shepherd of the Mountains

For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

– 2 Timothy 1:7

Loving our neighbor through the self-discipline of adjusting worship, social distancing, and hygiene – and even as we limit reaching out with our hands, reaching out with our hearts and our words.  Please read the attached letter to find out more.


Lent 2020 Schedule


8 am Short & Sweet Worship

9 am Adult Education

10 am Traditional Worship



5:45 pm Soup Supper

6:30 pm Joyous Light Evening Prayer

7:00 pm Lenten Choir

Ash Wednesday 6 pm

Ash Wednesday service tomorrow, February 26th, 2020, at 6 pm.  After worship, stay to learn music from Ray Makeever’s “Joyous Light,” the evening prayer service we will be using midweek during Lent.