Worship March 22 2020


1661 Janesville Ave, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
(920) 563-8050
Pastor David Emmrich, cell: (262)385-1127
Organists: Shelley Schuerman, Phyllis Hanke, Al Vollrath
Secretary: Robin Lehmann


The Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 22, 2020

Welcome to Worship! Today’s hymns and readings have to do with sight and seeing. The Introit sets the theme of the day: “My eyes are ever on the Lord.” In the Old Testament reading, God says, “I will lead the blind in a way they do not know.” In the Epistle Paul urges Christians to walk where they can keep their eyes on the Lord when he says, “Walk as children of light.” In the Gospel Jesus heals a man who was born blind. The first hymn, “Awake O Sleeper,” reminds us that Christ will give us light. In the distribution hymn we sing, “Was blind, but now I see.” The closing hymn say that people in their illness longed to see the “Healing Christ of Galilee.” When we set our eyes on Jesus, God opens them through faith to see the wonderful things He has done for us!


Divine Service Setting 4                                                                                                                                                                                                              P. 203


697 Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death


Tune: Public domain

Text: © 1980 Augsburg Publishing House. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110005894


Confession and Absolution




The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

P    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C    Amen.

P    Our help is in the name of the Lord,
C    who made heaven and earth.

P    If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
C    But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.

P    Since we are gathered to hear God’s Word, call upon Him in prayer and praise, and receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the fellowship of this altar, let us first consider our unworthiness and confess before God and one another that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, and that we cannot free ourselves from our sinful condition. Together as His people let us take refuge in the infinite mercy of God, our heavenly Father, seeking His grace for the sake of Christ, and saying: God, be merciful to me, a sinner.


C    Almighty God, have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and lead us to everlasting life. Amen.

P    Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Spirit.

C    Amen.


+ Service of the Word +

Introit                                                                                                                                                                                       Psalm 27:4–6; antiphon: Psalm 25:15

My eyes are ever toward the Lord,*
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:*
    that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;*
    he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;*
    I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
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.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,*
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.


Kyrie                                                                                                                        LSB 204


Salutation and Collect of the Day

P    The Lord be with you.
C    And also with you.

P    Let us pray.

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.

C    Amen.


Old Testament Reading                                                                                                                                                                                              Isaiah 42:14–21

14For a long time I have held my peace;
    I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
    I will gasp and pant.
15I will lay waste mountains and hills,
    and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
    and dry up the pools.
16And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.
17They are turned back and utterly put to shame,
    who trust in carved idols,
who say to metal images,
    “You are our gods.”

18Hear, you deaf,
    and look, you blind, that you may see!
19Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as my dedicated one,
    or blind as the servant of the Lord?
20He sees many things, but does not observe them;
    his ears are open, but he does not hear.
21The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,
    to magnify his law and make it glorious.

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


Gradual                                                                                                            Hebrews 12:2

[O come, let us fix our eyes on] Jesus,*
    the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,*
    and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.


Epistle                                                                                                          Ephesians 5:8–14

    8For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

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


Holy Gospel                                                                                                                                                                                                                         John 9:1–41

P    The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the ninth chapter.
C    Glory to You, O Lord.

    1As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

    8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He 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.” 12They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

    13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15So 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.” 16Some 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. 17So 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.”

    18The 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 19and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21But 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.” 22(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.) 23Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

    24So 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.” 25He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He 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?” 28And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

    35Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”


P    This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C    Praise to You, O Christ.


Nicene Creed

C    I believe in one God,
      the Father Almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth
      and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
      the only-begotten Son of God,
      begotten of His Father before all worlds,
      God of God, Light of Light,
      very God of very God,
      begotten, not made,
      being of one substance with the Father,
      by whom all things were made;
      who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
      and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
      and was made man;
      and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
      He suffered and was buried.
      And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
      and ascended into heaven
      and sits at the right hand of the Father.
      And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
      whose kingdom will have no end.

 And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the Lord and giver of life,
      who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
      who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
      who spoke by the prophets.
      And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church,
      I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
      and I look for the resurrection of the dead
      and the life + of the world to come. Amen.

Luther’s Small Catechism

The Lord’s Prayer


P:        The Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer Give us this day our daily bread. What does this mean?

C:        God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would             lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

P:        What is meant by daily bread?

C:        Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house,              home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good                government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.


571 God Loved the World So That He Gave



5      If you are sick, if death is near,
This truth your troubled heart can cheer:
Christ Jesus saves your soul from death;
That is the firmest ground of faith.

6      Glory to God the Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To You, O blessèd Trinity,
Be praise now and eternally!

Text and tune: Public domain



My Eyes are Ever toward the Lord

Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped its way toward the shore with a plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship …, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbor was. “Light! Give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul….

Those are the words of Helen Keller—the famous American author who became blind and deaf at 19 months of age, yet graduated from Radcliffe College with her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904. Her image of being shut in by fog, with no instruments to navigate comes to mind as we think about today’s readings and what they say about blindness and sight. Many of us have encountered that disorienting feeling briefly on a plane as you descend through the clouds, and for a few moments, there is nothing visible with which to orient yourself. What does it mean to be blind and then to see? Let’s see what our readings have to say about that.

  1. Blindness

Obviously, the man in today’s Gospel is physically blind, and his lack of vision causes a number of problems. He could only make a living by public charity. He could make his living most profitably near the temple, where many people would pass by and perhaps think charitably about him. There were no doctors to cure this man, no institutions to teach him how to navigate with a white cane or a seeing-eye dog. When she lost her vision and hearing as a toddler Helen Keller says 

When I awoke and found that all was dark and still, I suppose I thought it was night, and I must have wondered why day was so long in coming. Gradually, however, I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been day.

As terrible as that scenario sounds, there’s another visual problem that is actually far worse in its consequences. All of our readings refer to it, but it’s most pointedly referred to in our Old Testament reading. Isaiah says: 

18Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see! 19Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the Lord? 20He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. 

Isaiah was referring to the Israelites and their inability to see God’s presence and purpose in their lives. Instead of worshiping the Lord, they were worshiping idols. Isaiah says a man would cut down a tree, heat himself with some of the wood, and then, worship and pray to an idol he had built out of the rest of the wood. Isaiah said their false gods had “eyes, but couldn’t see, and ears, but they couldn’t hear.” I guess that’s proof that we become like the things we worship. And the most unusual quality about the Israelites’ spiritual blindness is that, like Helen Keller and people who have been born physically blind, the Israelites had no idea they were spiritually blind until somebody like Isaiah tells them that they can’t see.

It’s not hard to look around us and see that kind of stubborn blindness today. Pick any sin you want—murder, adultery, stealing, having other gods—and there are at least a half dozen examples of people today who do exactly the opposite of what the Bible says and, because of spiritual blindness, still think that everything’s fine. In a verse that’s not included in our text, Jesus says to the Pharisees “If you were blind, you would have no guilt, but because you say, ‘We can see,’ your guilt remains.”

The Israelites and the Pharisees aren’t the only ones who deny their sight problems. A friend of mine broke his neck during a high school gym class. He was scared because he didn’t know what was wrong with him—only that he was in intense pain. So they got him to a doctor, and the doctor asked him how he was doing. He actually told the doctor he was doing fine. But the doctor knew better, and so the doctor said to him, “If you’re really fine, tell me how many fingers I’m holding up.” My friend had no response for the doctor, because swelling from his injury had temporarily taken away his sight. The good news is that he eventually recovered his sight and his mobility.

But that scenario of wanting to ignore or deny our blindness has its counterpart in your life and mine. How many of our sins begin as little self-deceptions? “If we love each other, it’s okay for us sleep together…I don’t hate so and so—I’m just not speaking to them because they make me mad…that fight wasn’t my fault—the other person started it…it doesn’t do any harm to miss church once in awhile…God won’t mind if I overeat or drink too much just this once…. Like King David who wanted to close his eyes to the fact that he was a murderer and an adulterer, today’s words from Jesus about spiritual blindness come to remind all of us that if “you say, ‘[I] can see,’ your guilt remains.”

  1. Vision

Thank God Jesus came to our world to restore perfect vision. He did it when He died on the cross and provided the water of Baptism that connects us with the forgiveness of Calvary. We will be singing in our distribution hymn, “Was blind, but now I see.” That’s about what the blind man in our text said, “...I washed, and now I see.” 

Helen Keller describes her coming to “vision” in the following words:

...she led me out to the ivory colored pump house and made me hold the cup under the spout while she pumped. With her other hand, she spelled w-a-t-e-r emphatically...All at once there was a strange stir within me—a misty consciousness, a sense of something remembered...I understood that what my teacher was doing with her fingers meant that cold something that was rushing over my hand, and that it was possible for me to communicate with other people by these signs. 

Although she was still blind and deaf, Helen Keller was given the “vision” to understand what was going on in the world around her because of the pump water running over her hand. That’s what Baptism did for you!In the catacombs of the ancient Christian Church, this account of the blind man who was healed was painted over many of the burial vaults and it became a symbol for Baptism because of his words: “I washed, and now I see.”

God came into your life to give you vision when you were washed in Holy Baptism and your eyes came to be fixed on Him in faith. In reference to w-a-t-e-r, the first word she remembers learning, Helen Keller said

That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that in time could be swept away. 

In another place, she would write:

The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher came to me

If words like that are spoken about common water and an ordinary teacher, how much more shouldn’t you and I sing “Alleluia!” (even though it’s Lent) and “Thank-You Jesus!” for the water that works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation as the words and promises of God declare?!” “Alleluia” and “Thank-You” because we who were spiritually blind can now see!

  1. Keeping Our Eyes Focused

So how does life proceed once a person receives spiritual vision? A man by the name of Michael May can give us some insight. After being blinded at age three and living 42 years without vision, in 1999 Michael May underwent surgery to restore his vision. The doctors warned him that others who had regained their vision after many years were initially ecstatic at being able to see as light and color and motion rushed into their eyes. But then they would become frustrated. Most of the newly-sighted people still couldn’t perceive height, distance, depth, or three-dimensional shapes. They couldn't read facial expressions and detect gender. They couldn’t distinguish important information from the trivial. At times, the newly-sighted patients would feel that they didn’t belong to either the world of those who see, or the world of those who can't see.

Michael May was determined that he would avoid those problems. He discovered that learning to see again does not involve just one magical operation. Instead, it’s a lifelong quest of learning, growing, taking risks, and changing. Even as he was leaving the hospital, May was peppering his wife with questions: “What’s this? What’s that? Is that a step? Is that a flower? That’s a painting? Let me feel it. Can I touch that plant? Let me touch a car.” He rode elevators over and over again for the sheer pleasure of finding the hotel lobby after the ride. He played catch with his son, horribly missing many balls before he finally got the hang of it.

Maybe you can tell where I’m going with this. In our new life of spiritual vision, we, too, face a lifelong quest of learning, growing, repenting, and then changing. Like Michael May we need Someone who goes with us and accompanies us on our walk of new vision. We need Someone to whom we can bring all of our questions and concerns and doubts and fears. And believe it or not, on the journey, you will be tempted to look to blind and deaf guides like those ancient Israelites—idols that can’t see or hear or deliver us. 

The psalmist says, “My eyes are ever towards the Lord.” He alone will lead you safely through the fog of blindness. He alone can give you the vision to see Him. And He alone will help you make sense of the things you see in this world. Amen.

Prayer of the Church

P Let us pray for the whole church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs: For the eyes of faith to keep our vision on Christ, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

 P For effective treatment for the corona virus; for an eventual cure, and for the faith to wait patiently for your will to be done, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

P For our nation, the nations of the world, and all rulers, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

 P For our spiritual leaders and all church workers, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

 P For the growth of Living Savior, that we might multiply our strengths, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

 P For all who need Your help in any way, especially…, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

 P In thanks to You for all the blessings You lavish upon us, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

P For true repentance and faith for all who commune at Your table today, Lord in Your mercy,

C Hear our prayer.

P Into Your hands we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord

C Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

C    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.


Benedicamus                                                                                                                                                                                                                             LSB 212

A    Let us bless the Lord.

C    Thanks be to God.


P    The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look upon you with favor and T give you peace.

C    Amen.

551 When to Our World the Savior Came


Tune: Public domain

Text: © 1984 Hope Publishing Co. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110005894


Divine Service, Setting Four from Lutheran Service Book

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2018 Concordia Publishing House.