Dumbarton West Kirk Church of Scotland
Dumbarton West KirkChurch of Scotland

Due to Covid-19 The Church is Currently Closed. Rev Johnson has written out the service which will be published here every week.


We are trying to improve our online services, and as part of that have decided to focus our efforts on one output, rather than having the extra workload of replicating things in triplicate each time. Please bear with us as we deal with the challenges of strict physical distancing when applying new technology!

View our Palm Sunday service as an online stream at

or a text/sound version at http://dumbartoncofs.org/







Sunday 29 March 2020     Passion Sunday     5th Sunday in Lent

CCL 125049             Charity No SC002937




Hymn             425 The Saviour died but rose again (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)

All-age time


Reading         John 11: 20-27 (Good News Bible)


Prayer for others

Hymn             396 And can it be that I should gain (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)*



*We cannot yet ourselves provide Youtube links to hymns and music, but we suggest that you explore on your server other links to these hymns. They may be in a variety of style, but you should find something that appeals to your musical tastes


*           *           *


Welcome and let us worship God


‘Our God is a God who saves; to the Lord God belongs all escape from death.” Psalm 68: 20



1 The Saviour died, but rose again
triumphant from the grave;
and pleads our cause at God's right hand,
omnipotent to save.


2 Who then can e'er divide us more
from Jesus and his love,
or break the sacred chain that binds
the earth to heaven above?


3 Let troubles rise, and terrors frown,
and days of darkness fall;
through him all dangers we'll defy,
and more than conquer all.


4 Nor death nor life, nor earth nor hell,
nor time's destroying sway,
can e'er efface us from his heart,
or make his love decay.


5 Each future period that will bless,
as it has blessed the past;
he loved us from the first of time,
he loves us to the last.



All-age time



  • Did we all remember to change the clocks last night?
  • Did anyone forget, and have an extra hour in bed?
  • Did anyone change it the wrong way and have an extra two hours in bed?


  • Have we any stories of getting muddled with the time and turning up late (or early) for something – even on the wrong day?


  • Today’s Bible story is about Jesus arriving somewhere late. He didn’t have a watch or clock to tell the time, but when he got a message that a friend (called Lazarus) was very ill, he didn’t get to Lazarus’ house until after Lazarus had died. As far as Lazarus’ sisters were concerned Jesus was LATE! (and one of them told him so) But Jesus healed Lazarus and he came back to life.


  • Point to think about: how good are we at being on time, or early? Or are we always late? Is this something we can work on? It is never too late for us to come to God and say, ‘Sorry, I haven’t been doing things the way you would like. Please help me to change. Please help me to help others.’


  • Things we could do: if we are younger, how about drawing a clock, or chatting about when things like meal-times, or bedtime, or bath-time are? If we’re older how about exploring the different time zones of the world? If it is 12 noon in Dumbarton, what time is it in New York, or Jerusalem, or Sydney (or wherever else you want to explore)?


Opening Prayer



What love is this, to come among us as one of us

the Creator become one of his creatures

the Almighty, the Infinite, the Eternal

become limited by time, space and human frailty?

Yet freely you did it to share our experience

to free us, to redeem us

to make us your own for ever


All too often, like the crowds, we keep our distance

We don’t want to be involved

to wrestle with knowing and understanding you better

facing the hard questions about life and death

and being your people

We don’t express thanks and appreciation for all that you have done for us


Forgive us


Fill us with a longing to serve you

to live lives that give you glory and honour

and help in the building of your kingdom.


Through Christ our Saviour we pray. Amen


Bible reading

John 11: 20-27

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.”

“Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her.

“I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who has come into the world.”



When children are somewhere between the ages of four and six many experience a terrible crisis: they discover that they do not know everything. Maybe the Covid-19 crisis has been a reminder to us that adult human beings do not know everything. We are extremely grateful for the knowledge and skill of the healthcare professionals treating patients, the scientists researching the development of the pandemic and the way in which we should respond to it now and in the future, and the engineers and logisticians who develop and distribute the equipment needed to cope with it. But we could not forecast it, nor stamp it out as soon as it appeared. Most people are keen to work together, to co-operate for their own good and the common good. In some places, however, politicians are seeking to use the crisis to promote themselves or their regime, and in others cases some people are trying to make money out of it.


We might criticise some of the actions of those in power, we might question why they were not better prepared, but if we are honest none of us ever expected anything like this. Churches, clubs, businesses, individuals – none of us had contingency plans, risk assessments, protocols designed to cope with an emergency on this scale. It is unprecedented, and unlike anything we have encountered before. But still we will ask the deeper questions: if there is a God, why did he allow it to happen? Why does he not intervene to stop it? I suspect that even the most faithful ‘pillar of the Kirk’ has privately asked such questions of his Lord.


Our Bible story tells of a situation not so unlike the present. Jesus arrives at Mary and Martha’s house a couple of days after their brother Lazarus died. Martha greets him with, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ It might be a pious, ‘I know that had you been here, all would have been well.’ But it is maybe more likely to have been, ‘Where were you when we needed you?’ The early church may have tried to tone things down a bit as they passed the story on, but maybe the Gospel-writer thought it useful to have that tone of voice recorded, because it put into words what many felt: where is God in times of trouble? Why does God allow bad things to happen? What is God doing about it? They are questions that have probably always been around, and questions that will probably always be asked.


We can’t give God’s answers to those heart-felt questions, but he might say something like:

  • he wanted a world that wasn’t frozen in time, but had the freedom and autonomy to change, adapt, evolve – but with the risk of evolution having negative effects
  • he wanted humanity to have freedom and autonomy, not simply be robots programmed to do what God wanted. He hoped that they would love him and each other voluntarily, but the combination of free will and Nature that built self-centredness into the human DNA makes that nigh-on impossible
  • giving nature and humanity freedom and autonomy prevents him from intervening directly to stop all those ‘bad’ things. People might welcome intervention over some diseases, but how would they react if he stubbed out their cigarettes, poured out their second pints, put the chocolates in the recycling, stopped all vehicles exceeding the speed limit, and sat everyone on an exercise bike for half an hour?
  • even though some ‘bad’ things spring from Nature, humanity has the capacity to address major issues if it would stop being self-centred and think of others
  • he came in Jesus to experience human life for himself, to feel the pain, to ask the questions, to suffer and die. But also through that death to conquer death, through the resurrection at Easter to bring life and hope not just to himself but to all


Life - and death – are, and always will be, mysteries. Even if we knew all that could ever be known about the ‘How’ of both, the ‘Why’ questions will still be asked, because they link with a side to our humanity that goes beyond the science to deal with relationships, meaning and appreciation. It is the firm conviction and hope of those who follow Jesus that in him God expressed to us his sharing in our pain and sorrow, that through Jesus’ death and resurrection God gives us hope of new life and the triumph of love and goodness, and through the Spirit he is working to bring healing and wholeness – always respecting the freedom and autonomy of nature and humanity.


Prayers for others

Loving God


You see into the hearts and lives of people

and see what their real needs are

We bring you now our prayers for others

trusting that you know far better than we do what people need

and yet you can take and use our prayers

in your work of bringing healing and wholeness

We pray for those who are struggling with unhappy lives

hurting, broken or abusive relationships

for families not speaking

who have lost contact

for people who feel that their life is going nowhere

that no one loves or values them


We pray for the Queen, the governments

for all in positions of leadership in this and every land


We pray for those who don’t have enough to eat

who don’t have somewhere to call home

are worried about family, friends, money, job or home

for all who long to live in peace and safety

particularly in parts of the Middle East and Africa

for those who have fled from their homes seeking safety

for those who offer help

and those who offer only indifference or harm


We pray for those who are lonely, feeling down or grieving a friend or loved one

those waiting for or receiving treatment, and those for whom there is no treatment

those who are ill, those who look after them, and those who worry about them

for all who are affected in any way by the Coronavirus pandemic, here and around the world


We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us


And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us

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 debts,

as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen



1 And can it be, that I should gain     

an interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain --
for me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


2 'Tis mystery all: the Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
to sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.


3 He left his Father's throne above, --
so free, so infinite his grace --
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adam's helpless race:
'tis mercy all, immense and free;
for, O my God, it found out me!
'tis mercy all, immense and free;
for, O my God, it found out me!


4 Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
fast bound in sin and nature's night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.


5 No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ, my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ, my own.



Secure in God’s love

be steadfast in his service

and the blessing of God Almighty,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

rest and remain with you,

today, and every day, and for ever. Amen




Preview attachment 200322 Mother's Day.docx200322 Mother's Day.docx23 KB


Print Print | Sitemap
© Dumbarton West Kirk