3/24/2019 Third Sunday of Lent

SERVICE for THE LORD’S DAY

3rd Sunday of Lent

 

INTRODUCTION

We gather to worship God on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) because the Gospels testify that Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week. The Lord’s Day is also called the “eighth day” of creation, a sign of the new creation that has begun with Christ’s resurrection. While we may worship God on any day and at any time, the Sunday service in particular is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection and an anticipation of the fullness of God’s coming reign.

 

The warnings are plentiful and blunt on the third Sunday in Lent. Lent is a season of repentance. Cut it out or get cut down! The warnings are accompanied by God’s invitation to attentiveness: “Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.” The landowner’s ultimatum is forestalled by the gardener’s readiness to till the ground one more year. That is good news for all of us. Thanks be to God!

 

PRELUDE: The Wideness of God’s Mercy- Dutch hymntune IN BABILONE, setting by P. F. Tillen (2019)

 

GREETING AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

CHORAL INTROIT: Let All Who Thirst- text based on Isaiah 55; music by Dan Schutte

O let all who thirst now come and drink, come to the living stream. With your tender hearts and broken dreams, come to the springs of grace. Though you have no wealth, no stores of gold, you can drink to your hearts’ desire, till your soul is filled with heaven’s joy, here at the font of life.

 

*CALL TO WORSHIP & PRAYER OF THE DAY (Matt. 4:17)

Jesus began to proclaim,

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.

Eternal God, your kingdom has broken into our troubled world through the life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Help us to hear your word and obey it, and bring your saving love to fruition in our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

*GATHERING HYMN O Come to the Water

 

 

PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION                                 

Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God, who gathers us in the wilderness to redeem us, anoint us, and make us new. Amen.

 

In these forty days, let us be honest, confess our sin, and receive God’s promise of mercy.

 

Silence is kept for reflection.

 

God at the margins,

We have wandered far from your home;

again and again, we lose our way.

We turn inward, afraid of the world around us.

We forget that you have saved your people before

and promise to do so again.

Do not remember the deeds of our past,

but turn our faces toward the future,

where your forgiveness is sure,

your welcome is clear,

and your love overflows.

 

Like a hen who gathers her chicks, God embraces you in tender care.

Like manna in the desert, God feeds you with surprising mercy.

Like a loving parent, God runs to meet you again this day, forgiving your sins for the sake of + Christ, leading you from death into life.

 

*THE PEACE

Since God has reconciled with us in, with and through Jesus, let us then be reconciled with one another. The Peace of Christ be with you all. And also with you.

 

OFFERING OF MUSIC: I Hunger and Thirst- traditional Shaker song, setting by Kevin Siegfried

I hunger and thirst, I hunger and thirst after true righteousness. In what I’ve obtained, in what I’ve obtained my soul cannot rest. An ocean I see without bottom or shore; O feed me, I’m hungry, enrich me. I’m poor. I will cry unto God, I will never cease till my soul’s filled with love, perfect love and sweet peace.

 

CHILDREN’S TIME

ALL SING # 547 Go, My Children, With My Blessing (verse 1)

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word

FIRST READING: Isaiah 55:1-9

To those who have experienced long years in exile, the return to their homeland is a celebration of abundant life. God calls them into an everlasting covenant of love. Those who return to the Lord will enjoy new life and forgiveness, because God’s ways are not our ways.

 

1Ho, everyone who thirsts,

come to the waters;

and you that have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

3Incline your ear, and come to me;

listen, so that you may live.

I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

my steadfast, sure love for David.

4See, I made him a witness to the peoples,

a leader and commander for the peoples.

5See, you shall call nations that you do not know,

and nations that do not know you shall run to you,

because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,

for he has glorified you.

6Seek the LORD while he may be found,

call upon him while he is near;

7let the wicked forsake their way,

and the unrighteous their thoughts;

let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

We live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God.

Thanks be to God.

 

PSALM 63, Hymn # 696 O God, You Are My God Alone

 

SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Paul uses images from Hebrew story and prophecy to speak the truth of Jesus Christ: He is our rock, our water, our food, and our drink. Christ is the living sign of God’s faithfulness.

 

1I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.

6Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. 7Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” 8We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. 10And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 13No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

 

We proclaim Christ crucified—the wisdom and power of God.
Thanks be to God.

 

GOSPEL: Luke 13:1-9

Asked about current tragic events, Jesus turns a lesson about whether suffering is deserved into a hard call to obedience. He then tells a parable that holds out hope that the timeline for ultimate judgment will be tempered by patience.

 

1At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2[Jesus] asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way, they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

 

All of this is from God, who entrusts us with the message of reconciliation.

Praise be to you, Lord Christ.

 

A BRIEF TEACHING

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (from Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New

Zealand 1993)

 

Christ Jesus,

Child of Mary, God with us,

King and Suffering Servant,

High Priest and Lamb of God,

Teacher and Word,

living, suffering, dying and rising again,

you challenge, redeem and restore us.

 

Holy Spirit,

Breath of life,

Counsellor and Comforter,

Fire of God,

you inspire, sustain, and purify us.

Christ Jesus,

Child of Mary, God with us,

King and Suffering Servant,

High Priest and Lamb of God,

Teacher and Word,

living, suffering, dying and rising again,

you challenge, redeem and restore us.

Holy Spirit,

Breath of life,

Counsellor and Comforter,

Fire of God,

you inspire, sustain, and purify us.

Forming us in the nature of Christ,

transforming us with your gifts,

you bind us together in one body, your church.

God of all creation,

made known to us in Jesus Christ through the Holy

Spirit,

your boundless love exposes our rebellion and

 

A mother who will not abandon her child,

a father who welcomes the prodigal home,

you forgive, accept and embrace us

and call us into loving communion for ever.

In life and death we belong to you,

everlasting God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

         

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Seeking the grace, mercy, and love of almighty God, we offer our prayers for the church, for people in need, and for all of creation.

 

A brief silence.

 

Holy God, build up the body of Christ and cause the gifts of your Spirit to grow among us. Lead us to recognize your saving work through the spiritual practices you encourage. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

 

Water the earth with gentle rains and melting snow. Provide clean water for drinking, washing, and nourishing plants that will bear fruit for your creatures. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

 

Uphold people who speak your righteousness in the face of religious or political persecution. Receive martyrs into your everlasting peace. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

 

Provide relief for those suffering and in pain (especially). Grant wisdom to health care workers who seek to diagnose ailments, and bring healing to patients. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Promote unity within your church and among the nations. Uncover the common threads in our shared humanity, and keep us from making hasty judgments about others. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

 

Here other intercessions may be offered.

 

Knit together the communion of saints, and bind us to Christ, our head, as we commemorate this week: Oscar Romero; Lucy Filippini; Ludwig van Beethoven; Richard Allen; Charles Henry Brent; Tutilo; John Keble; Gladys of Wales; and John Climacus. We also remember this week the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, the mother of our Lord. Through the diversity of gifts present in our communities, help us to overcome our limitations and increase our understanding of ourselves and others. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

 

Reveal your will as you receive our prayers, and conform our ways to your ways; through the saving work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

INVITATION TO DISCIPLESHIP & STEWARDSHIP (Mark 8:36–37)    

Jesus says: What will it profit you to gain the whole world and forfeit your life?  Indeed, what can we give in return for our lives?

Let us offer our lives to the Lord.

 

During this time of offering you are encouraged to take a moment to be in prayer with God and reflect on what is means to be a student or disciple of Jesus Christ. The Gospel understanding of discipleship is a way of being in the world that affects every relationship. Disciples shape one another according to the action of the Spirit in their lives. The energy of the disciples flows from faith in what is unseen yet believed. At its very core, discipleship is a call to a love so radical that it never gives up on God, one’s neighbor, or one’s self. How is God calling you to use your gifts, talents, time and resources to love radically, especially as a part of this worshipping community?

 

Offerings and tithes will be collected by the ushers in the Narthex (the great entrance hall) following worship. If you would like to make an offering using your smartphone or tablet, go to www.SouthminsterChurch.org and click on the Donate link.

 

OFFERTORY: As the Water- John Williams

 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

God of compassion,

we praise you that you look upon our frail lives
with love and understanding,

and that you desire for us all
new life in Jesus Christ.

We are overwhelmed by your love,

which goes to the cross for us,
endures the grave,

and leads us to new life.
By your Spirit,
strengthen our souls

to be brave and bold in Christ’s service.
Take our offerings,

and use them and us for your purposes,
in the name of Jesus Christ,

our crucified and risen Lord, as we pray:

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

and the power

and the glory, forever.

 

*HYMN # 435 There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

 

BENEDICTION

 

POSTLUDE: Agua de Beber (Water to Drink)- Antonio Carlos Jobim

 

NOTES: Order of service and content is in accord with the Presbyterian Church’s Directory for Worship. Prayers are from the Sundays and Seasons (Year C), and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (2018).

 

 

COMMEMORATIONS THIS WEEK:

MAR

24                Oscar Romero (1924– 1980)

25                The Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1: 26– 38)

Lucy [Lucia] Filippini (1672– 1732)

26                Ludwig van Beethoven (1770– 1827)

Richard Allen (1760– 1831)

27                Charles Henry Brent (1862– 1929)

28                Tutilo (850– 915)

29                John Keble (1792– 1866)

Gladys of Wales (6th cent.)

30                John Climacus (c. 570– 649)

 

Presbyterian Church. Book of Common Worship. Presbyterian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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