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Who Knows the Way to Freedom? 21st Century Worship Resources for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Gathering Meditation: Who Knows the Way to Freedom?
(Based on Numbers 21:4-9)
Who knows the way to freedom?

When we accept prolonged mistreatment. When someone else directs us so often we forget how to think for ourselves. Sometimes we don't recognize the clear path to freedom.

When a person like Moses leads us out of bondage, sometimes we turn on Moses. Sometimes we balk when freedom demands sacrifice. Sometimes we forget how much we complained about the pain bondage heaped on us for years.

When a person like Moses guides us toward freedom, sometimes we get mad at Moses when we don't get blessed soon enough. Sometimes we forget that we cried to God for 400 years for less freedom than we actually have now.

Sometimes we want a forty-year problem resolved in thirty minutes -- as if life were a TV show. Sometimes we need to admit that freedom is hard, but bondage is worse.

Sometimes we need to stop complaining and start praying . . .

. . . if we want to find the way to freedom.


Call to Worship: Let the Redeemed of the Lord Praise
(Based on Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22)

Leader: Let the redeemed of the Lord offer praise!

People: We praise you, O God, for life and breath and strength!

Leader: Let the redeemed of the Lord offer praise!

People: We praise you, O God for family and friends, for food and shelter!

Leader: Let the redeemed of the Lord offer praise!

People: We praise you, O God for a place to worship and friends on the journey!

Leader: Let the redeemed of the Lord offer praise!

All: We praise you, O God, for loving us and claiming us as your own. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer
(Based on Ephesians 2:1-10)

Jesus, light of the world, hear your people pray.
Once, we danced to the world's drumbeat.
Once, we swayed with the rhythm of the world.
Once, we gorged our flesh on empty pleasures.
Once, hopeless hours became endless nights.
Once, we lived without you.

But out of your great love for us, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to save us.
We bless you for your immeasurable kindness.
We thank you for your enduring love.
We rejoice that you offer the gift of salvation.
Thank you for creating us in Christ Jesus for good works.
Amen.

Response to the Word
(for John 3:14-17)
Leader: At a time when humankind had exhausted its own efforts to know and be known by God, the Word became flesh and lived among us. (John 1:14) Jesus came to us; God with us, revealing God to us.

People: Jesus came to us -- the ultimate act of hospitality.

Leader: Jesus remained with us for a time, in spite of our dull understanding and willful acts against God. He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. He humbled himself and submitted to the humiliation of death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

People: Jesus came to us -- the ultimate act of self-sacrifice.

Leader: Jesus came to us as the ultimate expression of love.

All: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Categories: Worship, Worship Planning, Lectionary Calendar, Services and Liturgies, 21st Century Africana, 21st Century Liturgy, Lent