To be gathered up in Jesus is not simply to take it easy, but to find a community and a place of service. This week, we celebrate fruitfulness. We don’t serve out of fear, or even duty. We serve because that is our purpose, and we are most ourselves when we are in service, bearing fruit in community. So, find ways to lift up acts of service and moments of grace between and within our body and beyond.
Call to Worship
LEADER: A great teacher once said, “When Jesus Christ calls us, he bids us come and die” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship). We are the people who have responded to this call.
LEFT SIDE: Through Christ, we want to die to the fears that keep us from loving.
RIGHT SIDE: Through Christ, we want to die to the stubbornness that keeps us from sharing our gifts.
LEFT SIDE: Through Christ, we want to die to seeking our own success and salvation in disregard for the good of all God’s children.
RIGHT SIDE: This is God’s promise, that if we die with Christ, we will also rise with Christ.
ALL: God be praised for the glorious promise of new life in Christ. Alleluia.
Ruth C. Duck, in Bread for the Journey, edited by Ruth C. Duck (Pilgrim Press, 1981), 35-36.
A General Prayer for the Day
Third Sunday in Lent
O God of everflowing grace, you fill our every need and satisfy our every hunger. As we come before you to feast on your goodness our mouths are filled with praise for your wonderful Name.
From generation to generation you have sustained your people. In the deserts of life you bring forth springs of water. When we encounter the storms of life, you are our refuge. You nurture us as your own beloved, but we do not bear fruit. We are never satisfied. We seek out the comforts of this earth and do dishonor to you, the Giver of every good gift. We are liable for judgement, for our guilt is great. Spare your wrath from falling on us, O merciful God. Forgive our sin and free us to follow with joy in your righteous ways.
Led and sustained by your Spirit, your Church has continued to this day. Anoint us with that same Spirit that we may be your witnesses, calling the nations of the world to run to you, the Holy One of Israel.
Your tender mercy and compassion extends beyond our ability to comprehend it. We commit to your loving care this day our loved ones whom we have named. O God, be their help. Take them in the shadow of your wings; uphold them with your right hand and give them strength to bear their trials. Give healing to the sick, peace to the dying, and comfort those who morn.
We know that those who call upon your Name rejoice. Help us rejoice anew as we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Timothy J. Crouch, OSL, Nancy B. Parks, OSL, Chris E. Visminas, Mark R. Babb, OSL, And Also With You: Worship Resources Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year C (OSL Publications, 1994), 51.
A Benediction for Lent
LEADER: Go into the world in faith!
PEOPLE: Trusting God to lead you, trusting people to receive you.
LEADER: Go into the world with hope!
PEOPLE: With God’s presence before you and human dreams to carry you.
LEADER: Go into the world with love!
PEOPLE: Serving with those in whom Christ lives, and laboring for those for whom Jesus died.
LEADER: Go in Faith, Hope, and Love!
William R. Wolfe, in Bread for the Journey, edited by Ruth C. Duck (Pilgrim Press, 1981), 39.