Lent 2018 Worship Planning Series

Fourth Sunday in Lent 2018, Year B

Today we celebrate what it means to continue into the stage of Rehab where we start to see some real recovery taking place. We’re not all the way there, any more than we’re at Easter in just the fourth Sunday in Lent. And indeed, the degree to which we may start to experience recovery during rehab is often mirrored by a nearly equal sense of how far we still have to go, what is still not working as it really should, or, in this case, how we are still living out sinful, destructive patterns of behavior that still need to be addressed. But we still have some reason to rejoice.

— Fourth Sunday in Lent

AH = The Africana Hymnal

BOW = United Methodist Book of Worship

CCLI = Christian Copyright Licensing International, SongSelect

TFWS = The Faith We Sing (2000)

UMH = United Methodist Hymnal

W&S = Worship & Song (2011)

SOZ = Songs of Zion


If you have a choir and are singing these hymns, the choir processes to surround the congregation while singing:

“All People That on Earth Do Dwell” UMH 75
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” UMH 89, st. 1-3

Choir processes to the choir loft/area during a musical interlude after st. 3, modulating one half step up. Then all sing:

“Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” st 4 UMH 89 or
“Come, Now Is the Time to Worship” W&S 3176
“Here I Am to Worship” W&S 3177

Prayer for Illumination

After “Joyful, Joyful”
Mighty is our chorus,
mightier still your love reigning over us.
May the words we now receive from the Scriptures
extend your reign in our lives,
moving us with all creation
to the fullness of the salvation you have for us
now and in the age to come. Amen.

After “Here I Am to Worship”
Worship leader:
O God, we are here to worship,
here to declare the beauty and love
we have seen and known in Jesus.
We stand in awe before your throne,
and wait with joy for you
to speak to us today.
So speak, Lord.
Your servants are listening. Amen.


[Jesus said to Nicodemus…]

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in wilderness, so also must the Son of Humankind be lifted up, so that everyone putting their trust in him would have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that God gave the only-begotten son, so that everyone putting their trust in him would not be destroyed, but have eternal life. For God did not send the son into the world to put the world on trial, but so the world would be saved through him. Whoever puts their trust in him is not judged. But whoever isn’t placing their trust [in him] has been put on trial already because they have not put their trust in the name of the only-begotten son of God.

Sermon Recovery

Call to Repent and Continue in Recovery

People may be invited to gaze at a depiction of Christ on the cross, whether on a scree, or printed in the bulletin. As they gaze, ask them to become aware of at least one habitual practice in their life that puts Jesus there and at least one way they see God already at work in their lives to free them from the sway of the habitual practice. Invite them to make two copies and give one copy to one other person with whom they will check in during the coming week to share how they have (or haven’t) seen God freeing them, and what has happened as a result. Midweek formation groups will be another opportunity to check in, pray for one another, and encourage one another.

Music during Call to Repent and Continue in Recovery
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” UMH 298 or 299 or
“The Wonderful Cross” CCLI #3148435

Prayers of the People

We are still in the wilderness.
We are learning the way,
and getting better at following.
So now we’re even more aware
of how much more we have to learn,
and how much farther we have to travel
to keep up, and keep keeping up,
with where Jesus leads.

And so we pray:
Forgive us where we go astray,
and keep us on the path of life.

Because we know or know of people still kept in poverty or slavery,
some in fear from abusers, terrorists, and oppressors,
some facing addiction,
and some targeted for unjust treatment because of who they are;
and we now see how our own actions or inaction
leave things as they are, or make them worse;

Forgive us where we go astray,
and keep us on the path of life.

With those among us and those around us who are leaders
in religious, political, economic, and social life;
with our families, friends, and neighbors;
and with all who sustain and protect our lives
as military, civilian workers, and first responders;

Forgive us where we go astray,
and keep us on the path of life.

With all who need your healing power,
and all who offer healing through their skill and presence;

Forgive us where we go astray,
and keep us on the path of life.

With all creatures with whom we share this planet,
those who sustain our lives, and those who threaten us,
those whose lives we sustain, and those whose lives we threaten;

Forgive us where we go astray,
and keep us on the path of life.

With Jesus and all of his disciples
from generation to generation:

The Lord’s Prayer

Receive the prayers of your people, most merciful God.
In your compassion, forgive our sins,
encourage us in the work you are already doing to free us,
and keep us faithful to our journey’s end;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


In the name of Jesus, you are forgiven.

In the name of Jesus, you are forgiven.

All: Glory to God! Amen!


Forgiven, yet aware of how far we all still need to grow,
let us offer the peace of Christ to one another and our gifts to God.

The people exchange the peace of Christ as the offering is collected and presented if Communion is celebrated. If Communion is not celebrated, the presentation of the collected gifts is part of the Act of Thanksgiving, below.

Music during the Offering and Peace
“We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” UMH 418 or
“Jesus, Thine All-Victorious Love” UMH 422

Act of Thanksgiving (if Communion is not celebrated)

As the offering is presented, the congregation stands and is asked to offer thanks to God with one or both of the following:

O God, Our Help in Ages Past” UMH 117
“Restless” CCLI #5762008 AND/OR

The Great Thanksgiving BOW 60-61 or

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We are yours, O God.

Bless the Lord!
God’s holy name be praised!

Praised in heaven, praised in earth,
praised throughout your creation
is your name, Holy Triune God.

From generation to generation,
your healing love is known among all peoples.

You do not come to put us on trial,
but that the whole world may be saved.

So with prophets, leaders, and faithful people,
we, with all creation, cry “Holy!”

Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is Christ who comes in your name!
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are you, Jesus Christ,
Word made flesh.
Son of humankind, lifted on the cross,
in your wounds, we see our wounding,
In your cries, we hear our curses.
And in your torn flesh, we feel
the lashes we inflict on others,
and on you.

Have mercy on us, and heal us, Jesus Christ.

Merciful are you for coming among us
and for offering yourself to us
in this holy meal
to fill our hungry and erring souls,
and to empower us to break free from Satan’s lies
and follow where you lead,
loving God and neighbor
fully as ourselves.

With your first disciples, on the night of your betrayal into death,
you took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it, saying:
Take and eat this, my body given for you.

Then you took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it, saying:
Drink this, my blood of the new covenant for you.

Even so,
here and now,
come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.

Come upon these gifts
and upon us.
Make them be for us
Christ’s body and blood,
that we who receive them may be for all
the body of Christ enlivened by his blood.

Come, Holy Spirit.
Make us one.

Come, Holy Spirit.
Unite us with you.

Come, Holy Spirit.
Revive us!

Dwell in us, O Christ,
strengthen us in your ways
and continue to drive us to your cross
where we behold you
and see ourselves for what we are:
Sinners, loved and being saved by you
now and until that day
when we shall feast with you in new creation.

To you, All-Merciful Creator,
through Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit
we raise our cry of thanks:
All praise, and honor, and glory are yours,
blessed Triune God,
now and forever.


The Breaking of the Bread and Distribution

Music during Communion
“Love Lifted Me” W&S 3101 or
“Son Was Lifted Up” CCLI #7066055 (omit chorus 2)

Thanksgiving after Communion
Pastor and People:

Jesus, thank you!
You have offered us yourself.
In bread we have broken
and wine we have poured
we see how we continue to break
and wound your world.
In receiving it as your body and blood
we are restored and strengthened
to be agents of hope and healing.
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
continue your work of recovery in and through us,
that in and through us all may see you
and live. Amen.


Invite the congregation to face the back of the sanctuary, toward the exits.

“My Life Flows On” TFWS 2212

Deacon or Lay Leader (from the back of the worship space)
We’re still in the wilderness.
But we’re in recovery.
We know we’re still broken,
but we also know we’re getting better,
more loving, more just,
more like Jesus.

Jesus is in us.
The Spirit is moving among us
and driving us out of here
to keep living in the recovery
God is working among us.

Go in the peace and restoring power of our Triune God.

Postlude Variations on “My Life Flows On”