Written on the Heart

Rend Your Hearts: Claiming the Promise

Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B

That the gospel is countercultural is beyond debate. But texts like this one are so subtly against our way of thinking that we might not even realize the pull to deny this proclamation even as we preach it. Yet, how can we make such a claim about a magnificent vision of the kin-dom of God? It seems something that we all long for on a regular basis, particularly during a time of unrest and division. This is a utopia worth claiming, so why would we be reluctant?

This is the last of the “regular” Sundays of Lent for this year. Next Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday with its own set of concerns. So, what is left to say this week about “Rending Your Hearts”? The call to confession and repentance is never complete. We are in constant need of renewal and recommitment. So, don’t ease off in anticipation of a busy Holy Week.

Find ways of providing silence as a time of reflection. Granted, silence in an online format is difficult to maintain. So, consider images or music as a way of guiding the thinking and planning of the worshipers.

The key here is the development of habits that shape the heart. To say that something is written on the heart is to say that it is ingrained in the practices and the behaviors. So, what would the worship team like to suggest should become a habit for the congregation? Regular prayer? Bible reading? Acts of service? Perhaps there is space here for testimonies of those who have developed habits that help them keep the covenant with God. It doesn’t need to be dramatic, or sudden. It could be someone whose life represents the life of a disciple. Is there someone who could help the congregation picture this life?

Call to Worship

Hallelujah! We Are God’s People
(Based on Psalm 51:1-12 and Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Leader: We are alive to see this new day – Shout hallelujah my brothers and sisters.

People: Hallelujah! We are God’s people.

Leader: Behold, the Lord has made a new covenant with us. Our hearts and minds will be renewed and restored. Rejoice and be glad for now we will know and see God’s awesome power more clearly.

People: Hallelujah! We are God’s people.

Cynthia Bond Hopson, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 58.

Responsive Call to Worship

(inspired by Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The Lord is making a new covenant with the people of God.
Here in this place,
Christ writes the law of love on our hearts.
We are children of the living God.
Together, let us worship the Lord of Love!

written by Amy Loving, and posted on The Worship Closet: The Place for Creative Worship Ideas, http://worshipcloset.com/baptism-of-the-lord-sunday-year-b-words-for-worship/. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2015/03/call-to-worship-jeremiah-31-31-34.html

Opening Prayer

(based on Jeremiah 31: 31-34)

O God of our Hearts
You yearn to be so close to us
that we can know you in every breath,
in every hope, in every relationship.

Meet us here today and
teach us to recognize
the covenant of justice, peace and love
you have written on our hearts.

So may our desires become your desires,
our work become your work,
and our community
the place where you are sought and found.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

~ taken from “O God of Our Hearts: Prayers for the Fifth Sunday in Lent” written by Rev. Kathryn Matthews Huey and the Rev. Susan A. Blain. Posted on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways website. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/prayer-of-invocation-jeremiah-31.html

Prayer of Confession

Try as We Might, We Cannot Comprehend

Lord, we know Easter is coming soon and while we anxiously wait to celebrate your triumphant victory over sin and death, there are still difficult days between now and then. There is nothing perfect about us, yet you beckon us with hands that soon will be scarred by betrayal, greed, selfishness, pettiness, pride, and apathy. You see us and our imperfections with compassionate and patient eyes as we struggle to rid our lives of all the worldly things that distort, distract, and entangle us. As the cross looms ahead, our eyes and our focus are on you and you alone for our redemption and salvation.

Cynthia Bond Hopson, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 153.

Prayer

God of Love, God of Peace
This fractured word
Cries out in pain
Burns deep into my soul
And challenges me
To make a difference

God of Love, God of Peace
God of this world
Scarred by grief and tears
Ignorance and fear
Soften hearts of stone
And begin with mine

God of Love, God of Peace
Create within me
A heart for people
A desire for change
For new beginnings
To start this day

Written by John Birch and posted on his Faith and Worship website, http://www.faithandworship.com/. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/prayer-hearts-of-stone.html

Prayer of Petition

(inspired by Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Gracious God
We come to you broken –
from that which confines us:
the prejudice buried,
weighted down with fear
distorted self-protection
breaking me, breaking you.

And, so we come to you seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts,
that we may be your people.

On this night/day we pray for those who weep,
who are struggling from lack of
clean water
healthy food,
quality, affordable health care.
Women who want to make decisions
about their families, their lives,
their bodies, how and when, and with whom.

And, so we come to you seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts,
that we may be your people.

Compassionate God,
God of covenant,
God of love,
We come to you tired,
yearning for peace and harmony.

Loving God, we offer up our suffering
and come to you seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts,
that we may be your people.

Gentle God,
God of covenant,
of Love,
Glorify us through Your love.
Draw us to you, into you.
Anoint us with your peace.

Write your compassion in our hearts that we may love as you love.

Amen.

Written by Terri, and posted on RevGalBlogPals, A Place for Prayer, http://revgalprayerpals.blogspot.ca/. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/09/prayer-jeremiah-31-31-34.html

God, We’re in a Broken World

A Lament for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

God of weary years that aren’t quite over,
God of silent tears, now cried aloud,
Thou who has brought us thus far along the way. *

God,
There are children dying at the hands of the law,
Hearts being broken by loved ones,
Economies suffering,
Prisons opening while schools close,
Attacks on healthcare,
Attacks on emotional disparities, and it hurts Lord.
There doesn’t seem to be enough food to feed the homeless.
Lord, sex-crimes are at all-time high.
Divorce actually makes more sense than life commitment…

God, we’re in a broken world, and it hurts! But God, we know you know all about brokenness. Only a loving Savior could show us how to prepare for brokenness.

God, we know that you’ve been here. We know that you’ve lived in a world that needed redemption, and understand our anxiety, our emotional journey, our trauma, and our victories.

Show us how to hold on to you. Show us how to navigate through the weight of the anticipation of our individual, as well as collective, God-given assignments in a world of brokenness. We need you.

We’re grateful that struggle is a foreign concept to you.
Teach us how to love.
Teach us how to trust.

We know what to expect on the other side of “through,” but, Father, keep us in the “going.”

In the Name of the Suffering Savior, we ask these things,

Amen.

*Adapted from “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson, (1921).
V
alerie Boyer, Lenten Liturgical Resources from Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.

Benediction

We Will Glorify

Lord, we will glorify your name and confidently go forth where you lead. We bless and honor your holy name. Amen.

Cynthia Bond Hopson, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 214.

Benediction

(based on Jeremiah 31: 33-34)

God will write a new covenant on our hearts
God will be our God and we will be God’s people
No longer shall we teach one another,
or say to each other, “Know the Lord.”
For we shall all know God.
In the name of God the Source of Life,
the Word of Truth, and the Spirit of Love.
Amen

Written by the Rev. Dr. Letty Russell and posted on the Presbyterian Promise website. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/10/benediction-jeremiah-31-31-34.html

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Palm/Passion Sunday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Maundy Thursday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Good Friday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Purple

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Palm/Passion Sunday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Maundy Thursday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes Good Friday, Year B – Lectionary Planning Notes