14

March 2021

Mar

Look Up and Live

Rend Your Hearts: Claiming the Promise

Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B

This is another occasion of Jesus predicting his death and the doorway that it opened for all of us. And by “another occasion,” we don’t mean how repetitive, but instead we mean we need to pay attention here. This is important. Worship, then, should be centered around the offering that Christ makes to all.

While the central text for this week’s service is an odd story from the Torah, it is really a service about commitment to Christ. Rather than a snake to which we look up to be healed, we look up to Christ. Jesus himself, made the allusion to the snake, so we’re running with it.

The question is, “How do we worship on this day?” It depends on what is going to happen to the story from Numbers. If it is going to be an interesting background to a sermon about commitment to Christ, then over-emphasis on the snakes would be counterproductive. If, however, there will be attention to this story as a part of the Exodus saga, then by all means find ways to connect with the poisons that we encounter on our discipleship path today. Where are we bitten by anger or pride or bitterness in the world in which live? More important for those who gather for worship today, how does Christ provide an antidote to these poisonous snakes? How does attention to Christ, to our prayer life, to our support within the body, to our studying of the Bible and our faith together, help us get over the bites that inflict us? And how can worship today provide an experience of that healing? What can be done in prayer time to give folks the time and direction to identify the poison? What rituals can you perform within the context of worship that help us heal? And finally, of course, how can we call for a new or renewed commitment to following Christ as we worship today? This is a good space for an altar call of some sort!

Opening Prayer

Enable Us to Behold You

Gracious God, so often we have missed your presence because we are looking for you clothed in a particular way. Let this time of worship be an encounter with you that will enable us to behold you in all the people we meet and all the situations we greet. You are from everlasting to everlasting, so we are confident that you are here; help us to be aware of your holy presence. O Lord, enrich this act of worship with the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

T. Anne Daniel, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 130.

Looking Up

(inspired by Numbers 21: 4-9; John 3: 14-21)

Too often, too easily, our eyes are drawn down, God,
to the suffering of victims
and the pain of perpetrators,
to the wounds we inflict on others
and the wounds we inflict on ourselves.
We need to see these things and pray,

But, we also need our eyes to be lifted, God,
to the signs of your life among us,
to the touch of your healing on our souls,
to the cross that casts its liberating shadow
across all human affairs.

We need our eyes to be lifted, God,
so our hearts may be filled with faith
and hope
and love

Amen.

— written by John van de Laar, and posted on his excellent Sacredise website. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/prayer-looking-up.html

Prayer of Confession

Call to Reconciliation
In becoming one of us, God became poor so we could receive the riches of mercy. In coming to us, God took on our death, so we could be made alive together with Christ. Come, offer your confessions, knowing that by grace you have been saved.

Unison Prayer of Confession
The words we speak all too often do not show you in our lives, God of our pilgrimage. We spend so much time boasting to others, they imagine we have no need for you. We grumble impatiently when you don't respond immediately to our requests, but are slow to sing your praises. We mutter under our breath about the behavior of those around us, when we could be asking them if there is some way we could serve them.

It is on our journey to the cross and the tomb that you fill us with the riches of your mercy, Steadfast Love! You do so, not because of anything we have done, but because of the compassion which flows from your heart wounded by our failings. As we open our lives to receive your forgiveness, may we turn to the Light which brings us life, following Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, every step of the way.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
How much does God love us?
Enough to send the divine heart, hope, and spirit to us,
not to condemn us, but to save us.
Not by our speaking or doing,
but by God's good and precious grace are we saved.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

— written by Thom Shuman, and posted on his Lectionary Liturgies blog. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/act-of-confession-lent-4-b.html

In Remembrance of Important Things

A Pastoral Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Sweet and precious God,
Almighty and awesome in glory,
yet so near and so concerned about our hearts,
thank you for knowing and loving us with an everlasting love.

Time and time again, we have messed up and relived the oh-so-common
"if you get me out of this, I will never do it again."
We have attempted to bargain a favor on a promissory note that we make void daily.
But thank you God, that even though you know we are headed to sin again,
you not only still love us unconditionally,
but you offer us forgiveness, the opportunity to have a clean record, a "get out of jail free" card
that bears the title: new grace AND mercy every morning.

So, allow us, Oh God, to not become complacent in our daily journey.
Forgive us for not moving as fast as we should have in the past,
and for not helping someone in need when we could have.
You have given us the spirit of discernment,
but please give us the wisdom to see beyond the transitory things of life
and find you and your sustaining presence, that we may be a blessing to others.
You know the silent cries in our hearts,
we know that you have already met the need,
now God tap into our hearts' true desires.

Touch families, friends, and most importantly our neighbors
because when you are blessing our neighbors,
we know you are in the neighborhood and you are headed to our house.

So, thank you, for being sovereign in our lives,
giving us the power to speak over our own lives, the lives around us,
and to love one another with the love of Christ.

We will continue to give you glory, honor, and praise,
believing that your grace is sufficient enough for us,
and your love endures forever.

It is in the matchless name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

Harrison Morrow, Lenten Liturgical Resources from Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.

Prayers of the People: Lent 4 B

(based on Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21)

Heavenly Father, when we feel that we have lost direction as a people, or even as a person, help us remember your presence in our wilderness journeys.

The day of the Lord is coming: He abounds in steadfast love.

Great Deliverer, your steadfast love and wonderful works have spared us of troubles known and unknown, for you are in love with us.

The day of the Lord is coming: He abounds in steadfast love.

Holy Spirit, help us remember the great work that Christ accomplished for us, which no other person could perform. Help us confess with gladness, “by grace we have been saved.”

The day of the Lord is coming: He abounds in steadfast love.

Lord Jesus Christ, gift of mercy from God the Father, you love us even when we are most unlovable, lost, and afraid. Thank you for your grace.

The day of the Lord is coming: He abounds in steadfast love.

Lord Jesus Christ, lifted up on the cross like the serpent in the wilderness, lift up our eyes to see you as the Lord and Savior, loving God's whole world.

The day of the Lord is coming: He abounds in steadfast love.

We bring before you those whom you love with special needs, known to us as family and friends ____.

The day of the Lord is coming: He abounds in steadfast love.

Though we remember we are dust and to dust we shall return, we remember that we are your precious dust. Amen.

— written by Paul Sauer, and posted on the Lutheran Forum website, http://www.lutheranforum.org/. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/prayer-of-intercession-lent-4-b.html

Benediction

Go, Go, Go

People made by God: Go, Go, Go. Go thanking and telling others of God’s goodness.

Darlene A. Moore, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 130.

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