March 18, 2018
Fifth Sunday in Lent :: Violet ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 51
L: Create in me a clean heart, O God,
P: and put a new and right spirit within me.
L: Do not cast me away from your presence;
P: Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
L: Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
P: And sustain in all of us a willing spirit.
O God of new life. As we anticipate the arrival of spring: as we continue our annual pilgrimage, marking time and the seasons, we see signs of newness of life. Yet the arrival of spring draws us closer to the cross. As we turn our hearts toward the remembrance of your final journey to Jerusalem, we pray for your presence. Walk with us as we seek to walk with you. Grant us understanding of your willing sacrifice, not to be exalted as an earthly high priest, but to become a savior for all. Guide us in this time of worship that we may honor your love, and understand your grace.
Today’s scripture themes focus on Jesus anticipation and willingness to face end of life issues. As Disciples, we deal with end of life. Did you know that through Disciples Care Network, not only are there hundreds of Affordable Senior Living Facilities you are a part of, but there are also Hospice Programs? Disciples are providing the kind of end of life care which truly makes a difference. These ministries offer settings of peace and dignity when medical intervention is no longer the best choice. As we prepare for Jesus’ journey to death, let us remember that others are making that same trip with the help and support of our church. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which make ministries like these possible.
Gracious Lord, we come bearing our gifts. We ask that you take them and use them to share and multiply your good news. Use these resources to let all the world know that end of life is not the end. Use these resources to draw all living things to you, and to make known the hope of everlasting life.
Jeremiah predicted it: “The days are coming when I will make a new covenant . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” We come to this table knowing the words of the promises of Jesus. Isn’t it reassuring to know that long before he broke the bread and lifted the cup, the covenant was foretold? It reminds us that God was in control, God is in control, and God will continue to be in control. Perhaps even more reassuring is the repeated promise of the new covenant which we celebrate as we gather at this table: “I will forgive and remember no more”. Come, remember, and celebrate the Good News of the new covenant of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior.
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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu