For Sunday March 13, 2016
Year C, Fifth Sunday in Lent
Fifth Sunday in Lent :: Purple ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Isaiah 43
L: Thus says the LORD, I am about to do a new thing,
do you not perceive it?
P: The LORD will make a way in the wilderness,
L: And rivers in the desert.
P: Even the wild animals will honor the LORD.
L: For the LORD gives water in the desert
to give drink to God’s chosen people,
P: The people who God formed and protects.
L: The people who were made to declare praise to the LORD.
P: PRAISE THE LORD!
We come before you, O God, as those who dream of a better day. We seek your reign O God, where mouths are filled with laughter and tongues with shouts of joy. Yet we are a people who also mourn and grieve; and we bring that sadness and hopelessness before you, O God. We pray that those who sow tears will reap joy. We pray that those who come together today are aware of your presence, and filled with your spirit. Guide and receive our Worship this day, fill us with your praise that we may go out with shouts of joy.
In John’s Gospel, we encounter the story of Mary anointing Jesus with a pound of pure nard, and Judas’ reaction. Regardless of the motivation of Judas, we have those reactions ourselves. Why would we spend all we do to maintain a building or provide worship services or transportation when there are so many poor? Sometimes it seems like such poor stewardship. And yet, we must recall that one of the things we have been called to do is to teach the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is how we do that teaching. And yes, it costs money that could go to the poor. I think the trick is to not spend ALL of what we are given on worship or buildings, or transportation; but to also care for the poor. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which make ALL of our ministries possible.
We confess, O God that sometimes we are not the absolute best managers of the many gifts you have given us. But we admit that we are doing our best. We give you thanks for the many gifts represented here today, and ask that you bless them. Help us to use them in ways which will increase your reign on earth and glorify your name.
The Apostle Paul’s “press on toward the goal” speech in Philippians reminds us that even though we might be “flawless under the law” and “blameless” according to some faith tradition, it is nothing compared to knowing the blessings of Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us that he does “not have a righteousness of [his] own which comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ.” Here at this table is where we meet Jesus the Christ and receive that righteousness. Here is where we are made righteous as we eat, drink, and remember Christ. Here is where we are forgiven. Come to the table and share the Lord.
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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