Sunday March 26, 2017
Year A, Fourth Sunday in Lent
Fourth Sunday in Lent :: Purple ::
1 Samuel 16:1-13 :: Psalm 23 :: Ephesians 5:8-14 :: John 9:1-41
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Psalm 23 (NIV)
L: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
P: He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads be beside still waters;
L: He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
P: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me.
L: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
P: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the hours of the LORD my whole life long.
Wonderful and Eternal, LORD God, Almighty. The days are growing longer, the sunlight seems to warm us, and in the light we see new life coming forth. We marvel at the seasons, at the work of your hand. We marvel at the way you bring life out of death and nothingness. We come together seeking light from you. Help us to see your goodness with renewed eyes. Let us hear your truth and worship the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ
Ephesians 5:8 and 9 read “For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light – for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
Ministers and Pastors throughout the Christian Church can resonate with Paul’s sentiments. Every pastor I know recognizes that they came out of darkness and are seeking to live as light. Yet the modern Pastorate is filled with modern stresses and pressures. Because of financial pressures, we are losing Pastors. Every year good pastors start their ministries with insurmountable challenges and a real sense of loneliness after the community and care of Seminary Education. Too often, before long, good pastors make a decision to become insurance agents, teachers, counsellors, and small business owners. With that decision, the light they had become is dimmed.
Yet there are ministries among us, like the Bethany Fellowship, which take new pastors and bring them together regularly to be in community, to support one another, to encourage each other to remain light to the world. Already our retention level is up, this is truly good news for the church and its future. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which help to make ministries like the Bethany Fellowship possible.
Generous and loving God, We love and claim the call to live as children of light. We bring these gifts today to encourage all that is good and right. We pray that you will use and empower these gifts to make a difference in the world. Guard and protect our pastors from darkness, and help us all to live this week and beyond as sources of light. We offer these gifts and this prayer in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus asked the man born blind, the one he had recently healed “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” After some brief dialogue the man answered: “Lord, I believe.” While not exactly the same, the dialogue between Jesus and the man represents the whole test of what it takes to join at Christ’s table here in this church. “Do you believe?” then you’ve passed the test and are welcome here. Let us join together in worshiping 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