Sunday February 18, 2018
Year B, First Sunday in Lent
First Sunday in Lent :: Purple ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 25
L: To you, O God, We lift up our souls.
P: Teach us your ways, O LORD.
L: Lead us in your truth, and teach us, for you are the God of our salvation;
P: and we will wait for you all the day long.
L: Do not remember the sins of our youth or our transgressions, O God;
P: But remember us according to your steadfast love.
Invocation (from Genesis and Mark):
On this First Sunday in Lent, O God, as we come into your presence, we remember. We remember the forty days of rain, which covered the earth, we remember the forty days of temptation in the wilderness. And as we set our face toward Jerusalem in this season of preparation and waiting, we remember the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Help us, O God, in this time of worship to know your ways, to understand your teachings, and to hear your word. Allow us the blessing of angels to wait upon us, and grant us the confidence which shines through the rainbow, that your promises are everlasting. God of Mercy and Grace, pour your love upon us this day as we strive to remember you, through the hardships, for good.
Today marks the beginning of the “Week of Compassion”, in which we support and honor our ministry of response and care. In the midst of natural disaster and flood, it is hard for the victim to see the presence of God, or remember and claim the promise of the rainbow. Sure, we know that God has promised not to destroy all the earth with flood, but when you are surrounded by water, misery, and death, it is hard to claim the promise. Week of Compassion is one of the expressions of the rainbow. When there is nothing but loss, hopelessness and despair after the flood, it is the Week of Compassion which is there: Responding; Comforting; Pointing the way back to wholeness and hope. When we give to the Week of Compassion, we are making a rainbow for someone who will experience a total sense of loss and abandonment sometime this year. We will now receive not only the tithes which support our ministries, but offerings which make our shared Week of Compassion Ministry possible.
O God of hope. You call us through the times of trial and temptation to a new future, where you reside. As we offer our gifts to you this day, make them into the beginnings of new hopeful futures where there is currently loss and despair. Use these gifts, we pray, O God, to paint signs of hope for those who need them.
In Peter’s first letter to the exiles, he reminds Christians everywhere that “Christ suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.” This table of love and remembrance was instituted so that we could have a place to remember. Not just to think or dwell on Christ’s sacrifice, but to have something tangible: bread that we feel in our hands, not pierced as Christ’s; and a cup we can share, not filled with the bitterness of sorrow, but with the sweet promise of life abundant. As we come to Christ’s table, let us give thanks for not only the sacrifice, but for the privilege of being reminded that God is with us.
All material copyright 2018 The Jubilee Fund, Inc. Permission granted to reproduce and use any of the above for Churches and Congregations to the glory of God without requirement of compensation or notification.
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