Sunday March 11, 2018
Year B, Fourth Sunday in Lent
Fourth Sunday in Lent :: Violet ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 107
L: Give thanks to the LORD, for God is good;
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever.
L: When we cry out to the LORD in times of trouble;
P: The LORD saves us from distress.
L: Let us thank the LORD for God’s wonderful works,
P: And tell of God’s deeds with songs of joy.
Almighty and wondrous God, you gave us your law from Mount Sinai. We have heard it and seek to heed it. Though we know that as a creation people have failed to completely keep your law, our knowledge of it gives us comfort. Your precepts and guidance give our lives structure and strength. As we continue our Lenten Journey, turning our faces to Jerusalem, we ask again for your guidance and blessing. Help us to know in this time of worship your presence, your comfort, and your truth.
Ephesians 2:8 and 9 read: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God–not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” We come to this part of our worship service ready to talk about bringing our gifts. But today the apostle reminds us of God’s gift. No amount of giving can earn grace, only faith. And no amount of giving can repay the value of that grace. We give as we have received, as an indication of our thankfulness to God, whose giving knows no ending.
Let us now receive the tithes and offerings which help to support ministries which bring life and grace to all.
Almighty God, who reigns over all the earth, we bring these gifts, we pray you will bless and multiply them, we pray that you will use them that all of the world might find new life in Christ. We offer these gifts in Christ’s name, and by his grace.
Everyone knows John 3:16. It is perhaps the most universally known Bible verse. Yet the verse which follows might be even more valuable. Do you know what John 3:SEVENTEEN says? “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Too often we focus on the personal actions in 3:16: “whosoever” and gloss over not only the world actions in 17, but also the reminder. Christ was not sent to CONDEMN, but to save. That is why we gather at this table: to remember that Christ’s blood was shed for FORGIVENESS of sins. Believe in Christ. Believe in God who forgives. Accept Christ’s invitation to grace and wholeness as we break the bread and drink from the cup.
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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