April 7, 2019

April 7, 2019

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Isaiah 43:16-21

Philippians 3:4b-14

John 12:1-8


Call to Worship  (from Isaiah 43)

One:  We’ve come to praise God, who is about to do a new thing.
Many: Together we rejoice in God, who makes a way in the wilderness.
One: It’s the Holy One who puts rivers in the desert.
Many: God’s people celebrate and declare “Praise!”
One: It’s our Creator who gives drink to the chosen people.
Many: So let us worship the Lord our God.

Opening Prayer 

God of abundant gifts, you are a Way-making Wonder.  Even through the tough patches, you create safe passage and lead your people into the new world.  Today we stand to give you honor and glory.  So accept our sacrifice of praise and fill us with your love, which will not let us go.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (from John 12)

In John’s Gospel, Jesus makes his way to Bethany to the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.  While they were preparing for supper, Mary took a pound of perfumed ointment and poured it over Jesus’ feet.

What an amazing act! Mary took what may have been her most precious possession (certainly a costly one), and extravagantly poured it out.

Have you ever known of anyone doing something so generous?  (If you’re willing, ask people to turn to one another and share a story of astonishing generosity – one they’ve read/seen, received, or provided)

I wonder if Mary was so thrilled to see Jesus again after he raised her brother, Lazarus, from the grave (John 11), she could barely WAIT to show her love to this Savior?

I wonder when we imagine someday standing before Jesus, what out-pouring of love we would want to make?

This time of our offering is your opportunity to share a symbol of that love with your check or folded bills or coins.  Today, I invite you to join me in making a gift to declare what it means to know Jesus as our Savior.

(consider playing “I Can Only Imagine” for offertory: (here’s one possibility) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=276&v=ZNDEyxEMNp0)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Sometimes we find ourselves silenced when we recognize how much you give us, Gracious God.  The air we breathe, the food we eat, the life of Jesus and our own lives.  Most of all, we rejoice in your love which surrounds us!
So we bring these gifts, tithes and offerings to say “thank you!”  Please recognize them as the fruits of our lives, and use them to spread your love to others right here and all around the world.

Invitation to Communion  (from Philippians 3)

In this Lenten season, our hearts and minds turn more often to the reality of the cross.  Some of us may see the cross directly before us, while for others, it’s a symbol we rarely see and barely take time to consider.

But Paul’s letter, written to the people of Philippi with the shadow of Jesus’ cross still impacting his life, lays out his argument for giving up his spectacular resume.  Not even being “a Hebrew born of Hebrews”, or a legal leader (a Pharisee) is of first importance.  Rather, he turns his back on all that in order to know Christ.

Here at this Table, we all have opportunity to turn our backs on what would separate us, and come close to remember Jesus’ life, sufferings, death, and resurrection.  Let your eyes focus on the cross as you recognize your richest gains count as loss when God calls to us in Christ Jesus.

Join me as we prepare for this feast, singing Isaac Watts’ famous hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (CH #195)