March 22, 2020

March 22, 2020

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Lent IV

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm 23

 Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

You might use CH 78 or CH 79 as a sung call to worship, with the choir
singing verse 1, congregation singing verses 2-4, and the choir responding
with verse 5 in full voice.

If you don’t have a choir, consider the whole congregation singing verses 1 and 5, with antiphonal singing of the other three (either 2 sides of the congregation, or men and women).

Call to Worship  (inspired by Psalm 23)
One:  We gather to worship our Shepherding God,
Many:  for our Shepherd guides and leads us.
One:  We celebrate because our Comforter holds us close,
Many:  ever-present God quiets our fears and allays our fears.
One:  We’re here to worship the Lover of all life,
Many: whose goodness and unfailing love will keep us
all the days of our lives.

Opening Prayer
Loving, Comforting, Shepherding God,
We trust in you to provide all we need.
Renew in us the promises of your tender care, that we truly shall not want.
Restore our souls in this hour of worship, that we might go from this place
to love you and love our neighbors.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (from John 9)

The scripture reading of John 9 provides a lengthy story of Jesus’ healing of a man born blind. Confusion reigns when the man’s sight is restored after Jesus mixes his own spit with the dust, making mud to pack on the blind man’s eyes.

Over the centuries, Christians have recognized it’s not always those who are without sight who are truly blind.

Jesus gave the gift of sight to the man, knowing it would be a sure way for the man, Jesus’ disciples, and those confronting the man, to come face-to-face with the work Jesus did.  When confronted, the man finally declared,  “one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).

We receive gifts, as well.  Perhaps none of us have received such an amazing gift, but many of us may have a story/testimony of being lost and then found.

Whatever your gift is, when we take time to claim that gift and remember how it came about, our response to the gifts we’ve been given is one of gratitude!

Today, I invite you to let your gratitude overflow into the offering you’ll make.  As we share these gifts, let’s celebrate with all who “once were lost but now are found, were blind, but now we see.”

(perhaps use Amazing Grace as your offertory.  One contemporary music video is Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone,

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God, it is your amazing grace which provides full life for each one of us!  Filled with gratitude for the ways in which you continue to seek us, sustain us, save us, please receive this offering as a symbol of the abundant life we enjoy.  Use us and use these gifts to continue spreading the Good News of the gospel, especially for those who are blinded to your presence.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

(communion music might be “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord”.  One video setting of this is

Often when we come to this table, memories break in of times we may have been excluded.  Some of us have been told “because you are ________ (divorced, gay, lesbian, living with your boyfriend, alcoholic, drug-addicted…) you cannot share in these gifts of bread and wine”.

The man born blind, whose sight was given to him by Jesus, was driven out of his faith community because he had been healed on the Sabbath.

Perhaps almost as amazing as the healing story itself comes this word in verse 35:  “Jesus heard they had driven (the man) out, and when (Jesus) found (the man)…”

Jesus went looking for this man who had been an outcast because of his blindness, but now was sent away because of the day and way he had been healed!

But this table, on this day and in an unmistakable way,
THIS table,
is a table to which ALL are welcomed.

You belong here, not because of what you’ve done or who you are,
but because of what Jesus is doing, and who Jesus is!

So come, for you are invited to be a beloved table guest of the One who offers Life to all who will follow him.