Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
For the Sunday of Lent, these resources will include a call to worship in one or two voices, and an opening prayer which has a more somber, confessional tone.
Consider introducing purple paraments and a more pensive style to worship as we move through this season of penitence.
Call to Worship (from Psalm 91)
Voice 1: (singing from CH#77, or speaking those words)
Those who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
who abide in God’s shadow for life,
say to the Lord: “My refuge,
my rock in whom I trust!”
Voice 2: We’ve come to worship the Lord, our refuge and rock!
We gather to be lifted up,
to know we are not alone,
to see the salvation of our God!
So let’s tune our ears and sharpen our eyes,
for God will be with us in troubled times.
Let’s prepare our hearts to meet the Holy One,
the Most High God.
Voice 1: (sung or spoken)
“And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
and make you to shine like the sun
and hold you in the palm of my hand.”
Rock of Ages, we turn to you in the beginning of this season of penitence and prayer. As we step into forty days of spiritual growth, assure us of your presence with us. Because we have not lived out our love and devotion to you, deepen our love and our desire to know you more fully. Help us put our flaccid scripture-reading muscles into daily action, building up the capacity to answer every temptation, even as Jesus did in the wilderness so long ago. AMEN
Moment for Stewardship
This is the first Sunday in the season we call “Lent”.
In earlier years, this 40 day season (in which every day counts except the 7 Sundays from today through Easter) was a rigorous time of fasting, which began with Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) as a time to clear the house/kitchen of meat, oil, butter and sugar.
Today, Christians are encouraged to use these 40 days to practice three acts: 1) prayer, 2) giving to the poor and 3) fasting (stepping away from some act, practice or thing you ordinarily would consume).
I don’t believe it meets that practice to declare you’ll pray for lima beans to disappear, offer cans of lima beans to the local food pantry and promise not to eat any lima beans from now until Easter (I wouldn’t touch a lima bean for ANY reason, in any season!)
[use your own example of something you detest]
Rather, I want to challenge each one of us to a three-fold, season-long practice: “prayer, share, care”. Will you start today? Will you
pray for this faith community,
share your finances to help ________ (name your particular recipients or organization you’ll bless with a financial gift at the end of this Lent), and
care for your mind/body/spirit by taking on a new discipline or giving up something separating you from living as you believe God intends you to do?
(if you want to encourage this more strongly, create for each person present a 2 part card: 1 piece for the offering plate, the other to take home and post in a prominent place – refrigerator door or bathroom mirror — as a reminder of their intent.)
Will you share your intention? Please sign the card, then tear off that part and add it to your morning offering. Remember to take the other card home to remind you of this 40 day challenge.
May you find this Lent to be a power-packed season as you take these three steps!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Loving God, you filled Jesus with your Holy Spirit before his 40 days in the wilderness. We thank you for inspiring (“in-Spirit-ing”) us as we step into these forty days of Lent. Now, receive these gifts and these cards of our positive intentions for this season. Please use these resources to build up your Realm on earth, and your Church in this place and around the world. AMEN
Invitation to Communion
In the first temptation, described in Luke 4:1-4, Jesus had fasted for forty days! While we don’t know the specifics, most of us can hardly imagine fasting from bread, dessert, or coffee, for 40 days!
Jesus, however, after fasting in the wilderness, was able to turn aside from the suggestion/temptation of the devil to create bread from a stone. Using scripture as his piece-de-resistance, the famished man quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3; “one does not live by bread alone.”
At this table, we are all invited to participate in a simple meal which Jesus instituted on the last night of his life. It is not bread alone, but it is a small piece of bread, and a sip of juice, which help us remember Jesus’ body and blood. These elements bind us to God and to each another, renewing our identity as one part of the body of Christ on earth.
Together, let us share these gifts as signs of our decision to be disciples of Jesus, the Christ.