Service for the Worship of God
March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Welcome and Orientation
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us worship God!
“Herzlich tut mich erfreuen,” op. 122, no. 4
—Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Preparing to Hear God’s Word
Call to Worship
Come, you who are thirsty—
here is water that sustains weary souls.
Come, you who are despairing—
here is the Rock of our Salvation.
Come, make a joyful noise to the Lord.
Let us enter God’s presence with praise!
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
(1) Come, thou Fount of every blessing; tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of God’s unchanging love!
(2) Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.
(3) O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.
Prayer of Confession
Rev. Ann Herlin
Lord, time and time again, you defy our expectations. You cross barriers of culture and creed and look into the eyes of a stranger, and we are astonished. We confess that we are not keen to do the same. While you teach inclusion, we preserve division; while you model hospitality, we default to suspicion. Open our eyes to see your mission for what it is—the healing of the world. Astonish us with your grace, O God, that we might move from surprise to service and from doubt to faithfulness. By your Spirit, inspire and empower us to proclaim your good news in word and deed. Hear now the prayers we bring to you in silence …
Assurance of Pardon
God’s Word to Us
Jesus is a rock in a weary land
—Spiritual, arr. by Glenn Burleigh (1947–2007)
Elise Jenkins, alto solo
Time with Children
The Simmons Family
Dr. Robert R. Laha
“A New Normal”
Our Response to God
Affirmation of Faith
Adapted from A Declaration of Faith, 1977
Jesus was what we should be. He served God with complete trust and unwavering obedience. He loved all kinds of people and accepted their love. In constant dependence upon the Holy Spirit, Jesus allowed no temptation or threat to keep him from loving God with his whole being and his neighbor as himself.
We recognize in Jesus what God created us to be. He exposes our failure to live as he lived. He demonstrates the new humanity God promises to give us through him.
Invitation to Discipleship
Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Help Us Accept Each Other
(1) Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us;
teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us and bring us to believe
we are ourselves accepted, and meant to love and live.
(2) Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life
we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some,
to love them as we find them, or as they may become.
(3) Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved
in living situations to do the truth in love;
to practice your acceptance until we know by heart
the table of forgiveness, and laughter’s healing art.
(4) Lord, for today’s encounters with all who are in need,
who hunger for acceptance, for justice and for bread,
we need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on:
renew us with your Spirit; Lord, free us; make us one!
Charge and Benediction
Improvisation on NETTLETON
—Steven Seigart (b. 1990)