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From William Flewelling, (c) 2012

On Isaiah 58:1-12

 

                        The fast our God desires

                        stoops to relieve the poor,

                        to loosen, break the yoke,

                        the bonds of wickedness,

                        to share of bread,

                        grant shelter well,

                        cover the bare,

                        let pity show.

 

                        Acceptable to God

                        is this: to take away

                        the pointing finger, all

                        the wicked speech, so sly.

                        Indeed, we turn

                        in ashes now

                        to stand afresh

                        for God’s own fast.

 

                        So turn we now in hope

                        to settle in our ways

                        the cultivated grace

                        that certifies God’s face.

                        For in our midst

                        the Holy One

                        arises, lets

                        show sparks of life.

 6.6.6.6.4.4.4.4.     Suggested tune: Croft’s 136th

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NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. 

Send your comments or content here.

 

Palm/Passion Sunday

April 1

 

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Liturgy of the Palms:
Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 24 / Psalm 47
Episcopal reading (RCL): Psalm 118:19-29

Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16
Roman Catholic reading: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
United Methodist reading: Mark 11:1-11

Liturgy of the Passion:
Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:  

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Roman Catholic reading: Isaiah 50:4-7

Psalm 31:9-16
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 22:8-24

Philippians 2:5-11
Roman Catholic reading: Philippians 2:6-11

Mark 14:1 – 15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, (40-47)
Roman Catholic reading: Mark 14:1 – 15:47 or Mark 15:1-39

Suggested opening movement of the service, covering the Palm portion of the day’s Gospel

This assumes that one or the other of the Passion texts will be read during the balance of the service.  If this is not practiced, the following movement could be used without the reading of the Palm text as a Call to Worship and Procession to begin the day. Because many Disciples congregations do not regularly use procession as an act of worship, it is wise to have a leader stand before the congregation to preside for this opening movement, and to have assistance for whomever is processing.  If weather is good, the entire congregation could process from outside the building to their seats.  When children and choir are the only ones processing (which has been the case in many places), it is helpful to have a few adult guides for them.  The editor has also found it helpful for the one giving leadership to “practice” the waving of palms, if they are already in the hands of a seated congregation, during the Greeting, by repeating it a few times, and to try to encourage them to continue to wave them during the entirety of the Processional Hymn.

 Blessing of the Palms (for use before the liturgy begins) – Rev. William Flewelling

Be in these hands

wands of joy
to celebrate the One
coming in the name
of the Lord; be here
instruments of faith
beyond the common longing
for our ways; be for us
the wave of abandon
to God’s way of the cross
and the victory of love’s
pure sacrifice in hope!
Amen.

* Greeting

        L: Hosanna!

        P:  Hosanna in the highest!

        P: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

        P:  Hosanna in the highest heaven!

* Story of the Palms:  (appointed text for the Palm Sunday liturgy is read and the hymn begins without announcement)

* Processional Hymn

* Litany of the Palms

L: Crosses of palm unite us in our devotion to Jesus of Nazareth,

        and focus our gaze on the King, the Lamb, the Son of God.

P:  On the way to Calvary, palms were waved to honor the King.

L: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! 

        Behold, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious is he,

        humbled and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

P:  On the way to Calvary, palms were waved—

        response to One who came to suffer so.

L: He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering          

        and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom  

        others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.

P:  On the way to Calvary, we take up our crosses,

        and watch this One who rides toward death and life eternal—

        one King, one Lord, one death—for all!

L: Let us give thanks and rejoice as we join the prayer that   Christ taught us:

P:  Our Father…

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

Hymn of Praise:   Palms: 191-193, 129 

Passion Hymns:   195-205

Communion Hymn:   383

Dismissal/Missional Hymn:  207

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

 Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling

On Isaiah 50:4-9a
 
              As my ear is wakened, holy,
              as my listening is hewn,
              so my turning is to Jesus,
              he who owns God’s share.
 
              In the smiter’s moment standing,
              with the hands that pull the beard,
              with the flaunting shame of spitting
              stand we at his call.
 
              Not confounded, ever rising,
              always rapt with God alone,
              come we in the Savior’s mettle
              to adore in faith.
 
              Gracious is the hand of Jesus
              as the shame and spittle roar,
              and the answering beginning
              stands victorious yet.
 
  8.7.8.5.     Suggested tune: Griffin’s Brook

 

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).    Although the text for the Psalm associate with the Liturgy of Palms is largely available  on 758, the Psalm for the Passion readings is not present.  A litany appropriate to the Passion may be used, if desired, following the readings, and two are included in Chalice Hymnal (209 and 201).  A litany on “The Mind of Christ” is also offered below (adapted by the editor from unknown source).

Let us remember Jesus:  Who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor and dwelt among us;

        Who was content to be the child of a poor family;

Who lived the common life, earning his living with his own hands and declining no humble tasks;

        Whom the common people heard gladly, for he understood their ways.

Let us remember Jesus:  Who was mighty in deed, healing the sick and afflicted, using for others the powers he would not invoke for himself;

        Who was master and Lord to his disciples, yet was among them as their Companion

        and as one who served.

Let us remember Jesus:  Who loved people, yet retired from them to pray, rose a great while before day, watched through the night, stayed in the wilderness, went up into a mountain, sought out a garden;

        Who prayed for his tempted disciple,   and for the forgiveness of all who

        rejected him, and for the perfecting of those who received him;

Who observed good customs, but defied conventions that did not serve the purposes of God.   Who hated sin because he knew the cost of pride and selfishness, of cruelty and impurity—the cost to humanity and to God.

            May this mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus.

Let us remember Jesus:  Who, when he was reviled, did not retaliate, and when he suffered did not threaten; who emptied himself and carried obedience to the point of death, even death on the cross.

            May this mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus.

Let us pray for Christ to dwell within our hearts.

            O Christ, our only Savior, so come to dwell in us that we may go forth with the light of your hope in             our eyes, and with your faith and love in our hearts.  Amen.

 

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  (created or adapted by the editor)

Phil. 2:5-11

L: We gather in the presence of Christ to join our hearts and minds in praise of God.

P:  God has exalted Jesus and given him a name above every name.

L: So let every knee bend, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess:

P:  Jesus Christ is Lord.  Glory to God forever!

Act of Confession (created or adapted by the editor)

Unison:  Forgive us, Lord, if in the light of Jesus’ concept of kingship we have possessed a distorted concept of power:  if we have believed that large congregations and beautiful buildings mean success in the kingdom of God; if we have believed that through pronouncements and political pressure the church brings in the kingdom; if we have believed that Christ is defended with armaments and bombs; if we have equated power in the kingdom with a majority vote in the assembly.  Father, forgive us, and teach us the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ kingship.  (Silent confession is offered)

Minister:  Christ exercises his kingship, not by force or coercion, but by forgiving our sins by his grace, by calming our spirits with his love, and by inspiring our wills by his example.  Accept his lordship by going forth in peace.  Amen.

Intercessions (created or adapted by the editor)

Option 1:

        How we need you anew, each day, O God.  Our minds may stray away from what is truly important in search for the things that are seemingly urgent.  Yet you keep calling us back to the reality of Christ’s presence with us and are always striving with us to allow his mind to dwell in our midst.

        Help us to look with his eyes—the eyes of the servant of servants—upon a struggling and hurting world.  Let your church regain its mission in him and be helpers to helpless, a home to the homeless, and healers of those whose health has vanished away.

        We pray especially for those whom we have named this day (________), and others whom we name in our hearts, along with our own needs. Silence

        Renew us as your people, O God—especially as we enter anew into the paschal mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, that together we may become a fit dwelling place for your Spirit made known in the mind of Christ, for we pray in his name (even as he taught his disciples, saying, Our Father…).  

Option 2:

        Loving God, you sent your Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.  We pray that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and become heirs with him of everlasting life. 

        Especially this day we pray for those within your community of faith who have offended you by our carelessness, and for those whose weaknesses have kept us from rightly serving you by serving our neighbors. 

        Forgive us our sins and free us for joyful obedience we pray in Christ.  Hear us, God of grace as we pray for a new birth for your church; for its unity in witness and service; for its ministers and all those whom they serve; and especially for those who are about to be baptized and begin new life in your Spirit.  Empower them to face temptation, suffering and even death with the boldness and zeal of true disciples.  Together may we bring to life the gifts you have given for the sake of the mission of your holy church as servant of a dying humanity, we pray in Christ.

        We pray to you, gracious giver of life, for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind.  For the hungry and the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed.  For the sick and the wounded.  For those in loneliness, fear and anguish, doubt and despair.  For _____, and those whose lives are closely linked with our own, whom we name to you in silence. (Silence).

Help, save and defend us, gracious Lord, as we join your people of all ages in boldly offering to you our prayers in the name and spirit of Christ (who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father…). 

Option 3:

R=Hear our prayer, O Lord.

With faith and love and in union with Christ, let us offer our prayer before the throne of grace.

Have mercy on your people, for whom your Son laid down his life: R

Bring healing and wholeness to people and nations, and have pity on those torn apart by division: R

Strengthen all who are persecuted for your name’s sake, and deliver them from evil: R

Look in mercy upon all who suffer, and hear those who cry out in pain and desolation: R

Bring comfort to the dying, and gladden their hearts with the vision of your glory: R

Give rest to the departed and bring them, with your saints, to glory everlasting: R

Let us commend the world, for which Christ died, to the mercy and protection of God.

Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept.  The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.

 

Collect of the Day (adapted by the editor)

O God, whose only Son Jesus Christ was betrayed and sold by one whom he called to be his disciple; have mercy upon our weakness, and grant us to so diligently watch and pray, that we may never be overwhelmed by temptation; but that, persevering to the end, we may come to freedom through his bonds, and to life eternal through his death.  This we pray through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

Offertory Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you who expressed your kingship not by taking but by giving, not by demanding but by sacrificing – bless us now as we follow your example.

Dismissal:

Go forth in peace to walk the way of the cross and resurrection.

                We are sent in the name of the Lord.

May Jesus Christ, who was put to death for our sins, bless you and keep you.

                Amen.

May Jesus Christ who was raised to life for our salvation let light shine upon you.

                Amen.

May Jesus Christ be your life and peace, now and forever.

                Amen. Thanks be to God.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Mark 14:1 – 15:39

        Confronting the heart of the gospel

                        in the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, O God,

                                        we turn to the barren isolation,

                                                        the stark brutality of Golgotha

                                        that here in darkness and dejection

                                                        we may at last recognize

                                                                        your boundless love

                                                        in our Lord Jesus.

RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP

 

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
   sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Post Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,
you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,
and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:
give us the mind to follow you
and to proclaim you as Lord and King,
to the glory of God the Father.

Alternative Collect

True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.  http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

RESOURCES FROM THE JUBILEE FUND

This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails, archived here, for each Sunday’s service.

 You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

 Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

 Liturgies created by Moira Laidlaw (Uniting Church in Australia) as a part of her doctoral dissertation are often helpful.  Read more here.

Read Full Post »

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. 

Send your comments or content here.

 

Lent 5B

March 25

 

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 119:9-16
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 51:3-15
Episcopal reading (RCL): Psalm 51:1-13 or Psalm 119:9-16
United Methodist reading: Psalm 51:1-12

Hebrews 5:5-10
Roman Catholic reading: Hebrews 5:7-9

John 12:20-33

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

Hymn of Praise:   277

Hymn of Invitation:   197

Communion Hymn:  200

Mission/Dismissal: 612 or 108

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

 Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling

On John 12:20-33
               At the festival the Greeks come:
              we would see Jesus, they say.
              Philip brings the word to Jesus:
              the hour has come he replies.
 
              Seeking Jesus, finding presence,
              luring hope unto the hour,
              now we come, we would see Jesus
              in the glorifying hour.
 
              The grain of wheat falls in the ground,
              falls to death to all it was.
              In the death the fruit provides life,
              full and opulent and free.
 
              Follow Jesus on the highway:
              follow Jesus lifted high.
              Drawn to life in seeking Jesus,
              find we him, the glorified.
 
  8.7.8.7.      Suggested tune: Waltham (Albert)

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). See Chalice Hymnal p. 743

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  (created or adapted by the editor)

L: Our Lenten journey continues.  Often the road has been stony and hard.  Sometimes we have stumbled and even fallen.

P:  But God has been our friend and our guide.  We have no cause to be alarmed. God is faithful to us, even when we are faithless.

L: Today we rejoice in God’s faithful love, and together ask for strength and signs of hope and life.

P:  And again we are drawn together to celebrate the life that is ours in Christ Jesus.  Thanks be to God!

Intercessions (created or adapted by the editor)

With all our hearts and minds let us pray to the Lord, responding to my words “Lord in your mercy,” with “hear our prayer.”

                For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the church of God, and for the unity of all peoples,  Lord in your mercy, R 

                For the leaders of the nations and those who have responsibility for ordering the lives of our homes and communities, and all those who are charged with the care and nurture of others, Lord in your mercy, R 

                For the poor and oppressed, for those unemployed and destitute, and for prisoners and captives, and those who remember and care for them, Lord in your mercy, R 

                For those who are sick and suffering whose lives are dear to us, especially ___ and those we name before you in our hearts, Lord in your mercy, R 

                For the faithful who have gone before us and are at rest, we give thanks, and pray that you will comfort and guide us as a community and as individuals to better serve as Christ would lead us.

Collect of the Day (created or adapted by the editor)

Living Christ, your earthly ministry was full of struggle as well as joy; yet you were faithful in following God’s will.  Breathe your spirit into our lives, that we may never fall back from the way of discipleship, or the effort of loving.  Grant that we may find true joy and peace as we accept the cost of faithful discipleship, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On John 12:20-33

        The hour of Jesus’ glory comes:

                        the gentiles seek him.

                        O God, as the grain falls into the soil

                                        that it might sprout new life,

                        so lead us, following Jesus, to be spent

                                        on life that blossoms evermore.

RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP

Collect

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us
that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters
we do also for you:
give us the will to be the servant of others
as you were the servant of all,
and gave up your life and died for us,
but are alive and reign, now and for ever.

Alternative Collect

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.  http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

RESOURCES FROM THE JUBILEE FUND

This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails, archived here, for each Sunday’s service.

 You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

 Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

 Liturgies created by Moira Laidlaw (Uniting Church in Australia) as a part of her doctoral dissertation are often helpful.  Read more here.

Read Full Post »

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. 

Send your comments or content here.

 

Lent 4B

March 18

 

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Numbers 21:4-9
Roman Catholic reading: 2 Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 137:1-6

Ephesians 2:1-10
Roman Catholic reading: Ephesians 2:4-10

John 3:14-21

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

Hymn of Praise:   16

Hymn of Invitation:   487

Communion Hymn:   426

Dismissal/Missional Hymn:  72

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.

 Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling

On Ephesians 2:1-10
 
              New made free, released from passions,
              all that gnarls the soul in greed,
              now we lift our hands in mercy,
              giving thanks at freedom’s vane.
              Raised in wonder, lifted in longing,
              we accompany Christ in joy.
              Wrought in sheer delight by Jesus,
              we begin as love prepares.
 
              From the inter twining visions,
              all the snarling of desires,
              you, Lord Jesus, raise our instinct
              that, encountering love in awe
              we might ever know your saving,
              seeing life from your abode.
              Here, above, with mercy luring,
              you unite us in your care.
 
              Freshly now the Spirit cleanses
              us and all we hope in truth.
              Urgently delighting in you,
              we arise in all designs.
              Now remembering all the fashion
              that our former ways prevailed,
              in thanksgiving for your raising
              we arise in your delight.
 8.7.8.7.D      Suggested tune: Abbot’s Leigh

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  Page 755

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  (created or adapted by the editor)

L: When confidence in our way of life is shaken, to whom do we turn for comfort?

P:  We look to friends, we cling to loved ones, we grope for answers in familiar, sacred places.

L: How shall we find strength to recover?  Where do we find heart and hope to go on?

P:  Our hope is in God alone, our Savior, the Shepherd of our Souls, our sheltering Fortress.

 

Prayer of Approach (created or adapted by the editor)

L: The Lord be with you.

P:  And also with you.

L: Let us pray.  We, your people, come to claim your promise of salvation, O reconciling God.  In your wholeness, we find healing.  In your power, we gain strength.  In your love, we are thrust beyond our own concerns to embrace a hurting world.  Blow the trumpet, that this solemn assembly may rejoice, that remembrance can bring renewal, through Christ (who taught us to pray, Our Father…)

 

Intercessions (created or adapted by the editor)

        Loving God, through Jesus Christ you bring light and life to a dark and dying world.  We give you thanks and praise for your love which he reveals to us, even today, and for the hope which his life and death and resurrection unfolds for our world.  Even as you love the world so greatly and sacrificially in Jesus, help us in his spirit to live and to love your world today, especially as we lift to you the lonely, the hurting, the sick and the dying.

        Where there is injustice, renew our mission to do your will and bring about reconciliation, healing and peace.  Where there is pain, make us agents of your regenerative power and your healing caress.  May we discover and shed abroad your great love among those we encounter who are alone, or grieving or lost.  Make us, as your church, your hands and feet and voice in this world, especially as we pray for those whose lives are closely linked with our own and for the needs we bring with us this day which we offer to you in silence.

        As we celebrate your presence with us this day and commit ourselves to you afresh within the covenant of your love, help us to be a willing church—ready to do whatever the day demands, in order to bring the joy of your resurrection to those of our world who have no cause to celebrate.  In this Lenten season, awaken us, empower us, renew us, to be faithful to you in the Spirit of Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, Our Father…).

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On John 3:14-21

        So lifted up to heal the bitten,

                        Jesus in the wilderness of Golgotha

                                        designs to draw us near.

                        So bring us, Lord our God, to faith

                                        that in this stir of faith we find

                                                        your life, the love

                                                        you came to bear for us, for all,

                                                        your light that glows salvation-wise

                                        in Jesus Christ our Lord.

RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP

 

Collect

Merciful Lord,
absolve your people from their offences,
that through your bountiful goodness
we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins
which by our frailty we have committed;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Lord God,
whose blessed Son our Saviour
gave his back to the smiters
and did not hide his face from shame:
give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time
with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alternative Collect

Merciful Lord,
you know our struggle to serve you:
when sin spoils our lives
and overshadows our hearts,
come to our aid
and turn us back to you again;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.  http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 RESOURCES FROM THE JUBILEE FUND

This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails, archived here, for each Sunday’s service.

 You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

 Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

 Liturgies created by Moira Laidlaw (Uniting Church in Australia) as a part of her doctoral dissertation are often helpful.  Read more here.

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NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. 

Send your comments or content here.

 

Lent 3B

March 11

http://almanac.oremus.org/2012-03-11

 

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources: 

Exodus 20:1-17
Roman Catholic reading: Exodus 20:1-17 or Exodus 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

Psalm 19
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 19:8-11

1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Roman Catholic reading: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

John 2:13-22
Roman Catholic reading: John 2:13-25

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

Hymn of Praise:   288

Hymn of Invitation/Mission:   595, 464 or 683

Communion Hymn:   400

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). Chalice Hymnal p. 731

Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Exodus 20:1-17

                                        Carefully beginning,

                                        in the word declaring

                                        God, the Lord has raised you:

                                        know this God for ever.

                                        Brought thus to delighting,

                                        in the face of all hope,

                                        in love intimate, all

                                        the life sublime, begin.

                                        For in this knowing God,

                                        we know foundations stand.

                                        In God alone we rise,

                                        in God who lives supreme.

                                        Against reduction, hold

                                        the mystery of God

                                        entire, majestic, bold:

                                        our full allegiance show

                                        In constancy, O God,

                                        we echo your desire:

                                        we answer to the core

                                        of our demanding hope.

6.6.6.6.     Suggested tune: Ravenshaw

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  (created or adapted by the editor)

L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,

P:  That we might discern the will of our Maker.

L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,

P:  That we might recall the bondage from which God has delivered us.

L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,

P:  That we might become the people God is calling us to be.

Prayer of Approach (created or adapted by the editor)

L: The Lord be with you.

P:  And also with you.

L: Let us pray.  Holy God, our lives are open before you.  Rescue us from the chaos of sin, through the death of your Son bring us healing, and in his resurrection, make us whole, for we wait upon you.  This we pray in his name (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

Confession of Sin (Lutheran tradition, adapted by editor)

Min: God who has gathered us here desires that we live freed of sin and open to the promise of new life through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Let us confess our sins to God, who is faithful and just to forgive us all our sin, and to bring us to everlasting life.

 

Ʀ = Lord, have mercy upon us

  • Forgive the poverty of our worship, our unbelief and hesitating witness, our blindness to what you would have us to be and to do, O God.  Ʀ
  • Forgive us for imagining ourselves to be the center of the world, and for seeking security in the works of our own hands and minds, O God. Ʀ
  • Forgive us for the waste of our time and talents and gifts, and for our abuse of the earth, your creation, O God. Ʀ
  • Forgive us that so little of your love is passed through us to others, and that we have cared so little about the sufferings and injustices that they endure, O God.  Ʀ
  • Forgive us by your mercy, O God, for the sins held secret in our hearts, as we open them to you in silence…

(After a time of silent prayer, the minister offers some words of God’s comfort and assurance, and may offer a declaration of pardon.)

 

Intercessions (from Common Worship)

Min.: As we offer our prayers to God for all those in need, your response to my words “we pray to you, O Lord” is “Lord, hear our prayer.”  (NOTE: the printed worship material only needs to include these two lines below)

L: …we pray to you, O Lord.

P: Lord, hear our prayer.

In penitence and faith let us make our prayer to the Father and ask for his mercy and grace.

For your holy people, that they may triumph over evil and grow in grace, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For candidates for baptism and confirmation, that they may live by every word that proceeds from your mouth, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the leaders of the nations, that you will guide them in the ways of mercy and truth, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the needy, that they may not be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor be taken away, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the sick in body, mind and spirit, that they may know your power to heal, we pray to you, O Lord: R

For the poor in spirit, that they may inherit the kingdom of heaven and see you face to face, we pray to you, O Lord: R

Let us commend the world, for which Christ suffered, to the mercy and protection of God.

Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept.  A Concluding Collect and Lord’s Prayer may follow.

Suggested Concluding Collect:

Min:  Hear the prayers we offer, and those of all your children, which we offer to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

 

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On John 2:13-22

        The traders at the Temple gate,

                        providing sacrifice and coin to celebrate at altar well,

                                        are met with Jesus’ ire.

                        For this is now a house of prayer,

                                        not given to the trade of wares.

                        And this is now your house, O God,

                                        the body given to the way of prayer:

                                                        Christ Jesus our Delight.

 

RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP

 

Collect

Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Merciful Lord,
grant your people grace to withstand the temptations
   of the world, the flesh and the devil,
and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alternative Collect

Eternal God,
give us insight
to discern your will for us,
to give up what harms us,
and to seek the perfection we are promised
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.  http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

We also urge you to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Read Full Post »

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. 

Send your comments or content here.

 

Lent 2B

March 4

 

The Second Sunday of Lent

http://almanac.oremus.org/2012-03-04

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Roman Catholic reading: Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18

Psalm 22:23-31
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 116:10-19
Episcopal reading (RCL): Psalm 22:22-30

Romans 4:13-25
Roman Catholic reading: Romans 8:31-34
Episcopal reading (RCL): Romans 8:31-39

Mark 8:31-38 or Mark 9:2-9
Roman Catholic reading: Mark 9:2-10
Episcopal reading (RCL): Mark 8:31-38
United Methodist reading: Mark 8:31-38

 

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

Hymn of Praise:   284 or 70

Hymn of Invitation:   346

Communion Hymn:   398

Dismissal/Missional Hymn:  655

 

Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Mark 8:31-38

 

                        Such a bleak and strident message

                        does the Lord insist we hear,

                        message of rejection coming,

                        all of suffering and death.

                        Bleak and strident is this message

                        laid upon unwilling ears.

                        As did Peter, so we answer:

                        never, never shall this be!

 

                        In the moment of Salvation,

                        at the sway of sin and death

                        answers Jesus to his Peter:

                        Get behind me, Satan, now!

                        For the throes of faithful living

                        find the violence of fear

                        shredding every fair appearance

                        to expose God’s seething love.

 

                        This, the cross in naked horror,

                        stands conclusively above.

                        This, the cross for bearing boldly,

                        lies upon the shoulder’s sag.

                        Each is following the Savior,

                        following the steps assigned,

                        losing all to gain the better,

                        chancing all in God’s delight.

 

8.7.8.7.D.    Suggested tune: Lux Eoi

 

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  Page 733 may be used, beginning at verse 25.

 

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  (or adapted by the editor from the UCC)

L: Be still and know that God is.

P:  God was, also, in the beginning.

L: And when all human striving has ceased, God will still be.

P:  From everlasting to everlasting, God is God, and alone is worthy to be worshiped.

 

Prayer of Approach (created or adapted by the editor)

L: The Lord be with you.

P:  And also with you.

L: Let us pray.  Most holy God, whose son began a ministry with disciples and continues that ministry today with responsive followers, make us quick to give of ourselves to be in mission as your church today, that the good news of Christ may bring wholeness in all parts of our world.  This we pray in his name (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”).

 

Act of Confession  (created or adapted by the editor)

It is valuable to consider the ancient Kyrie (Lord, have mercy) during Lent, especially, as a means of bringing the congregation into God’s presence in repentance and hope.  The traditions of the Western Church have the minister offering 3 sentences pertinent to the day as an introduction to each of these three petitions: “Lord, have mercy/Christ, have mercy/Lord, have mercy,” with the congregation repeating those 3 words each time they are spoken.  The simplicity of the form is one that allows for its continued use, even without a printed detail each week in the congregants’ hands.  Churches which use the Kyrie as a regular element of their service weekly (usually after words and songs of praise, early in the service) typically find it meaningful, and seldom need prompting, although in the interest of welcoming the strangers among us, some written form should be available for guests to follow.  A creative pastor can usually create the introductory sentences for the 3 petitions quite easily when good preparation has been done for preaching any given Sunday, just as many of us strive to create pastoral and intercessory prayers that are in harmony with our understanding of the Word for the Day.  An example for this Sunday is below, fully written for clarity. 

 

Call to Confession

Min:  The proof of God’s amazing love is this:  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Because we have faith in him, we dare to approach God with confidence.  Let us take a moment together to offer our prayers of confession to God.  (silence is kept for a few moments)

 

Act of Confession (Responsive)

Because we have seen pain without being moved, because we forget your love with solemn pride, because we pass by comfortably before poverty and sadness, Lord, have mercy.

                Lord, have mercy.

For speaking of love without loving our sister or brother, for speaking of faith without living your word, for living as people who do not recognize our own sinfulness, Christ, have mercy.

                Christ, have mercy.

For our tranquility in our affluent life, for our great falsehood in preaching about poverty, for wanting to make excuse for injustice, Lord, have mercy.

                Lord, have mercy.

 

Words of Assurance

Min:   God hears the confession of our hearts and lips.  Through Jesus Christ we are forgiven, and by the Holy Spirit we are empowered to live new lives.  Let us rejoice in the good news of the gospel.

 

Intercessions

        O God, we acknowledge you as the Word, the God who will not keep quiet.  With unmatched eloquence, you summoned into being the earth and all creatures.  Then you blessed creation in a voice brimming with love.  In the rumble of thunder, in a dreamlike whisper, in angel song; in the voice that shakes the wilderness and the small voice that moves our hearts, we hear you call us to eternal friendship and conversation.  Do not let us interrupt that gracious conversation, but keep us attentive to your voice and quick to perceive your call in the events and people that surround us.

        Hear our prayers for our world; help us to seek your peace, your hope, your will in the events around us.  Hear our prayers for all whose lives are shattered by violence and distress.  Hear our prayers for those who need your special touch and love…

        Open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in faith around the world, that our relationship with them may grow and serve to teach us to be more open to all your people.  Hear all of our prayers, Lord, for they come from your children in the Spirit of Christ, who taught us not our will but yours must be done. (And now we join our voices to pray as he has taught us, “Our Father…”)

 

Prayer after Communion (unison)

Pour out upon us the Spirit of your love, O God, and unite the wills of those whom you have fed with one heavenly food; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2012, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Mark 8:31-38

 

        This measure of the cross, O God,

                        astounds us, shakes us to the core.

                        For crosses are so stark and harsh,

                                        the weight of desolation and despair.

                        Yet bearing thus the brazen threat,

                                        we come to you in loss of all

                                                        to know the haunt of glory

                                                        expended in our time;

                                        receive us, laden by the cross;

                                                        in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP

 

Collect

Almighty God,
you show to those who are in error the light of your truth,
that they may return to the way of righteousness:
grant to all those who are admitted
   into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,
that they may reject those things
   that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Almighty God,
you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:
keep us both outwardly in our bodies,
and inwardly in our souls;
that we may be defended from all adversities
   which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alternative Collect

Almighty God,
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011.  Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.  The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.  Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.  Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011.  http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary

 

We also urge you to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Read Full Post »

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary. 

Send your comments or content here.

 Ash Wednesday B: Lent Begins

Feb. 22

 While Ash Wednesday is usually observed in a non-Eucharistic service of public prayer, it is adaptable to the Service of Word and Table in most congregations.  Music during the service may be optional in some settings.  For suggested ways of including the Eucharist, see below.

 For Disciples, the Lenten adventure is still somewhat strange from the rhythm of life, largely due to the penitential nature of the wider Church’s tradition, which has evolved through the centuries from a 3-day fast before Easter to a 40-day (plus Sundays) time of mixed misery and joy.  It is important to keep a few salient features of the “best of Lent” in mind as planning is begun for the season:

  • Lent means “spring.”  This is a season of rebirth and renewal for the earth and all its peoples.  We are called in the Lenten texts to more sensitivity to the movement of the Spirit within our inner lives, and to an outward demonstration of God’s faithfulness through acts of justice and love.
  • Giving things up can be a blessing or a curse.  It is not ours to direct what a “fast” during Lent might best look like, except where our own spirituality is concerned.  In any case, Jesus is quick to warn us not to be “like the Pharisees” and wear such things on our sleeves.  For some of us, that might be a good discipline to adopt for the season!
  • Confession and absolution are rather outside many of our congregations’ normal rhythm of worship life, but Lent provides a wonderful opportunity for Disciples to reconsider the value of prayer that leads to change within ourselves and our communities.  The flow of traditional worship in the wider Church has usually included (in all seasons) an opportunity to confess sins and receive absolution (words of God’s forgiveness).  Jesus has given authority to the Church to declare the forgiveness of sins, and that’s a gospel duty that we would do well to hold sacred.   In some places, absolution is withheld during Lent and a prayer of comfort and encouragement offered in its place.  It’s good for pastors to wrestle with the meaning of these two acts, and consider how we might best invite persons into the life of faith (and into a closer walk with God) during this season by using prayers of confession (and, for this pastor, absolution).   Suggestions will be given each week.
  • Sundays of this season are in Lent.  They are not of Lent.  Sunday is always a celebration of Easter, and there is no place for fasting or mournfulness on Sundays in Lent. 
  • The Passion week experience is best delayed.  Although many of my colleagues enjoy inspecting the “7 Last Words of Christ on the Cross” and other such themes as a prelude to Easter over the Sundays in Lent, the Passion and it’s details, while looming in the near distance throughout the season, are not the sole focus of the 40 days plus Sundays.   Lent is, at its best, a time of preparation for the Sacrament of Baptism (and for baptismal renewal).  It reminds us of who we are and of God’s grace poured out upon all the faithful in Baptism.  This can often be the most challenging piece of planning for the pastor, whose role it is to help teach the faith, and to teach the faithful folks who are planning anthems and instrumental music (and other facets of congregational life) that Lent is not a funeral procession toward the  cross…especially Sundays.
  • Where have all the Alleluias gone?  In many places, they are not said or sung during this season, but again, your editor pleads the “every Sunday is a little Easter” and asks that none of us be too harsh on those who continue to enjoy their Alleluias!

Have thoughts on Lent?  Email mailto:dchafin@wvdisciples.org and let’s share them.

 Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Roman Catholic reading: Joel 2:12-18
United Methodist reading: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17  

Psalm 51:1-17
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

2 Corinthians 5:20b – 6:10
Roman Catholic reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20 – 6:2

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Roman Catholic reading: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

   (NOTE: The text of the service below, which includes largely traditional texts for the day, may be offered without a written order of service in hand, as long as any hymns and Psalm 51, which should be included, are available in some other form for congregational use.  If a printed order of service is given, only those portions requiring congregational responses need much of the text to be included in print.  A brief paragraph below allows for the stage to be set for those unfamiliar with the depth of this liturgical tradition.)

 The ancient tradition behind this service goes back to the 10th century, and has always focused on our mortality in solemn word and sign.

            The ashes, made of palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday worship, recall for us the redemption that is ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In him, we rise from the ashes of mortality to newness of life—redeemed and enabled to serve the world in his name.

 Opening Prayer and Introduction to the Service

            My friends, God has called us to this gathering of solemnity and hope.
             Let us pray:   Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent.  Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that, lamenting our sins and acknowledging our mortality, we may receive from you new life, perfect forgiveness and peace, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
            Today we begin our 40 day journey toward Easter.  We enter the Lenten season to prepare ourselves to welcome the risen Christ with lives renewed by the breath of his spirit.  We begin anew the disciplines of self-examination, confession and penitence.  We dedicate ourselves to meditate upon the scriptures and to converse with God in prayer.  We seek to be more faithful disciples of Christ whose lives are shaped by the one whom we confess to be Lord and Savior of the world. 
            As we begin this season of preparation for the great feast, we mark ourselves with ashes—an act that actually pre-dates the church of Jesus Christ—symbolic of our recognition that we are not gods, but mortals; that we are not good, but are sinners; that we have not yet attained the fullness of our callings in Christ, but are yet on the journey; that we are dust, and that we will return to dust.  Yet God has seen fit not to leave us in the dust, but to raise us with Christ, through baptismal faith, to everlasting life.  To that end, let us join in the responsive reading.
    (Note that additional Psalms, hymns or other music, as well as silent reflection, are appropriate interludes between the readings which follow)

The Old Testament Lesson    

Psalm (may be omitted when Psalm 51 used as act of confession, below)

The Epistle Lesson  

The Gospel Lesson

Homily (Optional and brief commentary on one of the texts or the meaning of the day in our life)

Invitation to God’s Forgiveness, and to the Lenten Season

            Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:  Christians have always observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection.  It became the custom of the church to prepare for Easter by a season of penitence, fasting and prayer.  This season of 40 days provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for baptism into the body of Christ.  It is also a time when persons who had committed serious sins and had been separated from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the church.  The whole congregation is thus reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of the need we all have to renew our baptismal faith.
            I invite you, in the name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent, by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and acts of charity; and by reading and meditating on the Word of God.  To make a right beginning, and as a mark of our mortality, let us now bow before our Creator and Redeemer in prayer.  Let us pray together.
      OR
            Brothers and sisters in Christ, God created us to experience joy in communion with him, to love all humanity, and to live in harmony with all of God’s creation.  But sin separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation, and so we do not enjoy the life our Creator intended for us.  And by our sin we grieve the Lord, who does not desire us to come under judgment, but to turn to him and live.  As disciples of the Lord Jesus we are called to struggle against all that would lead us away from love of God and neighbor.  Repentance, fasting, prayer and works of love and justice—the disciplines of Lent—help us to confront and by God’s power to overcome the powers of evil.  Lent is also a time to remember and celebrate anew the meaning of our baptisms, and to hear again the gospel call to lives of ministry and grace.  I invite you, therefore, to commit yourselves to these devotions as we enter a time of repentance and communion together, asking God for strength to persevere and to find the light of Christ’s resurrection in the days that lie ahead.

The Blessing Of Ashes

            Let us pray:  God our Creator, you sent your beloved Son, Jesus, to be our  brother. The burden of your love for humankind led him to accept death, death on a cross, so that all people might live. Though we were buried with Christ in baptism and raised up to a new life of freedom, we have not lived fully as your sons and daughters; your reign of love and justice is still not fully manifest in us.   Bless these ashes and your people who are marked by them. Grant that this may be a symbol of our inner renewal, a sign of our change and growth, a first step in our returning home to your love; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
      OR
            Let us pray:  Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth.  Grant that as we contemplate our mortality, our experience of ashes may be to us the beginning of our new life of repentance and grace, so that we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

The Imposition Of Ashes

You are invited to come and receive the mark of ashes on your forehead as a sign of your mortality and of God’s promise of new life.

Invitation to Confession (and Forgiveness)

            (Pastoral note: In some traditions, words of forgiveness are omitted during Lent from any act of worship, substituting a prayer that God hear our cries for mercy and offer grace.  Absolution is offered here, and discretion is left with pastors and communities with convictions either way.)

            If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  In humility and faith let us confess our sin to God as we join in the responsive Psalm of confession.

Confession of Sin:  Responsive Psalm 51:1-5, 9-13  (see suggested parsing below)

    (Silent Confession)

The Words Of Forgiveness

            Hear the word of God’s reconciling love toward all.  Through Christ, God chose to reconcile the whole universe, making peace through the shedding of Christ’s blood upon the cross—to reconcile all things, whether on earth or in heaven, through Christ.  Friends, hear and believe the good news….

     L:  …. In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

     P:  In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.  Glory to God!   Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer  (we use “sins”)

Celebration of Our Salvation:  The Lord’s Supper

   (Note: The tradition of Ash Wednesday is to offer a penitential time of prayer to God, without the celebration of the Eucharist.  This does not meet the editor’s understanding of the season nor of the nature of the faith in which “all things have become new” – even during Lent.  In communities where the observance of this day allows for the presence of those whose theology does not allow for inter-communion, the omission of Eucharist from the service does allow for full participation of all present, so sensitivity to the body about to be gathered should help the minister in deciding whether or not to offer a celebration of the Supper.  Order offered below allows for the entirety to be presided over by one minister, but table leadership could also be shared with elders, if desired.)

            Invitation

            Hymn

            Thanksgiving and Breaking of the Bread

And now we give you thanks O God, because you give us the spirit of discipline so that we may triumph over evil and grow in grace, as we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with hearts and minds renewed.  For in these forty days you lead us into the desert of repentance, that through a pilgrimage of prayer we may grow in grace and learn to be your people once again.  Lord Jesus, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to give thanks for your saving and reconciling love, for on the night you were betrayed …  (Words of Institution)
….Give your spirit to us, O Lord, as we receive your gifts and look forward to the fullness of joy that is ours in the resurrection to eternal life.  (BREAK BREAD) 

               L: …Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

                   Blessed are those who are called to his supper.

               P:  Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Sharing of Bread and Cup

Closing Thanksgiving (unison)

            For the gift of life in Jesus Christ your Son, we give you thanks, O Lord.   For the gift of your scripture, and for this covenant community in which we live them out, we praise you.  For the gifts of signs and sacraments, for seasons and the promises they bring, we rejoice.  Lead us forth by your Spirit to do your will in the coming days, that in Christ we may experience the joy of resurrection as this season comes to full blossom.  Amen.

The Blessing

Holy God, through the discipline of these 40 days, make your spirit’s cleansing fire burn within us.  Lift us from the dying embers of our inattention.  Mark us with the sign of your holy passion.  Make us ready to respond to the call of Jesus Christ.   Make us your very own and bless us with your peace.

The Sending Forth

     L: Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

     P:  Thanks be to God!

            OR

L:  Go forth in the name of Christ  with hearts attuned to God, bearing truthful speech and love, knowing you can neither wander from God’s presence nor be cut off from God’s Holy Spirit.

 P:   We go as God’s forgiven and empowered people to bring reconciliation and peace.

 L:  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

 P:   Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all God’s blessings.

 L:  Who forgives all your sins and heals all your infirmities.

 P:   Who redeems your life from the grave, and crowns you with mercy  and loving kindness.  Bless the Lord, O my soul.

 

Alternate:  Great Thanksgiving for Ash Wednesday

(For some congregations, when the Eucharist is to be offered, Ash Wednesday provides a unique opportunity for an experience of a different kind of presidency by the minister at the Table.  This text is particularly relevant in its content for the congregation as an aid in recalling salvation history.   Only those portions requiring congregational response need to be printed in a worship bulletin, and in fact may be substituted at the beginning with “Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God.”)

            L: The Lord be with you.

            P:  And also with you.

            L: Lift up your hearts.

            P:  We lift them up to the Lord.

            L: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

            P:  It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Creator and Sovereign of the universe.  You were God before time began.  You have seen every sun rise, every day begin, since you first gave form to our home, this earth.  You launched it into your universe, shaped its hills, and filled its seas.  You brought life into being, and in time made us in your image, male and female.
            But we were not content with such a paradise.  We rebelled, putting our wills before yours.  Even then, we found you boundless in love.  Time and again, you reached out to us with love and mercy.  You made a covenant to take us to be your people, and we promised to live faithfully with you.  When we failed, you put your words on the lips of women and men who gave themselves to calling us home to you.
            We join with those of all times and places, from the north and the south, from the east and the west, as one voice in praising your name at your feast of love and redemption, even as we remember with thanksgiving your Son Jesus.
            When the time was ready, you sent Christ to be servant of all.  He who is closest to your heart has come to make you known to us.  He performed great signs to reveal your presence with us, and called us in faith to trust your love and obey your calling.
            When his hour had come, he accepted the baptism of death.  By your power, he was raised from the grave.  And having triumphed over death, he continues to make his presence known with us as we await the completion of all things in him.
            On the night…(Words of Institution – but do not break loaf)
When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we know anew the presence of the living Christ and look to the day when we shall feast in his eternal kingdom.  Until then, we pray that you will join this memorial made by your people, bound by earth and time, to the heavenly and timeless offering of Christ himself.  Pour out your Spirit upon us gathered here out of love for you, and upon these gifts of bread and wine.  May these signs of breaking bread and drinking wine together reveal Christ among us, and may your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one with you in service throughout the world.  This we pray through your Son Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray boldly, our Father…

Breaking of the Bread

Because there is one loaf, we, many as we are, are one body, for it is one bread of which we all partake.
When we break the bread, it is a sharing in the body of Christ.  (Break bread)
When we give thanks over the cup, it is a sharing in the blood of Christ. (Elevate chalice)
These are the gifts of God for all the people of God.   

       

Suggested Parsing of Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;

            According to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity.

            Cleanse me from my sin.

I know my transgressions; my sin is forever before me.

            Against you, you alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.

So you are just in your sentence, blameless when you pass judgment.

            Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.          

You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

            Purge me and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let my crushed bones rejoice.

            Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

            Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

            Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

You have no delight in sacrifice; a burnt offering would not please you.

            The sacrifice you accept is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not reject.

Ed. note: We regret that the layout of this blog does not allow for an easy means of communicating poetically, especially as witnessed in some of the prayers, and certainly in the parsing of this Psalm.

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