Third Sunday in Lent
March 3 - 9, 2013
Lent is the forty-day period starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday of Holy Week. In this season we reflect on Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, and death. As the Spirit led Jesus to lay down his life on the Roman Cross, so we seek the Spirit’s strength to reflect that same obedience in our lives, even to death.
This Week's Theme
God’s Higher Ways and Thoughts
In one of Scripture’s greatest invitations, the Lord invites all humankind to come to him, that everyone who thirsts might come to the waters, even those without money. He exhorts us all to come, to buy and to eat, buying wine and milk without money and without price. He asks the hungry to come and listen diligently to him, to incline our ears and to come to him in order that we might live. If we do, he promises to make with us an everlasting covenant, his steadfast, sure love for David. We are commanded to seek the LORD while he may be found and to call upon him while he is near, forsaking our wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts, returning to the Lord. If we do, he will have compassion on and abundantly pardon us. How can this be? Because the LORD’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Eternal God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we humbly obey your gracious invitation and come to you – hungry, needy, and empty. We ask for your blessing and forgiveness, for your compassion and pardon, and pray that you grant us through your Holy Spirit the strength to forsake our wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts and return to you. Apart from you and what you provide, we can do nothing. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (Songs and Prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
* In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in 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, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Eternal God, he whose thoughts are above our thoughts, and whose ways are above our ways, grant to us the wisdom to depend on you and you alone for all that we need. You alone provide to us what we cannot provide for ourselves, and grant it to us without price or money. Only through your Son and by the power of your Spirit can we know and please you. In Christ’s name, amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
~ Psalm 103.9-12
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
O Mighty One, let your name be praised today from the rising of the sun to its setting – let me ever be praising you for your love and pardon’s sake.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
That We May Gain Christ, Phil. 3.4b-14
Pritchard, Names of the Holy Spirit
Prayer, Fasting, Solitude and Silence Days
Prayer and Fasting: Wednesday, March 6, 2013