Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Organ PreludeSalus aeterna (Sarum)

Words of Welcome and Announcements John Strawbridge

Choral IntroitCast Thy Burden Upon the Lord (Mendelssohn)

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.
He never will suffer the righteous to fall. He is at thy right hand.

* Call to Worship

Do you feel it? God’s kingdom is beneath our feet.
We live in the new creation shaped by God out of our brokenness.
Do you know it? God’s reconciling love in Christ has shattered our ways of viewing people.
No longer do we label our sisters and brothers, we welcome them with open arms.
Do you believe it? God has made everything, including us, new,
and sends us forth to share this good news with everyone!

* Opening Hymn Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross UMH 301

1. Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s mountain. In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

2. Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me; there the bright and morning star sheds its beams around me. In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

3. Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me; help me walk from day to day with its shadow o’er me. In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

4. Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever, till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river. In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Prayer of Invocation (All)

How incredible is your love, O God! We have been made new in your love and reconciled to you and to each other in peace and joy. Be with us this day as we hear your words of comfort and hope. Guide our lives that we may serve you more fully all of our days. Amen.

Sharing Joys and Concerns
Pastoral Prayer
Lord’s Prayer
Children’s Moment

AnthemJesu, The Very thought of Thee (Eric Thiman)

Jesu, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy presence rest.

Nor voice can see, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,
O Savior of mankind.

Jesu, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be;
Jesu, be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

A Reading from the Epistles – 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (RSV)                                 Nancy Brannan, Liturgist

For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Call to Confession Nancy Brannan, Liturgist

We know our faults — the way we have treated others, our alienation from God, our unwillingness to be faithful people. We will not hide our sin or remain silent, but confess
them to the One who surrounds us with steadfast love. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Prayer of Confession (All)

On this very day, Waiting God, we admit all the lengths to which we go so we might avoid you. You offer us that kingdom of joy and wonder, yet we would hide in places where temptation waits. You invite us to feast on your grace and peace, but we stubbornly refuse, because you also welcome those we call ‘outsiders.’ We are quick to see all the mistakes that those around us make, but hope you will ignore our foolish choices.
Celebrating God, before we come to our senses, we find you running towards us, sweeping us up in your arms, tears of grace mingling with our cries of confession, a mighty river washing away our sinful ways to restore us to new life. In Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we find no limitations on your grace, no reservations about your love, but a feast that overflows with wonder, a place we can finally call home.

Assurance of Pardon

God rolls away everything that stands in our way-our past, our sin, our pain, our hesitation & reshapes us into new people living in the new creation. What wonderful grace. We are forgiven!
Broken, we are made whole; lost, we are brought home; empty, we are filled with songs of gladness. We rejoice and give thanks to God who has graced us with mercy. Amen.

* Hymn of PreparationSoftly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling UMH 348

1. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me; see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. Come home, (Come home), come home; (come home); you who are weary, come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!

2. Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me? Why should we linger and heed not his mercies, mercies for you and for me? Come home, (Come home), come home; (come home); you who are weary, come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!

3. Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, passing from you and from me; shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, coming for you and for me. Come home, (Come home), come home; (come home); you who are weary, come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!

4. O for the wonderful love he has promised, promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon, pardon for you and for me. Come home, (Come home), come home; (come home); you who are weary, come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!

A Reading from the Gospel – Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on[a] the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[b] But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Sermon – “Two Sons”                                                                                                                   Rev. Debbie Scott

The Offering of Gifts and Tithes

OffertoryGod Be In My Head (John Rutter)

God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.

* Presentation of OfferingPraise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, yet heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Offering Prayer (All)

May we not be like the older brother, grumbling and resentful of your generosity. Rather, with joy and hope, we offer our gifts that others might be swept up in your loving and gracious arms. Amen.

* Closing HymnThis Is a Day of New Beginnings (Vs. 1-4)                                                               UMH 383

1. This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that’s gone.

2. For by the life and death of Jesus, God’s mighty Spirit, now as then, can make for us a world of difference, as faith and hope are born again.

3. Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring, step from the past and leave behind our disappointment, guilt, and grieving, seeking new paths, and sure to find.

4. Christ is alive, and goes before us to show and share what love can do. This is a day of new beginnings; our God is making all things new.

* Benediction

God sends us forth,
to be reconcilers of the broken and oppressed.
Jesus, our Brother, sends us to welcome everyone.
We will embrace the prodigals with joy,
we will make a feast for all of God’s people.
The Spirit sends us with arms full of healing.
We will go to bring hope to all we meet.

* Choral ResponseI Want Jesus To Walk With Me (Trad, arr. Moore)

I want Jesus to walk with me. Along along my pilgrim journey,
Lord I want Jesus to walk with me.

* Ringing of the Bicentennial Bell

* Organ Postlude Allegro in D (Blake)

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on March 29, 2019

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