LOVELY LANE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR B

MARCH 10, 2024

11:00 A.M.

† Stand as you are able

Organ Prelude

 

Welcome and Announcements     John Strawbridge, Lay Leader

 

Choral Introït     “Lord, Take Control”     Anon., arr. Moore

My heart, my mind, my body, my soul

I give to You; take control.

I give my body, a living sacrifice:

Lord, take control.

 

† Call to Worship

Beloved friends in God, let us gather with open hearts and minds, to celebrate the profound truth:

God’s love for the world is boundless, and we are cherished beyond measure.

As we embark on this journey of worship, may the narrative of this divine love radiate through our gathering, reviving our purpose and resolve.

We come, bringing our weariness, our struggles, and our setbacks; we come, carrying our uncertainties, our apprehensions, and our yearnings; we come, to rediscover anew how Jesus embodies God’s compassion and grace.

In this sacred space of kinship with God, and with one another, let us also extend our fellowship to the world, eager to discern God’s message, offer our supplications, and reaffirm our divine calling.

Beloved companions of God, let us commence our worship together!

 

† Opening Hymn     “Lift High the Cross”     UMH 159

 

Old Testament Lesson    Numbers 21:4-9   NRSV

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

The word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God!

 

Call to Confession

Friends, let us pause and acknowledge our journey of faith. Like wanderers in a vast wilderness, we sometimes stray from God’s path. Whether as curious toddlers, stubborn children, or rebellious youths, we may falter in our understanding. Let us now confess our shortcomings and seek forgiveness from our gracious God.

Prayer of Confession

Gracious and loving God, we humbly come before you, acknowledging our shortcomings and the times when we have strayed from your path. Like wanderers in a vast wilderness, we have often relied on our own understanding instead of following your guiding light. At times, we resemble curious toddlers, drawn to your call and returning to your embrace with innocence and trust. Yet there are moments when we resemble stubborn children, testing the limits of your love and grace until fear reminds us of the safety in your arms. And there are occasions when we exude youthful rebellion, craving independence without recognizing the depth of our need for your wisdom and guidance. In our arrogance, we sometimes believe we have all the answers, only to stumble and lose our way.

Loving God, remind us always of our status as your cherished children, never fully matured in your eyes, always in need of your nurturing care. Grant us the humility to seek you earnestly each day, acknowledging our dependence on your infinite wisdom and steadfast guidance. Guide us back to the path of righteousness, O Lord, and walk with us as our constant companion on this journey of faith. In the name of Christ, our faithful companion, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Beloved, hear this assurance: In moments of wandering, God’s love remains steadfast. We are cherished as beloved children, never fully matured, always in need of God’s guidance.

With humility, embrace God’s forgiveness and guidance, confident that we are never alone on this journey of faith. In Christ’s name, receive the assurance of God’s unwavering love and grace.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

 

Passing of the Peace

 

Sharing Joys and Concerns

Pastoral Prayer

Lord’s Prayer

 

Choral Response     “Cares Chorus”

I cast all my cares upon You

I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet

And anytime that I don’t know what to do

I will cast all my cares upon You.

 

† Gospel Lesson     John 3:14-21     NRSV

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

The Gospel of our Lord.  Praise be to you, O Christ.

 

Sermon     Rev. Levon D. Sutton, Pastor

 

Invitation to Offering

 

Offertory     “I Know Whom I Have Believed”     Smith

I know not why God’s wondrous grace

To me He hath made known,

Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

Redeemed me for His own,

 

But “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.”

 

I know not how this saving faith

To me he did impart,

Nor how believing in His word

Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not when my Lord may come,

At night or noonday fair,

Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him,

Or meet Him in the air.

 

Offering Prayer

Gracious God, your boundless love, exemplified in the gift of your Son, leaves us in awe. May we, in turn,

mirror a fraction of that devotion as we offer ourselves to you. Guide us away from fear and scarcity as

we present our offerings. Enable us to embody love and abundance as your chosen people. In Christ name, we pray. Amen.

 

† Closing Hymn     “Lift Him Up”     Benjamin Burke Beall

 

† Benediction

Rejoice! For God’s love envelops the world! May the Creator fill you with renewed creative vigor. May Christ, the Light, shine in your darkest hours. And may the Holy Spirit, embodying steadfast love, lead you until our next gathering. Now and forevermore. Amen!

 

† Choral Benediction     “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me”     Spiritual arr. Moore

I want Jesus to walk with me;

All along my pilgrim journey,

I want Jesus to walk with me.

Ringing the Bicentennial Bell

 

 

Organ Postlude