Leader: When the human race increased and spread over the
earth, it became so mired in sin that God wanted nothing less
than to blot out every living thing upon the face of the land.
People: We confess our kinship with those whose
corruption and violence so disappointed God. We, too, are mired
in sin. Our institutions enrich the wealthy, not the poor; our
policies protect the powerful, not the oppressed; our churches
embrace the saved, not the lost.
Leader: Then God found one righteous among his generation.
People: We confess we lack the faith of Noah. We
hear God’s Word and build walls, not arks; we know God’s
commands and safeguard our possessions, not God’s creation. The
pitch of night blinds us, and the thunder of the tempest deafens
us to God’s presence. We run aground and send the raven, but in
our despair, forget the dove.
Leader: But God promises never to lay waste to the earth again.
People: Is this true? Despite the world’s glut of
ego, surfeit of greed, and deluge of violence, God promises to
withhold the flood?
Leader: It is true. See the rainbow? It is sign and seal of
God’s sacred promise. When the rainbow appears in the clouds
over the earth, God remembers his covenant.
People: God remembers his covenant!
Leader: Instead of the fatal flood, the clouds bear living
What grace! God remembers his covenant! Come, worship, and
It is your voice, O God, which has called us into this moment of
worship. By your grace, we step forth into your promise. Once again
we have embarked on this 40 day Lenten voyage, remembering the sea
Noah sailed long ago. Ever before us is the rainbow sign of your
covenant. Beneath this arch we travel, seeking not some pot of gold,
but rather the true treasure of your heavenly kingdom. Lead us
onward, Lord Jesus, through the storm and the calm. Encourage and
empower us, Holy Spirit, by your presence in our boat. Bless the
journey of this hour, Heavenly Father, as well as the directions we
take from this time and place. Amen.
written closer to the time (if not at the
our Tithes and Offerings
The church is
sometimes likened to a boat. Perhaps this is because Jesus
called fishermen to be his first disciples, and some of his
initial messages were delivered from the seat of fishing vessels
to crowds on the shore. The simplicity of this image emphasizes
that we are all in the same boat.
On this first
Sunday of our Lenten voyage toward Easter, we are guided by the
story of another boat. In the background we hear a cacophony of
sounds that reveal this ship carries more than the children of
Adam and Eve. All of creation is present, two by two, reminding
us that, like Noah’s family long ago, we bear responsibility for
more than ourselves. We are stewards called by God to care for
all who are with us in this boat.
It’s not just
about us, as if salvation were merely a personal affair between
us and Jesus, with him rowing our little boat home. No, “all
God’s creation is waiting on tiptoe for the children of God to
come into their own,” as the apostle Paul once wrote
(Romans 8:19). We are
empowered to bear responsibility for the world around us.
see, is not only about giving money to the church to keep it
afloat. Mind you, we do need money on this voyage, and your
offerings help us to fulfill our mission, which is more than
just putting oil in the tank so we don’t freeze as we worship.
However, being a steward of what God has given each of us, is
much more than paying for a berth on a cruise ship.
Think of Noah’s
sons. God called them to not only build the boat, cubit by
cubit, but also to load it with animals and supplies. Once the
doors were shut, and the rain fell, they didn’t sit in their
bunks reading the paper. They fed the critters on the boat and,
no doubt, shoveled a lot of manure. It was their responsibility
to make sure all those who came aboard before the flood
disembarked alive once the voyage was over.
We are like Noah’s
family. We’re not just passengers. We are the crew of this ship
- all of us, not just some of us. With Jesus as our “captain,”
we have set sail on a fantastic voyage. What we do along the
way, as we each bear some responsibility for this journey, is
called “stewardship.” None of us sails alone. We do so together.
As you return your
offering just now, I invite you to mentally put on your sailor
suit and think about what you are going to do the next 40 days
of this Lenten voyage. Don’t just be a passenger. Join the crew.
God, who set the bow in the sky as a promise,
give us the courage to push away from the shore
on this voyage of faith;
May Christ Jesus, who was sent not to nail us to the wall,
but to reconcile us to God,
guide us in unfurling the sails of peace
on this voyage of faith;
May the Holy Spirit, who is always present
no matter where this
boat takes us,
be the wind that propels us
on this voyage of faith.
And all God’s sailors say:
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)
Interested in Sunday School? Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit.
As you discover others, please let
International Lesson: Adult
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement"
under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)