Worship Order for
1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10
|Come to him, a living stone, though
rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight,
and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a
spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual
sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
|You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim
the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his
|Once you were not a people,
|but now you are God's people;
|once you had not received mercy,
|but now you have received mercy.
Hymnal #858, New Revised Standard
O Lord, you are
the firm foundation upon which our lives depend; you are the rock of
our salvation; you are the cornerstone so important to the building
- the construction, the growth - of this congregation, and of each
person and family gathered here. Yes, once we were not a people, but
now we dare to believe that we are your people. Once we had not a
clue about what mercy is all about, but now confession and
forgiveness are not only a part of our vocabulary, they are woven
into the fabric of our very lives.
You know us through
and through, our sins as well as the spark of the Spirit which you
have implanted within us. In these moments of worship, we turn from
our darkness and step toward your light in Christ. Therefore, may
the words we speak this hour, as well as all that remains unspoken
in our minds and hearts, be pleasing to you, O Lord, for you are our
rock and our redeemer. In Jesusí name, we pray. Amen.
to John 16:20-24 reading:
week, Christians around the world marked an important transition,
beginning the great cycle of Easter that extends from Ash
Wednesday to Pentecost. The season of Lent is a time of penitence
and prayer, reflection and renewal, preparing us for the
remembrance of Christís death, and for the celebration of his
resurrection on Easter.
reading on this first Sunday of Lent is taken from John, chapter
16. It should be noted that a third of Johnís gospel - seven
chapters - is devoted to the last hours leading up to Christís
crucifixion, a time period often referred to as "the
passion." Four of those seven chapters are full of Jesusí
last words to his disciples. Within this Ďfarewell discourse,í
we hear Christ calling them (and us) to wash each otherís feet.
We hear him telling them (and us) not to be afraid because "in
my Fatherís house there are many mansions," and
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life." We
hear him encouraging them (and us) to grow in faith because "I
am the vine and you are the branches," "abide in
my love," and "love one another as I have loved
you" - even when the world turns violent and loveless.
the difficult times, Jesus promised them (and us) that Godís
Spirit - "the Advocate" - would be present to help.
Listen now to what our Lord had to say about facing into
difficulty. The last couple of verses will provide a jumping off
point for our childrenís message.
"I can have
to be written and shared by Ed Lewis,
a church member gifted in children's stories
written closer to the time (if not at the
our Tithes and Offerings
ago, our children passed around little plastic arks for you to save
up an offering for our February special offering to be given to Heifer
International. This worldwide ministry, begun by Brethren but
now embraced by Christians of every stripe, is still simple in
design - even though it has moved far beyond sending only female
cows to needy people. The idea is the same - pass on the gift you
what "stewardship" (a big word for a simple idea) is all
about: passing on what we have received? Yes, we take care of what
we have been given by God. But our care of it is always for the
purpose of passing it on. The same can be said of everything we do
as followers of Jesus. "Evangelism," for instance -
another big word - is also simply a matter of passing on what we
have received: good news for all.
time this morning involves some action beyond just passing the
plates. After the ushers collect our regular tithes and offerings,
you are invited to bring forward your ark and place it on the
worship center while we sing about God loving a cheerful giver. Now,
if you donít have one of those arks, but still plan to give, your
offering can go in one of the manilla envelopes found in the pew
racks. Write "Heifer" on it and either bring it forward
during the hymn, or place it in the offering plate.
Letís pass along what we have received. Ushers?
Lord, with these offerings, we freely pass along what you have most
graciously provided for us. May the animals and plants purchased
with the contents of our arks bless a multitude of families,
allowing them to - in turn - bless even more families, passing along
the gift. Help us to make wise use of those offerings which are to
be used locally. May it all be done for your glory and our neighborís
(connects to message
and last hymns)
We donít stand still upon this "solid
Therefore, go forth and live passionately.
Remember that in Christ,
"fragile" stones become "living" stones.