March 14, 2021 Worship
4th Sunday in Lent
Give thanks to the Lord, whose steadfast love endures forever. Let the faithful give thanks to the Lord.
WELCOME and CALL TO WORSHIP
Friends of God, believe this – God loved the world, God loves the world, we are the beloved!
May the truth of this great love story shine through our worship today and renew our sense of calling. So come, with your tiredness, your frustrations and your discouragements; come with your doubts, your fears, and your longings; come, to discover yet again how Jesus reveals God’s love and mercy.
We come in friendship to God and to each other, and in friendship to the world, to listen for God’s Word to us, to offer our prayers, and to renew our calling. Friends of God, let us worship!
OPENING HYMN God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending No. 716 (Because the singing of hymns is discouraged during this period of pandemic, you are invited to hum or meditate on the verses below.)
God, whose giving knows no ending,
from your rich and endless store,
nature's wonder, Jesus' wisdom,
costly cross, grave's shattered door:
gifted by you, we turn to you,
offering up ourselves in praise;
thankful song shall rise forever,
gracious donor of our days.
Skills and time are ours for pressing
toward the goals of Christ, your Son:
all at peace in health and freedom,
races joined, the church made one.
Now direct our daily labor,
lest we strive for self alone.
Born with talents, make us servants
fit to answer at your throne.
Treasure, too, you have entrusted,
gain through powers your grace conferred:
ours to use for home and kindred,
and to spread the gospel word.
Open wide our hands in sharing,
as we heed Christ's ageless call,
healing, teaching, and reclaiming,
serving you by loving all.
CALL TO PRAYERS
By nature, we are impatient, irritated, disobedient children, always demanding our way. But God, who is good and kind and gentle, comes to transform us, by grace, into the people we are meant to be. Let us open ourselves to the One who overflows with love for us.
PRAYERS OF APPROACH & CONFESSION3
God of immeasurable grace, you meet us in our time of need and cause your face to shine upon us. You sent your Son into the world, that we might be saved; and you fashioned us into vessels of your love and light.
Redeem us this day, O God, that we may be found worthy of the one who came to bring us life.
Gracious God, we are tired of our own grumbling.
Though we run around like errant children,
we long to return to your warm embrace.
Though we act as if the odds are stacked against us, we yearn to rest in the knowledge
that your steadfast love endures forever.
Though we crouch in the shadows,
we long to feel the warmth of your love
shining upon us each day.
Lead us from death into life,
that we might live as children of light,
and serve one another as heirs of your Son,
in whose name we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GOD WITH US
God sent God’s Son into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it. Friends, hear the good news of the Gospel: we are forgiven and restored to right paths of justice and shalom.
Thanks be to God!
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
Thanking God for the bounty of love we find in Christ Jesus, let us share our joy as we exchange signs of Christ’s peace this morning. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you! And also with you.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened to us the light of eternity. Enlighten our minds and kindle
our hearts with the presence of your Spirit, as we hear your words of comfort and challenge. Amen.
SCRIPTURE LESSON Numbers 21:4-9
SCRIPTURE LESSON John 3:14-21
SERMON Rev. Kathryn R. Mustaro No Greater Love
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH from A Declaration of Faith
We believe Christ gives us and demands of us personal lives that are centered in God and
open to God’s reality and rule.
Christ teaches us to put obedience to God above the interests of self, family, race, or nation;
to offer God joyously our money, ability, and time.
It is part of our daily discipline to observe a day of worship and rest, setting aside our own working to enjoy God’s work, celebrating with sisters and brothers the Lord’s goodness.
We need constantly to search out God’s way in Scripture, not expecting detailed directions for every decision, but relying on the Word to tell us who God is, to press God’s present claim on us,
and to assure us of God’s grace and comfort.
We are charged to pray for ourselves and others with gratitude, boldness, and persistence,
confident that God hears and answers our prayers
in ways best for us all.
Life in God’s presence issues in life for others, for if we do not love sisters and brothers whom we see, we cannot love God whom we do not see.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Lord in your mercy/in thanksgiving,
Hear our prayer.
OUR GIFTS OF SACRIFICE and THANKSGIVING Invitation
From God’s immeasurable grace, we have been saved by faith. In thankfulness for this mighty gift, let us give thanks to the Lord and offer God homage, as we offer back our tithes and our offerings.
Thank you for sending your offerings.
They make a great difference to our church’s work in the world.
Prayer of Dedication
God of light and love, as Jesus shined your light into our troubled world, may our offering bring rays of your holy light into the dark corners of our world. May these gifts reach the places where the fear of death holds sway, that others may find Christ’s life in the midst of their pain. Amen.
We Are Sent
CLOSING HYMN What Wondrous Love Is This No. 215 (You are invited to hum or meditate on the verses below.)
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
what wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing, to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I am, while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing; while millions join the theme, I will sing!
All songs not in the public domain are used by permission of CCLI #1124594.
1 Scifres, Mary; Beu, B. J.. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2021 (p. 69). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
2 Siddall, Ann, posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre website.
3 Scifres, 69-70.