1st Sunday in Lent, March 6, 2022

Lectionary Texts

Deuteronomy 26.1-11 is the salvation story. “My ancestor (Abraham) wandered from Aram, we became a nation enslaved in Egypt, and God liberated us.” When we possess the promised land (that is, enjoy the fruits of what God gives us) we should offer tithes (one tenth of our goods) in thanksgiving, and remember this story, for all things come from God.

Psalm 91 is a reassurance that God cares for us in all distress and danger. (Satan quotes it to Jesus in tempting him to jump from the top of the temple om Lk 4.10-11.)

Romans 10.8-13 promises that all who call upon the name (that is, the power) of God shall be saved. Paul quotes Dt. 30.14.: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.” God’s word is not a strange demand you have to learn; it is there in your deepest yearnings.

Luke 4.1-13 When Jesus is tempted by Satan, his responses are quotations from Deuteronomy 8.3, 6.13 and 6.16, material related to the Shema, the great commandment (Dt. 6.4-5): “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”

Guiding Thoughts

Temptations are not tricks Satan throws at us, but our own deep desire for meaningful life that get distorted.Our temptations are whatever draw us away from union with God. We are one with God, and in God; but when we seek life apart from God, life for our own individual “self,” we cut ourselves off from our divine nature, from God, and from life itself. Our temptations are the fears and desires that control us. They are illusions. Satan’s promises are lies. If Jesus jumped off a cliff he would actually get hurt. Satan isn’t actually capable of giving Jesus all the glory and authority of the nations. “Satan” is our addictions and attachments talking. “Stinkin’ thinkin’,” as they say in AA: things we think will make us happy but actually can’t. “Salvation” is not being rescued from being sent to hell; it’s being rescued from the power our fears and desires have over us.


The desires beneath our temptations aren’t bad; they’re just misdirected. We want to experience power, security and belonging in our lives. These are life-affirming desires—if we seek them in God. But we seek them in the wrong places: power (changing stones to bread) in having control, getting our way; security in being protected from pain; and belonging in the esteem and approval of the world. But Jesus knows that love is our only power, that God is our only security, and that God is the p;lace of our deepest belonging. He also knows that Satan is lying.

The story of Jesus’ temptations invites us to confront our illusions and denial, and expose and renounce our attachments: what we (incorrectly) think we can’t live without. In fact the one thing we can’t live without is giving and receiving love.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: In the desert, God, all is laid bare.
All: You are our life, our only hope.
With you, O Christ, we face our brokenness.
You are our life, our only hope.
Holy Spirit, lead us through the wilderness, to find springs of water in our hearts.
You are our life, and our only hope. We worship you

2.
Leader: In this season of Lent we journey with Christ in the wilderness.
All: We journey from death to life.
We let go of our fears and desires and embrace God.
We worship Yahweh our God, and serve the Holy One alone.
We turn to you, O God, and surrender our lives to you.
By your grace, grant us life.


3.
Leader: Holy Spirit, great desert wind, you drive us into the wilderness.
All: In lonely, barren places our brokenness is exposed.
We confront our shadows.
Christ, be with us in this testing time.
Walk with us, Jesus, in our wilderness.
Eternal God, whose love for us is vast and wide,
you are the desert; you are the Way.
We come to you and surrender ourselves to you.
We rest in your presence.
Receive our broken lives, and transform us by your grace.
Holy One, Destroying One, Birthing One, whom we worship,
create in us a new heart. Amen.


4.
Leader: Creator God, you gathered up dust from the earth
and breathed into it, and it became a living being.
All: Breathe your Spirit into us now, and give us life.
Beloved Christ, you went into the desert for forty days
and wrestled with your temptations.
Lead us into the wilderness of our hearts,
and help us confront all that keeps us from you.
Holy Spirit, you are the Breath of Life;
you are our companion in the wilderness.
Come, Holy Spirit, breathe life into us,
lead us in truth, and transform us by your grace. Amen.


5.
Leader: Lord, have Mercy.
All: Christ, have mercy.
Lord. have mercy.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
have mercy upon us, receive our prayers,
and grant us your peace.

We seek You, God, as in a dry and weary land.
We have gone astray, but we turn to you,
for you abundantly pardon.
As a hen gathers her little ones,
as a shepherd gathers his lambs in his arms,
receive us and bless us, O God,.
Receive us in the arms of Christ outspread.
Make us one with you and with each other in your Spirit.
Gather us in your open arms
and grant us your grace. Amen.

6.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
All: Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
You alone are holy, and we worship you.
Let us return to the Lord our God, who is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us, receive our prayer, and grant us peace.
Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.
With Jesus who confronted his temptations
these forty days in the wilderness, lead us in prayer and repentance.
We give ourselves to you in worship;
create us anew in the power of your Spirit. Amen.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of love, as Jesus went into the desert to pray and face his temptations, lead us with him, into solitude with you, into that place laid bare where we may see ourselves through your eyes and reclaim the love you give us. We pray in the love and the company of Jesus. Amen.

2.
God of love, we live not by bread alone but by your living Word, for your Word is the bread of life. Speak life to us now in our hungry wilderness. Speak freedom to us in our secret deserts, and bring us home. We pray with Jesus, who journeys through this wilderness with us. Amen

3.
Gracious God, we live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your mouth. We lay aside all that claims to be bread but is only words, and we open our hearts to you. Feed us the bread of life; speak your Word to us. Amen.

4.
Gracious God, we tremble to enter the season of Lent, the desert of our temptation, the valley of our suffering. But you have given us your gentle Jesus to go with us, to face this darkness with grace and healing. Help us, then, to go with him, now and throughout this season: in prayer and simplicity to surrender ourselves to you and your grace. Gather us, God, in your open arms, and restore your image in us by the power of your Word. Amen.

5.
God of wilderness and water,
your Son was baptized and tempted as we are. 
Guide us through this season of Lent,
that we may not avoid struggle,
but open ourselves to your blessing,
and give of ourselves to others in love. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

1.
Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
God of love, help us to see ourselves with the eyes of love,
to see all that is in us that is loving, and all that is not loving.
Open our eyes to your love living in us,
and to all those things that hinder that love.
By the grace you show us in Christ,
forgive us, heal us, and perfect your love in us.
           
… Silent reflection… Words of grace

2.
Pastor: The grace of God be with you.
All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Creator God, we are the dust of earth, breathed into life by your Spirit.
But we have clung to things of dust without Spirit.
Forgive our sin, and re-create us now.
Return us to the earth of our creation, to oneness with all living beings.
Breathe life into us by your Spirit,
that we may live each moment by your breath alone.
     … Silent prayer The Word of Grace

3.
The grace of God be with you.
And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word and deed,
by that we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
Gather us in your loving arms;
have mercy on us and forgive us,
that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,
by the grace of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen    
       
Silent prayer … The Word of Grace

4.
The grace of God be with you.
And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Gracious God, we confess our sin: we have not loved you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Have mercy upon us: forgive our sin, heal our hearts, and renew your Holy Spirit within us, that being born anew by your grace, we may live in the light of your love, in the name of Christ.
Silent prayers of Confession…
RESPONSE
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The lord does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God’s love for us.
As far as the east is from the west, so far does God remove our transgressions from us.
We thank you, O God!
Show us your ways and teach us your paths,
that we may live in the light of your grace. Amen.


5.
Gracious God, we confess our sin: we have not loved you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Have mercy upon us: forgive our sin, heal our hearts, and renew your Holy Spirit within us, that being born anew by your grace, we may live in the light of your love, in the name of Christ.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

God of love, we do not live by bread alone,
but by the Word of love you give to us as a gift.
Give us faith to receive your grace.
We cannot protect ourselves from suffering;
give us courage to risk hurt for the sake of love and justice.
We do not need the glory of the world:
we are your Beloved.
Help us to trust, and to live in harmony with your grace.

Eucharistic Prayer

[Go here for musical responses to the Eucharistic prayer—Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Amen—set to familiar tunes suitable for Lent.]

The body of the Eucharistic prayer may be read responsively or by the presiding leader(s) alone.

Beloved, the Holy One is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to our God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.

We thank you, God, for you create us in love,
claim us as your own, and make covenant with us to be our God.
You set us free from all that oppresses us outside us and within;
you bring us back to one another,
and journey with us toward your shalom.
You who are thirsty, come and buy drink without money.
You who are hungry, come and eat, and be satisfied.
For your Word is the bread of life; nothing else do we desire.
Therefore we come to your table with all Creation, singing your praise.
         
[Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name and bear your love,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He loved and taught, healed and gathered a new community of grace.
Resisting the temptations of power, security and esteem,
he relied solely upon you and so,
in faithfulness he became our leader and model.
Resisting the temptations of worldly power,
he opened to us the Empire of your Grace,
and so, in love, he became our sovereign.

For the sake of love did not defend himself
from suffering, powerlessness or death,
and so, in forgiveness, he became our savior. [The Blessing and Covenant…] *
With gratitude we remember these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ.
Therefore we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice,
in union with Christ’ offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery at the heart of our faith.
         
[Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, that we may be the Body of Christ.
By your Spirit lead us in these forty days to turn to you.
May your Word be the bread of our life.
May your grace be our only security.
May the Realm of your Love be our only Empire,
to your glory, now and forever.

          [Amen]

____________
* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
e remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. You have fed us your Word, the Bread of Life, rescued us from death and offered us the Empire of your Grace. Having fed us the bread of heaven, lead us always to turn from worldly powers and desires to embrace your love; to journey from death to life: in the name and the company of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear audio clips, on the Music page)


Becoming Whole (Original song)

We are a broken people becoming whole again.
We are a wounded people being healed again.
We are a hungry people being fed again.
We are a wandering people coming home again.
We are a captive people walking free again.
We are dead and buried, being raised again.
We are a grateful people giving thanks again.

O God, Creator of Each Thing
(Tune: Tallis’ Canon, O Love, How Deep,
or The Gift of Love/The Water Is Wide)

O God, Creator of each thing,
in thanks and praise to you we sing.
In hunger sore we come to you:
Creator God, make us anew.

Our wounds you heal, our sins forgive.
You serve this feast that we may live.
You set us free; you make us new.
In us shines love that comes from you.

How blessed is Christ, who loved and healed,
who by your grace, your love revealed.
For Christ has died. And Christ is risen.
And Christ will come in love again