2nd Sunday in Lent, March 13, 2022

Lectionary Texts

A theme running through today’s texts is the call to be faithful in the face of difficulty. In Genesis 15.1-6, 12-15 God has promised that Abram will have descendants. Abram is old and childless, and he wonders if God will fulfill this promise. But God says he will have as many descendants as there are stars. They will be oppressed, but they will also be delivered.

Psalm 27 rejoices that though evildoers oppose us, we are not afraid, for no matter what happens we will be with God. God cares for us. So we seek to be close to God, and follow God’s way. In

Philippians 3.17-4.1 Paul urges us to stand firm in the faith and not succumb to materialistic values. We are capable of this because “our citizenship is in heaven:” we are not individual, materialistic beings, but the People of God.

In Luke 13.31-35 Jesus, faced with violence, steadfastly continues his non-violent work of healing. He laments people’s rejection of God’s love, and the true community and home that God offers us.

Some Thoughts

We primarily think of Lent as a time of repentance, turning from our sins. But it’s also a time of mourning for the world, a time of lament: lament for the damage we have done to the world and its people; lament for the plight of those who, like Jesus are victims of violence, repression, abuse or threat; lament for our own inadequate response to injustice and oppression. Jesus mourns with us, and invites us to stand with him, simultaneously mourning for our hurting world, resisting evil and violence, committing to healing and practicing non-violence. Accepting the power God gives us, as the baptismal vows declare, “to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” begins with facing our own violence and our cooperation with injustice. As we mourn our own complicity we are strengthened to resist—not from a place of judgment, but from the strength of honest lament. For it’s in lament that we know our own powers to be faulty, and knowing that, we put our trust entirely in God and God’s Spirit working through us.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: God of love, this world is deeply broken and in need of your grace.
All: We cry out to you.
Loving Christ, we are often lost and lonely, and we need your gentle companionship.
We cry out to you.
Holy Spirit, the struggle for healing and justice is long and hard. We need your help.
We cry out to you. We open our hearts to you. We worship you.

2. [Adapted from Psalm 27]
Leader: God is my light and my salvation;
of whom should I be afraid?
All: Though violence rise all around me
I will not be drawn into fear.
One thing I asked of God, that will I seek after:
to live in the presence of God all the days of my life,
to behold the grace of God,
and to inquire in God’s temple.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of God
in the land of the living.
Wait for God;
be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for God!


3. [From Psalm 27]
Leader: One thing I have asked of God, that I will seek after:
All: to live in the presence of the Holy One all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Beloved and to wonder in God’s presence.
Hear us, O God, when we cry out to you.
Do not hide yourself in times of trouble.
Teach us your way, O God, and lead us in paths of peace.
Wait for your God. Be strong, and let your heart take courage.
I believe I shall see the goodness of the Holy One in the land of the living.
Wait for God!


4.
Leader: In the face of violence…
All: healing!
In the face of fear…
love!
In the face of our despair…
hope!
In the face of death.
Life!
God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus,
and for the gift of his Spirit in us.
We praise you, and we worship in peace and in hope.


5.
Leader: Holy One, you create life full of light and darkness, joy and suffering.
And your blessing is in it all.
All: With humility we wonder at the mystery of life, and we thank you.
O Crucified One, you are present in our joy and in our suffering.
All: With gratitude we receive the mystery of life, and we greet you.
O Spirit of Life, you give times of sowing and times of harvest,
and through it all you bring forth your fruits.
With love we bear forth the mystery of life, and we praise you.
Come, Holy Spirit, and sow your Word in us now. Amen.


6.
Leader: Creator God, our Source and our Home, we belong to you.
All: We praise you, and we gather to worship you and give our lives to you.
Living Christ, you establish justice, overthrow the power of evil,
and offer blessing to the downtrodden, even at the price of your own life.
We thank you, and we gather to join in your ministry of healing.
Spirit of mercy, it is you who give us courage and compassion
to work for justice, to enact healing, to bear witness to your grace.
We open our hearts to you, and we gather to be changed by your power.
Transform us by your grace, that we may serve you
in humility, gentleness and courage, in the name of Christ. Amen.


7.
Leader: God of grace, you are our light and our salvation. Whom shall we fear?
All: Hear us, O Lord, when we cry aloud;
be gracious to us, and answer us.
Teach us your way, O God,
and lead us on a level path.
As a hen gathers her brood,
gather your children, God, in your loving arms
and transform us by your grace.


8.
Leader:We seek you, O Lord while you may be found.
We thirst for you as in a dry and weary land.
All: We turn to you, that you may have mercy on us;
we come to you alone, for you abundantly pardon.
Our soul is satisfied as with a rich feast.
Christ, you are the water that satisfies, the bread that gives life.
Gather us in your loving arms,
and transform us by your grace.


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of love you are our only strength, our only refuge, our only hope. Amid all the voices of fear in this world we turn to you for your grace. Speak to us and bring us safely under your wing. We pray in the name of Christ, our gentle savior. Amen.

2.
God of mercy, we come to you in a broken world, in broken relationships, with broken hearts. For all that is unwell we seek your healing. For all that is bruised we ask your grace. For all that is wrong we ask your forgiveness. For all that is unfinished we long for your will to be done. For all that seems impossible, we ask for hope. God of love, grant your blessings. Amen.3.Gracious God, in times of trouble we fear; in times of uncertainty we despair. But you are our light and our salvation. One thing we seek: to be close to you, to behold your beauty, to wonder in your presence. Teach us your ways, Beloved, and lead us in your path. In your Spirit, we wait for you, God. We wait for you. Amen.

4.
Still our minds, God, and calm our hearts, so that we may hear the Word that comes from you that leads us in life, that protects us in struggle, that guides us in doing your will, that strengthens us in suffering for the sake of love, that bears us through death, and that leads us to eternal life. Amen.

5.
Gracious God, Jesus gave his life for us, healing and casting out demons even in the face of persecution. We need his grace; and we need to hear his word to us. Bless us as your scripture is read and your good news proclaimed, that we may hear the voice of the Crucified One in our midst. Amen.

6.
One thing we ask of you, God, that we will seek after: that we may dwell in your house all the days of our lives, to behold your beauty, and to inquire in your holy temple. Teach us your way, Love, and lead us on a level path, that we may see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Amen.

7.
God, we are thirsty for life, though we seek it in dry and barren places. We are hungry for grace, yet we work for that which does not satisfy our hearts. So we turn to you now, for you alone give us the Bread of Life; from you alone flow the clear, living waters of eternal life. We feast upon your presence. We look upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory, in awe at your beauty. Satisfy our souls with the rich feast of your Word. Bless us that we may hear. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

1.
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.
Gentle God, we con fess that we have tried to protect ourselves from suffering,
and so been unable to love.
Forgive our sin, heal our fear, and renew your Spirit within us,
so that we may be perfected in love
according to the grace of Christ. Amen.
Silent prayer … the Word 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.
Gentle God, we confess our abuse of power.
We have tolerated violence and exploitation;
we have excluded and dehumanized people.
We confess our corporate sin,
and ask your forgiveness for your people.
Heal our wounds, and the wounds we have caused,
reconcile us with all people,
and enable us by your grace to live in peace and nonviolence
as healers in the name of Christ. Amen.
Silent prayer … the Word of Grace

3.
Gracious God,
we confess our sin to you,
for we have denied your light in us;
we have betrayed your Holy Spirit in us.
For those sins which weigh upon us,
and those we do not even know
we ask your forgiveness.
Heal our hearts, renew your Spirit within us,
and restore in us the image of Christ,
that by your grace
we may be light for the world. Amen.

4.
Pastor: O people, return to the Holy One your God, who is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
All: 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.
Help us to repent and accept your grace, and by our acceptance
share in the work of Christ in renewing the world. Amen.

Listening Prayer

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

God of love,
in the face of violence,
your grace persists.
In the winds of fear,
your love endures.
In places of brokenness,
your healing continues.
Give us gratitude, and trust.
Amen

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 prayer may be read responsively or by the presider(s) alone]

1.
God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your heart.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

God we thank you, for you create us in love;
you promise us life even when it seems impossible.
You deliver your children from oppression,
and you free us from all the fears and attachments that bind us.

With strong and gentle grace, even in the face of violence,
you lead us toward your Realm of peace and justice.
You are our only power, our only security, our only food.
So at your invitation we come to your table to receive the gift of life,
with all Creation singing your praise.

[Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
In the face of fear he chose love;
in the face of violence he chose peace.
Though he was given death he only gave life.
You raised him from the dead and still he gives us life.

[The Blessings and Covenant….] *

With gratitude we remember your mighty acts in Jesus Christ.
We offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice
in union with Christ’s 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,
trusting in your grace, moved by your Spirit,
courageous in your love,
following in your way of healing and peace,
in the name and the companionship of Christ,
to your eternal glory.


[Amen]
____________

2.
God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your heart.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

God of love, you create us, you claim us and you promise to be our God.
You walk with us, even when we are lost and afraid.
From the fears and attachments that dominate us, you set us free.
From the fear of suffering that quells our love, you set us free.
You come in Jesus to give us hope when we cannot see the way.
You come in Jesus to show us your way of nonviolence.
Jesus remained faithful in the face of threats.,
and gentle in the face of violence.
In love he accompanies us, and nothing will take him from our side.

[The Blessing and Covenant] *

Whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering your acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves,
in union with Christ’s offering for us.
In praise and thanksgiving we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that filled with your love, trusting in your grace,
and upheld by the courage of the Spirit,
we may follow your way of love and peace,
despite all darkness and uncertainty,
in the name of Christ. Amen.

3.
God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your heart.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all things,
ruler of the world and all that is to come.
You have created us in your image, called us as your people,
and taken us to yourself in your holy Covenant.
Though we reject you, you embrace us,
and you extend your grace to all Creation.
Therefore with all your people on earth we sing as one voice:

[Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
With love he healed the sick and drove out demons.
In his gentle acceptance he disarmed all earthly powers and authority.
He called us to repentance, offered us your grace,
and bid us to follow him in healing and casting out evil.
At his table he gathers us as a hen gathers her children,
that we may come to new life in your steadfast love.

[… The Blessing and Covenant …]

Receiving the Body of Christ, we become the Body of Christ,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
[Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts, O God,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood
of the crucified and risen Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
nonviolent even in the face of persecution.
Gather us in your love, with all who share in this meal,
and renew your Holy Spirit within us,
that by the mystery of your grace working within us
through repentance, healing and compassion,
we may join Christ in his work of the redemption of the world.
[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
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer after Communion

God, we thank you for this mystery in which, in facing our violence, you have given yourself to us, in peace and love. May we accept the power you give us to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, in the name and the company and the Spirit of Christ.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

1.
God, we thank you for the mystery that in facing our violence, you give yourself to us, in peace and love. May we accept the power you give us to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, in the name and the company and the Spirit of Christ.

2.
Loving God, when our hearts are heavy and our minds uncertain, you revive us with your gentle grace. Fill us with the courage of your love, to be light in the world and to not fear the darkness, to embody love and not fear. Send us in the name and Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

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

Becoming Whole (Original tune)

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.

Christ, You have Gathered Your Children (Tune: Be Thou My Vision)

Christ, you have gathered your children in peace
here at the table of your loving grace,
just as a mother hen gathers her brood,
giving us shelter and your holy food.

Christ, while dark shadows of death yet draw near,
you go on doing your healing work here.
So the good news of your love cannot fail:
though evil still abounds, your grace will prevail.

Christ, dead and risen, you gather us in,
so that the great Feast of Life may begin.
Spirit, the gifts that you give us we bring,
sharing with joy as your praises we sing.

God, may we dwell in your house all our days,
sharing our gifts as our offering of praise,
humbly beholding your beauty and grace,
and walking with you and learning your ways.


Into the Darkness (Original tune)

Only the seed that has died and is buried
lives to bear fruit, Jesus said.
Lead me then into the darkness and dying,
so you can raise me up from the dead.
Jesus, help me die and rise.

All of my living, my loves and desires,
all of the things that I cling to,
now I surrender to die and be buried.
Raise me in following, serving you.
Jesus, help me die and rise.

Lead me to truth and have mercy and wash me
deep in the dark of my being,
a spirit like bread that is taken and broken:
this is the death that is freeing.
Jesus, help me die and rise.

Give me a clean heart, a heart pure in spirit,
willing and steadfast and made new.
My life I lose; let your cross lift me up now.
One joy restore to me: life in you.
Jesus, help me die and rise.


Raise Up Your People (Tune: Be Thou My Vision)

God, you who raised up your Christ from the grave.
Raise up your people and bless us and save!
Help us be mindful our life is in you
when we surrender you raise us up new.

When all the powers of evil assail,
not by our strength but your grace we prevail:
when we are lowly and gentle in love
power is not ours but flows from above.

Give us the faith, God, to fearlessly live,
love with our whole hearts and bless and forgive.
Your Word is borne, God, in all that we do;
in our forgiveness is Christ raised anew.


Make Us Merciful (Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus)

Merciful parent, God, prodigal with grace and love,
welcoming children through your pain,
gently receive us all, break down our shame’s dark wall,
that we may never leave again.

Gentle and gracious God, you who love your children,
you take us in though we turn away.
Fold us in your embrace; fill us with peace and grace,
that we may live your gentle way.

God, give us spacious hearts, generous and kind and wide,
no matter what hurtful things folks do.
Help us to love and bless, steadfast in gentleness.
Lord, make us merciful as you.


When Darkness and Unknowing (Tune: O Sacred Head Now Wounded)

When darkness and unknowing weigh down our hearts with fear,
oh, loving gentle Jesus, you draw your dear ones near.
You feed us with yourself, Lord, and dwelling in our soul
you lead us by your light, though we cannot see the goal.

When evil and oppression make threat to bend your will,
you gather your beloved in peace, and gentle still.
You feed us with compassion: your very life you give,
so gentleness will also become the way we live.

Despite our fear and violence, the gentleness you’ve shown,
your mercy in the darkness, becomes our hope alone.
You feed us with your love now, and ban the evil powers,
and give us your compassion, so your peace may be ours.