Live Stream 2/28/2021
Here are your worship resources for this weekend. I hope that you can all join us in our recorded worship on the church’s webpage.
Remember that we will not have in-person worship in March. There will be no midweek services, but we will have recorded Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.
We will have a livestreamed in-person worship service in our courtyard on Easter Sunday morning.
God bless and keep you safe,
GATHERING SONGS I’VE BEEN REDEEMED
1. I’ve been redeemed (I’ve been redeemed)
By the blood of the Lamb (by the blood of the Lamb).
I’ve been redeemed (I’ve been redeemed)
By the blood of the Lamb.
I’ve been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb,
Filled with the Holy Ghost I am;
All my sins are washed away, I’ve been redeemed.
2. And that’s not all…There’s more besides (repeat x3)
…I’ve been to the river and I’ve been baptized…
3. He’s coming back…To take us home… (repeat x3)
…Where we will reap what we have sown;
4. You can talk about me…All that you please… (repeat x3)
…I’ll talk about you down on my knees;
5. Oh the Devil and me…we both agree (repeat x3)
…I hate him and he hates me….
Repeat verse 1
COME, NOW IS THE TIME TO WORSHIP
Verse Come, now is the time to worship;
Come, now is the time to give your heart;
Come, just as you are to worship;
Come, just as you are before your God. Come
One day every tongue will confess You are God;
One day every knee will bow;
Still the greatest treasure remains;
For those who gladly choose You now
Repeat verse and chorus
Come, now is the time, Come, now is the time, Come.
THE CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: We are called to render our hearts and not our garments for the Lord.
People: For God has been gracious and merciful to us, and slow to anger .
Leader: Then let us seek the Lord that we might know and serve God.
People: But how shall we come before the Lord and what shall we bring?
Leader: Christ has shown us the way; bring only your love, service, and praise .
People: Blessed be the name of the Lord!
WELCOME TO WORSHIP
PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
Leader: Gracious God,
People: You call us to be voices for You in today’s world. Yet so often we are silent when we should speak out, we are blind when we should see and battle injustice around us, and we are content in the midst of others who are suffering. Forgive us, Lord, and give us the strength and the courage to stand firm and declare Your love through our lives. In Christ we pray. Amen.
(Silence for reflection and personal confession)
Leader:Jesus Christ was handed over to death for us and raised to life for our justification. Therefore, in an everlasting covenant, God has promised that all who put their trust in Christ will, by grace, be considered righteous. Sisters and Brothers, your sins are forgiven; be at peace.
People: Thanks be to God!
SONG OF PRAISE I WILL CALL UPON THE LORD
I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from my enemies
The Lord liveth and blessed be the rock
And may the God of my salvation be exalted
The Lord liveth and blessed be the rock
And may the God of my salvation be exalted.
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS
First Reading: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
As with Noah, God makes an everlasting covenant with Abraham and Sarah. God promises this old couple that they will be the ancestors of nations, though they have no child together. God will miraculously bring forth new life from Sarah’s womb. The name changes emphasize the firmness of God’s promise.
1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” 3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”
15God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
all the families of nations shall bow before God.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord,
who rules over the nations.
29Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow down in worship;
all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel before the Lord.
31They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying to them, “The Lord has acted!”
Second Reading: Romans 4:13-25
Paul presents Abraham as the example for how a person comes into a right relationship with God not through works of the law but through faith. Though Abraham and Sarah were far too old for bearing children, Abraham trusted that God would accomplish what God had promised to accomplish.
13The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION THY WORD
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
And a light unto my path; you’re the light unto my path
Gospel: Mark 8:31-38
After Peter confesses his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus tells his disciples for the first time what is to come. Peter’s response indicates that he does not yet understand the way of the cross that Jesus will travel.
31[Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
ADULT MESSAGE 2 LENT—2.28.21—MARK 8:31-38
You might remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. When he first came to the United States from Russia he was not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, “On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, What a country!”
Smirnoff is joking, but some people seem to make this same kind of assumption about what happens when someone becomes a Christian. At that point, their thinking goes, a person is transformed and now becomes fearless and sinless and maybe even able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Obviously, full-blown disciples of Jesus are not instantly born. Christians are slowly raised through many trials, suffering, and temptations.
To address the confusion, Jesus pulls his disciples together before a crowd. And in front of the crowd, he corrects the disciples’ aspirations for privilege, rank, and power and he gives them this simple little directive: You must take up your cross and follow me. Today I would like to ask the question “Why must we carry a cross?” and give three reasons why we must do so.
First, we must carry a cross to remind us that we are not the center of the Universe. That our suffering is part of our discipleship as Christians. It is characteristic of great leaders to make demands upon their followers. When Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, he told the British people that he had nothing to offer them but “blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” The Italian freedom fighter Gerabaldi told his followers that he offered them only hunger and death.
These were demanding leaders, but Jesus was a thousand times more demanding than they were. Jesus said, “So, therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Possessions cannot stand between you and the Lord. Jesus went so far as to say, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own mother and father, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, he cannot be my disciple.” Even something as noble as the love of family, as good and right as that is, cannot stand in the way of commitment to the Kingdom of God. Laziness, fear, selfishness, family–nothing can stand between us and the call to discipleship.
Jesus Christ demands our obedience. Jesus is not some wishy-washy little fellow coming up to us, hat in hand, hoping to win our favor, saying softly: “Please sir, may I have a word with you.” He comes to us as the Lord of History and makes His demand: “Take up your cross and follow me.” He comes to us as one who is to be obeyed.
During the dark days of World War II, England had a great deal of difficulty keeping men in the coal mines. It was a thankless kind of job, totally lacking in any glory. Most chose to join the various military services. They desired something that could give them more social acceptance and recognition. Something was needed to motivate these men in the work that they were doing so that they would remain in the mines.
With this in mind, Winston Churchill delivered a speech one day to thousands of coal miners, stressing to them the importance of their role in the war effort. He did this by painting for them a mental picture. He told them to picture the grand parade that would take place when VE Day came. First, he said, would come the sailors of the British Navy, the ones who had upheld the grand tradition of Trafalgar and the defeat of the Armada. Next in the parade, he said, would come the pilots of the Royal Air Force. They were the ones who, more than any other, had saved England from the dreaded German Luftwaffe. Next in the parade would come the Army, the ones that had stood tall at the crises of Dunkirk.
Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in minor’s caps. And someone, he said, would cry from the crowd, “And where were you during the critical days of the struggle?” And then from ten thousand throats would come, “We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.” We are told that there were tears in the eyes of many of those soot-laden and weathered-faced coal miners. They had been given a sense of their own self-worth by the man at the top.
Service does not always come with big fancy ribbons. And I think that it is forever true, that it is often the humble acts of service that provide us with the deepest sense of joy and the most fulfilling satisfaction. Jesus said: those who are willing to lose their life for my sake shall find it. I am persuaded that true discipleship is found in the coal mines with our cross upon our backs.
Second, we must carry a cross to remind us that there are others who suffer and that we must fight for justice in the lives of others. In 1580, a Dutch Protestant leader named Klaes was arrested and condemned by the Catholic church as a heretic. Eventually he was burned at the stake. When the tragedy was over, his dear wife took their small son by the hand and walked through the back streets of town to the hill where their loved one had perished as a Christian martyr.
At the place of execution, the bereaved widow gathered up a few of the ashes, placed them in her satchel, and hung it around her boy’s neck, saying, “Son, I place these ashes on your heart, and on the heart of every son of these Netherlands in all eternity. Whenever and wherever in this world there is an injustice or wrong committed, these ashes will beat on your heart and you will speak out without fear, even at the fear of death.”
All around us there are wrongs that we must correct. The cross we carry is our reminder of that fact. It is a sad episode in the life of the church, but even we–Jesus’ followers–have been the perpetrators of some of the most horrific crimes, and we have done these crimes–like Peter–claiming that it was God’s will. That is why I am grateful that in recent years I have seen the leaders of the Christian churches expressing sorrow for the church’s participation in atrocities like the Crusades and the Inquisition, and the Holocaust.
Though it may take time, if we keep carrying the cross, we may learn that others suffer as we do and that sometimes, even we are ourselves are perpetrators of the hatred and violence which others are suffering. We carry a cross to remind us that others suffer.
And finally, we must carry a cross to remind us that we are responsible in part for the cross that Jesus carried. When Rembrandt painted his famous work of the crucifixion called “The Three Crosses” which now hangs in the Louvre in Paris he did something most unusual. Among the faces in the crowd beneath the cross, he painted himself. That was his way of saying that he could not envision the crucifixion without admitting that he had a participation in it. Unfortunately, there are some who never see that. They identify with the Christ on the cross, rather than the Rembrandt in the crowd.
That haunting old Negro spiritual gives the refrain “Were you there when they crucified my Lord.” The emphasis is on the you. If we were to be perfectly honest, we would have to answer yes, I was there. Yes, I had a role in this. It is only as we come to that understanding that we can then sing the last part of the hymn: “Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.”
Some would respond by saying, that happened in the past and it has nothing to do with me. It was an act committed by pompous Romans and self-righteous Jews. I was not there, say these persons, and that is that. I refuse to feel guilty for something I had nothing to do with.
If that is the position we take, then I think we are missing the point of Jesus’ words, “Take up your cross and follow me.” Jesus does not simply want us to remember his cross as something he himself suffered on our behalf. If he did, he would have simply said take up MY cross and follow me. Instead, he told us to take up our own cross.
I think by that he meant that I must so identify with the event of the crucifixion as to see myself in the story. It is not simply His story; it is our story as well. I think that is it most tragic if we go through this entire Lenten season and never fully understand our role in the whole crucifixion drama.
Why must we carry a cross? To remind us that we must suffer for Christ’s sake, that there are others in this world who suffer, and that ultimately, we are responsible for the indignity and shame which Christ suffered upon the cross. But you have a choice. You can lay down the cross you have been given to bear and passively live your life with no challenges or you can take it up and be transformed, living for something greater than yourself. The choice is yours. But I urge you. Take it Up! Take up your cross, come, and follow Him! AMEN.
SERMON SONG YOU ARE MY ALL IN ALL
1. You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all.
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all.
Chorus Jesus, Lamb of God. Worthy is Your name.
Jesus, lamb of God, Worthy is your name.
2. Taking my sin, my cross, my shame,
Rising again, I bless Your name
You are my all in all.
When I fall down, you pick me up,
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all. (Chorus X2)
AFFIRMING OUR FAITH Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
P: Relying on the promises of God, we pray boldly for the church, the world, and all in need.
A brief silence.
P: Your gift of grace is for all people. Give confident faith to all the baptized, that they may follow you wholeheartedly. Give new believers joy in your promises; give hope and courage to those who suffer for their faith. Lord in your mercy.
C: Hear our prayer.
P: In Jesus you joined humanity in suffering and death. Reveal to all the depth of your love shown on the cross. Accompany all who suffer in body, mind, and spirit. Restore all who are sick or grieving. Bring vindication for victims of injustice, exploitation, and oppression (especially). Lord in your mercy.
C: Hear our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
P: We entrust ourselves and all our prayers to you, O faithful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
WE WORSHIP GOD THROUGH OUR GIVING
PRAYER OF BLESSING
You may give by automatic withdrawal, electronically on the website, by text to 833-755-0207 (phone number is on the website), by mail, or drop it through the mail slot on the office door. We thank you all for your continued support and partnership in the Gospel. Let us pray:
P: Living God, we offer these gifts as signs of our gratitude for your faith in us; as signs also of our unashamed love for Jesus, and of our belief in the Holy Spirit’s power to give us the strength we need to take up our crosses and to follow Jesus, in whose name we pray.
Holy Communion will be blessed at this point in the service and then distributed in the parking lot in a drive-through method in your cars from 11:30 to 12:30. You may take additional elements to take to others.
BENEDICTION SONG AS YOU GO ON YOUR WAY
As you go on your way may Christ go with you.
May he go before you to show you the way;
May he go behind you to encourage you;
Beside you to befriend you;
Above you to watch over;
Within you to give you peace.
In the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. Amen.
STREAMS THEME SONG
See the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply your sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
Leader: Greet your worshiping neighbor.
And be Devoted to Generosity!
People: Thanks be to God!!!
The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that if one is unable to actually consume the consecrated bread and wine due to extreme sickness or disability, the desire is enough for God to grant all the benefits of communion (BCP, p. 457). When being present at a celebration of the Eucharist is absolutely impossible, this act of prayer and meditation can provide the means by which you can associate yourself with the Eucharistic Action and open yourself to God’s grace and blessing.
Blessed be God, + Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.
Let the power of the Holy Spirit come upon me, O Lord, to mercifully cleanse my heart and defend me from all adversities; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle: Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.
The Psalm: Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over. Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The Gospel: John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me, you can do nothing.
If time and circumstances permit, confess your faith with the words of the Apostles’ Creed.
In your own words, pray for your own needs, for those on your heart, for the peace of the world, and for the Church.
After offering these intercessions, continue with the
Act of Contrition
O God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you and for all the wrongs I have done and the good I have not done. Especially I confess….Forgive me for Jesus’ sake, and grant me strength and wisdom to amend my life. Amen.
Act of Reception
In union, blessed Jesus, with the faithful gathered at every altar of your Church where your blessed Body and Blood are offered this day, (and remembering particularly my own parish and those worshiping there) I long to offer you praise and thanksgiving, for creation and all the blessings of this life, for the redemption won for us by your life, death, and resurrection, for the means of grace and the hope of glory.
And particularly for the blessings given me…. I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament, and, since I cannot at this time receive communion, I pray you to come into my heart. I unite myself with you and embrace you with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. Let nothing separate me from you; let me serve you in this life until, by your grace, I come to your glorious kingdom and unending peace. Amen.
Come Lord Jesus, and dwell in my heart in the fullness of your strength; be my wisdom and guide me in right pathways; conform my life and actions to the image of your holiness; and, in the power of your gracious might, rule over every hostile power that threatens or disturbs the growth of your kingdom, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
And may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep my heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ my Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, + the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with me now and always. Amen.
Spiritual Communion is excerpted from Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book.
Permission is given to reproduce this text for use in local worshiping communities.
© 2014 Forward Movement