Lent -- Service Prayers -- 5th Sunday

Restoring Fortune!
Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21  •  Psalm 126  
Philippians 3:4b-14  •  John 12: 1-8

 God, who restores the fortunes of the lost and downtrodden, is continually doing “a new thing” in order to “make a way” where there has been no way.  Our calling, as persons who bear the name of Christ, is to be a part of this way making.  We are called to seek and enable the work of restoration – not only a restoration of monetary or physical resources, but a restoration of relationship with the Holy, through service to those in need.  This service is not the “throw money at the problem” gesture of mere charity, but the engagement of true justice-seeking.  The restored fortune of genuine mutual relationship is the “new thing,” the “prize” we are to achieve in Christ’s name.

 

Call to Worship (adapted from Isaiah 43:1-21 and Psalm 126)

Leader:             Come, Beloved, for the Great Giver has restored your fortunes –

People:            Let us tell of abundance as we shout with joy!

 

Leader:             Come, Growers, for the Creator has brought up rivers in the desert –

People:            Let us declare our praise as we plant our fields!

Leader:             Come, Pilgrims, for the Righteous One has set a path through

                        the sea –

People:            Let us rejoice as we make our journey!

 

Leader:             Come, People of God, for the Holy One has done great things for us!

People:            Let us worship God!

 

Prayer of Invocation (unison)

            Come to this sanctuary, this house, this home, Holy Christ,

            And let us receive you with lavish welcome. 

            You are the Restorer of our fortunes,

            The Promise of new life –

            We pour out our praise to you. 

            Fill this room with your Spirit:

            The sound of wind, the warmth of flame, the scent of perfume

            And fill our hearts with your compassion,

            Not just in this time and place,

            But in all times and in all places,

            So that as we celebrate the great things you have done for us,

            We may also embody the love you give to all.

                                                                                                            Amen.

 

 Call to Confession

            Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to the home of Lazarus

            and received hospitality like no one had seen before –

            generous, loving, whole-hearted, and even a little bit undignified. 

            His disciple Judas could only see the inefficiency of the gift,

            not the spirit of loving-kindness with which it was offered. 

            We, like Judas, often want to expedite our giving

            without really engaging with those we are called to serve. 

            Let us consider the depth of our relationships with those we encounter

            and with the One who calls us to faith,

            as we confess our sin in silence.

 

            [pause for silence]

 

Prayer of Confession (unison)

            We confess, Anointed One, that we excuse ourselves

            from reaching out to those who need your care. 

            We take your words – that there will always be unmet needs –

            as a reason not to try to meet the needs we can. 

            Forgive us, and help us to change. 

            Renew our determination to live

            as faithful followers, faithful disciples, faithful Christians.           

            Help us to work with you for the well-being of your creation,

            that the fortunes of all your peoples may be restored.         Amen.

 

Assurance of God’s Love

            We, too, are a part of the Way-Maker’s will for restoration. 

            We are called, through Christ Jesus, to strive for restoration,

            but we are not called to do this work alone. 

            The One who has made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert,

            will surely equip us for all we are asked to do in Christ’s name. 

            God will empower us to attain all the potential God has placed within us. 

            Thanks be to God!

 

Invitation to Sharing

            Beloved, there will always be need in the world,

            and the church is called respond to this need. 

            Mary gave what may have been her most precious possession. 

            Paul gave his status, his privilege, his power. 

            Let us give of ourselves – share what we have –

            not just from the abundance that has been given to us,

            but from the devotion and dedication inspired in us

            by the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Prayer of Dedication

            What we own is nothing, Valuable God

            – what we can gain or keep or have is worthless

            if it is only for our own satisfaction. 

            All that we have and all that we are belongs to you,

            and the giving is a blessing in itself. 

            We dedicate this day,

            not only the things we can put in a plate or write on a piece of paper,

            but also the things we cannot touch:

            our hearts, our spirits, our passion, our resolve. 

            Use them, and us, to restore the fortunes of all your people:

            to seek your will, to strengthen your church, and to serve you faithfully.  Amen.

 

Benediction

            Go now in peace. 

            God has done great things for us, and we rejoice. 

            Let us go forth from this place to do great things

            in the name of Christ,

            whose call leads us to restoration and new life.  Amen.

 

 


 

Restoring Fortune! Service Prayers for  the Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 21, 2010, was written by the Rev. Mary Nelson Abbott, Pastor of Malletts Bay Congregational Church UCC, Colchester, VT, and Treasurer of the UCC 2030 Clergy Network.

Copyright 2010 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.  

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