Lent -- Service Prayers -- 4th Sunday

The Righteousness of God
Service Prayers for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

          Joshua 5:9-12                  Psalm 32                 
2 Corinthians 5:16-21         Luke 15:11b-32

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation

Call to Worship

Leader:      Be glad in our GOD and rejoice, O righteous ones.

                 Shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

All:            Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,

                 whose sin is covered.

                 Therefore, we worship our God, and rejoice.

Leader:      In Christ, we become as a new creation.

                 Everything old has passed away.

                 See how God makes things new. 

 All:           Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven and

                 whose lives become new. Through our worship,

                 we praise God who makes us new. Amen.

 

Invocation                                     

            O God, with gladness and expectation, we gather in this space today.

            For you are the one who makes all things new.

            You are the one who satisfies our hunger and restores our soul.

            In this holy space, help us, your daughters and sons,

            to know that you always love us.

            Through our worship today,

            help us to know that if we stray away from you,

            you are always ready to receive us with open arms.

            Prepare our hearts as we worship you

            to welcome and embrace all of your children as you do us.

            With gladness and expectation we pray, in Jesus’ name.            Amen.

 

Prayer of Confession (unison)                                      

We confess that at times, O God, we have kept silence even as we have seen the bodies,

the spirits, and minds of your children waste away.

We have received manna from heaven,

and yet have hoarded and kept it for ourselves,

while others die of hunger physically, and spiritually.                           

Lord, have mercy.

 We confess, O God, we have looked with self-righteous judgment

upon those who have strayed away from you and those who have not come to you.    

We have convinced ourselves of our own righteousness,

and have forsaken the call of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Christ, have mercy.

We confess, O Holy One, we have longed for you

to regard our prayers, heal our diseases and our land, and love us more than others.

We know that you have called us to care for the widows and orphans,

to love the strangers and our neighbors,

yet at times we try to hoard your love, O God,

as the Israelites tried to hoard manna in the wilderness.                             

Lord, have mercy.

O God,

we know that you have given us the ministry of reconciliation

and have called us to be ambassadors for Christ.  

Yet, we have often examined the sin in others

and not embraced them in your love.

Instruct us and teach us the way to go in your love.

Show us how to regard others

not from the limits of a human point of view

but to see them through the eyes of love divine. Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon

Sisters and brothers, God is at work in us and with us!

Hear the promise of God:

confess our transgressions to our GOD who forgives the guilt of our sin.

Even when we are still far off from what we are called by God to be,

our Father-Mother God sees us and is filled with compassion.

God rejoices over each of us:

“This son, this daughter of mine was dead and is alive again,

lost and is found!” Amen.           

 

 Offering Invitation

Brothers and sisters, we have been called to manifest God’s righteousness

and to be ambassadors of Christ’s love.

Our financial offering is one of the ways we are able

to carry out God’s purpose for our ministry together.

Today, in this One Hour of Great Sharing,

we have a special opportunity as ambassadors of Christ

to share our financial and other resources

to help the missions work of the United Church of Christ

as we seek to serve with sisters and brothers throughout the world. 

Give generously as God gives generously to us.

 

Dedication

Thank you, O God, for loving us and laboring with us

as we seek you and as we help others in their seeking.

Bless these offerings which we return to you,

that in our seeking and our serving,

we may help others to feel the embrace of your and our wide welcome.

Guide us in your wisdom and love that we may use these gifts

to manifest your righteousness in the world in all that we do. Amen.

 

Benediction                                     

            Go forth, following as the Holy Spirit leads you.

            Know that God’s righteousness will strengthen you and keep you.

            Know that God will instruct you and show you the way to go.

            Wherever you journey, God sees you and

            celebrates that you are alive. Amen.

 

 


The Righteousness of God: Service Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Lent was written by the Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, Senior Pastor of First Congregational Church, Stamford, CT.

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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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org