Service Prayers for the First Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2020
Genesis 2: 15-17, 3: 1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5: 12-19; Matthew 4: 1-11
Call to Worship
Leader:Temptation surrounds us at every turn, inviting us to take just a little more:
People: More food, more money, more power, more life!
Leader: “What could it hurt?” we hear, on television, from friends, in our own souls:
People: More suffering, more hunger, more need, more fear, more anger.
Leader: So we gather today in worship to hear the consequences of “more”:
People: And to celebrate that we do not need “more”
when we have everything in Christ.
Leader: Beloved of God, let us drink deeply from the wellspring of God’s Spirit,
which has all we need to live fully, love deeply, and serve faithfully.
People: Thanks be to God!
God, you are our hiding place and our refuge in the time of distress.
We turn to you now, seeking comfort from the wounds of the world
and power to face all our afflictions.
Be present in our struggle,
and help us to rest in your eternal promises,
that we might be fed both with the bread of the world
and the nourishment of your word,
strong to resist temptation and faithful in our worship of you. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
Creative, passionate God,
you delight to shape the world in beauty and harmony.
You invite us to participate in the balance of creation.
We grow in wisdom as our experience unfolds;
we take good learning out of difficult situations yet also
find our well-meant endeavors leading to unintended consequences.
Too often we give in to temptation
that disrupts the joyous, chaotic order of the universe.
We cannot undo all our mistakes,
but we can turn once more to the living presence of Jesus
and find new ways to live and love each other and the earth.
Do not let our hearts be fearful,
but let us in silence acknowledge our sin
and seek the forgiveness that restores your peace.
Assurance of Pardon
Leader: Even as Adam and Eve faced the consequences of their sin,
our God prepared a way for them still to be connected to the earth
and to the living presence of God.
So it is with all of us:
in Christ’s life, ministry, death and resurrection,
we are made able to persist, upright and strong,
for our sins are forgiven.
People: Thanks be to God!
Call to Offering
In the story of Adam and Eve,
we see creation’s splendid possibilities and humanity’s tragic limitations.
In Christ, we see humanity’s strength and God’s glory made manifest –
the harmony of creation restored.
We offer these gifts and tithes as we seek to restore balance and beauty
to a world gone haywire with temptation and deceit.
Faithful God, let these gifts be like food and drink in the wilderness
for those who have suffered and longed for your presence.
May these offerings strengthen those who are resisting
and lead us to attend to all who need your healing touch.
This we pray in the name of Jesus, our example and savior. Amen.
Beloved of God, go now into the vast universe to be the people of God:
Resist temptations that lead to destruction:
We’ll create more beauty.
Resist temptations that lead to isolation:
We’ll reach out more to a world in need.
Resist temptations based on false promises:
We’ll rest in the hope of God.
We’ll safeguard its balance and harmonies!
And in all these things,
let the Spirit of Christ fill and inspire all your deeds
as you seek to be a faithful part
of Christ’s reconciling ministry. Amen.
Tempting! Service Prayers for the First Sunday of Lent was written by the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister and Team Leader for MESA, Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization Team.
Copyright 2020 Local Church Ministries, Faith Formation 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.