Lent 4A — March 19
March 19, 2023
Fourth Sunday in Lent
1 Samuel 16:1-13
CALL TO WORSHIP
Liturgist: Kindred of God, a new vision of leadership is called forth and God calls upon the least likely, the unheard of, and the humble of heart to assemble to receive anointing.
All: In peace, we anoint the forgotten, the youngest, smallest, and unlikeliest of siblings whom God has raised up to serve.
Liturgist: Though the call may involve risk and danger, we are called to listen, obey, and live a love unwavering.
All: In peace, we anoint the disinherited and dismissed.
Liturgist: God’s call does not depend on our outward appearance or our earthly achievements.
All: In peace, we anoint neighbor and kin alike, knowing God looks upon the heart.
All: Let us open our hearts to God this day. Amen.
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Anointed One, your love comes peaceably into our lives if we will but let it. We are so fixated on the gold standard, the familiar, and the safe choice that we often lose sight of what you are raising up right in our very midst. Enliven us with your Spirit this day so that we might get a glimpse of your peace. Take what we might imagine as too small for your kindom and use it to open the world to your overflowing abundance and provision for all that you have created. In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.
PRAYER OF TRANSFORMATION AND NEW LIFE
God of surprises, we know that we do not often perceive the world as you do. We look to the flashy fame, the grand gestures, optimal achievements, and unreachable standards. Yet, in spite of our misguided reach towards perfection, you give us glimpses of your grandeur and grace. Surprise us yet again this day, O God, that in our complacency which allows us to drift towards the same old ways of faith that we may be transformed anew. Provide us with a new cup of oil that we may be anointed by your love so that we may set out into your world to bless and anoint others. In the name of the One whose love and peace make all things new we pray. Amen.
WORDS OF GRACE/ASSURANCE OF GOD’S LOVE
Liturgist: Friends, receive the anointing of God’s tender love and forgiveness this day. For God’s care and compassion for you abides in your heart today and always.
All: We rise and set out restored and renewed. Amen.
INVITATION TO GENEROSITY
Liturgist: It is not the outward appearance or size of the gifts we have to share that matters to God. It is the loving generosity of our hearts that is closest to the heart of God. We are invited to give this day out of the abundance of our lives, from our heart, knowing that no matter the size of the gift that God knows our hearts.
All: We give this day from our hearts and may it be pleasing to God. Amen.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION AND THANKSGIVING
Generous God, you remind us that you “anoint our heads with oil” and that our “cup overflows” with your abundance. We do not take for granted all that you provide. Take these gifts and use them for the healing and tender care of your hurting world. May your cup of love overflow and abide with the hurting and heartbroken, forgotten and despised, so that we may all be made whole. Amen.
Kindred, set out from this place not to anoint power, prestige, and the outer appearances of grandiosity. Rather, set out from this place to anoint healing, renewal, and raise up those unexpected places and people that God has set apart for the transformation of the world. Open yourselves to the surprising and unexpected movements of the Holy Spirit, for around the corner of every assumption we carry and every community we live in, is a small shepherd among us waiting to lead with God’s help. Go forth in peace to lead, to love, and be renewed by God.
Amen and Amen!
Come Peaceably: Service Prayers for the Fourth Sunday in Lent were written by Rev. Dr. Chad Abbott, Conference Minister for the Indiana Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ and resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.