Worship Elements: March 13, 2016

January 31st, 2016

Fifth Sunday in Lent

COLOR: Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8

THEME IDEAS

Lent confronts us with our propensity to hold onto old habits and self-serving beliefs. Today’s scriptures call us to be willing to experience the sorrow of loss, as we leave behind familiar, comfortable lives to join Jesus on the arduous path to new, joyful life in God.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Isaiah 43, Psalm 126, John 12)

The days ahead are dark and full of foreboding.
We watch as Jesus journeys to the cross.
There is no way to change what is to come.
Yet death has not the final word.
Let us bear witness to God’s new life
moving within and among us.
God is doing a new thing.
Let us rejoice and give thanks!

Opening Prayer (John 12)

Holy Sustainer,
you were ever in and with Jesus
on his journey to Jerusalem,
guiding his choices
and strengthening his courage
each step of the way.
As your beloved children,
be with us and strengthen us on our journeys.
Through our time of worship
and our companionship with one another,
teach us to recognize Christ
in everyone we meet.
Help us offer holy hospitality wherever it is needed,
and free us from our fears of scarcity,
that we may share from our abundance
and be a blessing for others. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 43, Psalm 126, Philippians 3)

Holy Source of New Life,
you promise to set us free
from paths of fear, doubt, and denial.
Yet we resist your invitation,
seeing only what we must give up
if we are to follow the path of Jesus.
You call us to have faith
in your sustaining presence and power,
but your call takes us beyond
anything we can see or touch.
We fear placing our trust
in things beyond our control.
We doubt that you can bring water
to the dry places of our lives
or replace our suffering with joy.
Forgive us when we turn away
from your promise of abundant life.
Heal us and lead us home, Holy One. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Philippians 3)

Whenever we seek to leave behind our old ways
and turn to God for help,
God forgives our faithlessness
and strengthens us for the journey ahead.
We are the heirs of God’s promises.
We are the children of God’s compassion and mercy.

Passing the Peace of Christ

As we resolve to follow the path that Jesus walked, let us offer one another the sustaining power of Christ’s peace. The peace of Christ be with you, always.
And also with you.

Response to the Word (Psalm 126, Philippians 3)

Eternal Source of Truth,
free us from the claims of false gods
and show us the way to lasting joy.
We know the way will not be easy,
but your word sustains us.
May your good news take root within us,
that our lives might bear witness
to the triumph of love over fear,
and life over death. Amen.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Offering Prayer (Psalm 126, John 12)

Faithful Giver of Life,
you have done great things for us.
In the life and teaching of your Son Jesus,
you welcome us into your heart.
Help us open our hearts to others,
that we may be ever more willing
to offer our hospitality, our support,
and our material resources
wherever they are needed.
Bless these offerings in your holy name. Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Isaiah 43, Psalm 126, Philippians 3)

We leave this gathering,
knowing that Christ Jesus
has made us his own.
Take the fruits of our worship into the world,
bringing joy to those who weep,
welcome to the outcast,
and comfort to those who grieve.
God is doing a new thing.
Thanks be to God.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 43, Psalm 126, Philippians 3)

Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem.
We watch in sorrow.
God promises, “I am about to do a new thing.”
We wait in hope.
God is faithful.
Our tears will turn to shouts of joy.

Praise Sentences (Philippians 3)

Christ Jesus has made us his own!
Thanks be to God!


From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2016 is now available.

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