Worship Elements: March 12, 2017

February 5th, 2017

Second Sunday in Lent

COLOR: Purple
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17

THEME IDEAS

A crucial aspect of the Lenten journey is the invitation to make a choice. First, we must choose whether or not to even participate in this journey. Ash Wednesday gives us the opportunity to say yes to that choice. But the decisions don’t end there! The Lent 1 readings outline the choices we are confronted with when temptation knocks on the door. And the Lent 2 readings present the choice between blessing and curse. In the very short Genesis passage, Abram makes the choice look easy, but the psalmist reminds us that we constantly look for blessings in the wrong places. Even when God’s own Son shows us the way to salvation, like Nicodemus before us, we have trouble choosing to accept the blessing offered. What choice
will we make today?

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Genesis 12, Psalm 121, John 3)

Come, all who need help!
Our help comes from God,
the one who made heaven and earth.
Come, all who desire blessing!
Our blessing comes from God,
the God of Abraham, the God of the ages.
Come, all who long for salvation!
Our salvation comes from Jesus Christ,
the one sent by God to save the world.

Opening Prayer (Genesis 12, Psalm 121, John 3)

God of the ages,
we come into this holy space
asking for your blessing,
only to find that the abundance of your love
is already around us.
Open our eyes to see the blessing of your creation
in the beauty all around us.
Open our ears to hear the blessing of your word
as it is proclaimed in story and song this day.
Open our hearts to experience the blessing of faith
through the gentle touch of a friend
or the supportive smile of a stranger.
And open our doors,
that we may become vessels of your blessing
to a world still in need of salvation.
All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Genesis 12, John 3)

God of salvation,
you shower our lives and our world with love,
yet we too often turn away from your blessing.
It is just so easy to complain!
There are little annoyances each day,
but they pile up into a mountainous burden
that becomes a curse on our lives.
Free us from our unwise choices, O God.
When we are distracted and confused,
redirect our attention to the abundant opportunities
to experience your love.
During this Lenten journey, focus our hearts on you,
that we may choose the blessing of salvation
offered us each day through Jesus Christ,
in whom we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Genesis 12, John 3)

God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn it,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Through the saving love of Jesus Christ,
you are forgiven and blessed!

Passing the Peace of Christ (Genesis 12)

God’s blessings are all around us, in all the families of the earth. As human beings created in God’s own image, we carry that divine blessing in our DNA! Knowing that, turn now to one another and offer these words:
“You are blessed by God, and you are a blessing from God.”

Response to the Word (Genesis 12, Psalm 121, John 3)

The palmist sang of two options when we need help:
Look to the hills alone,
or look to the One who made the hills.
We will look to God!
People of God, the choice is before us:
Curse or blessing?
We choose blessing!
God’s only Son has come into the world
to offer a choice: Condemnation or salvation?
We choose the salvation of Jesus Christ!

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering

Through this invitation to share our gifts, we acknowledge that God has blessed us abundantly, and that we are to be a blessing to the world. In the very act of giving, in every act of bestowing blessings on another, we find that we are blessed yet again. I encourage you now to enter fully into this amazing cycle of blessing.

Offering Prayer (Genesis 12, John 3)

Generous God,
you shower us with gifts,
including the greatest gift of all,
your own Son, Jesus Christ.
In thanksgiving and praise,
we offer you our time, our money,
our very selves.
In these actions,
we proclaim our intention to be a blessing
in your world. Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Psalm 121, John 3)
As you leave this place,
lift up your eyes to the Lord!
The One who sent Jesus Christ,
as salvation for all the world,
will never desert you.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in,
from this time on, and forevermore.
Go now in peace, with God’s blessing.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Genesis 12, Psalm 121)

Look up to the mountains;
does our strength come from mountains?
No, our strength comes from God,
who made heaven and earth and mountains.
Look to the world for affirmation of our worth;
does our blessing come from the world?
No, our blessing comes from God,
who has blessed all the families of the earth.

Praise Sentences (John 3)

God loved the world so much!
God gave the world Jesus, God’s only Son.
God loved the world so much!
God gave the world eternal life.
God loved the world so much!
God gave the world salvation
through Jesus Christ.


From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2017 is now available.

About the Author

Laura Jaquith Bartlett

 Laura Jaquith Bartlett has a passion for planning and leading worship. As a musician, she especially enjoys read more…
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