Worship Connection: March 8, 2020

February 5th, 2020
 

Second Sunday in Lent

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

The theme for Lent: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS AT THE CROSS

Each week a script will be provided, following the gospel lesson, concerning those whom Jesus met.

Second Sunday in Lent: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS AT THE CROSS: NICODEMUS

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: We come this day hoping to encounter Christ.
P: We come with burdens and questions that only He can answer.
L: May we open our hearts to Him.
P: May our lives be healed and strengthened for service. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: We look for help.
P: Where will it come from?
L: Our help will come from the Lord who created the heavens and the earth.
P: Let our hearts rejoice in God’s kindness and love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2215, “Cares Chorus,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: From the very beginning, God created all in love. P: Yet we turned from that love and sought our own way. L: God continues to call us to return again to God’s love. P: How shall we return? Choir: singing “Cares Chorus” L: Let us cast down our burdens P: For God promises to gather them up. L: Let us place our trust in God. P: For God alone provides for our every need. AMEN. Choir: singing “Cares Chorus”

Call to Worship #4: L: Do we dare place our trust in God? P: God has promised to be with us to guide us. L: Are we willing to continue on the journey when we don’t know the dangers and are not sure of the destination. P: No matter what, God is with us. That’s the promise and the hope. L: Let us step forward boldly, listening for God’s call in our lives. P: Let us place our trust in God always. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Gracious and glorious Lord, we come, as did Nicodemus, with questions on our hearts and in our lives. We come hoping someone can help us find answers and healing. But we are also hardened with doubts about self, others, and even you. Grant us healing and openness to your spirit that we may be better servants of your Word, your Will, and your Way. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Lord, we are such stubborn people. We want to know all the answers. We find it hard to place our trust even in your Son. When Jesus proclaims that we can have a new life, we want to know how this is possible. How can we get rid of the old burdens and difficulties and start over again? Wouldn’t it be just like climbing back into the womb to make a fresh start? How we have misunderstood what Jesus has said. New life is possible. We can place our trust in God’s healing care. Forgive us, and help us, gracious Lord. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

New life is given to you. You can place your trust in God and follow God’s way. God is with you. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, like the lawyer Nicodemus, we come to you in hidden ways. We have lots of questions and concerns. We aren’t sure that you will even listen to them or that you will think our queries are foolish. New life sounds wonderful. We have made messes in this life, some of which we have cleaned up, but there are others that we have swept under the rug, hidden away in the closet, hidden from ourselves and we believe hidden from you. But you know us better than we want to be known. You know our thoughts and actions. Help us, Lord. How can we turn things around so that there is peace and hope? We offer to you concerns for family, community, and nation; and yet we don’t really expect that anything will change. We are unwilling to change ourselves, and so change for the world appears a wispy dream. Bring your presence powerfully to us. Convince us of the hope that rests in you alone. For we offer this prayer in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Readers’ Theater: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS AT THE CROSS: NICODEMUS

[The large rough wooden cross is placed in the front of the chancel/worship area. Place burlap at the base to cover the stand. Have the same person read the part of Jesus each week. It should be someone with a good speaking voice. Each person who encounters Jesus will be wearing/carrying a length of cloth. When their encounter with Jesus is complete, they place the cloth over the arm of the cross and leave. The black fabric, worn last week by Satan, is removed from the cross and draped down the left front of the worship center. The cross is ready to receive Nicodemus’ fabric. Today Nicodemus encounters Jesus. He will be wearing purple cloth, symbolizing power and authority.]

Narrator: There was a man, a lawyer, named Nicodemus. He came to see Jesus at night seeking answers for some of his questions.

Nicodemus: Jesus, we know that you are a teacher and believe that you have come from God because all the signs you do show the presence of God.

Jesus: Truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.

Nicodemus: How can this be? We have already been born and are growing older? Are you saying that we have to climb back into our mother’s womb to be born again?

Jesus: What is born of the flesh is flesh. What is born of the Spirit is spirit. You cannot enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Don’t be astonished at what I have told you. You must experience a newness, just like a new birth. You look around. The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus: I don’t get it. I can’t understand. Help me.

Jesus: You are a great teacher in Israel, and yet you do not understand anything about God. I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe. How can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but rather that the world might be saved through him.

[Nicodemus shakes his head, takes his purple fabric, places it over the arm of the cross, and walks away.]

Benediction

Lord, as we go from this place, walk with us. Give us renewed confidence in your will and transform our lives that we may serve you better. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for today is: PURPLE, however, I have chosen to add “character” colors to the worship setting.

[See Readers’ Theater section for worship setting idea]

SURFACE: There are no risers on the worship center.

FABRIC: Cover the worship center in purple fabric. Drape it to the floor but do not puddle the fabric. Take the Black drape that was on the cross and place it on the left side of the worship center, draping it down over the edge and letting it puddle on the floor.

CANDLES: You may use two altar candles, one on either side of the worship center.

FLOWERS/PLANTS: Nothing recommended for this setting.

ROCKS/WOOD: Nothing recommended for this setting. OTHER: Place an open Bible in the center of the worship table.

 
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