CALL TO PRAYER
Let us worship God, who has done great things.
We rejoice in our God, who made a way through the desert of this world.
Let us worship God, who has caused streams of mercy to flow in the wasteland.
We are the people God has formed through Christ; we worship him, and we rejoice!
Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.
We praise God for the grace that has saved us.
Heavenly Father, may we seek you and find you, may we knock and the door be opened, for we are sojourners looking for your Kingdom. As we encounter suffering in this world, turn our hearts, our ears, our eyes, our souls toward Christ, who emptied himself, and was tempted, and suffered for us, even giving his own life. In this suffering, plant seeds of hope, and let us never stray so far into despair, that we forget the resurrection of Christ and the power of his Spirit. Amen
HYMN OF PRAISE Stand Up and Bless the Lord
Stand up and bless the Lord, ye people of his choice;
stand up and bless the Lord your God with heart and soul and voice.
God is our strength and song, and his salvation ours;
then be his love in Christ proclaimed with all our ransomed powers.
Stand up and bless the Lord; the Lord your God adore;
stand up and bless his glorious name, henceforth forevermore.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
SCRIPTURE Romans 4:13-25
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
SCRIPTURE Mark 8:31-38
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
This is the Word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God!
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH A Lenten Affirmation
We believe in God, Father, Creator who gives us steadfast love, and shares with us our joy, Our God sustains us in our weakness, and empowers us with His strength. We trust Him. We follow Jesus Christ, God’s Son. His death is our victory, His resurrection is our hope; in Him the Word became flesh; in Him we find forgiveness, renewal from failure, reconciliation from brokenness, and release from despair. We are saved through Him. We are guided by the Holy Spirit, God’s presence in the world. That same Spirit calls us to be the Church, to celebrate love, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen. We are empowered through Him. We are disciples, pilgrim people. We joyfully covenant to walk together in love. To live in fellowship, in life, in death, in life beyond death. God is with us! We are not alone! Thanks be to God!
CELEBRATING OUR GIFTS
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
All things come from you, O God, and with praise and thanksgiving we return to you what is yours. You created all that is, and with love formed us in your image. When our love failed, your love remained steadfast. You gave your only Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior, that we might have abundant and eternal life. All that we are, and all that we have, is a trust from you. And so, in gratitude for all that you have done, we offer you ourselves, and all that we have, in union with Christ's offering for us. By your Holy Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
HYMN OF PRAYER Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone
Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for me.
The consecrated cross I'll bear till death shall set me free;
and then go home my crown to wear, for there's a crown for me.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
HYMN OF PROMISE Take Up Thy Cross, the Savior Said
"Take up thy cross," the Savior said, "if thou wouldst my disciple be;
deny thyself, the world forsake, and humbly follow after me."
Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame, nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
thy Lord for thee the cross endured, to save thy soul from death and hell.
Take up thy cross and follow Christ, nor think till death to lay it down;
for only those who bear the cross may hope to wear the glorious crown.
Resources used from umcdiscipleship.com, ministrymatters.com and re:worship. CCLI 20094815