You can watch today’s service here.
If you are watching our live stream this morning, you are invited to find a candle, so that we can all light candles at the same time.
CALL TO WORSHIP (WRITTEN BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
Today in worship, we will be reminded that again and again, we are called to listen. This is part of our invitation as people of faith—to not only speak, pray, and sing, but to listen. And I will be the first to say, listening is hard. From our toddler years on up, we struggle to listen, particularly when we don’t know what we’re listening for or we don’t agree with what we’re hearing. So for just a moment, as we gather ourselves for worship, I want to invite you to join me in a kinesthetic call to worship by embodying our prayer as I prompt you. Let us listen, let us pray:
Family of faith, I invite you to close your eyes.
Rest your feet on the floor beneath you.
Release any tension you are holding—
In your jaw, your neck, your shoulders, your hands, your legs, your feet.
Take a deep breath in and slowly let it out.
The Hebrew word for breath (ruach) is the same word for Spirit.
So as you breathe, imagine that it is God who is filling up your lungs with energy and love.
Trust that God is as close as your very breath.
Now I invite you to still your mind. Imagine your mind as a river.
Thoughts will drift into view; they always do.
However, instead of holding onto those thoughts, allow yourself to let them float by.
The sound of your breath is the sound of the Divine.
This is a holy space.
Let us worship God.
OPENING PRAYER (BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP)
Almighty God, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross: Give us faith to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to bear our cress, and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION (WRITTEN BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
Often the first step to change is listening.
We have to listen to those we’ve hurt.
We have to listen to creation as she cries.
We have to listen to the voice of the oppressed,
If we ever hope to make things right.
So today as we begin our prayer of confession,
We will start with a moment of silence—
A moment to listen.
And then we will pray together trusting that God is always listening to us,
And that God’s ears listen with love.
So let us confess, silently and then together…
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (WRITTEN BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
One: Listening God,
All: Take what is closed in us and open it.
Take what is distracted in us and settle it.
Take what is hurting in us and hold it.
Take any and all parts of us that create distance from you.
For we are like Peter, O God.
We argue what we don’t know. We fear what we cannot see.
And we almost always speak sooner than we listen.
So open us, settle us, hold us, and forgive us.
We long to hear you more clearly.
We long to know you more fully.
With hope we pray,
And with gratitude we confess.
WORDS OF FORGIVENESS (WRITTEN BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
One: Siblings in Christ,
We confess with gratitude because we know that God already has heard and forgiven us.
No matter what we have done or left undone, we are held in God’s hand.
So rest in this good news:
All: God invites us in.
God meets us where we are.
God hears our prayers.
God forgives us.
One: Thanks be to God for a love like that.
PRAYER FOR UNDERSTANDING (WRITTEN BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
We cannot hear the trees growing—seeds pushing up through the dirt into the sun.
And we cannot hear a single drop of rain, missing one in the many.
We cannot hear the weight of people’s grief, a burden that so often is silent.
And we cannot hear when hearts are changed, but you can.
You hear it all.
So once again, we come to you with bowed heads and hopeful hearts,
Asking that you would lend us your ears.
Help us to hear as you hear so that we can live as you lived.
We are listening.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
Psalm 22:23-31 (NRSV)
You who fear the Lord, give praise!
All you of Jacob’s line, give glory;
stand in awe of the Lord, all you offspring of Israel!
For the Lord does not despise
nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither is the Lord’s face hidden from them;
but when they cry out, the Lord hears them.
From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied.
Let those who seek the Lord give praise!
May your hearts live for ever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
all the families of nations shall worship before God.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
who rules over the nations.
Indeed, all who sleep in the earth;
shall bow down in worship;
all who go down to the dust, though they be dead,
shall kneel before the Lord.
Their descendants shall serve the Lord,
whom they shall proclaim to generations to come.
They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying to them, “The Lord has acted!”
HYMN Be Thou My Vision
1 Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
2 Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true Word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my soul’s shelter, and thou my high tower;
raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
3 Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
thou, mine inheritance, now and always;
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
4 High King of Heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Mark 8:27-9:8 (NRSV)
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
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.’ And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
Recall a time you received a hard truth that changed your understanding and challenged your notions of what is real. How did you react? What led you to transformation or change? Did the hard truth become less threatening at some point? If so, what changed in you so that you were more open and willing to receive it?
Consider a time when you have been rebuked—perhaps for speaking up about a difficult issue or naming a hard truth. How did you handle the criticism? Did you respond to the one who criticized your message? In that situation, did you need to be rebuked, or were you delivering a message that needed to be heard?
Where are you being guided to repent—to change direction and follow a new path?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Again and Again, We Are Called to Listen,” here.
HYMN Be Still and Know That I Am God
words and music by John L. Bell
© 1989 WGRG, Iona Community (admin. GIA Publications, Inc.)
Used with permission under ONE LICENSE # 738214-A
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am God (repeat)
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (ROGER GENCH, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
O God, our creator and redeemer, we pray that the Spirit of Jesus would be with us as we continue our journey through Lent. Jesus called his disciples to pick up their cross and follow him. Help us to discern what that means for us as the church in this time and place. Give us the courage to name suffering and evil and to stand in resistance to it. Give us endurance when we face persecution for resisting abuses in our lives and communities. Empower us to stand with those who suffer on account of homelessness, lack of food or resources, or other injustices. Inspire us to see Christ in the least of these in our midst.
O God, we pray for those who are isolated and lonely during this pandemic. May we find ways to be a comfort for them. We pray for children and parents who are navigating school and work under such stressful circumstances. We pray for those who have lost loved ones because of the virus and are grieving the loss. We pray for your church in this time of crisis and that we would find new ways to live your mission. We also pray for those hurt by the snow and ice storms that have ravaged large sections of our county — adding to the already stressful realities of life in our current crisis.
And, O God, we continue to pray for the global community as it grapples with the pandemic. We pray that you would give us the fortitude to take responsibility for measures that will protect us all. We pray especially for the those hit hardest by the strains of this menace, and pray for those in leadership in our communities, states and nation as they negotiate ways in which to aid those most afflicted. We pray for a speedy process of vaccination in this country and in countries around the globe. And we pray for fairness in access to the vaccine for countries that heretofore have not received it. May this injustice be rectified.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray saying…
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
HYMN Go to Dark Gethsemane
1 Go to dark Gethsemane,
all who feel the tempter’s power;
your Redeemer’s conflict see;
watch with him one bitter hour;
turn not from his griefs away;
learn from Jesus Christ to pray.
2 Follow to the judgment hall;
view the Lord of life arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall!
O the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
learn from him to bear the cross.
3 Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
there, adoring at his feet,
mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete;
“It is finished!” hear him cry;
learn from Jesus Christ to die.
4 Early hasten to the tomb
where they laid his breathless clay:
all is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.
INVITATION TO OFFERING (ROGER GENCH, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
God is a fountain of good gifts that are bestowed upon all of us. Let us respond to these gifts by returning a portion of our resources as a sign that all of who we are is a gift from God. Amen.
If you are able to, please consider mailing your offerings to the church (210 Smith Street) or dropping them off in the mail slot. Alternatively, there is a link at the top of this page that will take you directly to a secure page where you can make a one-time donation. We appreciate your generosity as we seek to continue our mission and ministry throughout the community during this difficult time.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION (ROGER GENCH, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
O God, receive these gifts as a sign that our lives are committed to your work in this world. May these gifts enable flourishing for all your children and the whole creation. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (WRITTEN BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
All: We believe.
One: Sometimes our belief is confident,
Like a child on a dance floor—
Unashamed and wildly genuine.
One: We believe.
All: Sometimes our belief is distant,
Flickering and calling out to us
Like a lighthouse on the sea.
All: We believe.
One: Sometimes our belief shows up as passion,
Guiding the way we vote, shop, give, live, trust, and hope.
One: We believe.
All: Sometimes our belief is like a shadow—
Faith stitched to our heels, unmoveable, unloseable,
A gift for winding journeys.
All: We believe.
One: Sometimes our belief exists like growing pains.
We step forward. We fall back.
But again and again,
Jesus invites us to listen,
To grow, and to take another step.
All: So again and again,
We speak these truths out loud:
One: We believe.
All: Again and again, we believe.
One: Thanks be to God. Amen.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION (ADAPTED FROM A BENEDICTION BY SARAH ARE FOR A SANCTIFIED ART, LLC)
May your mouth speak of God’s goodness.
May your arms hold those in need.
May your feet walk toward justice.
May your heart trust its worth.
May your soul dance in God’s grace.
And may this be your rhythm—
Again and again and again,
Until God’s promised day.
In the name of the Lover, the Beloved, and Love itself,
Go with courage, go with heart, go in peace.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR
If you are using this page to follow along with today’s worship service while it is being live streamed, please join us for virtual coffee hour! Turn on your video camera and join us after the benediction with THIS LINK. You could also join over the telephone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting code 146 874 134, followed by the password 075003. You can find other events throughout the week on our CALENDAR.