Faithlife
Faithlife

0220_05

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February 20, 2005 – 2nd Sunday in Lent

        Revised Common Lectionary Readings

        Genesis 12:1-4a

        Psalm 121

        Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

        John 3:1-17 or Matthew 17:1-9

Being Born Again

*Call to Worship

The body of Christ is the womb-space of love,

conceiving new life day by day,

and holding us in unconditional grace

until we are ready to be born afresh,

carrying the labor and bleeding of our birthing

in an energy of kindness

that stands forever waiting for us.

This is our God.

This is the Christ.

From the earth the songs of praise arise,

from the skies the rains of greening gently fall,

and our lives pause in awe as we lift      

our hearts this day.

 

*Prayer of Invocation        

Be found walking with us in this hour, O God,

as we wonder about our lives and your truth,

inspiration as we contemplate the next days,

and as the one who never condemns us

in our questioning and frailty.

Be with us now, Holy Spirit of Christ,

Holy Spirit of God. Amen.

*Prayer of Confession       

O God, there are times when we sink with relief

into old decisions for faith,

as we live out of past times

when we agreed to love you

and shield ourselves from further challenges.

Silent reflection.

Take our hand, Jesus Christ.

Look into our hearts and search us out,

then forgive us for our reluctance to walk

further into your life.

Sometimes we hold our place as your people

with unwarranted pride,

pointing with triumph

to a moment of commitment

instead of living in gratitude

for the ongoing grace we receive.

Silent reflection.

Take our hand, Jesus Christ.

Look into our hearts and search us out,

then forgive us for our reluctance to walk

further into your life.

We are resisting your voice

within us and around us

that invites us to be born again into newer life,

to enter your body for a time of cherishing

to ready us for a different emerging and growing.

Silent reflection.

Take our hand, Jesus Christ.

Look into our hearts and search us out,

then forgive us for our reluctance to walk

further into your life. This we pray in faith. Amen.

 

 

*Words of Assurance

The offer of God always stands ahead of our life.

We may be born again,

leaving behind all that is of death or guilt.

We are not condemned.

We are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.               

*Prayer of Thanksgiving   

With grateful hearts, we come to you, O God.

We are thankful this day

for all the opportunities

that you place before us:

for the chance to start again

with fresh trust and innocent hope,

for the joy of being refreshed

so that anything seems possible

because we, ourselves, have been redeemed.

Our souls rest in the safety

of your promises, O God,

and stay with you in thanksgiving. Amen.

*Stewardship Thought      

When people speak of being “born again” Christians, they often make it sound as though it is a once-in-a-lifetime event. While Nicodemus is, of course, reflecting with Jesus about how he, who is older, could be born again, it could invite in all of us another question. If we imagine that Christ only offers us rebirthing to life once, we may well close off infinite possibilities for new or expanded life. Of course, there is the special moment for many people when they commit their lives to Christ but, even for those people, in the engagement with a living God we are offered the chance for what seems like new life over and over again as we grow and mature in the faith. As Jesus teaches us, this is not about judgment, but a call to us through the deep and faithful love of God. This models for us the relationship that we have with others if we bear true witness to our God.

 

*Offertory Sentence                           

Nothing is left untouched

from the creativity of God.

We are renewed in our giving this day.

Let us bring our offerings to God.

*Offertory Prayer                                

Even as we bring our gifts,

renew our lives so that we may give

in ways that you challenge us to do.

Receive us as we are, but call us on, we pray.

Amen.

*Prayer of Intercession      

We pray today, O God,

for all who cannot imagine receiving life

beyond that which they now live.

We pray for those

who are closed in by need and injustice,

or bowed down by illness or anxiety.

The people pray.

Walk with them, Jesus Christ,

offering them your love,

healing their wounds,

and living within their questions.

Raise in us such passionate life,

that we share in the bringing of new life

in others.

May we so live,

that the testimony of our journey with you

speaks to others in joy and hope.

May compassion and courage

blossom in us,

so that all people of goodwill

long to join that way of life,

and may our faith be renewed every day,

so that the world may never give up         

on its dream for a greater good.

May the whole creation echo the promise

of the endless rebirthing of love. Amen.

*Commissioning                                 

Go forth into the world as those who are born

again into the life of God.

*Benediction                                       

Go in brave hope as those who are loved of God,

forgiven in the power of the Spirit,

and accompanied by Christ

in life’s every journey. Amen.

  

 

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