February 27, 2005 – 3rd Sunday in Lent
Revised Common Lectionary Readings
The Well Is Deep
*Call to Worship
God’s deep heart of life
is like a well of infinite love.
It flows towards all creation
in living waters of grace.
Praise be to God.
Christ sits beside our life,
turning all that we offer in faith
into things eternal,
living gifts made new in the Spirit.
Praise be to God.
Let us rejoice in hope.
*Prayer of Invocation
Be known to us in this place
and wherever we pause
to be near to you, O Christ.
Take us by surprise
if we cannot believe that you would visit us.
Meet us wherever you will so that we may receive
the wonder of your living water
for this day and all that lie ahead.
This we pray in your name. Amen.
*Prayer of Confession
O God, forgive us if we underestimate your love.
When we confine it to certain people and places,
and when we fail to recognize it
in our own midst,
shock us out of our assumptions and narrow
views of you, we pray.
If we cannot imagine your asking us for water
to refresh your life in the world, Jesus Christ,
open our eyes to the places
where you sit and wait.
When we reap without sowing
and feel no gratitude
for those who have gone before,
and become discouraged
when we cannot see the harvest,
remind us of your free gifts for our life
and forgive us for our lack of generosity,
For we are your very human people,
and we need your grace. Amen.
*Words of Assurance
The living water from the life of God
flows with love over all people.
It pours forth when we have not deserved it,
it sprinkles in coolness
over the heat of our anxieties
and calms our troubled hearts.
We are forgiven as a free gift of grace.
Thanks be to God.
*Prayer of Thanksgiving
We pause in this moment
before your grace, O God,
holding still in gratitude,
keeping silence in awe
as we reflect on the dimensions
of your love for us and for the world.
A silence is kept.
We offer you our thanks
for each moment and each day,
which brings us so many unearned gifts.
We thank you, that your love is larger than ours,
gathering in all sorts of people
and reaching out to those who cannot believe
that they would be included.
Thank you, gracious God,
for all that you give. Amen.
The well of God’s love is always deeper than we could ever imagine. It sits in places in which we could never imagine it being – among people who seem far from the concern of God, people we find hard to relate to because they are different, because they seem inferior or hostile to our understanding of God. It waits and connects with us when we seem to have little to offer or feel that we are unworthy with a God who says “Give me a drink” as though we are worthy to serve the holy God. It carries within it gifts of life, which we never expected at times when we were hardly open to life. It sustains us when we seem to have nothing left from which to survive and little before us for our nourishment. It brings us a harvest of life when we have planted nothing or little.
Come, let us give to God
all that we have to offer
for the enlarging of love in the world.
We give so little compared to the bountiful gifts
that you offer to us, O God.
However, we believe in faith, that you will receive
what we bring and use it for good.
Receive our gifts now, we pray. Amen.
*Prayer of Intercession
Flow the living waters of your creative life
around us, among us, and within us, O God.
Help us to draw from your gift
a faithful commitment to share it with others,
filling up the empty cups around us
with overflowing rivers,
which carry with them the waters of change
toward the world that you planned.
Give us a new vision of a world
in which people trust the kindness of others,
in which leaders are not corrupted by power,
in which violence does not prevail,
nor lies hold the world to ransom
as the poor lie dying and needy before us.
Be near to us, Jesus Christ.
Flow your living water over us, O God,
that our hearts and hands may be made clean,
and that our lives may arise in
freshness to inspire all around us with
hope that things can be changed.
Hold close to you these people and situations
for which we now pray.
The people pray.
Guide them close to the wells of nourishment,
and the springs that will lift up their lives
in energy and courage.
These prayers we pray in your name,
O Christ. Amen.
Let us go to walk the way of faith
and discover the Christ waiting for us
with the water of life.
May the wells of God’s life
be found beside the road,
Christ Jesus meet us in unexpected places,
and the Spirit be with us
on every hill and in every valley. Amen.