Lent: First Saturday: This week marked the beginning of the season of Lent, the traditional 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance that precedes the great Easter celebrations. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness learning to overcome the Enemy, so we set this time aside for spiritual warfare and renewal. It is common during this time to imitate the simplicity of Jesus in the wilderness by abstaining from rich foods and strong drink during this season, and to devote extra time to the practice of the spiritual disciplines.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Lilies.”
Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
Those who hate me without cause
outnumber the hairs on my head.
Many enemies try to destroy me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.
O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
For I endure insults for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;
they treat me like a stranger.
Passion for your house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
When I weep and fast,
they scoff at me.
When I dress in burlap to show sorrow,
they make fun of me.
I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunks sing about me.
But I keep praying to you, Lord,
hoping this time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God,
answer my prayer with your sure salvation.
Rescue me from the mud;
don’t let me sink any deeper!
Save me from those who hate me,
and pull me from these deep waters.
Don’t let the floods overwhelm me,
or the deep waters swallow me,
or the pit of death devour me.
Answer my prayers, O Lord,
for your unfailing love is wonderful.
Take care of me,
for your mercy is so plentiful.
Don’t hide from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!
Come and redeem me;
free me from my enemies.
You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace.
You see all that my enemies are doing.
Their insults have broken my heart,
and I am in despair.
If only one person would show some pity;
if only one would turn and comfort me.
But instead, they give me poison for food;
they offer me sour wine for my thirst.
Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare
and their prosperity become a trap.
Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
and make their bodies shake continually.
Pour out your fury on them;
consume them with your burning anger.
Let their homes become desolate
and their tents be deserted.
To the one you have punished, they add insult to injury;
they add to the pain of those you have hurt.
Pile their sins up high,
and don’t let them go free.
Erase their names from the Book of Life;
don’t let them be counted among the righteous.
I am suffering and in pain.
Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.
Then I will praise God’s name with singing,
and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
For this will please the Lord more than sacrificing cattle,
more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.
The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.
For the Lord hears the cries of the needy;
he does not despise his imprisoned people.
Praise him, O heaven and earth,
the seas and all that move in them.
For God will save Jerusalem
and rebuild the towns of Judah.
His people will live there
and settle in their own land.
The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land,
and those who love him will live there in safety.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
2 Chronicles 7:11-14
The Lord Appears to Solomon
Solomon finished the Temple of the Lord and his royal palace. He had success in doing everything he planned in the Temple of the Lord and his own palace. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself to be a Temple for sacrifices.
“I may stop the sky from sending rain. I may command the locusts to destroy the land. I may send sicknesses to my people. Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.