Into the light

The Celebration of the Gospel
March 11, 2018 —Fourth Sunday in Lent

 This is the judgment: that the light has come into the world.
 —John 3.19

________ We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING

PRELUDE      Living Bread   Tune: QUEBEC, arr: Richard Williamson

[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.
]

* CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader:  Creator God, in the beginning you said, “Let there be light.”
All:  We come into the light of your glory.
Loving Christ, your judgment is the light of mercy and grace.
We come into the light of your love.
Holy Spirit, by your grace in us we are light for the world.
We come into the light of your presence.
Fill us, that we may always live in your light. Amen.

* SONG    O Love, How Deep     Blue hymnal # 267

____________ We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)    Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio

PRAYER
Divine Beloved, you shine in all Creation, with the light of your love. Your Word shines in scripture and song. We open the windows of our hearts, to let your light stream in and change us.  Fill us with the light of Christ.  Amen.

NEW TESTAMENT    Ephesians 2.1-10
[In our disconnection from God—our sin—we are as good as dead, subject to a chaos of fears and desires.  But God sets us free and gives us life, so that we can be the true, good selves God creates us to be, and live in love.  This is God’s gift, not our doing. ]

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.  All of us once lived among them in the passions of our egos, slaves of our selfish desires, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which God loved us  even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with Christ and seated us with God in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the ages to come God might show immeasurably rich kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—  not the result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
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GOSPEL    John 3.14-21
[In love God comes among us in Christ, who is like the healing serpent in the desert.  God’s light has come into the world. Trusting Christ, we connect with God’s life-giving grace. In the light of God’s love we abandon lives of delusion and falsehood, not hiding our true selves in the dark, and we embrace the life-giving truth of our belovedness.]

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the New Human be lifted up, that whoever trusts may have eternal life. For God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten, so that everyone who trusts may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Only Begotten into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. Those who trust are not condemned.  When we fail to trust we are doomed, because we don’t open ourselves to the power of God’s Only Begotten.

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
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SERMON

SONG        Shine In Me    Steve G-H

Shine in me, light of God: into my shadows shine,
all that is dark and hidden, show; reveal with your light divine.

Open the window, Love, into my heart’s abyss:
fears and desires, all wants and wounds bring into your light and bless.

What is unseen reveal; give me the gift of sight,
lighten the shadows deep within and, Love, make my darkness light.

Shine in me, light of God, your mercy gleaming bright.
I am the lantern, you the flame. Love, let me live in your light.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
SILENT PRAYER  …    THE WORD OF GRACE
RESPONSE  O Lord, Your Tenderness   Black hymnal  #2143

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]

SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

___________We Share at Christ’s Table_________

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Now The Silence    Carl Schalk, arr: John Carter

* COMMUNION SONG   Now the Silence    Blue hymnal #619

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.

Creating God, in the beginning you said, “Let there be light.”
And still your light shines in us.
You are present in the darkness of the unknown,
a pillar of fire in the night of our wandering.
You come among us in Jesus, light of the world, to illumine our darkness.
In this meal we take your light into ourselves,
that we may shine with your love.

[The  Blessing  and  Covenant…]

In this meal Jesus brings to light the grace that is hidden in our lives.
In this meal Jesus heals and teaches us, feeds the hungry and lifts up the heartbroken.
In this meal we remember Jesus’ life and ministry, his self-giving love, and his death.
And in this meal Christ is raised from the dead in us.
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.
Eating this bread we enter into the darkness of death;
drinking this cup your light is poured out into us.
This is your judgment: that your light has come into our hearts.
Bless us that we may live in your light,
and all our deeds be done in you.  Amen.

THE PRAYER OF JESUS
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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

SHARING THE HOLY MEAL          [Everyone is welcome at the table of Christ’s self-giving love.
The bread is wheat-, soy- and dairy free.  We dip the bread in the juice.
]
PRAYER OF BLESSING
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You have filled us with your light.   Send us into the world to live truthfully, to see clearly, to bear your light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, in the name and Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG    Lead Me, Guide Me  Black hymnal #2214

*  THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE    We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.

POSTLUDE  Lord God, Be Merciful To Me    J. S. Bach

[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

 

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