The Celebration of the Gospel
March 4, 2018 —Fourth Sunday in Lent
“Stop making God’s house a marketplace!”
________We Gather as the Body of Christ______
PRELUDE Here At Your Table, Lord Tune: BREAD OF LIFE, arr: Mark Hayes
[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: We stand in the temple of the universe, the holy place where God dwells.
All: We worship in awe and gratitude.
We gather in the temple of the Body of Christ, where God is lovingly present for us.
We worship in love and peace.
Our own bodies are temples of God, where the Spirit works miracles.
We worship in humility, with open hearts.
Grant us forgiveness and life, and receive our gifts.
* SONG What Wondrous Love Is This Blue hymnal # 292
____________ We Attend to the Word__________
(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME
(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days Walter L. Pelz
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
God of love, we confess our need for your grace.
In the temple of our hearts,
receive our gifts,
forgive our sin, and set us free.
We offer up to you all in us that you would transform by your grace.
SILENT PRAYER … THE WORD OF GRACE
RESPONSE Jesus, Remember Me Blue hymnal #488
Holy One, we come into your presence to offer that most precious of gifts to you: our open, listening hearts. We lay aside our pride and certainty, and come humbly seeking your grace. Speak to us and let your Word transform us into your offering for the sake of your will for the blessing of all people, for healing and justice, for the completion of Creation. Amen.
NEW TESTAMENT 1 Corinthians 1.18-25
[Paul says the cross—the story of Jesus’ self-sacrificing love—doesn’t make “sense” (as the Greek philosophers value) or seem like a sign of God’s power (as Jews desire). But it gives us life. God’s wisdom and power don’t fit our categories or expectations.]
The message about the cross is foolishness to those who don’t mind throwing their lives away, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning
I will thwart.”
Show me one who is wise. Show me a scholar. Show me a debater of this age. When it comes to understanding God, all their worldly wisdom is completely foolish. Reason doesn’t work to come to know God. So God uses this news about the cross, and even though it sounds foolish, it saves those who trust it.
Jews demand to see signs from God, and Greeks want to figure everything out. But we are proclaiming Christ crucified, which sounds awful to the Jews and makes no sense to the Greeks. But to those whom God calls, both Jews and gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
GOSPEL John 2.13-22
[In the temple Jesus drives out the people who supply the animals and money, preventing sacrifices. We can’t buy God’s love; we can only receive it as a gift.]
The Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making God’s house a marketplace!”
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The people then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The people then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
SONG Change My Heart, O God Blue hymnal # 2152
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 Pastorale Louis Lefèbvre Wély
* COMMUNION SONG Here Is Bread Black hymnal #2266
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING Black hymnal # 2257
God we give you thanks, for in the beginning you create us out of your love.
We who are the image of your love return to you with love.
You make covenant to be our God, and you set us free from all that oppresses us.
You have set us free from all demands, free to be your beloved community.
You walk with us toward new life, giving us Jesus to show us the way.
We turn to you in gratitude, to offer our gifts and sing your praise,
joining with one voice with all Creation:
Blessed are all who come in your love, and blessed is Jesus, your Anointed One.
He taught and healed, he lifted up the poor and received their gifts,
he confronted the injustice of the demands of the powerful,
and established a new Realm in which love is the only currency.
He cherished your love in the temple of his body,
and for his rebellion against the Empire they destroyed his body.
He was crucified; but you raised him from the dead.
[The Blessing and Covenant…]
Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
[For the gifts for the food bank] Pour out your holy Spirit on these gifts of food,
that those who receive them may experience your love and grace. …
[For the gifts at the table] 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 the Body of Christ for the world.
For you desire mercy, not sacrifice:
you call us to love, freed from the fear of inadequacy,
filled with your Spirit, our bodies temples of your grace.
All glory and honor is yours, loving God, now and forever.
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 not given us worldly riches or power; you have given us your priceless love and your mighty grace. Send us into the world as your humble, confident servants, for the sake of the good news of your Realm of grace, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____
THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
* SONG Have Thine Own Way Blue hymnal #382
* 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 What Wondrous Love Is This Tune: WONDROUS LOVE, arr: Marvin Gaspard
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]