Take up your cross

The Celebration of the Gospel
February 25, 2018 —Second Sunday in Lent

Those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
 — Mark 8.35

    ________We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING

PRELUDE    You Satisfy the Hungry Heart    Robert Kreutz, arr: John Carter

[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 are gathered in the grace of God.
All:  Holy One, hold us in your love.
We journey with Jesus toward the cross.
Beloved, sustain us with your love.
We lay down our lives and follow.
Holy Spirit, fill us with your love.  Amen.

* SONG    Take Up thy cross    Blue hymnal # 415

____________ We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Pastor:   The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, we open ourselves in honesty to God.

God of love, help us to see ourselves with the eyes of love,
to see what is in us that is loving,
and what is not loving.

God, we recall when we have been in harmony with you, or with life, and we give thanks. [silent prayer…]
We recall when we have been out of harmony, and we seek your grace. [silent prayer…]
God of mercy, in Christ you have shown us your love.
Forgive us, heal us, and perfect your love in us.

SILENT PRAYER  …    THE WORD OF GRACE
RESPONSE   Bless the Lord     Black hymnal  #2013

LISTENING PRAYER
God of our lives, we are hungry for your Word.  We cling to many things that do not give us life.  Feed us the Word that gives us life.  Help us to follow Jesus.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT    Genesis 17. 1-7, 15-16
[God makes a covenant with Abram: “I will be your God, and I will give you descendants and land.” (Sarai is promised a child, even in her old age.) The covenant makes them new people, so they receive new names: Abraham and Sarah.]

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.  And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.”  Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.  I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.   God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
+

NEW TESTAMENT                 Philippians 2.5-11
[The mystery of our faith is  that Christ doesn’t cling to divine status, but becomes empty, taking the lowest place, becoming subject to the humiliating, agonizing death of crucifixion.  This is Christ’s glory.]

Have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though divine,
did not cling to equality with God
but became utterly empty,
born a human, choosing the place of a slave,
and in complete humility became obedient to death
— even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted Christ
with a name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
to the glory of God, the Giver of Life,
that Jesus Christ reigns supreme!
+

GOSPEL          Mark 8.31-38
[Jesus predicts he will be killed.  Peter resists this, but Jesus says the only way to truly be alive is to die first: to let go of control of our lives and trust God.  He invites us to take up our cross — suffering for others — and so to be with him.]

Then Jesus began to teach them that the New Human must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
+

SERMON

SONG  I Take Up My Cross

Letting go, I am held. I take up my cross and follow.
Jesus, you call to me, and draw me into your life.
Christ, I leave all behind, to follow you in love.
All that I would control or cling to, Love, I give to you.
Bearing the cross with you, I die and rise with you.

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      8:15:  God Be With You “ arr. by Susan Geschke (Ringtones)
10:30:  Aria; A Lenten Meditation, Derek Hakes, (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

* COMMUNION SONG         Tune: What Wondrous Love

Our thanks we give to you, holy God, Loving One.
All earth and heaven shine with your love.
You form us wonderfully, and love us faithfully,
and come and set us free by your love, by your love.
Hosanna, God on high, Loving One!

How blest is Christ, who comes in your name, in your love,
who blessed and taught and healed in your love.
In love your Christ has died, is risen at our side,
and still will come again in your love, in your love,
and Christ will come again in your love.

Pour out your Spirit, God, on this bread, on this wine:
for they are Christ made real in your love.
Make us the Body, too, of Christ, now sent from you,
that we your will may do in your love, in your love.
We offer you our lives in your love.

THE BLESSING AND COVENANT

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 poured out your life for us, and we have received.  Grant that we may pour out our lives for the world, knowing by your grace we will receive life.  Send us, accompany us and guide us, in the name of Christ and the life-giving power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG    The Summons    Black hymnal #2130

*  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     Come, Share The Lord    Bryan Leech, arr: Mark Hayes
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

 

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