Worship: March 14, 2021

ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street  Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

The Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 14, 2021

9:00 am

Livestream link:  Zion UCC Sunday Service Livestream – March 14 2021

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship.  Weather permitting, we will begin outdoor parking lot worship next Sunday morning at 10 a.m.  We will be livestreaming from the parking lot in case you are unable to join us and in case of inclement weather we will livestream from the sanctuary at 10 a.m. (with no in-person worship).  Please check your email on Sunday morning to be sure of the worship schedule.  The weather can be a bit unpredictable!!

We ask for your patience and understanding and your faithful support of the church in these days of a new normal for all of us.  Let us continue to pray and to remain faithful, knowing that our God continues to reach out and to embrace us.  We sometimes need to be reminded that our God promises to be near to us in the most difficult days as well as the days when life seems easy for us.

As you follow along in the bulletin during live stream worship, please participate quietly when you come to the bold print.

 

PRELUDE

“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”, Frederick C. Maker, arr. George Blake, ©1980 Lorenz Publishing Co.

 

TIME OF SHARING

 

CALL TO WORSHIP

We are grateful for new beginnings—

for new light following darkness, for new hope following despair,

for new faith following doubt, for new peace following tension,

for new confidence following uncertainty, for new love following rejection.

 

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

God of infinite patience, we call on you once more,

knowing that you have every reason to question our coming together. 

We have worshiped without expectation. 

We have gathered without diligent preparation,

as if meeting you laid no requirements on us. 

Amid the complexities of our lives,

we have forgotten to set aside times to be still before you. 

Sometimes we feel as if we are bitten by snakes all week long,

so we assemble here for some relief and healing. 

O God, will you meet us as we are?

 

GATHERING HYMN “In the Bulb”

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;

In cocoons, a hidden promise; butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;

There’s a dawn in every darkness, bring hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;

In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

TIME OF CONFESSION

Our time of penitence before God gives us the opportunity

to rid ourselves of the weights we carry,

the lingering sense that we have not lived up to our full potential,

that we have cheated others,

that we are disoriented and mired down in troubles of our own making.

Let our individual confessions be gathered up in the confessions of the church.

We are well aware, all knowing God,

that the inner resources of our souls are to you as an open book.

You know the secrets that are hidden from others

 and even hidden from ourselves.

You see both the deed and the motive.

You know both the action and the thought.

You are able to separate what we say from what we mean.

Pardon us, we pray, and cleanse us from the inside out.

 

Now let us silently reflect on the personal struggles and fears that keep us from being fully free.

CONFESSION MEDITATION

“O How He Loves You and Me”, Kurt Kaiser, arr. John M. Rasley, ©1988 Word Music

 

Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

God loved the world so much that Jesus Christ was sent

to show us the way to eternal life.

We are not condemned but offered saving grace.

Come to the light.

Let its warmth melt away our resistance to God’s truth.

We are re-created in Jesus Christ that we may do the good

that God intends and make that goodness our way of life.

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – THE APOSTLES’ CREED

And now, having experienced once again the forgiving power of our loving God,

let us confess our faith using the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven

He is seated at the right hand of the Father,

And he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,

The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

 

THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS

Paul said of the Christians of Macedonia,

“they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means,

begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints.”

(For the time being we would ask you to mail your offering to Zion United Church of Christ, PO Box 538, Arendtsville, Pennsylvania 17303, or to use the Electronic Funds Transfer option which is available by contacting the church office.  Your ongoing support of the church is deeply appreciated in these days.)

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Following the example of that early church in Macedonia,

we voluntarily and happily give these tithes and offerings for the sake of others.

 

VOCAL SOLO

“How Great His Love”, Ruth Elaine Schramm, ©2008 Lorenz Publishing Co.

Dan W., soloist

 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON FOR THE MORNING

Numbers 21: 4-9

 

21:4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.
21:5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”
21:6 Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.
21:7 The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
21:8 And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”
21:9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

 

EPISTLE LESSON FOR THE MORNING

Ephesians 2: 1-10

 

2:1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins
2:2 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.
2:3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.
2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us
2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–
2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
2:7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God–
2:9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
2:10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

 

GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING

St. John 3: 14-21

 

3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
3:17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
3:18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
3:19 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.
3:20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.
3:21 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.”

 

SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION

“Hear Me As I Pray”, Gerald Peterson, ©1990 Lorenz Publishing Co.

 

THE MESSAGE FOR THE MORNING

 

PASTORAL PRAYER AND THE LORD’S PRAYER

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 sins

As we forgive those who sin 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.

 

 

CLOSING HYMN  “Above the Hills of Time”

(traditional Irish melody)

Printed with permission under license CCLI #1149146

 

Above the hills of time the cross is gleaming,

Fair as the sun when night has turned to day;

And from it love’s pure light is richly streaming,

To cleanse the heart and banish sin away. 

To this dear cross the eyes of men are turning,

 today as in the ages lost to sight;

And so for Thee, O Christ, men’s hearts are yearning,

as ship-wrecked seamen yearn for morning light.

 

The cross, O Christ, Thy wondrous love revealing,

Awakes our hearts as with the light of morn,

And pardon o’er our sinful spirits stealing,

Tells us that we, in Thee, have been reborn. 

Like echoes to sweet temple bells replying

Our hearts, O Lord, makes answer to Thy love;

And we will love Thee with a love undying,

Till we are gathered to Thy home above.

 

COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon,

where there is doubt, faith,

where there is despair, hope,

where there is darkness, light,

where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

 

CHIME MEDITATION

“Jesus Paid It All”, Adam Mason, John T. Grape, ©1995 Lorenz Publishing Co.

 

POSTLUDE

“At the Cross”, Gregg Sewell, based on Ralph Hudson tune, ©1979 Lorenz Publishing Co.

 

Office hours are limited; please call the office before stopping by.

Coming Up This Week:

Mar. 14                  Live stream Worship                                                 9:00 a.m.

Sunday School                           Zoom                     10:30 a.m.

Mar. 15                  Consistory                                 Zoom                       7:00 p.m.

Looking Forward:

Mar. 21                  Outdoor Worship                                                     10:00 a.m.

Selfie Sunday – pics after worship

Sunday School                           Zoom

Pastoral Care:  If you would like a visit from George, please contact him and let him know a convenient time.

Ladies Breakfast Group News From Sally:  We are welcoming spring by resuming our monthly breakfast meetings!  Join us outside at The Apple Bin on Monday, April 12th at 9:00 a.m.  Tammy, the owner, has ordered a portable garage canopy to shade the picnic tables, but you may just enjoy the sun!  You are encouraged to wear masks except when eating, and we hope you feel comfortable enough to join us.  Many have had the vaccine; some have had the virus.  And we will remember long-time member Jane T.  I hope to see you there.

Worship Update and Holy Week Schedule:  We intend to begin worship on the parking lot on Sunday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m.  Parking lot services will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.  If weather does not permit us to gather outside, services will be livestreamed at 10:00 a.m. from inside the sanctuary with NO in-person gathering.

Sunday, March 28th, 10 a.m. – Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion – Service on the parking lot (weather permitting, otherwise livestreamed from inside the sanctuary).

Thursday, April 1st, 7 p.m. – Maundy Thursday Service with the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Service will be livestreamed from the sanctuary.

Friday, April 2nd, 7 p.m. – Good Friday Service, livestreamed from the sanctuary.

Sunday, April 4th, 6:30 a.m. – Easter Sunrise Service at Fairview Cemetery with the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  This is a shared service with Trinity Lutheran Church.

Sunday, April 4th, 10 a.m. – Easter Service with the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  We will also celebrate the Rite of Confirmation during worship.  Service on the parking lot (weather permitting, otherwise livestreamed from inside the sanctuary).

One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Collection Today:  This year’s collection theme is “Let Love Flow”.   By supporting the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, we let love flow into communities worldwide by providing hope in adverse times. When we share our resources, it also gives us a tangible way to be present in the world and to serve beyond local boundaries. OGHS supports sustainable development, disasters, and refugee initiatives.  In 2020, during the devastating fires in Oregon, we were able to be there to help leaders organize and prepare their immediate as well as long-term responses. We were proud to stand with and support these communities in their time of need. Responding to the needs of our neighbors is the primary goal of the offering.  Please be generous as the Spirit moves you.

Prayer Requests:  Don’t forget to send your prayer requests via email to the church office by Friday evening to have them included in the Sunday service.