Today is the first Sunday in the season of Lent.
Let us begin with a reading of Christ’s journey in the desert
before he begins his ministry.
The Fountain thirsts, the Bread is hungry here.
The Light is dark, the Word without a voice.
When darkness speaks it seems so light and clear.
Now He must dare, with us, to make a choice.
In a distended belly’s cruel curve,
He feels the famine of the ones who lose.
He starves for those whom we have forced to starve.
He chooses now for those who can not choose.
He is the staff and sustenance of life.
He lives for all from one Sustaining Word.
His love still breaks and pierces like a knife.
The stony ground of hearts that never shared,
God gives through Him what Satan never could;
The broken bread that is our only food.
— by Malcolm Guite
In this season of Lent, let us pray together as a community.
O Lord of Grace,
The world is before us today,
and we are weak, we are fearful.
But we look to you for strength;
If we venture forth alone we stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved’s arms we are held firm.
If we were left to our own treacherous hearts,
we would bring shame to your name,
But if guided and upheld by your Spirit,
We will bring you glory.
Lord of mercy, be the arm that supports us,
our strength to stand,
our light to see,
our shield to protect,
and our sword to repel the enemy.
We know that all loving-kindness is in your Son,
and we plead his blood to pay our debts.
By the power of your holy spirit,
accept his worthiness for our unworthiness,
his sinlessness for our sin,
his purity for our uncleanliness,
his humility for our pride,
his obedience for our rebellion,
his glory for our shame,
his death for our lives.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray to you,
our God in community, holy in One.
How can we place ourselves in a state of dependency this season of Lent?
How can we use our resources to serve others instead of serving ourselves?
Let us close with a benediction.
It was never promised that you will not be tempted,
not thrown into turmoil, not stumble or fall,
but that by grace you will be saved, through trusting God.
Grace is a free gift of God.
Gift, an eternal gift.
For me, for you.
You have a destiny to inherit,
over which the angels in heaven marvel.
The quiet strength of Christ,
the humble power of God,
and the pervasive light of the Spirit,
is yours, today and always.
So depart from here to love and serve
in name of the Father,
of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Go in peace and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by Matt Lief Anderson @ Flickr]