FIRST CHURCH in PEMBROKE
Sunday, March 7, 2021
ORDER OF WORSHIP
The Third Sunday in Lent
Scriptures for today:
Ex. 20: 1-17; Psalm.19; 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25; and John 2: 13-22
Welcome & Opening Prayer
Good morning and once again, welcome to First Church. Today is the 3rd Sunday in the journey of Lent and we are about 3 weeks from the celebration of Palm/Passion Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy Week that culminates with Easter Sunday, April 4th. Before we go further into the service, we were saddened to hear that Michael Trapp, Ernie Evans’ son-in-law, had passed. We also share in sadness the passing of Salvador Pulselli, the father-in-law of Donna Pulselli and the patriarch of the Pulselli family. You will hear them mentioned later in our Prayers of the People.
Indeed, it is Lent and we pray your Lenten journey so far has been one of personal reflection and ample instances of quite time for reading the Scriptures, meditation and prayer. We also pray that you have been able to stay safe and well through the combination of crazy weather and the challenges with the Covid pandemic.
Ah, yes, it is nice that we are together once again, and as always, we hope you can put aside whatever would disrupt this time together in worship. It is the first Sunday of the month and, as is our practice, we will be sharing Communion. So please take a moment to collect your elements – a piece of bread and a small cup of juice or preferred libation…& we’ll take a quiet moment to allow you to do so…
Ok… now that we are settled, it’s Sunday morning…. Let us pray:
Gracious God, we have been given this moment, a brief time to come together and share an hour or so in worship. Although we have had incredible challenges with the weather and the Covid virus, and the chaos of our daily routines, we are grateful for those who have both created and mastered the technology that allows us to be together from every corner of our town, state, country, and even across the world. Thank You for a quiet time to settle down to hear the Scriptures that testify to what has gone before us; to hear the stories of those in previous generations who laid the groundwork and stood the course of tests to their faith in their lifetime so we can believe; to hear the blessing of Your Message put into the music and presented with every humility and grace; and even in the quiet, to hear Your Whisper. Indeed, this is Your Moment, O Gracious God. Bless us, in Your Holy Name. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, and Amen.
Call to Contemplation
Call to Worship (abbreviated Scriptures and Baylor’s Led by Love)
P: The heavens and all our surroundings shout with the Glory of God.
C: We celebrate our God, the One Who is faithful, just and all-loving.
P: With every sunrise and sunset, we are reminded of God’s Omnipotence!
C: God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and steadfast in God’s love!
P: This is the day God has made. May we all rejoice and be grateful.
C: Lord, make me more holy, more faithful, more humble and righteous. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 19 “God is everywhere…” (Lector: JoEllen Graham)
A Musical Moment for Meditation
The Message – John 2: 13-22
“He Died…He Rose…Then They Believed” (Pastor Matt)
A Quiet Time for Confession
Last week we were introduced to the book, “31 Days of Prayer,” by Ruth and Warren Myers, and their eight areas of a healthy spiritual and prayer life. They suggest that “when we sense we are living in obedience to God, it’s easier to pray with confidence. But what about those times when we haven’t been quite trusting and obedient to the Lord? Or what about the times when we each of us think, ‘I’ve confessed my sin, yet my conscience still bothers me, my confidence is still shattered?… In times like these, we tend to avoid prayer, or we come before God like a puppy with its tail between its legs.”
In one of my devotionals, it said “God is eager to hear our confessions, eager to forgive us, and even more eager to hear our profession of love and commitment to The Triune God, that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Think of confession as a part of maintaining a healthy relationship with God and an essential part of your obedience. It has been said, the only sin God can’t or won’t forgive is the sin of unbelief… for no longer shall one teach his neighbor and teach his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’… for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31: 34)
Let us pray… We confess to You, O Gracious God, that we have heard and know Your Word, but fallen short of doing as You would have us to do. There were, and continue to be, moments when we failed You, and one another. But today, here and now, we are reminded that You have said “When we confess our sin, You remember them no more, and we are forgiven.” So, we humbly thank You for the gift of Your Grace, Your Mercy, and the precious gift of Your Forgiveness. Thank You for restoring us, and granting us to settle in Your Peace. Amen.
Sharing of Holy Communion
A time when we pause from all that imposes on our personal time with God, a time to share
The Bread and The Cup, and savor a most Holy Moment!
Prayers of the People
Last week we introduced you to the book, 31 Days of Prayer, by Ruth and Warren Myers. We learned that they propose eight vital areas of our spiritual life that significantly impact our prayer life… the first area is that we “Cultivate our faith through pursuing God.” This week we look at the second vital area of our prayer life – the issue of Forgiveness. This is one of the most encumbering and “ gnawing ” areas of our journeys of faith and life.
The Myers suggest that “when we sense we are living in obedience to God, it’s easier to pray with confidence. But what about those times when we haven’t been quite trusting and obedient to the Lord? Or what about the times when we each of us think, ‘I’ve confessed my sin, yet my conscience still bothers me, my confidence is still shattered?… In times like these, we tend to avoid prayer, or we come before God like a puppy with it tail between its legs.”
It would seem God is “the parent” or “the adult” in the room, and so many times we miss the opportunity to relieve ourselves of the needless burdens we place upon ourselves and carry. At First Church, we believe mightily in the power of prayer. Sure there are times when we feel disappointed, deeply hurt, and even angry that our prayer or prayers seemingly go unanswered – and we usually have that feeling because we did not get the answer we wanted. But there are times when God not only answers our prayers but literally grants a miracle. So, we continue to pray, day in and day out, and especially in our time together in worship, with every expectation that God hears and answers our petitions.
As such,, we continue to hold in prayer: Elizabeth and the Roberts family; Elaine Spalding; Rick and Jacqui; Dick and Peggy Reardon and their family; The Evans and Trapp family, the Pulselli family, and a few “special intentions.” As you have heard before, sometimes the best words to share are “Thank you” and so, on behalf of those who are named above, and their family and friends, “Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!”
Please join me now in a time of prayer…
Almighty God, it is Lent and we are so grateful that we can pause from whatever is going on, and talk with You, anytime and anywhere. You have heard the names of those publicly named, and we are comforted knowing that You are with them, each and every one. We thank You for meeting all their needs – be it in their joy or in their sadness; in their gatherings together or when all have gone their separate ways and in the stillness, there are those quieter moments. Here and now, O God, hear our individual prayers and know we are grateful, so very grateful…
Indeed, O God, thank You… and now let us join together as we pray 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 have sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen.
It is interesting how there are so many people who are working, many behind the scenes and without any accolades or public acknowledgements, to keep our communities safe. We order a meal from a local restaurant, or go through a fast food drive thru…we pull up to the gas station and pump fuel…we go to or order in our groceries… all with the expectation and hardly ever a doubt, that we will be safe – our food is prepared properly, the fuel is clean, and our groceries are free from disease or contaminates. We call 911 and know that there is someone at the end of the line, able to hear us and send the proper respondents so we have the very best of care.
And our Scriptures today remind us that God is God of Grace, Mercy, and ultimately forgiveness… that no matter who we are, or what we have done, we have every confidence that God know us, forgives us in worse moments, and blesses us in those moments of restoration. We don’t need anything to reach God… no phone call, email or text, no delivery truck, or fire truck or ambulance…. merely to pause and call out His Name.
As a faith community, here at First Church our mission/purpose, is to declare, seed and nurture, and hopefully sustain God’s message – the message of a ministry that brings God to reality for people. And your gifts help us do just that. We are not perfect but we sure do strive for excellence in our ministry and efforts to do for others. We are doing our best to achieve a Christian faith and journey of life that reflects that very faith. And your gifts help us do just that… so thank for helping sustain the ministry of First Church in Pembroke and for any other organization that you choose. The world is a better place thanks to your generosity.
Benediction – Oh, how nice it is to be together and we thank you for taking the time to be here.
And as we all head out on our separate ways, we pray you will remember, we all go in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Have a great week, be a blessing, and we’ll see you back here next Sunday at 10am. God bless….