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March 6, 2005 – 4th Sunday in Lent

        Revised Common Lectionary Readings

        1 Samuel 16:1-13

        Psalm 23

        Ephesians 5:8-14

        John 9:1-41

One Thing I Know

*Call to Worship

God is mystery and awe,

God is Spirit and truth,

God is grand creator and holy Christ.

The one moment of love,

the one gift of healing,

the one act of grace,

the one holding to hope,

and by this we know

that God is with us.

*Prayer of Invocation        

Be our God now –

creator, Christ and Holy Spirit.

Touch the place that you once touched in us

and remind us again of the gift

of your presence with us and within us.

Be real to us in this moment,

that we may be gathered up in love. Amen.

*Prayer of Confession       

There are times, O God,

when we forget we ever knew you.

We enter an empty space

or a dark night of the soul,

and you seem absent from us.

We forget the past experiences of your love

and feel that you have left us.

Our hearts are filled with doubt

and the future looks lonely

as we grapple with our lives

and their questions and traumas.

Sometimes it is as if our lives

sit alone in the universe,

and we cannot find our way back to you

and to the care of others.

Silent reflection.

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Remind us of your grace, loving Jesus,

and forgive us when we choose to live

distant from you.

If we are given words of hope by others,

stories of their life with you

that have transformed them,

but we do not trust this good news

or discourage them,

or if we push away small gifts

that you offer to us

because we insist on a larger miracle –

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Remind us of your grace, loving Jesus,

and forgive us when we choose to live

distant from you. Return us to faith

and enlarge our hope, O God. Amen.

*Words of Assurance       

Our God is the God who seeks us out,

who searches for the lost

and carries us toward grace.

Even in our feebleness of faith,

we are forgiven and brought home to God.


*Prayer of Thanksgiving   

We give thanks to you, O God,

for the miracles small and large

that appear like sudden flowers

on the pathways of life.

We thank you for humble people

who hold open to great possibilities

and who refuse to have their joy dimmed

by cynics and those whose power is threatened.

Thanks be to you, O God,

for the wonder of your healing love. Amen.

*Stewardship Thought      

If we all shared our experience of our faith journeys, we would probably find that most of us would have all sorts of puzzling questions and experiences as we have lived that journey. However, most of us could say, “But one thing I know . . . ,” and we could recount a story or a moment when God was present in our lives in some transforming way. It may not mesh with all sorts of other parts of our story, but on this our faith rests. Often our faith is not neat, it is complex and has mystery lying within it, but there is embedded in it a testimony from which we cannot move. It would be interesting to invite each member of the congregation to share that one story if it exists for them – often we have not really done that for each other because there are other more puzzling things that lie around it.

*Offertory Sentence                           

Let us bring our gifts, however humble,

to the one who gives us all that we have.

*Offertory Prayer                                

We bring these gifts in faith, living God.

We pray that you will take them

for adding to the miracles of kindness

that you show to us and to the world. Amen.

*Prayer of Intercession      

Dear God, bearer of miraculous life,

we know that there are people

in numbers too great to count

who wait each day for their lives to be changed.

They wait for gifts of healing,

or even basic health care,

which would be like a miracle in their lives.

They wait for enough food to feed their children,

or even a day when they could enjoy the food

that we take for granted.

They wait for an end to violence and abuse,

for the chance

that they might wake up without fear.

They wait for opportunities in life

that would make each day a delight in growing

rather than endless labor.

Silent reflection.

We pray for all these people, O God,

and for others whose voices are rarely heard.

The people pray.

And now we pray for ourselves, O God.

Create in us many miracles, O God.


Heal us from apathy and indifference,

and from cynicism and refusals to believe

that we could be part of just changes.

Create in us many miracles, O God.


Raise up in us prophetic witnesses to your love,

and those who bring testimonies

to the grandeur of your gifts.

Create in us many miracles, O God,

that we ourselves may see and believe in

the hope of your reign. Amen.


Let us go out from this place

and tell the people what God has done for us.


And may the miracles of God

spread over the world

in gifts of faith, endurance, shared love,

healing, and forgiveness,

ringing out the wonder of transforming

possibilities for all people. Amen.

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