Worship for the First Sunday of Lent
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Call to Turning Toward God (Psalm 25)
One: To you, O Lord, we lift up our souls;
in you we trust, O my God.
All: No one whose hope is in you
Will ever be put to shame.
One: Show us your ways, O Lord,
guide and teach us your paths.
All: For you God are our Savior.
And our hope is in you all day long.
Moment of Silence
Assurance of God’s Love and Forgiveness: Be assured that through the love of God, the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that you are forgiven and made whole. Amen.
Passing of the Peace: May the peace of Christ be with you!
Hymn My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less
Children’s Message Noah and the Ark
Scripture Lesson: Please read these passages in your Bible at home. If you do not have a Bible, we have many at church and would love to give you one.
1 Peter 3:18-22
Sermon: Trusting in God’s Promise Click here to listen to the message
Noah had a lot of trust in God, but this trust did not happen overnight. Noah had been living in the hope and promise of God’s love long before God called on him to build the Ark. Noah’s faith in God lasted through the years of ark building when I am sure that he was the local misfit for building a giant boat nowhere near the ocean.
Many years ago, I was part of group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers We call ourselves returned volunteers, not former volunteers in order to remind ourselves to fulfill the third mandate of the Peace Corps. These mandates are:
Returned volunteers need to continue to teach our people back home about the countries in which we serve. To support one another in the third goal, we would meet on a regular basis to socialize with one another and share our stories.
One returned volunteer who had served in a desert African country (I forget which one.) back in the 1970’s shared a slide show of pictures from his time as volunteer. He had wonderful pictures of his placement and the good work that was done. The slides that remain in my memory though are of a journey that he took through the desert in a jeep. The road seemed to be a track in the desert that was difficult to see as the track could be blown over with sand dirt. There was great deal of trust in the skill of the driver and the signs that would show travelers that they were on the right path. The most striking photo was of a full-size pickup with a trailer hauling a very nice cabin cruiser like you might see at the Lake of the Ozarks. Our presenter joked that this person hauling the boat must have had real trust that there was a large enough body of water to float his boat somewhere.
Noah’s trust in what he was being told by God extended beyond that there was a large body of water to take his boat. Noah believed that God would bring the body of water to him. God would literally float his boat!
Sadly, for Noah’s neighbors, the water did come and destroyed those who lacked Noah’s relationship with God. Our text for today comes at the end of Noah’s journey in the Ark. God feels remorse over the loss of so much life and makes a promise never to destroy the world with water again. The rainbow is given as a sign of this promise.
That promise of the rainbow is made even greater through the love and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus. The waters of baptism now replace the waters that washed away the world in Noah’s time. God through Jesus wants to remove those things that keep us from trusting in God’s promises.
Often it is easier to find reasons not to trust, than it is to trust. We can all list the things that could possibly go wrong. We might be made fun of for following God. There may be no lake to launch our boats. No one is interested in being a Christian anymore.
We need to trust that God has a purpose for us. We need to think of ways to follow, rather than to list the excuses as to why not. We need to keep praying, keep hoping and looking for rainbows even during snow and storms.
I mentioned the three mandates of the Peace Corps which have guided Peace Corps Volunteers for 60 years. Perhaps we need Lenten mandates to guide us. What three mandates might you create for yourself this Lent in order to turn toward God and trust in God’s direction for your life? I thought of three Lenten Mandates for me to use:
Take time this week to create your own list of Lenten Mandates to help you trust in God’s promises. Remember that to fulfill your mandates that you need group support. So, take time for worship and fellowship too.
God of rainbow and promise,
Hold us close to you in love and give us hope when we are ready to lose it.
Remind us of your love in all times and places.
May we lift up in prayer those who are cold, hungry and frightened.
Especially those who have been affected by this winter storm and frigid cold
In our own community and throughout this country, especially in Texas where people have been without power and more.
May their power and hope be restored.
Silent Prayer followed by the Lord's Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Tate, Patricia, Roland, Aryanna, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Marcie, Michel, Dorothy L, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Bernice, Mike, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Jeff, Terry, Bev, Angie, Mark, Mamie, Dave, Anna, Louise, Peggy, youth struggling with mental health issues, Shawn, Lindsey, Sue, Janet, Diann, Danna, Janet, Lisa, Joyce, Cheyenne and Katelyn.
Prayer of Dedication: God of hope and promise, our trust is in you as we present our offerings of our gifts and ourselves. May you guide us and teach us always as you bless us and our gifts. Amen.
Going Forth: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
Benediction: May you trust in the hope and promises of God all the days of your life. Amen.