Worship at Home for Sunday, February 28, 2021

Worship for the Second Sunday in Lent

February 28, 2021

Call to Turning Toward God (Psalm 22:23-31)

One: Praise God you who stand in awe of God;
All: We praise and glorify God!
One: God does not despise the afflicted. 
God does not turn God’s face away.
All:
God hears us when we cry out. So we will praise God to the ends of the earth!
One: The poor shall eat and be satisfied.
All: Those who seek God will sing praises!
One: All the nations of the earth will remember and turn to God;
All: Let us give God thanks and praise!

Passing of the Peace

Hymn Praise Him, Praise Him Celebration Hymnal #12

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Refrain:
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Words: Fanny Crosby, Tune: Chester Allen, Public Domain

Children’s Message Saying Yes to Jesus

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.

Genesis 17:1-8 and 15-16

Psalm 22:23-31

Romans 4:13-25

Mark 8:31-38

Sermon: God’s Promise and the Cross

“And then Abraham fell on his face and laughed…” Genesis 17:17. Yes after all that we just heard in the Genesis reading of God making fantastic promises to Abraham about his being the father of a multitude of nations and that his wife Sarah is to be the mother, Abraham laughs. The irony, the absurdity of a pair of nonagenarians becoming the patriarch and matriarch of their own humongous clan seems absurd. Abraham cannot help but burst out laughing that the thought.

This is the same Abraham who left his comfortable life to tramp about in the Canaan desert at the command of God. This is the same Abraham who was a few verses before bowing down with his face in the ground before the awesomeness which is our God. This is the same Abraham in who God places so much trust. This Abraham laughs!

Have you ever been in a situation where the craziness of the whole situation brought you to laughter? You want me to do what?! You are going to do what?! Is this really happening?! These words could have described Noah when asked to build the ark. For those who listened to the livestream or who were in person worship last Sunday, you would have heard the story of the woman who did cartwheels down the center aisle of her church one Sunday morning, because God asked it of her. It was a laughable request. You want me to do that?!

Yes God really did want her to do cartwheels, because in worship that morning was a man who told his wife that he would go to church that morning with her, but he would only return if someone did cartwheels down the aisle that Sunday morning. That man who made the crazy demand about cartwheels after seeing a woman doing cartwheels during worship on Sunday made a commitment to follow Jesus that day. Sometimes God requests that we believe and do things that make us laughable.

God did keep that promise of the multitude of nations who would consider Abraham and Sarah the beginning of the multitude of nations who would follow and worship God. Abraham laughed, but it all came true. We give thanks for Abraham and his gift of laughter in the presence of God, because it reminds us that we too can laugh and talk to God.

Peter feels comfortable enough with Jesus to question the need for the cross. The cross is too troubling a subject for Peter to laugh. Peter is genuinely afraid for Jesus, himself and all the hopes that Peter has placed on Jesus being the messiah. No! You cannot die. This cannot be!

Peter like Abraham is responding in a very human fashion by scolding Jesus about the Cross. Peter and Abraham these pillars of the faith are so human like us. It is human nature to wish to deny bad news or to want to keep those we love from harm. Peter loved Jesus. Peter knew deep in his heart that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Peter does not want anything bad to happen to Jesus, but Peter was only listening to part of the story.

Jesus knows that the cross is the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham. Jesus’ must die on the cross in order to rise from the dead three days later. The thought of someone who is dead will rise from the dead is absurd. So, Peter does not comprehend what Jesus has told him. Perhaps Peter was so stunned by the killed part that he did not hear the even more unbelievable words, “and after three days rise again.”

Have you ever been listening to someone and been so upset about part of what they said that you did not listen to the whole story? Imagine that you are at work and have been asked to meet with your supervisor. Your supervisor tells you that they are eliminating your job at the company but continues to speak after this upsetting announcement. Do you keep listening after the bad news? Do you immediately start worrying about how you are going to pay the bills? Do you hear what the supervisor says next?

Let’s reimagine the scene, you are in your supervisor’s office. Your supervisor tells you that they are eliminating your job at the company, but they are giving you a new job which comes with a promotion. Wow! There is good news here, if we keep listening.

Peter stopped listening at killed and did not hear or comprehend the good news of after three days rise again. The good news of the resurrection can only happen after the cross! Jesus asks all of us to take up our cross in order to have new life in him. It is like letting go of an old job to get a new and better one. The cross is not the whole story but the means to the promise of God for new life in Jesus. God’s promises happen in ways that seem unbelievable but turn out to be all too true and glorious.

Prayer

God of promise and the cross, help us to seek the holiness which you offer. Help us to turn our hearts to you in love and laughter. May we always take time to listen to you and hear the whole story. Keep us from allowing our fears to overwhelm us and to dash our hopes. May we trust in you to care for us and to make real the joys of life.

We trust in your care this day those who struggle with illness, depression, circumstances. Be with those who have been left without water and the resources they need. Be with our nation as we marked the milestone of 500,000 Covid-19 deaths this past week. May healing and hope surround us. Amen.

Let us take time to lift up the joys and concerns of our hearts in prayer.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord's Prayer Luke 11:1-4 

Prayer list: I’ve removed some of the names that have been on here quite a while. If I removed someone who I shouldn’t have please let me know.

Ahna, Priscilla, Grandpa David, Virginia, Vic, Liz’s sister in law, Butch, Marcie, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Linda, Pat, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Jeff, Terry, Bev, Angie, Mark, Dave, Peggy, youth struggling with mental health issues, Shawn, Lindsey, Sue, Diann, Danna, Janet, Lisa, Joyce, Cheyenne and Katelyn.

Goodwill/Offering

  • Please consider giving to the Helping Hands Food Pantry this month.
  • Give thanks for God’s promises to us.
  • The offerings will be laid on the altar as we sing: Give Thanks

Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.
And now let the weak say, “I am strong”, and the poor say, “I am rich”, because of what the Lord has done for us!
Give thanks, Give thanks.

Henry Smith Copyright © 1978 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music

Prayer of Dedication: God of the promise which was fulfilled in Jesus, we offer ourselves and our gifts to you in service of the promise of new life through the cross and resurrection. Amen.

Hymn The Old Rugged Cross Celebration Hymnal #327

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain

So, I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.

Refrain: see above

Text and Music: George Bernard, Public Domain

 

Benediction: May you trust in the hope and promises of God all the days of your life. Amen.

 

 

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