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REFLECTIONS

And the night was cool
And clear as glass
With the sneaking snake in the garden grass
Deep cried out to deep
The disciples fast asleep

And the snake perked up
When he heard you ask
“If you’re willing that
This cup might pass
We could find our way back home
Maybe start a family all our own

But does not the Father guide the Son?
Not my will, but Yours be done
What else here to do?
What else me, but You?”

And the snake who’d held the world
A stick, a carrot and a string
Was crushed beneath the foot
Of your not wanting anything

—mewithoutyou, “A Stick, a Carrot & a String,” from the album It’s all crazy! It’s all false! It’s all a dream

 


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 4, 2018
3rd Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus

OPENING SENTENCES

Leader: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come, let us adore him.

O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

 


Words and Music by George Matheson, 2010.


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GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader:     The Lord be with you.

People:     And also with you!


CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: O come, let us worship and bow down; 

People: let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. 

Leader: The hour is coming, and is now here. 

People: In spirit and truth, let us worship God 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; 

People: let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. 

—from John 4:34

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME

God, be merciful to me, on Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou, blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within, cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin. 

My transgressions I confess, grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace and provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just, speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

I am evil, born in sin; Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art, teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow, wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust, by Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice, and in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face, blot them out in boundless grace. 

Gracious God, my heart renew, make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee, let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart, steadfast make my willing heart. 

 Sinners then shall learn from me and return, O God, to Thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove, and my tongue shall sing Thy love;
Touch my silent lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall praise accord




Music by Richard Redhead, 1852. Lyrics from The Psalter, 1915.


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BY THY MERCY

Jesus, Lord of life and glory,
 bend from heaven thy gracious ear;
While our waiting souls adore thee,
friend of helpless sinners, hear:

From the depth of nature's blindness,
From the hardening power of sin,
From all malice and unkindness,
From the pride that lurks within,


CHORUS
By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord

By thy mercy, O deliver us, good Lord, good Lord


When temptation sorely presses,
In the day of Satan's power,
In our times of deep distresses,
In each dark and trying hour.

When the world around is smiling,
In the time of wealth and ease,
Earthly joys our hearts beguiling,
In the day of health and peace.

CHORUS

In the weary hours of sickness,
In the times of grief and pain,
When we feel our mortal weakness,
When all human help is vain.

 In the solemn hour of dying,
In the awful judgment day,
May our souls, on thee relying,
Find thee still our Rock and Stay.

CHORUS

 

Author, Sandra McCracken, 2005.


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader:    God remains faithful to the covenant of steadfast love; even when we are unfaithful. Without fear, then, let us confess our sins. 

—from Genesis 9

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People:   God of compassion, in Jesus Christ you did not disdain the company of sinners but welcomed them with love. Look upon us in mercy, we pray. Our sins are more than we can bear; our pasts enslave us; our misdeeds are beyond correcting. Forgive the wrongs we cannot undo; free us from a past we cannot change; heal what we can no longer fix. Grace our lives with your love and turn the tears of our past into the joys of new life with you. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION & WORDS OF PARDON

Leader:   Return to the Lord with joy and gladness; let sorrow and sighing be no more. In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven! 

—based on Isaiah 35:10

SONG OF RESPONSE -KYRIE ELEISON
 

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
On us.
(X2)


PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 


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THE WORD OF GOD
 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
SCRIPTURE READING
Matthew 26:36-46NRSV

36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Minister:  This is the Gospel of the Lord.

People: Praise to you, O Christ!

SERMON
Sermon Series:  Journey to the Cross
Sermon Title: In the Garden
Speaker: Jared Ayers


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APOSTLES’ CREED

Minister: Let us say what we believe.

People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated a  the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic1 church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. (1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places).


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THE LORD’S TABLE


THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you. 
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord.

Minister:  With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us— even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, by whose grace we may triumph over temptation, be more fervent in prayer, and be more generous in love. Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole creation to proclaim the glory of your name, saying:

 

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest!
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory, 
hosanna in the highest!
 


Minister:   You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. He took upon himself the weight of our sin and carried the burden of our guilt. He shared our life in every way,  and, though tempted, was sinless to the end. Baptized as your own, he went willingly to his death and by your power was raised to new life. In his dying and rising, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. And so, together we proclaim the mystery of the faith: 


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Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
Your rising celebrate! 
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new
(REPEAT)

Minister:    God of all power, send your Holy Spirit upon us, that in sharing the bread we may share in the body of Christ, that in sharing the cup we may share in his blood. Grant that, being joined together in Christ Jesus, we may become united in faith and in all things become mature         in the one who is our head.

Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One.

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister:    Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

People:    Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

HOLY COMMUNION

Minister:    The gifts of God for the people of God.     

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.


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PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers:

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen. 

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen. 


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THERE IS A FOUNTAIN

There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day
And there have I, as vile as he, washed all my sins away; 
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away; 
And there have I, as vile as he, washed all my sins away

E'er since by faith I saw the stream your flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing your power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Dear dying Lamb, your precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved to sin no more
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more

 

Authors Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, 2005.


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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE 

Minister:    Lord, in your mercy,

People:     hear our prayer.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Minister:    Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:     

People:   Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.


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SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD

OFFERING

IN CHRIST ALONE

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.


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BENEDICTION

Minister:    May God shine upon you, Christ fill you with true wisdom and strength, and the Holy Spirit guide you into all faithfulness, now and forever.

People:     Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister:    Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

People:     Thanks be to God!

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