Order of Worship
First Sunday of Lent – The Journey
February 21, 2021

Organ Prelude
Welcome to the Journey
Today we begin a journey through the season of Lent.  This journey mirrors the journey of life and like life this journey invites us to journey in trust: trust in each other, trust and God, and trust in where we need to be in life.  Along the way there are signposts that mark our path.  Each week we invite you to pause and reflect on the signposts along your journey.  Welcome to Lent! Enjoy the journey!

Call to Worship 
One:   Through healing waters,
through troubled waters
through still waters
through dangerous waters
through welcoming waters
All:      God is with us.
One:   Come, let us worship.

Opening Prayer 
We are grateful, Creator, for sacred water that flows in our bodies and through the earth.
Water is a powerful force that both creates and destroys, sustains and erodes,
deposits and washes away.
Yet, water is wasted, polluted, and ignored…
In this time together may we seek ways to restore good relations, and remember all the ways your gift of water is life.
Amen.

Prayer of Confession
During this time of confession you are invited to take a moment of reflection on these questions that mark our journey…

  • When have you been cast into the wilderness, away from your comforts, strengths and supports?
  • What has tempted you away from God’s life-giving path?
  • Who have been angels or messengers of God, during your wilderness times?
  • When have you forgotten God, and God’s covenant with us all?
  • For what do you seek forgiveness?

After a time of silence, continue:
It is tempting to think we have all the answers. Forgive us, God, for the times we give in to temptations and turn away from you.
Lead us in your way, we pray. Amen.

Words of affirmation
All:      A rainbow reminds us and God of God’s promise.
God loves all creation
with a love that that is steadfast and true.
God forgives us
and sets us free to live.
One:   Thanks be to God. Amen.

Storytelling             “A Dove’s Story”
Sharing of Scripture                                 Genesis 9:8-17
Message in Music
Message                  “Signs of Promise”                         Rev. Laura McLeod
Journey Song – A Time of Contemplation
Prayer of Dedication
Creator God, in all that we do, all that we say, and all that we give, may we live out your covenant to care for all creation.
Amen.

A Time of Prayer
Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
To you, O God, we pray.
In you, O God, we trust.
For you, O God, we wait.
Lead us, so that we may always follow in your way.
Teach us so that we may remain steadfast and faithful.
Remind us of our covenant,
so that we may be a covenantal people,
striving to care for all of creation as you care for us.

Where there is brokenness and discord in your creation…
Where there is death and dying…
Where there is isolation, exile, and forced migration…
Please send reminders of your love and, where possible, help us to be your messengers.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying, Our Father…Amen.

Bless
            A Commissioning
Adapted from Meister Eckhart

Love God in all things equally.
For God is equally near to all creatures.
And among these creatures God does not love any one person more than any other.
God is all and is one.
All things become nothing but God.
Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.

If we spent enough time with the tiniest creature
– even a caterpillar –
we would never need sermons.
So full of God is every creature.

Go and spend time in God’s Creation
and in the amazing presence of God in all things.

Organ Postlude

Sharing of Scripture                                 Genesis 9:8-17
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

A Dove’s Story
Based on Genesis 9:8–17

I

was in the dark for a long time, sitting on a beam in a corner of the ark. It was hot, sweaty, and noisy. So, when Noah came down and asked me to leave and find solid ground, I was happy to do it. I searched and searched. It was so good to feel the wind on my wings. Finally, I found a plot of land, with a tree on it. I took a twig and returned it to Noah. He looked relieved.
Now, we are all back on land. The waters are gone. I could have flown away immediately, but I had come to care for Noah and his family. I wanted to stay nearby. The waters left a big mess. There was so much more work ahead for the land to be liveable again. We were all tired, but we got to work making nests, making a home.
One evening, not long after we exited the ark, something happened. The cool air got suddenly warm. The buzzing bugs were silent. The wind died. The clouds opened, and a beam of sun came through. Noah sat in its light. He was silently leaning forward. His head bobbed and nodded from time to time as if he was listening intently. When he looked up, a rainbow appeared. It stretched from one side of the sky to the other, vibrantly shining red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. For a moment, we all looked on. And then the moment passed. The air became cool again. The bugs started to hum. The wind returned. But the rainbow stayed. It didn’t fade.
“What just happened, Father?” asked one of Noah’s sons. Noah cleared his throat. “God just spoke.” There was a pause. Everyone stopped.
“God has made a promise,” Noah started, “not just with us,” he looked at his family now gathered around him, “but with everything.” Noah looked past his family to the animals, the trees, and the land. He even glanced at me as I sat, watching, from a nearby tree.
“Never again will God cover everything in water. God loves the earth, and everything on it: every person, every plant, and every animal. Everything is included in God’s promise. You, me, and all future generations. Everything is included.” Noah’s eyes returned to the rainbow, still bowed overhead. “That,” said Noah, pointing, “is the sign of God’s promise.”
“That beautiful rainbow reminds us of God’s promise that love and peace are more powerful than anger and hurt. And every time the rainbow appears, the promise is remembered.”
“What do we do now?” asked one of Noah’s sons. Noah gave a small smile. “We’ll see,” he said.

Follow us: