Order of Worship
Fourth Sunday of Lent – The Journey
March 14, 2021

Organ Prelude
Welcome to the Journey
Today we continue 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:   Give thanks to God,
All:      for God is good all the time,
One:   and God’s steadfast love endures forever.
All:      For we cried out to God in our troubles,
                        and God saved us from our distress.
One:   The Word came to heal and deliver us from destruction.
All:      Let all of humankind offer thanksgiving,
                        and sing of God’s deeds through worship and song.

Opening Prayer 
Healing God,
You are rich in mercy and generous in love.
Grace us with signs of your presence,
so that our worship may glorify you,
and lift up the Christ,
who calls us towards new life.

Prayer of Confession
God of Moses,
we can relate to the Israelites in the desert.
We know that it is easier to
condemn and criticize than to redeem and reflect,
long for what we had than to imagine what could be.
We know how simple it is to get stuck in places of anger and condemnation.
When we cry out against you, as the people cried out to Moses, please be patient with us, and grant us the courage to choose gratitude and hope whenever possible.

Words of affirmation        
Through Jesus, we do not find condemnation,
through Jesus, we find salvation.
As sure as the sun rises,
know that by grace and through grace,
you have been redeemed.

Storytelling                                    “With a Song”

Sharing of Scripture                         Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22

Message in Music

Message               “Choose to Give Thanks”                   Rev. Laura McLeod

Journey Song – A Time of Contemplation

Prayer of Dedication
Gracious God,
we choose to give, as a way of giving thanks
for the gifts that we have received,
for the love that we have shared,
for the healing we have felt.

A Time of Prayer
Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
God of Moses and Miriam,
we know that there is no pain that you have not felt,
no grief or longing that we cannot share with you.
With the confidence of your camaraderie,
we pray to you for all
the long days and lonely nights,
the unmet dreams,
the cries in the wilderness,
the inconsolable pain,
the half goodbyes,
the relationships without resolve,
the truths left unsaid,
the sighs and tears that words cannot express. (time of silence)
When we feel alone, God, remind us of your presence.
When we feel broken, God, remind us of all that you have made whole.
And help us, God, to hold on.
Hear these and all our prayers,
in Jesus’ name, we pray, using the words that he taught saying, Our Father…

When doubt, fear, and desperation hit you in the wilderness,
don’t forget to look around.
God’s love will be visible somewhere; we have only to look for it.
May the Grace of God, the love of Jesus, and the abiding friendship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all, now and always.
Organ Postlude

Sharing of Scripture                                 Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
Some were sick through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
he sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

With a Song
Based on Psalm 107:1–3, 17–22

Child sat, poking at dinner, but not eating. Child had been fidgeting and clearly uncomfortable since coming home from school.

“Is everything okay?” asked Adult. Child shrugged silently. Adult thought for a moment and then asked, “Can you tell me how you feel?” Child looked at Adult and said, “I don’t know. Kind of sad, I guess.” Adult nodded and asked, “Did something happen to make you feel this way?” Child looked back down at the uneaten food and whispered, “I had a fight with Friend at school.” Adult sighed. Fights with friends are hard. Feelings can be hurt. “Were there some mean words said in the fight?” asked Adult. Child shrugged again but didn’t look up. “Maybe.” Child still did not eat and was clearly upset. Adult asked, “Do you remember what you told me about what you learned in Sunday school? What did you read?”

Child looked up, surprised by the change of topic. “We were reading a Psalm,” said Child. Adult nodded. “Right. And what did the Psalm say?” Child thought for a minute and said, “Well,  people were thanking God.” “And what else?” said Adult. Child said, “Someone was sick. So sick, they
almost died.”

“Yes,” said Adult, “They were hurt. They told God they were hurt. What happened?” “They were healed,” said Child.

Adult nodded. “We don’t know what happened to that person. We don’t know why they were sick or whether they were hurt in their mind, in their body, or in their heart. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. No matter what kind of hurt there is, God loves you and wants to help you get better. Can you remember how that reading ended?

Child nodded, “With a song.”
Adult nodded, opened the family Bible, and read:
“Then they cried to God in their trouble,
and God saved them from their distress;
Let them give thanks for God’s never-ending love…
and tell of God’s deeds with songs of joy.”

Adult paused for a moment and said, “No matter what, God loves you, and wants you to be happy and healthy. When you feel bad, or when you are hurt, God is with you. So, Child, you can always tell God what has happened and know that God loves you no matter what. No matter what.

Adult and Child continued to talk. Eventually, they talked about the fight with Friend at school. And both felt God-with-them as they talked. They made a plan for Child to talk with Friend.

Afterwards, Adult and Child gave thanks for God’s healing love.

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