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About the Season of Lent: Lent is the time in the church year when we get a little bit more solemn and serious. Ancient Christians used this time to contemplate the fragility of life, serve the poor and reoriented their lives towards health, love and wholeness. Some people choose to give something up and remember the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Others choose to add rituals or practices to their life that help them enjoy life, decrease their stress or improve their ability to care for the world.
Regardless of how you celebrate in your day-to-day life, we hope you will join us at Grace for worship. Our services during this season will focus more on confession and forgiveness than other times of the year. This is not because we believe that we are more in need of forgiveness. Actually, Lutherans believe that everyone is equally a saint and a sinner. We also believe that God’s grace is a gift that erases all the times we’ve done the wrong thing - even when we’ve enjoyed it. Our congregation’s name is Grace because we really love how God names, claims and loves everyone.
So why so serious this time of year? We know that life is rough sometimes. Cancer, HIV/AIDS, depression, debt, racism, the death of those who leave us too soon, war, poverty and homelessness and countless other things are very real and heartbreaking. Faith and worship that ignores all the rough things in life, leaves us unprepared, unable to mourn and unable to respond to the unjust parts of life.
During this time of Lent, we invite you to sit with all the uncomfortable parts of your life. Our worship is designed to help you notice that even during the rockiest times, God is with you and loves you.
If you would like support during your Lenten journey, please reach out to Pastor Megan for a special visit or phone call.
Confession and Forgiveness
Please stand. The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of your Baptism.
P In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
P Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
P If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Silence for reflection and self-examination.
P Most merciful God,
C we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen
P Almighty God, in his mercy, has given his Son to die for us and, for his sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
P The Grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. C And also with you.
Prayer of the Day: Loving God, transform our hearts and help us to see beyond our shame. Help us to find life abundant in the world and to be your hands reaching out to others in need. Amen.
First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
17:1 The Israelites left the desert of Syn to travel by stages, as God had directed them. They camped at Rephidim, but found no drinking water. 2 Again they turned on Moses, saying, “Give us drinking water.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test God?” 3 But the people were thirsty, and complained even more to Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt only to make us and our children and our livestock die of thirst?” 4 Moses appealed to God. “What am I to do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” 5 God answered Moses, “Take some of the elders and move to the front of the people. Take with you the staff with which you struck the Nile. Go! 6 I will wait for you there by the rock of Horeb.28 Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight the elders. 7 Moses named the place Massah, “Testing,” and Meribah, “Quarreling,” for the Israelites tested YHWH when they said, “Is God with us or not?”
Psalm: 95- Read Responsively
1 Come, let us sing joyfully to God! Raise a shout to our rock, our deliverance!
2 Let us come into God’s presence with thanksgiving, and sing our praises with joy.
3 For God is the great Ruler, above all gods. 4 O God, in your hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks are yours. 5 Yours is the sea, for you made it, the dry land as well, for your hands formed it.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before God, our Maker. 7 For you are our God, and we are the people you shepherd, the flock under your care.
If only you would hear God’s voice today! 8 “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the days of Massah in the desert, 9 where your ancestors tested me; they tested me even though they had seen my works. 10 For forty years that generation provoked me, until I said, ‘The hearts of these people go astray, and they do not know my ways.’ 11 Then I took an oath in anger: ‘They will never come to my place of rest.’ ”
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11
Now since we have been made right in God’s sight by our faith, we are at peace with God through our Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us to the grace in which we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to the day on which we will become all that God has intended. 3 But not only that—we even rejoice in our afflictions! We know that affliction produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and character, hope. 5 And such a hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 At the appointed time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for us godless people. 7 It is not easy to die even for a good person—though of course for someone really worthy, there might be someone prepared to die—8 but the proof of God’s love is that Christ died for us even while we were sinners. 9 Now that we have been justified by Christ’s blood, it is all the more certain that we will be saved by Christ from God’s wrath. 10 For if we were reconciled to God by Christ’s death while we were God’s enemies, how much more certain that we who have been reconciled will be saved by Christ’s life! 11 Not only that, we go so far as to make God our boast through our Savior Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Gospel Reading: John 4:5-42
5 He stopped at Sychar, a town in Samaria, near the tract of land Jacob had given to his son Joseph, 6 and Jacob’s Well was there. Jesus, weary from the journey, came and sat by the well. It was around noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 The disciples had gone off to the town to buy provisions. 9 The Samaritan woman replied, “You’re a Jew. How can you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?”—since Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered, “If only you recognized God’s gift, and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would have asked him for a drink instead, and he would have given you living water.”
11 “If you please,” she challenged Jesus, “you don’t have a bucket and this well is deep. Where do you expect to get this ‘living water’? 12 Surely you don’t pretend to be greater than our ancestors Leah and Rachel and Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it with their descendants and flocks?” 13 Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give them will never be thirsty; no, the water I give will become fountains within them, springing up to provide eternal life.” 15 The woman said to Jesus, “Give me this water, so that I won’t grow thirsty and have to keep coming all the way here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and then come back here.” 17 “I don’t have a husband,” replied the woman. “You’re right—you don’t have a husband!” Jesus exclaimed. 18 “The fact is, you’ve had five, and the man you’re living with now is not your husband. So what you’ve said is quite true.” 19 “I can see you’re a prophet,” answered the woman. 20 “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you people claim that Jerusalem is the place where God ought to be worshiped.” 21 Jesus told her, “Believe me, the hour is coming when you’ll worship Abba God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You people worship what you don’t understand; we worship what we do understand—after all, salvation is from the Jewish people. 23 Yet the hour is coming—and is already here—when real worshipers will worship Abba God in Spirit and truth. Indeed, it is just such worshipers whom Abba God seeks. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in Spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Jesus, “I know that the Messiah—the Anointed One—is coming and will tell us everything.”
26 Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am the Messiah.” 27 The disciples, returning at this point, were shocked to find Jesus having a private conversation with a woman. but no one dared to ask, “What do you want of him?” or “why are you talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her water jar and went off into the town.
She said to the people, 29 “Come and see someone who told me everything I have ever done! Could this be the Messiah?” 30 At that, everyone set out from town to meet Jesus. 31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But Jesus told them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 At this, the disciples said to one another, “Do you think someone has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus explained to them, “Doing the will of the One who sent me and bringing this work to completion is my food. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four months more and it will be harvest time’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields— they’re ripe and ready for harvest! 36 Reapers are already collecting their wages; they’re gathering fruit for eternal life, and sower and reaper will rejoice together.
37 So the saying is true: ‘One person sows; another reaps.’ 38 I have sent you to reap what you haven’t worked for. Others have done the work, and you’ve come upon the fruits of their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus on the strength of the woman’s testimony—that “he told me everything I ever did.” 40 The result was that, when these Samaritans came to Jesus, they begged him to stay with them awhile. So Jesus stayed there two days, 41 and through his own spoken Word many more came to faith. 42 They told the woman, “No longer does our faith depend on your story. We’ve heard for ourselves, and we know that this really is the savior of the world.”
P The gospel of the Lord. C Praise to you, O Christ.
Silence for reflection follows the sermon. The assembly stands to proclaim the word of God in song.
Hymn of the Day
Prayers of Intercession
A During this season of Lent, we pray for all who long for better days, suffer, mourn and for the church, the world and all people in their need. A brief silence.
A Creating God, help us take the time to enjoy the world, live greener and love the animals and pets in our lives. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.
A Parent God, bless all who are parents, the family and staff of the Grace Infant Care Center and all who have created families. Take special care of all who have lost children, parents or partners before their time. Help us to love the best we can. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.
A Help our civic leaders to bring justice to a war torn world and cultivate love beyond borders. Be with our bishops Elizabeth and Mark, our pastor Megan and all the staff and leaders of our congregation. Help us to follow your path towards wholeness. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.
A Help us to love each other, our neighbors and care for the poor. We pray especially for the homeless and hungry and those who care for them. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.
A For whom and what else do the people of Grace pray?
(Please offer - silently or aloud- petitions to God. End spoken petitions with “God in your mercy.”)
P Our prayers rise like incense and are held by a loving God who yearns for us to be our best. May we find comfort, hope and love in our days to come. Amen.
The presiding minister and the assembly greet each other in the peace of the risen Christ.
P The peace of Christ be with you always. C And also with you.
The people may greet one another with the sign of Christ’s peace, and may say, “Peace be with you” or similar words. Then, the assembly is seated.
An offering is gathered for the mission of the church, including the care of those in need. After the offering is gathered, the assembly stands.
A Let us pray. God, bless our diversity gifts. Beyond our times, talents and treasures, we give thanks for the relationships and visions that we bring into this holy place. May our relationships with money, giving and receiving become one of the ways we live our faith in the world. Amen.
P It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise . . . we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
P On the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.
The Lord’s Prayer
C Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as 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
A: Go in peace and serve our God.
C: Thanks be to God.
Important Dates and Events Worship Services and Events in the Season of Lent:
· Thursday Lenten Potluck Eucharist: Each Thursday from March 13 to April 10, 6:30 pm at Grace (@3201 Ulloa St) we’ll celebrate communion the way Jesus did (eating with a small group of friends). This casual service is great for newcomers, individuals who want a faithful experience outside of a traditional worship, and anyone who loves a church potluck.
· March 22nd and 23rd, JOB Conference: JOB (pronounced like the book of the Bible) stands for Journey Outside the Box and is a conference planned by Pastor Megan to provide an opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to share stories about faith, life and scripture. Modelled after the TED talks, the JOB Conference continues the storytelling style of scriptures and allows ordinary and extraordinary individuals to share how God is working through their hands in the world. This event will be held at St. Paulus Lutheran Church (@ 1541 Polk St). Learn more about speakers and times at: www.jobconference.org
· April 12th, Health and Vision Event: This Saturday from 10am -4pm Grace, in collaboration with SF CARES (Welcome, the Night Ministry and St. Paulus Lutheran Church) will take our Lenten obligation to serve the poor seriously. Free eye exams and prescription glasses will be given away, along with lunch, clothing, toiletries, books and other opportunities for whole body health care.
· April 17th, Maundy Thursday: This is the night that we remember the woman who washed Jesus’ feet and Jesus’ request that we serve others. This service will include a special hand washing and blessing ritual at 1:30 and a seder (passover meal)at 6:30 pm. Join us at Grace for both of these services (@ 3201 Ulloa St).
· April 18th, Good Friday: This is the night that we remember the death of Jesus on the cross. This dark worship services helps us practice journeying through the darkest nights of our soul. Join us for a joint worship with St. Paulus Lutheran Church (@ 1541 Polk St).
· April 19th, Saturday Easter Vigil: This is the night that we journey from darkness towards light. This service is great for people who are unfamiliar with Christian History or the Bible. Over the course of a few hours, you can hear many of the most important biblical stories and get a feel for how the ancient stories of the Hebrew Bible weave into the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection. This is the traditional night when individuals who are new to the faith are baptized. Join us for a joint worship with St. Paulus Lutheran Church (@ 1541 Polk St).
· April 20th, Easter Sunday: This worship service is a celebration! All are welcome to join us. Whether you’re a regular at worship or you only come once a year, the Grace family is glad to have you join us. Join us at 10 am at Grace (@ 3201 Ulloa St).
Pastor Megan Rohrer’s contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org