Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16, 2014 Worship Service Live Stream: Lent 2A

Video Archive - Part 1:

Video Archive - Part 2:

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.
Gathering Hymn

Prayer of the Day:  God who dwells with us even when we are in a funk, be with us when we feel small.  Help us to love ourselves, each other and you in ways that unite rather than divide, support rather than antagonize and heal rather than harm.  Amen.


First Reading: 
Genesis 12:1-4a
God said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and the home of your parents, and go to a place I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great people. I will bless you and make your name so great that it will be used in blessings. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you. And all the people on the face of the earth will be blessed through you.” 4 Abram, who was 75 years old when he left Haran, began the journey as God had instructed…

Psalm: 121 -  Read Responsively

1 I lift my eyes to the mountains— from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth! 3
God won’t let our footsteps slip: our Guardian never sleeps.
4 The Guardian of Israel will never slumber, never sleep!
5 God is our Guardian; God is our shade: with God by our side, 6 the sun cannot overpower us by day, nor the moon at night.
7 God guards us from harm, guards our lives.
8 God guards our leaving and our coming back, now and forever.

 Second Reading:  4:1-5, 13-17  
 4:1 What will we say about Sarah and Abraham, our ancestors according to the flesh? 2 Certainly if they were justified by their deeds they had grounds for boasting—but not in God’s view. 3 For what does scripture say? “Sarah and Abraham believed God, and it was credited to them as righteousness.” 4 Now, when a person works, the wages are regarded not as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But when people do nothing except believe in the One who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
13 The promise made to Sarah and Abraham and their descendants—that they would inherit the world—did not depend on the Law; it was made in view of the righteousness that comes from faith. 14 For if those who live by the Law are heirs, then faith is pointless and the promise is worthless. 15 The Law forever holds the potential for punishment. Only when there is no Law can there be no violation. 16 Hence everything depends on faith; everything is grace. Thus the promise holds true for all of Sarah’s and Abraham’s descendants, not only for those who have the Law, but for all who have their faith. They are the mother and the father of us all, 17 which is why scripture says, “I will make you the parents of many nations”—all of which is done in the sight of the God in whom they believed, the God who restores the dead to life and calls into being things that don’t exist.

Gospel Acclamation  John 3:1-17
 3 :1 A certain Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, 2 came to Jesus at night. “Rabbi,” he said, “we know you’re a teacher come from God, for no One can perform the signs and wonders you do, unless by the power of God.” 3 Jesus gave Nicodemus this answer: “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kindom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said, “How can an adult be born a second time? I can’t go back into my mother’s womb to be born again!” 5 Jesus replied: “The truth of the matter is, no one can enter God’s kindom without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is Spirit. 7 So don’t be surprised when I tell you that you must be born from above. 8 The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can this be possible?” asked Nicodemus. 10 Jesus replied, “You’re a teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these matters? 11 “The truth of the matter is, we’re talking about what we know; we’re testifying about what we’ve seen— yet you don’t accept our testimony. 12 If you don’t believe when I tell you about earthly things, how will you believe when I tell you about heavenly things? 13 no one has gone up to heaven except the One who came down from heaven— the Chosen One. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Chosen One must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in the Chosen One might have eternal life. 16 Yes, God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten One, that whoever believes may not die, but have eternal life. 17 God sent the Only Begotten into the world not to condemn the world, but that through the Only Begotten the world might be saved.

Gospel Reading:  
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.
Offering Prayer
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



 Sending Hymn


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:
·         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:                

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