Sunday, March 15, 2015

Worship Archive: Lent 4B: March 15, 2015

March 15, 2015
10:30 am Holy Communion Service
Grace Evangelical Lutheran, San Francisco

Welcome to worship at Grace!  Welcome to long-time Lutherans, Christians from every tradition, and people new to faith. Welcome to all who have no church home, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe. Welcome to new visitors and old friends. Welcome to people of every age and size, color and culture, every sexual orientation and gender identity, socio-economic status, marital status, ability and challenge. Welcome to believers and questioners, and to questioning believers. This is a place where you are welcome to celebrate and sorrow, rejoice and recover.  This is a place where lives are made new.

Special Welcome to Newcomers  Welcome to our small community of faith.  While we are small in numbers, we have big hearts and a desire to grow.  In order to help you follow along, we have included all the materials you need for worship in this bulletin.

Please join us for worship any Sunday at 10:30am that you are able.  If you cannot join us in person, you can also join us online via live stream or by watching the archives of our worship and Bible Study that Doesn’t Suck anytime during the week at our website (, or on our mobile phone app, Bible Study that Doesn’t Suck, is available on Google Play and ITunes. 

If you have any questions about the service or about Grace, you can fill out the form in pew to let our pastor know you’d like to chat.  Or you can contact Pastor Megan Rohrer at


Confession and Forgiveness
Please stand.  Water is poured into the baptismal font.  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.

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.

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.

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

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.

The Grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.                          And also with you.

Gathering Hymn     Verses 1, 2 and 4

Prayer of the Day: God of hope, calm our fears and help us to love our family, neighbors and all the earth.


First Reading          Numbers 21:4-9
4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Word of hope, word of life.                 C  Thanks be to God

Psalm 107 (read responsively) 
1O give thanks to the God most high, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
2Let the redeemed of the God most high say so, those God redeemed from trouble 3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.  17Some were sick through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities endured affliction; 18they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19Then they cried to the God most high in their trouble, and God saved them from their distress;
20God sent out word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
21Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. 22And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

Second Reading                 Ephesians 2:1-10
You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Word of hope, word of life.                 C  Thanks be to God

Special Music:    WOV670          When Israel Was in Egypt’s Land                       Grace Choir

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel Reading                 John 3:14-21
14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”      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      Verses 1-3

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.

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.

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.

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 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 immigrants, refugees, the homeless, hungry and all who care for and advocate for them.  We pray for the members of our congregation, their family and friends, who are need healing.  We pray especially, during this season of Lent, for Anna Marie* who has requested our prayers for her health.  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.

Announcements:  You can find more information and find archived sermons and worship live streams at our website:  or on our blog:

*Please let Pastor Megan know if you would like your name to be included in Grace’s public prayers.  You may also add names of others to Pastor Megan’s private prayer list, by giving Pastor a note with your prayer request on it.  Special prayer requests in today’s bulletin were submitted during our Ash Wednesday service.

Upcoming Special Worship Dates
·        Maundy Thursday at Grace: April 2nd, 12pm  (worship)
·        Sadder with St. Paulus Lutheran @ Grace: the Evening of April 2nd  (worship)
Easter Sunday April 5th (worship)

Scripture in this service is adapted from The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation, by Priests for Equality.  2009, Sheed & Ward. Kindle Edition.

The traditional Lutheran liturgy is from Sundays and Copyright 2014 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #28429.

Hymns used with permission for worship and podcast under  #A-723548.  

Please join us for coffee and refreshments downstairs in the Fellowship Hall.
To get to the Fellowship Hall, exit to the right of the communion railing at the front of the church.            Today’s coffee hour will also serve as our congregation’s annual meeting.
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.

Pastor Megan Rohrer’s  contact info:                                 415-827-2587

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