Trinity United Church
February 21, 2021
Lent 1 Zoom Worship
“Connection not Perfection”
Acknowledgement of Territory
The United Churches of Canada
repudiates the doctrine of discovery
that assumed these lands were unoccupied
when European explorers and settlers first came here.
In humble appreciation,
we acknowledge that Trinity United Church rests
on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples,
the Kwikwetlem First Nations.
Prelude: “Welcome Home - Lent” CLICK HERE for Video.
Call to Worship: “Tree of Life” and Tenebrae Candles montage. CLICK HERE for Video.
Prayer of Approach:
God of Covenant, both ancient and new, in your love and faithfulness you provide for us in times of abundance and in times of trial.
As we prepare to follow Jesus into the wilderness of Lent, remind us of your constant presence and provision.
Teach us to trust the silence, to brave the pain and to hunger for the truth.
Send us patience, courage, and wisdom to comfort us on our prayerful sojourn.
May this season of Lent transform us that we might participate in transforming your world through justice, kindness and humility.
Your kingdom come. Amen.
Hymn “When We Are Tested” MV 65
CLICK HERE for Video.
Prayer of Reconciliation and Words of Assurance
God remains faithful to the covenant of steadfast love,
even when we are unfaithful.
Without fear, then,
we seek reconciliation.*
God for mercy,
we begin this Lenten season in confession.
We do not live according to your ways,
but according to our own.
We condone violence,
participate in systems of injustice,
[like racism and colonialism]
and use power to our own advantage
at the expense of others.
Forgive us, we pray,
when we are tempted to follow paths
other than those you set before us.
Teach us your commandments;
help us to turn from evil in its many guises,
and turn us toward your kingdom drawing near.
In covenantal love, remember us, we pray,
and be for us, once more and always,
an ark of safety and new life.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.*
Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God,
forgives us and reconciles us and all things
in heaven and on earth.
Thanks be to God for this good news!*
*Feasting on the Word, Liturgies for year B vol 1, p97 [adapted]
WE HEAR THE WORD
Telling our Ancient Story
Hymn “Jesus Tempted in the Desert” VU 115
CLICK HERE for Video.
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” 12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
This is the witness of the Early Church. Thanks be to God!
Message: CLICK HERE for video.
in rushing waters
and in dry wilderness
in every season and circumstance,
we need your sustaining word.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
proclaim the good news
among us today
so that we may repent and believe
and see anew
how the time is fulfilled
and the kingdom has come near;
in Jesus Christ your Son,
our Saviour. Amen.
Here with Mark being really succinct again. Four stories in Seven verses.
Jesus is baptized. Please note, in Mark's Gospel, only Jesus witnesses the heavens tearing apart and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove. Only Jesus hears the voice, "You are my son, the beloved."
Then Jesus is immediately driven by that spirit into the wilderness where he is tempted for 40 days by Satan among the wild animals and waited on by angels.
Then a rather significant story is just alluded to, John, the baptizer, is arrested.
And Jesus begins his ministry, proclaiming the Good News, "The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe the Good News."
On the first Sunday of Lent in years A and C of the lectionary in which we are following Matthew and Luke respectively, we are able to focus on the Temptation in the Wilderness. But Mark, whom we are following this year, gives us nothing. Just 40 days of Temptation, we have no idea what the content of that temptation might have been.
We also have among our readings this morning the Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis, the closing of the story of Noah's family, the story of the Rainbow.
In year B of the lectionary, the Hebrew Scriptures will follow the theme of covenant, the promise. The promise God makes to Noah, then reiterates, reinforces, and affirms with Abram and Sarai, Moses, Jeremiah and Isaiah.
When Jesus proclaims, the time is fulfilled, in the Gospel of Mark, this is what is being fulfilled: this promise that God first made to Noah, then passed down to Abram and Sarai, to Moses, to Jeremiah, and to Isaiah.
In the story of Noah, way back in Genesis, People are not yet what God intended for them to be. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they are selfish and greedy. They aren't caring for one another and the world the way God expected them to.
So the flood. After the flood, God promises not to do that again and puts a rainbow in the sky as a sign of the promise that this won't happen again.
But the story tells us that the world didn't actually change. People continued to lie, cheat, steal and to be selfish and greedy.
So God does a new thing, God calls on a particular people, Abram and Sarai, and promises that they will be the light to the nations, they will set a standard for the rest of creation.
But Abram and Sarai's children end up slaves in Egypt when they overstay their welcome following a famine. So God gives Moses a Law and a Land and clear instructions this is how to live to fulfill the promise.
In time the people still fail and are dragged off into exile.
So God speak through Jeremiah, I will write my law, not on stone, but in your hearts. Our hearts will be changed.
Then God speaks through Isaiah. And here things take a turn. Isaiah sings four songs we refer to as "Songs of the Suffering Servant." It's like God has said, "Look, I'm going to keep my end of the promise, but you are going to do some work."
In the time of Noah, a flood was not enough to change the world.
In the time of Abram a famine was not enough to change the world.
In the time of Moses, a code of laws was not enough to change the world.
In the time of Jeremiah, generations of war and cities being besieged and sacked, was not enough to change the world.
If we want the world to change, we need to change.
A gentle reminder that "repent" means to turn around, or change your orientation.
We need to be more kind. We need to be more self-giving. We need to be more compassionate, grateful, generous, tolerant, understanding, curious, and humble.
In Mark's Gospel, Jesus can proclaim that the time is fulfilled because In Christ Jesus, we are being offered what we need to change.
Floods and famines, and wars, and plagues, are not enough to bring about the Kingdom of God. Our hearts need to change.
This is work for the whole year, but during Lent we are called to be a little more intentional about self-examination. Exploring the ways we have come to simply accept the ways of the world that are not God's ways.
The world will not be more just, if we are not more just.
The World will not be more kind, if you and I are not more kind.
The world will not be more peaceful, unless you and I practice greater peace.
The world will not be less violent, unless you and I have a change of heart that has us acting less violently in the world.
During this season of Lent
may we examine our hearts,
may we change our orientation,
and may we witness the nearness
of the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and intercession
thank you for sheltering us in the storms of life.
Thank you for ministering to us through angels
seen and unseen
in times that test us.
Thank you for claiming us as a people beloved forever.
Because your great love and care for us,
we trust you in our brightest joys and deepest needs.
We rejoice when dark clouds of trouble are overtaken
by the light of your presence and new possibilities,
when things settle down after a time of tossing about,
when the great storm is over,
and when the promise of resurrection life takes hold in us
with sure and certain hope.
Hear our prayers, we ask, for the deep needs of the world.
In places of violence and warfare,
give us the courage to lay down our weapons of death
and promote life and wellbeing instead.
In places of drought and fire,
bring rains that make the earth colourful and verdant again.
In places where the waters overtake their boundaries,
allow the overflowing chaos to recede.
in life and in death, we belong to you.
So in the midst of life, we entrust ourselves to your care.
We are bold to ask for help
when we are confused, lost, or afraid.
We are eager to ask for healing for our bodies and minds,
whether wounded, ill, or recovering.
And we are unceasing in our prayers for those we love
who are far from us physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
In the midst of death and grief,
even though we are weary,
we return again and again, praying for comfort,
for an easing of the pain that comes from loss,
and for the light of your presence to pierce
the present darkness.
[We pray for Helen, Debbie, Wendy, Richard, Terry, Jenny, Gwen, Bill, Sue, Katherine…
We pray for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for the friends and family of the 17 people killed, for the entire community as they mourn. We pray for our neighbours to the south as they continue to debate gun laws.
We pray for the family and friends of Colten Bushie, and for all who are victim to racial violence]
As the heavens were torn open at Jesus’ baptism,
and the curtain in the temple was torn at his crucifixion,
so now tear open anything that divides us from you
or hides your presence in our lives or in the church.
We desire to hear your voice of love,
to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,
and to see your clearly.
Lead us to serve others faithfully and disciples of Jesus Christ,
in whose name we pray. Amen.*
*Feasting on the Word: Liturgies for Year B, vol 1, p100
The Disciples’ Prayer “Our Father” VU 960
CLICK HERE for video.
WE GO FORTH
Hymn “If you Will Trust in God to Guide You” VU 286
CLICK HERE for Video.
Commissioning and Benediction
As Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness,
so we will spend forty days in this season of Lent.
Consider, children of the covenant,
the faithfulness of God,
and what it means to be baptized into Christ.
Live each day proclaiming the good news,
in word and deed,
that God is with us
and the kingdom is near.
May the God of covenant faithfulness enfold you;
the beloved Son encourage you;
and the Holy Spirit descend upon you in blessing;
this day and forever.*
*Feasting on the Word: Liturgies for Year B, vol 1, p101