18 February 2024
God Invites Us To Gather
Words of Welcome
- Welcome to worship here at Maple Grove United
- My name is Rev. Jessica McCrae and I am so happy to be leading this time of worship with you along with our musicians Dr. Deborah Henry and Eran Rozen, Pat McKee on guitar, our choir, our scripture reader Carol Gilchrist, our greeters John and Barb Duffin, Charlotte Taylor on live streaming, with Mike McGee on sound. Thank you everyone!
- Welcome to those who are joining us online today. We are so glad that you chose to join worship in the Grove today! Please if you have time, drop us a line at the church and introduce yourself.
- I am going to be on study leave this coming week, Gil Lefevre will be providing pulpit supply. If there is a pastoral emergency during this time please contact Daniel in the office. I will be returning to regular routine on Feb 26
- We will have booked for lunch on Tuesday Feb 27 in the chapel – at noon, bring a lunch and we will be discussing Beekeeper of Aleppo
- Lenten study group begins Feb 29 at 1 pm in the chapel
- Contemplative Prayer happens every Wednesday at 11 here in the sanctuary
- To start the season of Lent we will be having communion today, you should have received the little prewrapped communion cups and wafers as you arrived – if not you can put your hand up and Barb will fix you up. (instructions)
- If you would like to make a financial offering to the work of this church there is a plate as you came in, and offerings can also be made through electronic transfer, cheque dropped off to the church, and through Canada Helps.
Acknowledgment of the Land –
Lent is a journey we are called to walk,
So too is the path to reconciliation with the first peoples of this land.
And so we acknowledge that the land upon which we are worshipping, creating our church home, and making our Lenten walk, is the treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the credit. We give them thanks for welcoming us on this common journey toward peace and reconciliation.
Our Christ Candle is lit. We give thanks for the light of Christ in our life and in the work and worship we do together. If you are at home I invite you to light your own candle to celebrate the light that lives in our world. Let us prepare our hearts and minds for our worship, as we listen to our prelude.
Call to Worship.
After he was baptized by John,
Jesus went by himself to the wilderness
where he was tempted.
Forty days in the desert, Jesus was tempted
to become relevant, committed,
to live his faith in a new way.
Today, we begin to journey with Jesus through the season of Lent,
which brings us to face some of our own weaknesses and temptations.
How will we respond?
How will we live our faith?
Let us open our hearts and minds,
let worship God and walk the journey together,
seeking the spirit as our guide and companion along the way.
Let us learn how to live.
*Hymn: O God How We Have Wandered. VU 112
Prayer of Approach & The Lord’s Prayer
God of the deserts, the seas and the skies,
God of the cities, the towns, the villages
we come before you now knowing you are close.
We praise you for bringing light and colour into our lives
and for filling us with a desire to serve, to respond and to worship you.
In your presence, we sense your promise and encouragement,
your belief in us as your children.
Through this time of worship,
help us to learn, God, from the example of Jesus,
to search our hearts, just as he did,
and to commit ourselves more wholly to you.
On this first Sunday of Lent
may we commit to listen for your voice in the days ahead,
that we may know you better,
that we may love you better.
Guide us, drive us deeper into our faith and into your love,
This we pray in Jesus’ name and in the words he taught us we pray
Hallowed be your name
Your kindom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
for yours is the kindom
The power and the glory
Forever and ever
Prayer of Confession
As we follow Jesus into the unknown
may we recognize temptation when it comes;
God of the desert, let it be your bread we eat.
God of the wilderness
let it be your world we serve
and you alone we worship.
In the silence of our hearts we make our confession and ask for your forgiveness.
God, have mercy. Amen.
Sung Response: Kyrie Eleison MV 67
Kyrie elei – Kyrie eleison (sing 2 x)
Assurance of Pardon
How much does God love us?
Enough to send the Holy Spirit to us,
To encourage and fill us.
We are a forgiven people.
Live your life in celebration of God’s love.
Thanks be to God
Celebration of Communion
Holy God, we come to the table as an Easter people;
tempted to tell only our faith stories of triumph and victory,
tempted to move directly to the celebration with trumpets and joy.
But we know we must walk this Lenten road.
Holy God, we come to the table scarred from the world;
bringing some vague awareness that all is not well,
bringing some distant memory that the costly cross looms in the distance.
Walk with us on this road.
Holy God, we come to the table with a sense of defeat;
knowing that we too have silently witnessed crucifixions,
knowing that we too have failed to count the cost of following Christ.
Walk with us on this road.
But we come with the knowledge that we are not alone.
And so with disciples who have gone before
We share our praise
Sung Response: Holy, Holy, Holy MV 203
As we walk this road
We follow the one who,
On the night he was sold into the unknown
By one of his friends with whom he ate,
Took a piece of bread
And after giving thanks
Tore it apart saying
“This is my body,
I give it for you.”
In the same way, after supper
He took a cup of wine
And shared it with them:
‘This is my blood,
poured out as a promise
that I will always go before you.”
And so we give you thanks
You who have walked the path before us
You who have known the pain and suffering
You who have hoped and feared
You who have shared the anticipation of what is not
But what may be.
Holy God, we came to this table
tempted to deny the pain of life,
scarred from too many broken dreams,
knowing that we are not immune to evil’s lure.
And you meet us at this table;
embracing us in our brokenness,
naming us “beloved”,
claiming us for an eternity.
We thank you,
And pledge ourselves to follow,
Confident in our faith
Sung Response: Memorial Acclamation MV 204
So now, you who put your life into our hands
We put our lives in your hands.
May your spirit come to us
and through this meal may we be nourished for the journey ahead.
Go before us to light the way,
Go behind us to comfort and encourage
God with us
Go with us
Sung Response: Great Amen. MV 205
The Word of God Proclaimed
Prayer of Illumination (Carol Gilchrist)
God of love and wisdom, your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Give us grace to receive your truth in faith and love, and strength to follow on the path you set before us; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
Reading: Mark 1:9-15
p. 34 in the New Testament of your pew bibles
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. 11 And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[a] with you I am well pleased.”
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tested by Satan, and he was with the wild beasts, and the angels waited on him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news[b] of[c] God 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;[d]repent, and believe in the good news.”[e]
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.
Sermon: Flying With Persistent Doves
Hymn: She Flies On. VU 380
Our Response to God
Offering: We take time to recognize and dedicate all that has been offered to our church this week, gifts of money to help us pay our bills and keep this building safe and warm for our user groups and activities, gifts of time, your talents and skills, and of course your prayers. Let’s stay seated and sing …
Offering Hymn: Giver of the Perfect Gift. VU 116 v. 1 & 4
Giver of the perfect gift,
Only hope of human race,
Hear the prayer our hearts uplift,
Gathered at thy throne of grace.
Oh may these our Lenten days,
blest by thee with thee be passed,
that with purer, nobler praise
we may keep they feast at last.
Take these offerings we present before you o God
And transform them for your work in the world.
May they become your wings for others;
Wings of protection for those oppressed,
Wings of warmth for those without love,
Wings of freedom for those without hope. Amen.
Prayers of the People
God of new life and new beginnings we give you thanks for the many opportunities you give us to start over
We give you thanks for inviting us on this Lenten journey with you
To travel down new paths, to meet you in new ways,
To listen for the comfort of your soothing voice and to be propelled by the urgency of your wings toward deeper faith, and more solid expressions of our faith.
We ask that you will open us to new opportunities and new callings
During this season.
That you will make us brave and give us courage
That you will help us to live with respect not only in creation but in relationship with others
And we ask God that when we are not on the right track, when we could be doing things better
that invited or not invited, you break into our lives and show us the better way.
We pray for our church family today God, for those who are with us and those who are not,
We pray for those beyond our church family too.
For all who are in need of extra guidance and new direction
For all who are filled with grief, disillusionment, pain.
We pray for all who need to feel the nearness of your love and hope for new beginnings.
We pray for those who are healing from illness, surgery and accidents,
For those who are facing difficult paths, and difficult decisions
We pray for those who are grieving.
We pray for those who are struggling with financial insecurity, food insecurity and housing insecurity,
For those who are starting life over in ways they never expected,
Who have to make their homes in places they never chose to live.
We pray for those impacted by the violence of war, terrorism, and occupation.
We pray for our church, and for all faith groups who seek to live in this world preaching and living love, justice and hope.
This day God we bring before you in the silence of our hearts concerns for others and ourselves
Give us God,
A sense of anticipation through this Lenten season,
That we may move with confidence and hope
Toward the new life of Easter.
We pray in the name of Jesus,
Our messiah, our Risen Christ,
Our companion, our guide.
*Hymn: O Worship The King VU 235
Sung Blessing: Love Us Into Fullness MV 81
Love us into fullness, touch us with your grace;
Jesus in your mercy, draw us to your face.
Love us into fullness, hold us in your care,
Cheer us with your presence, here and everywhere.
Love us into fullness, and we will be strong;
Jesus walk beside us, fill our hearts with song.