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Sermon and Worship

Resources for the 1st Sunday of Lent

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;
repent, and believe in the good news." (Jesus in Mark 1:15)

Psalm of Confession: Psalm 51

Reader 1: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; you who have great mercy, forgive what I have done.
Reader 2: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Reader 1: For I know what I have done wrong; my sins are ever before me and heavy on my heart.
Reader 2: Against you, God, you only, have I sinned; you who know all things know what I have done. You have every right to judge me for my actions and every right to punish me for them.
People: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Reader 1: In the time since I was born, I have committed many sins, and done many things which I wish I had not done.
Reader 2: God, you want me to be truthful to my very core; therefore, teach me wisdom in the depths of my heart.
Reader 1: If you will do it, O God, I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be pure.
Reader 2: Fill me with joy and gladness!
People: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.






 Children's Sermons:


Sermon Excerpt:

. . . Into The Wilderness
a sermon based on Mark 1:9-15
by Rev. Thomas N. Hall

Today is the first Sunday in Lent. And the traditional way that we kick the season off is reflected in the words of the gospel: at once the Spirit sent Jesus out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. That’s as good a place as any to begin our own Lenten journey: in the wilderness . . . being tempted . . . alone . . . confronting doubt.

Just this morning I received among my mail a postcard from one of our college students, a sophomore Latin and Greek classicist wading through Homer and Ovid. On one side was a picture of a teddy bear standing in a garden beside its wheelbarrow, trowel in paw. This bear had produced a bumper crop of carrots and lettuce that filled the wheelbarrow. I especially enjoyed the garden scene since snow has turned our village into a frozen wasteland with twelve inches more arriving tomorrow night.

Then, as I turned the card over, I found myself looking no longer at a garden but instead at a barren wilderness. The note read, do you think we could talk sometime? I’m going through a time with a lot of doubts, and it makes me very uneasy. From garden of delight to godawful wilderness with the flick of a card. It doesn’t take much to turn the most luxurious garden life into a very lonely wilderness, does it? We’re all of us just a turn, just an event away from the wilderness of testing and temptation.

The temptation of Christ has generated scores of dissertations and spawned countless theological debates. Even playwrights and producers have caught wind of this story and juiced it into imaginative and steamy productions. And why not? In a sense, this story is all of us-we’re the college student struggling with our faith, we’re in the wilderness alone and facing doubts that confront us like a devil. We’ve been tempted to compromise our faith, to take the shortcut at the expense of others, to make choices that carry painful impact or betrayal. And at the moment that we face such choices-we’ve just flipped the card over and we’re in the wilderness again. We know deep down inside that it doesn’t take much to turn our gardens into deserts...

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