Lectionary -- Lent 4 Year C

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Joshua 5:9-12 ... they ate the crops of the land of Canaan
Psalm 32 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 God reconciled us to himself through Christ
Luke 15:1-3,11b-32 The parable of the prodigal son

Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)
 
Hymns for Lent 4, Yr. C
lesson hymn TIS AHB SA
G Amazing grace (how sweet the sound) 129 56
G Come let us to the Lord our God 577 490
O For the fruits of all creation 168 37
s Forgive our sins as we forgive 635 564
O Great is your faithfulness 154
O Guide me O thou great Redeemer 569 478
G Hail our once-despised Jesus 373 295
E Holy Spirit come, confirm us 413 327
Ps How blest are those whose great sin 20
Ps How firm a foundation you people of God 578 491
G I come with joy to meet my Lord 533 452
G I will sing the wondrous story 233 173
E In Christ there is no east or west 459 459
O Jesus invites his saints 505 426
G Just as I am without one plea 584 497
G Lord of creation, to you be all praise 626 557
E/G Love divine, all loves excelling 217 148
E My song is love unknown 341 257
E No weight of gold or silver 249
E O come and dwell in us 315
O O God, your people gather C581
E O Spirit of the living God 405 318
s On this day, the first of days 368
G Our Father, by whose name 71
G Put all your trust in God 555 464
O Robe yourself, my soul, in gladness 503 424
O Shout for joy! The Lord has let us feast 545
Sing praise to the Lord! 96
E The Church's one foundation 457 385
G There's a wideness in God's mercy 136 72
E They that believe and are baptized 479 405
O This is a day of new beginnings 653
O Through all the changing scenes of life 112 30
O We come unto our faithful God 387
O We plough the fields and scatter 130 59
E We sing the praise of him who died 347 262

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia. TIS = Together in Song)
36 (TIS 115) Behold the amazing gift of love
56 (TIS 129) Amazing grace
85 (TIS 147) To God be the glory, great things he has done
365 Jesus united by thy grace
482 How can a sinner know / his sins on earth forgiven
519 (TIS 598) Dear Lord and Father of mankind
I can hear Jesus telling me to follow
SA 93 (TIS 248) When Christ was lifted from the earth

Sermon summary (Click here for complete sermon)One Who Loves to Forgive

The story of the prodigal son is well known and its basic message of forgiveness and reconciliation is clear: the father represents God, the one who loves to forgive. Our personal responses will vary according to our felt need for reconciliation and our experience. There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. That is not a careless disregard of sin. [Luke 15:6-7,9-10] There is joy now where before there was grief.

Sin, the breaking of a relationship

The basic sense of sin is one of separation from God, and forgiveness is experienced as restoration of a loving relationship. The father was more generous than the law required [Deut. 21:17], but that had no affect on the son who soon spent it all 'in riotous living', giving offence to God and his father.

Recognizing our poverty

When the young man 'came to himself', he saw himself as he really was (not like the church at Laodicea: Revelation 3:16-17). We could regard it as an unworthy motive: He came back because he was hungry. It did not matter.

The father's extravagant welcome

But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. -- Luke 15:20. It is heartfelt like the welcome when Jacob returned after many years and met Esau [Genesis 33:4]. The robe signifies that he is received as an honoured guest, the ring is a sign of authority and the sandals that he is a free man not a slave. [Luke 15:21-22]. ... this son of mine was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate. -- Luke 15:24.

All who return are welcome

There are implications for us. We can always go home and have our relationship with God restored. We need to be ready to accept others whom God accepts. You can recognize the kind of love the father showed. God can provide the spark to jump the gap. All that we wish for is available as a free gift, when we recognize the need to seek forgiveness, and to rely solely on the grace of God in Christ.

Order of Service - Lent 4 Year C - | DBHome | RCL Resources Index |

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP
I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you." -- Luke 15:18
So he set off and went to his father.
But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.   -- Luke 15:20

HYMN Come let us to the Lord our God / with contrite hearts return TIS 577 AHB 490

PRAYER OF ADORATION
Lord Jesus, preaching good tidings to the people, proclaiming release to the captives, setting at liberty those who are bound:
We adore you.
Lord Jesus, friend of the outcast and the poor, feeder of the hungry, healer of the sick.
We adore you.
Lord Jesus, denouncing the oppressor, exposing the hypocrite, overcoming evil with good.
We adore you.
Lord Jesus, pattern of gentleness, teacher of holiness, prophet of the kingdom of heaven.
We adore you.
Lord Jesus, dying to save us from our sins, rising to give us eternal life, ascending to prepare our heavenly home.
We adore you.

CONFESSION
Because we nurture too many grudges against others: Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Because we are sometimes unwilling to forgive: Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Because we are slow to seek peace and reconciliation: Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS AND DOXOLOGY
When you were dead in trespasses, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.   -- Colossians 2:13-14
I therefore declare to you the forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
[From Uniting in Worship and NRSV]

WELCOME AND GREETING EACH OTHER

Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: The One who loves to forgive.
OLD TESTAMENT Joshua 5:9-12 ... they ate the crops of the land of Canaan
PSALM 32 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 God reconciled us to himself through Christ
GOSPEL Luke 15:1-3,11-32 The parable of the prodigal son

HYMN Great is your faithfulness TIS 154

SERMON

HYMN [With introduction - see sermon] Dear Lord and Father of mankind TIS 598 AHB 519
Old Verse 4.
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.

OFFERING AND DEDICATION

SONG 1. I can hear Jesus telling me to follow
I can see a world that needs his tender touch
But I can't walk alone, I'll never do it on my own
What I need is a people to belong to.
To walk the road of faith takes more than my own strength
And to change the world I need to work with you
And I know that Jesus loves me. I can see this love in you
As we serve the church, the church will serve us, too.

2. I have needs that are locked away inside me
There are hurts that I always hide away.
But maybe you have, too: Can I share my life with you?
'Cos together, we're a people to belong to.

3. If I see someone who needs the love of Jesus
I can't fill that person's ev'ry single need.
But if I point to the church where God's spirit lives and moves
I'll be pointing to a people to belong to.
[Words and Music by Michael Plumridge. NCYC 1987]

SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[With specific petitions and intercessions:]
Our loving heavenly Father, who called us into a fellowship of reconciliation, we look first to you with thanksgiving for your coming down the road to meet us repentant sinners finding our way home.

Then we would seek the same reconciliation with others, wherever we are divided in the human family, between nations, races and groups of any kind of distinction, and within our immediate families and communities, and any way which denies our potential for common membership in your family as 'children of God'. Help us to remember with good effect the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ that we must forgive others if we are to be forgiven.

Grant us the confirmation of your Spirit as we seek to live in the way of holiness, looking to you as the source of our salvation, and our fellowship with you and our brothers and sisters, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

COLLECT FOR THE DAY
Gracious Father, you are truly compassionate to all your children, for you remember that we are but dust. So fill us with your love, that, rising above our weaknesses, we may always remain true to Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN To God be the glory, great things he has done TIS 147 AHB 85
WORD OF MISSION
God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, has given us the ministry of reconciliation; So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. -- 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20
BLESSING
DISMISSAL
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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