REDEEMER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
March 5, 2023
Second Sunday in Lent
Processional: “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days”
Invocation: Good morning and welcome!
Beloved God, we adore you as we enter into your gates to give praise and rejoice for your goodness, your blessings, your mercy. In love, fix our hearts and attune us in one accord as we lift our hearts in prayer and praise. Let us worship God! Amen.
Call to Worship
L: We magnify the love and dignity of God, seeing the light of God within each of us-in worship, at home, at play-providing a witness to God’s remarkable, awe-inspiring countenance.
P: Glory, glory, glory to you God. Heaven and earth are full of your magnificent dignity. We pause and we pray as your power washes over us and cleanses us of our doubts and fears.
L: In love and joy, we fear you: we respect who you are, and all that you have done for us. We claim our own dignity as a witness to your special grandeur.
P: Help us to see with our eyes and hear with our ears the wonderful testimonies of your graced dignity throughout nature, and in our families and our communities.
L: The peace and grace of Christ represents the quiet dignity of God. We honor that blessedness, and we pray and work without ceasing to share these special blessings whenever we are called to serve and love.
P: Blessed quietness, holy joy! We give reverence to the blessed dignity of God. We honor this grace in each moment as we encounter new life, new hope, new joy in God and community. Amen.
Words of Welcome and Parish News:
*Gathering Hymn: “To God Be the Glory” 98 UMH
Silent meditation and prayer:
Prayer Focus: Change!
Scripture Reading: John 3: 1-17
3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 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.
Special Music: Mitch Nummer, Trumpet
The Message: “Some Kind of Love” Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.
This Scripture contains a powerful message highlighting verse 16. However, let’s take a step back and review some other nuances that come before us. There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus who visited Jesus at night. Some commentaries reflect that the time of the visit is like a metaphor for darkness. Nicodemus was inquiring about some light from Jesus.
Additionally, he possibly was concerned about being seen by others in the daytime. Nicodemus acknowledges Jesus has come from God. But, we should note that Nicodemus was a leader of the Jews. Throughout the Gospels, the Pharisees constantly scrutinize the actions of Jesus over the outcomes of Jesus’s activities. Often, we can become that way in the church. You can hear people ask: why this or that versus the result of an event that may save souls or bring someone to Christ?
In this conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, Jesus speaks about the Holy Trinity. During the discussion, Nicodemus asks, how can anyone be born again? In this season of Lent, are we looking to have a deeper relationship with God? We may need to reenergize and renew our relationship and remove the feeling of business as usual or have a spiritual life that runs on autopilot. Lent is a time for a self-introspection of our relationship with God. Plus, you don’t have to worry about who is watching you. Some people feel they should have all the answers and know what Scriptures to go to automatically when someone asks them about the Bible. Instead, your personal experiences may lead you to uncover your relationship with God in the Scriptures you glanced over. I am always excited to hear people discuss Scriptures that have impacted their lives.
Finally, verses sixteen and seventeen hold a special place because of the acts of love. Verse sixteen: 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. This verse expresses the love of God through the Incarnation. The Word became flesh for us because God wanted to have a relationship with humanity. Verse seventeen: 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. As the Son is sent into the world through the Incarnation, Jesus gives love through the Crucifixion. What a strong focus as we go into this season that God loves us and Jesus loves us, and this is some love that continues in our lives. Praises!
Offertory Prayer: God of unwavering love, you have held nothing back in your love for us, not even your Son. How we marvel at that kind of love, and how we long to reflect a portion of that devotion back to you. As we dedicate our offerings to you, lead us away from our tendency to hold back and worry that there will not be enough.
Offertory Music: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”
*Doxology: UMH 95
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below; praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
*Unison Prayer of Dedication: Help us to live as the people of love and abundance you have called us to be. In Christ we pray. Amen.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion (Symbolic Service) UMH page 15
The Lord’s Prayer
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy 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 thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
*Closing Music: “Freely, Freely” 389 UMH
Beloved saints and children of God, go to serve and share the good news, living in love and charity with your neighbor; go forth to be the embodied Christ to all! God be with you always; go now in peace. Amen.
Recessional (Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music)