Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Liturgy: Lent 2, Matthew 9-11 (Lessons and Carols; March 5, 2023)

*You are welcome to use or adapt any of my resources for free, but I ask that you provide proper citation AND comment on this post to let me know.*

 (Lent 1 Liturgy here)

As we did last year, Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, ID, will spend this Lent reading straight through a gospel from beginning to end: this year, Matthew. We will NOT have sermons during Lent, instead structuring worship around a "lessons and carols" model. All hymns are from the PC(USA)'s "Glory to God" hymnal.

The theme that will accompany this project is "Unlocking Salvation". As we work our way through Matthew's gospel, we will make note of the things standing between God and humanity (and specifically each of us) and how Jesus "unlocks" the doors that separate us. 

I will post the liturgies for ensuing weeks as I write them. I'm happy for anyone to use any part(s) of this series in their own worship contexts with proper attribution, but I would request that you let me know in the comments that you're doing so.

*NB: If there is nothing written under the heading, it's a portion of worship that I do extemporaneously.*


Lent 2 Worship Service (Liturgy by Rev. Katey Schwind Williams)
(Bold words are to be read aloud in unison, * indicates an invitation to stand)

*Call to Worship (based on Matthew 9:2, 9, 28)

Leader: Jesus says, “Be encouraged.”
People: We gather to find hope in Christ.
Leader: Jesus says, “Follow me.”
People: We gather to follow our Savior.
Leader: Jesus asks, “Do you believe?”
People: We gather to proclaim our belief in God’s faithful love.
Leader: Indeed, we gather to worship the Lord.
People: Let us worship God together!

Hymn GTG #403, “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” [v. 1 only]

Call to Confession (based on Matthew 9:12)

Leader: Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Let us confess our sins before the great physician, who promises to heal our sick spirits.

Unison Prayer of Confession (based on Matthew 11:16-24)

People: God of our Salvation, we confess that we have committed the same sins as generations past. You have sent prophets to warn us of disaster to come, and we have called them fanatical fear-mongers. You have sent us apostles to tell us the Good News, and we have called them foolish and na├»ve. You have sent our own kindred to reveal your kindom to us, and we have beaten them down and rejected them. Again and again, we refuse to change our hearts and lives. Forgive us, Lord. Open our hearts and minds to your message; unlock the doors that we have ignorantly closed behind us. In your mercy, hear our prayer…
(Silent prayers of personal forgiveness)

Sung Response “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” (GTG Hymn #471)

O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer, when I call, answer me;
O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer: come and listen to me.

Declaration of Forgiveness (based on Matthew 11:28)

Leader: Jesus calls those of us carrying heavy loads to come to him, and he promises us rest. We have shared with him the burden of our sins, and he has forgiven us all. Thanks be to God!

The Peace

Leader: The Peace of Jesus Christ be with you all!
People: And also with you!
[Please share the peace of Christ in person and by text]

Sung Response “Open the Eyes of My Heart” (GTG Hymn #452, 1st part)

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; open the eyes of my heart:
I want to see you, I want to see you. [Repeat]

In Other Words… [Children's Message]
[I have set up a row of six shoeboxes in the chancel designed to look like doors; I have also cut a large key out of cardboard and covered it with tin foil. Each week we will be opening a new one.]

This isn't a verbatim script, but an outline of what I said:
  • Today is the second Sunday in Lent
    • Things that stand between us and God = locked doors
    • What doors are Jesus unlocking?
  • This week we’re reading Matt. 9-11
    • Here’s ONE thing Jesus will help us understand today
  • [Unlock door – First Aid Kit]
    • [Ask for observations]
  • It’s a First Aid Kit – what’s it for?
    • Helping people when they’re hurt
  • Jesus does a LOT of healing in these chapters
    • Why do you think? (it’s helpful, it’s kind, etc.)
    • It’s hard to focus on anything else when you’re sick
    • It’s like a door that stands in the way
  • Jesus unlocks that door so the people can focus on other important things, like learning how to live as God wants and telling others the Good News
    • We can unlock this door for other people, too!
  • As we listen, see if you can hear some other things that Jesus is helping us understand, or “unlocking”
    • Let's Pray
[Children return to their seats and remain in worship]

Lessons and Carols

People Question Jesus:                            Matthew 9:1-15
Hymn GTG #506,    “Look Who Gathers at Christ’s Table” [vv. 1 & 4]

Jesus Heals Many:                                    Matthew 9:16-38
Hymn GTG #719,                       “Come, Labor On” [vv. 1 & 2]

Sending the Disciples:                             Matthew 10:1-23
Hymn GTG #733,             “We All Are One in Mission” [vv. 1 & 2]

More Instructions:                                Matthew 10:24-11:1
Hymn GTG #718,    “Take Up Your Cross, the Savior Said” [vv. 1 & 2]

“Are You the One?”:                                Matthew 11:2-30
Leader: This is the Word of the Lord!
People: Thanks be to God!

Hymn GTG #451, “Open My Eyes, That I May See” [v. 2 only]


Communion Liturgy

Leader: We know these words of our Savior to be true: “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds, and to everyone who knocks, the door is opened.” We stand now together at this table, knocking on the door of God’s kindom, searching for communion with Christ, and asking to be fed in body and spirit. We come in certainty of faith knowing that we will all be welcomed, found, and nurtured by our Lord at this table.

This is the joyful feast of the people of God. Our savior flings opens the door to the kindom and invites all who are hungry in body and spirit to join in the feast. No one is turned away because of their age, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, political or denominational affiliation, or any reason whatsoever, because Christ is the key to our salvation, and Christ says that ALL are welcome.

...The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you
Leader: Lift up your hearts!
People: We lift them up to the Lord
Leader: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give our thanks and praise
Leader: Let us pray...

It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, O Lord. You created us out of love, for the purpose of being in relationship with you. Even when our sin forced us out of your presence and our actions closed the door to paradise, you refused to remain locked away from us. You gave us covenants and laws; you sent prophets, apostles, and martyrs to show us the keys to your kindom. They kept us near to you to you in spite of our wandering ways.

…Therefore, we join our voices with the choirs of heaven and with all the faithful of every time and place who forever praise your name:
People: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory; Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

Leader: We thank you, Lord God, for your son, Jesus Christ, the giver of the New Covenant, the Key of David. Through his life, he unlocked the meaning of the scriptures for us – to love with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. Through his death, he unlocked the meaning of humility and sacrifice for us. Through his resurrection, he unlocked salvation and everlasting life for all humankind.

We give you thanks that the Lord Jesus, on the night before he died, ensured that the door to you would never be closed again. He took bread, and after giving thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way Jesus took the cup, saying: This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me. With thanksgiving, we take this bread and this cup and proclaim the death and resurrection of our Lord until he comes again in glory.

…Great is the mystery of faith:
People: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Leader: Gracious God, open your heart to us. Pour out your holy spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and cup, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be to us the body and blood of Christ. Open our hearts to you, that we may know your call on our lives to go out into the world opening doors and welcoming strangers, sharing your Good News with all that we meet. Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, Almighty God, now and forever. Amen. And now, let us pray together the words our Lord taught us, saying, "Our Father, who art in heaven..."


Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn GTG #515, “I Come with Joy” [vv. 1, 3, & 5 only]

Charge to the People & Benediction

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