Third Sunday in Lent (Year A)
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Because your steadfast live is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
Psalm 63:1, 3, 4
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for the One who loves them will lead them
and guide them beside springs of water.
Isaiah 49:10 (adapted)
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, whose mercy is higher than the heavens, wider than our wanderings, and deeper than all our sin: Take back to yourself your bewildered and broken people. Forgive our folly and our excess, our coldness to human sorrow, our passion for things of the moment, and our indifference to the deeper treasures of the spirit. Change our hearts and turn all our desires to your way, that we may love what you love and do what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Assurance of Pardon
While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. If while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
Romans 5: 6, 8, 10
Prayer for Illumination
Almighty God, you have made our hearts restless until they rest in you,
our souls thirsty unless they drink of you,
our minds darkened until they see your light:
illumine us now by your Word; cause us to drink deeply of your Spirit,
that we may find in you our life, our joy, our peace.
"The King of Love My Shepherd Is"
"Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts"
"Jesus, Lover of My Soul"
"I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"
Written by John Paarlberg, pastor of First Church in Albany, New York