SUNDAY MARCH 31, 2019
Laetare Sunday, Fourth Sunday in Lent
PRELUDE Moderato (Sonate C‑dur Hob XVI/10) — Joseph Haydn
A time to reflect and prepare to hear God as altar candles are lit
O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days by David Ashley White
CALL TO WORSHIP
L: How blessed we are that God forgives us and loves us!
P: For all those times when we have fallen short of what God would have us be, we have been forgiven.
L: God makes us new in God’s Spirit!
P: Now is the time to joyfully accept the newness of life, which God offers to us.L: Come, let us worship and be thankful.
P: Let us open our hearts to the peace and joy of God. Amen.
HYMN OF PRAISE #98 To God Be the Glory
How incredible is your love, O God! We have been made new in your love and reconciled to you and to each other in peace and joy. Be with us this day as we hear your words of comfort and hope. Guide our lives that we may serve you more fully all of our days. Amen.
CHILDREN’S MESSAGE (9:30 am)
PSALTER Psalm 32
L: Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
P: Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
L: I know that when I refused to confess my sin, I wasted away and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
P: Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
L: Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
P: For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.
L: The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
P: Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
L: So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
CHORAL ANTHEM Jesus Paid It All
by Richard Kingsmore and John T. Grape
CONGREGATIONAL CALL TO PRAYER #488 Jesus Remember Me
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
THE LORD’S PRAYER
OFFERTORY Menuet (Sonate C‑dur Hob XVI/10) — Joseph Haydn
PRESENTATION OF OUR GIFTS
PASSING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
FELLOWSHIP CHORUS #2108 O How He Loves You and Me
WRITTEN WORD Luke 15. 11–32 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.”But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “’My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
QUESTIONS OF LIFE & FAITH
• Should the father have let his son go so easily? How would you have responded to his request?
• If you were the father, what would have been your attitude when your child returned?
• Would it have been so bad if the son came back as a servant first in order to earn back his family’s trust?
• How could the father be certain of his son’s sincerity? What convinced him that his son was not playing him?
HYMN #348 Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
TEACHING Loving a Dysfunctional God
CLOSING HYMN #357 Just As I Am
SENDING Go Now in Peace Go now in peace. Never be afraid. God will go with you each hour of every day. Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do. Go now in love, and show you believe. Reach out to others so all the world can see. God will be there watching from above. Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.
POSTLUDE Finale Presto (Sonate C‑dur Hob XVI/10) — Joseph Haydn