Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, March 8, 2020 — Second Sunday in Lent
Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, March 8, 2020 — Second Sunday in Lent
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

Midwife our Spirits
Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17

Opening Statement
A crucial aspect of the Lenten journey is the invitation to make a choice. First, we must choose whether or not to even participate in this journey. Ash Wednesday gives us the opportunity to say yes to that choice. But the decisions don’t end there! The Lent 1 readings outline the choices we are confronted with when temptation knocks on the door. And the Lent 2 readings present the choice between blessing and curse. In the very short Genesis passage, Abram makes the choice look easy, but the psalmist reminds us that we constantly look for blessings in the wrong places. Even when God’s own Son shows us the way to salvation, like Nicodemus before us, we have trouble choosing to accept the blessing offered. What choice will we make today?

Opening Prayer
(based on Genesis 12, Psalm 121, John 3)
God of the ages, we come asking for your blessing, only to find that the abundance of your love is already around us. Open our eyes to see the blessing of your creation in the beauty all around us. Open our ears to hear the blessing of your word as it is proclaimed in story and song this day. Open our hearts to experience the blessing of faith through the gentle touch of a friend or the supportive smile of a stranger. And open our doors, that we may become vessels of your blessing to a world still in need of salvation. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
(based on Genesis 12, John 3)
God of salvation, you shower our lives and our world with love, yet we too often turn away from your blessing. It is just so easy to complain! There are little annoyances each day, but they pile up into a mountainous burden that becomes a curse on our lives. Free us from our unwise choices, O God. When we are distracted and confused, redirect our attention to the abundant opportunities to experience your love. During this Lenten journey, focus our hearts on you, that we may choose the blessing of salvation offered us each day through Jesus Christ, in whom we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance
(based on Genesis 12, John 3)
God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him. Through the saving love of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven and blessed!

Prayer of the Day
O God, our leader and guide, in the waters of baptism you bring us to new birth to live as your children. Strengthen our faith in your promises, that by your Spirit we may lift up your life to all the world through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading
The blessing of God upon Abram
12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2  “I will make you into a great nation,
     and I will bless you;
   I will make your name great,
     and you will be a blessing.
3  I will bless those who bless you,
     and whoever curses you I will curse;
   and all peoples on earth
     will be blessed through you.”

4a So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.

The Lord watches over you
1  I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
     where does my help come from?
2  My help comes from the Lord,
     the Maker of heaven and earth.

3  He will not let your foot slip—
     he who watches over you will not slumber;
4  indeed, he who watches over Israel
     will neither slumber nor sleep.

5  The Lord watches over you—
     the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6  the sun will not harm you by day,
     nor the moon by night.

7  The Lord will keep you from all harm—
     he will watch over your life;
8  the Lord will watch over your coming and going
     both now and forevermore.

Second Reading
The promise to those of Abraham’s faith
4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Gospel Acclamation
(based on John 3:14-15)
The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

The Gospel
The mission of Christ: saving the world
3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer

Lord, thank you that we are a family in Christ. Help us to share his love and legacy with everyone that we encounter this week. May we lavish Christ’s abounding goodness upon our families, friends and colleagues. Holy Spirit, come and equip us in our workplace, guide us in our school life, and inspire us in our neighborhood. May we be your hands and feet to the needy, your words of affirmation to the oppressed and your arms of comfort to the lonely.

Thank you for choosing to use us to bring your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, March 8, 2020 — Second Sunday in Lent
Midwife our Spirits
Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17

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