Fourth Sunday of Lent
Call to worship
This fourth Sunday of Lent is a day of rejoicing. We celebrate God’s great love for us revealed through time and human history — from our moments of captivity where we were far from the temple of our faith, to the moments that we discover Jesus, lifted high upon a cross. Lent is our time to rediscover how very deeply God loves each of us.
- To the point: Such depth of God’s love is revealed in today’s gospel! God gave the only Son, allowed him to be “lifted up” on a cross, and now remains patient with us while we struggle with choosing between darkness and light, evil and truth. Moreover, in the very midst of our ongoing struggle, it is God who brings us to greater belief and leads us to eternal life. Such is the depth of love God has for us.
- Connecting the Gospel (John 3:14-21) to the second reading: The second reading also reveals God’s “great love” for us,” affirming that we are “saved through faith.” It makes clear that this faith itself is the gift of God. More love!
- Connecting the Gospel to experience: How devastating it is for a child to grow up without knowing love. We human beings need love to become whole. Without the experience of loving one another, how can we come to experience God’s love for us?
(John 3: 14-21)
“For God so loved the world …”
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. His heart ached
to know more about God. So Jesus explained to him
and to us, how God loved us first. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son.
We know how much it cost the Father.
In the story of Abraham and Isaac we can see how Abraham felt
before God said to stop. Now we know how God felt when
offering his Son. God loved us that much. God loved us first.
He knew we needed Jesus, whom we can see and touch and love.
Thank you, God, for love incarnate
The First Reading
(2 Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23)
“Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers,
send his messengers to them”
Father in heaven, I ran into you early this morning
when I caught a glimpse of the crescent moon
through the kitchen window. And in the news:
everyone was donating foodbto feed the hungry
Later I saw you when Al, a homeless man,
taught me once more about gratitude –
when laughter diffused tension, doctors and nurses
went without sleep caring for COVID patients.
Your “messengers” come early and often.
God, thank you. Keep me open to them.
The Second Reading
(Ephesians 2: 4-10)
“By grace you have been saved”
No place exists where there is no grace.
Whether we are alone or with others,
in storms, churches or beaches, you are there,
O pure love. Pour that grace into us.
Use us to spread your grace and love
whether in birthing rooms or on deathbeds,
or at all the places in between.
Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck
Music for reflection