Call to Worship

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has
looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations
will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is
his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of
their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those
of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has
sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever. [LUKE 1:46-55]

Father God, Thank you for your mighty blessings, your gracious provisions, and your mercy spanning from generation to generation…Thank you for your unwavering strength and your provisions even in the little things.

Confession

Righteous God, in Christ you became sin for us. You took what we are so that
we might become what you are. But we confess that often we ignore our sin.
We confess that we too often do not confess. We keep silent about the sin that
clings to us. But our sins are too great a burden for us. Forgive us. In Christ take
away our iniquity. You are our stronghold, our hiding place. May we confess
our sins, that we might then rejoice and be glad in you and in the righteousness
that flows over us as a mighty stream of grace. In Christ, Amen.

Father God, forgive me… Teach me your truth about my sins–known and unknown, and teach me your righteousness

Contemplation

GOSPEL READING

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount
of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in
front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no
one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing
this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And
they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they
untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing,
untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.
And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And
many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they
had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were
shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is
the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

[MARK 11:1-11]

DEVOTIONAL

Pride is thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Romans 12:4).
However, humility is not thinking less of ourselves than we ought to think, but simply
thinking of ourselves less. What we have to offer is from God, and should be offered in
faith as an act of worship, not for our gain but for the good of others (Romans 12:1-8).

All of us want to be part of a community where pride and ego are put to death and
selflessness and service are brought to life. YES This is just the kind of community that
the Bible calls us to: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility
count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own
interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Notice that the key to this kind of community is humility. In other words, our lack of
concern for others and service to others is primarily because we lack humility. All forms
of self-concern manifest themselves in a lack of love for others. We become consumers
instead of servants. Such self-absorption can turn an entire community in on itself,
concerned only about those within it and indifferent to the staggering needs of the
world around it.

Our consumerism is rooted in a lack of faith. We are worried about what others think
because we are not convinced that God delights in us!!!!! (Psalm 149:4). We are anxious
because we do not believe God will meet our needs (Matthew 6:32). We vie for attention
because we do not think God rewards what is done in secret ouch (Matthew 6:6). We compare
ourselves to others because we forget that Jesus is our righteousness double ouch(1 Corinthians 1:30).
A consumer is self-seeking because he is preoccupied with building his own kingdom in
order to meet his own needs guilty as charged. During Lent, Jesus especially calls us to re-right our lives,
to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be
added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

The simple practice of self-denial in Lent teaches us that those who trust God to meet
their needs are free to consider the needs of others. They discover this gospel paradox:
As long as I’m looking to get my needs met, I will never get my needs met. But when I
begin to meet the needs of others – when I begin to live for them instead of for myself – I
find that God graciously takes care of my needs in the process 😀. The grace of God turns us
into servants. Instead of demanding that we be served, we joyfully lay down our rights
and seek to serve God and others.

God’s grace toward us in Christ needs to get down deep into our hearts in order to
change us. We need to acknowledge our resistance to grace, which manifests itself in
our desire to establish our righteousness and meet our needs apart from God. Jesus
came to serve—to heal, to feed, to make more wine, to wash feet, and to die. When
we humbly receive the fullness and sufficiency of his love, then we will find ourselves
increasingly joyful and selfless as we delight in serving others.

REFLECTION

1. How has God met your needs recently? Are you resistant to grace? oh wow, God has met SO many of my needs! from little things like meat being on sale to big things like tax returns large enough to pay off my loans! Free potty chairs and people asking to buy extra things from me. He has given be great friends who want to be a part of my life emotionally and spiritually–a great great community. He has met my needs for love and attention in the physical world. Every need and pretty much most of my wants He keeps meeting! 😀 I try really hard to let God take care of me, but I know that He also gives me some responsibility to work hard and I try not to get those out of balance but sometimes its hard… 

2. How do you need to experience the gospel more deeply in order to serve others more faithfully? This is kinda a mean question because honestly, if we have experienced any of the truth of the gospel it should be enough to make us realize just what God has done for us and we should want to be radically different people devoted to serving him 110% 100% of the time… but… we’re fallen, so…I don’t know what I need from God to serve others more, except discipline and to have my eyes opened a little more to their needs…maybe to see them through God’s eyes a little better… see past their happy faces to see their needs… but, then again, I can’t fix their problems.  I can’t be them. I can just be me. And, yeah. Just gonna be honest here, sometimes I hate hearing about my friends’ issues because I CAN’T HELP! I can’t change the situation I can’t solve the problem. I don’t KNOW how to serve them! And it’s so frustrating. I want to do stuff… and then I can’t and I get so fed up with other peoples’ and how they’re dealing with stuff in ways both of us know they shouldn’t that I just stop listening to everyone else and I end up ignoring people that I actually could help maybe… “sigh” I don’t know what I need. ideas anyone?

Closing Prayer

O thou God of all grace, make me more thankful, more humble; Inspire me with
a deep sense of my unworthiness arising from the depravity of my nature, my
omitted duties, my unimproved advantages, thy commands violated by me.
With all my calls to gratitude and joy may I remember that I have reason for
sorrow and humiliation; O give me repentance unto life; Cement my oneness
with my blessed Lord, that faith may adhere to him more immovably, that love
may entwine itself round him more tightly, that his Spirit may pervade every
fibre of my being. Then send me out to make him known to my fellow-men.AMEN!

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