“O, nobody else could walk it for Him, He had to walk it by Himself…”
Preparation for worship
Sit in a relaxed position. Take a slow, deep breath (or 2 or 3 or as many as needed) until you feel your body, mind, and soul begin to relax and rest in the Spirit. Take time to reflect as you move through this time of worship…
Opening Sentences Mark 8:34
Jesus calls us to be his disciples.
We take up the cross to follow him.
Prayer Peter Marshall, 1949
Bless all who serve us,
who have dedicated their lives
to the ministry of others--
all the teachers of our schools
who labor so patiently with so little appreciation;
all who wait upon the public,
the clerks in the stores who have to accept criticism,
complaints, bad manners, and selfishness
at the hands of a thoughtless public.
Bless the mailmen, the drivers of streetcars
and buses who must listen to people who
lose their tempers.
Bless every humble soul who, in these
days of stress and strain, preachers sermons
without words. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
One Bread, One Body, by John Michael Talbott. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day John 3:1—17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by Covid-19 and by its side effects in our world, and of course for all those who have been affected by the devastating winter storms. Please continue to pray for Marcy Szeliga and for Mark Sabala, both working as nurses with Covid patients. Pray for cities and states that are finally lifting some restrictions, that their people would remain safe while they delight in getting out more. Pray that people at higher risk, including those who live in primarily African American and Latino communities, would be able to get the vaccine. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Becky Downs, pastor of John Knox, started writing daily prayers for the congregation at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, to encourage the congregation in their faith during their time of separation from each other. The daily prayers were posted throughout the year. You might want to choose one a day to read, and modify the specific prayers for self and others to fit your life today.