Third Sunday in Lent, Year B - Liturgical Resources (2024)

What if you gave out cards with the 10 Words on them, but instead of the usual translation – Thou Shall and Thou Shall Not – you translated them as “You are” and “You are not”? “You are the people who have one God;” “You are the people who honor the Sabbath;” “You are not the people who kill, or steal, or covet.” How would that make the congregation feel? Different? The same? The law is often felt like a weight laid on us to force us into complying. What if the law was presented as a description, or a boundary that helps us find true freedom within those boundaries? Or that gives us an image to live into?

Psalm 16 says that the “boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” Can we celebrate the law of God as a joy? Can we rejoice that God gives us freedom to grow as individuals and a community by how we care about ourselves and one another?

Meditations for Gathering

God, Prepare Us to be Sanctuaries

God, prepare us to be tried and true, pure and holy sanctuaries. And, with thanksgiving, Holy One, we’ll live as Spirit-filled, healed and transformed sanctuaries just for you. As we gather before you, Wonderful and Magnificent God, reveal yourself to us as you did to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Speak to us in ways that illumine our darkness and enliven our steps. Come alive in us, call us by name and give us the commandments of new life that will order our steps in this time of worship and as we leave this place. Move our hearts closer to yours and center our thoughts on worshiping you and you alone. Wherever you find us, whether on bended knee, seated, or standing, transform us into your image of perfect love; create within us clean hearts and renew a right spirit within us!

Stacey Cole Wilson, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 30.

Call to Worship

God of All Ages

One: O God of all ages and all generations, we come to worship you.
Many: Women, men, youth, and children bow before you, the only wise God.
One: Our foreparents led the way for spiritual awareness and growth.
Many: We try to follow in their footsteps recognizing you as God of all.
One: As we worship you, all your attributes of glory, mercy, and love show forth.
Many: We humble ourselves in your holy presence, because you are awesome.
All: Holy, holy, holy is the name of the Lord.

T. Anne Daniel, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 58.

Call to Worship for Lent: Sign of the Covenant

Leader: In the days of Noah,
God placed a rainbow in the sky
as the sign of a covenant of God's love for all the earth.

People: In the colors of the rainbow,
we see the sign of God's grace for all creation.

Leader: In the days of Moses,
the words of God were written on tablets of stone,
as the sign of a covenant
between God and all of God's people.

People: In the tablets of stone,
we see the sign of God's hope
for each to live in peace with God and neighbor.

Leader: In the days of the prophet,
God promised to place a new covenant in our hearts.

All: As members of the living Body of Christ,
we see the sign of God's promise among us.

— from the Lent 2006 liturgy, posted on the Seekers Church website,

Call to Worship

All heaven and earth proclaim the majesty of God’s creative power!
Praise God for the amazing and awesome beauty.
God has given to us codes by which to live together in harmony and peace.
In these commandments, God has summed up the ways we must respect one another.
Rejoice in the goodness of God.
Praise God for God’s complete and steadfast love for us. Amen.

— written by Nancy C. Townley, posted on the Ministry Matters website.

Ten Commandments Litany

For Exodus 20: 1-17

Suggestion: Have the right and left sides of your congregation face each other as they speak the words of the commandments to each other.

Right Side:

Ex 20:1 (NRSV) Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
3 you shall have no other gods before me.

Left Side: Lord, there is none like you. We will let no one take your place!

Right Side:

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Left Side: Nor will we make an idol of anything that exists now or in the future. Neither cars nor jobs, nor a person or a piece of property, neither tech toys nor leisure shall take your place.

Right Side:

Ex 20:7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Left Side: Your name is not common, and you are not ordinary. We will keep your name holy.

Right Side:

8 Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

Left Side: Teach us, O God, the rhythms of life. Show us the difference between the things that must be done and the things that we just want to do. Teach us how to rest.

Right Side:

Ex 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Left Side: Yes, Lord!

Right Side: 13 You shall not murder.

Left Side: We will remember that human life is sacred because you gave it.

Right Side: 14 You shall not commit adultery.

Left Side: No, Lord! We will honor the covenants that bind husbands and wives together.

Right Side: 15 You shall not steal.

Left Side: No, Lord! We will respect what belongs to others.

Right Side: 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Left Side: No, Lord! We will not steal our neighbor’s honor.

Right Side: 17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Left Side: We reject and renounce the greed, envy, and pride of life that might cause us to sin.

ALL: Today, we choose to remember what you said through Moses, and what Jesus said, when he commanded us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. For on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Safiya Fosua, Lenten Liturgical Resources from Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.

Prayer of Approach

(based on Exodus 20: 1-17)

We acknowledge you, O God, as creator and as liberator.
You are the One who brought the captives out of Egypt
and delivered them from the oppression of slavery.
You gave laws which shaped how people were to relate to you,
to each other and to the whole environment.
You implored people to worship only you,
knowing that whatever was put in your place
would become the object of idolatry—
would become the priority of people's lives.

In this time of worship, help us to focus on you, O God,
as the priority of our lives.
Remind us of your steadfast love
revealed so clearly in the new commandment of love
which Jesus disclosed with his life and,
as we especially remember in this period of Lent, with his death.
Speak to us anew as we offer this prayer and our worship
in Jesus' name and for his sake. Amen.

— written by Moira Laidlaw and posted on Liturgies Online. Reposted:

Prayer of Intercession

Liberating God,
in love You have set us free:
free from slavery to sin and self,
free to know and love You,
free to follow and serve You.

We praise You for Your faithful love toward us,
and for the many ways You have demonstrated that love to us.
We see Your love in the natural world around us—
in the sky and trees and rivers.
We see Your love in the gift of Your commandments—
the rules for living that guide us into right relationship with You,
and with the people around us.
And we see Your love in Jesus Christ,
who lived and died to bring us life.

Because we have experienced Your love,
we come before You with confidence,
bringing our needs and the needs of our world.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who live surrounded by violence—
whether from war or political unrest, crime or domestic abuse.
We pray for those who have been victims of violent crime,
and for those whose loved ones have been injured or murdered.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who find themselves involved in crime,
whether by choice or through coercion;
those caught up into gangs or prostitution,
those who have turned to crime to pay for their addictions,
those who are imprisoned.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.

We pray for our homes and families:
for parents juggling the responsibilities of work and family,
for husbands and wives whose marriages are breaking down,
for children chafing under parental authority or expectations,
for men and women caught up in adultery or adulterous thoughts.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.

We pray for the many people in our world who do not yet know You
and have not experienced the new life that comes from knowing Christ Jesus;
who continue to search for purpose and meaning.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.

Merciful God,
give us strength and courage to keep Your commandments,
to live in faithful obedience to Your will.
Guard our hearts and minds from all that might distract us
from living out our commitment to You.
Help us to find our true worth in knowing You more fully,
and serving You more faithfully.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone. Amen.


(inspired by Exodus 20:1-17)

God gave us the covenant of the law
to guide us and help us live with our neighbors in love.
When we break God’s law,
we leave our neighbors hurt and bruised.
God’s law is a gift to us,
showing us how to keep our part of the covenant.
Even through old pain and wounds,
may we embrace the new life that Christ can bring.

Words of Assurance

May the God of the law guide us in living lives
that keep the covenant of love.
May Christ’s forgiveness grant us new life,
even when we break God’s law.
May the Holy Spirit of conviction lead us to confession and renewal.
May we respond in love to the God of covenant and change.

— written by Rev. Dr. Emily K. Bisset. Produced by Presbyterian World Service & Development and posted on their website. Visit that site for other good Lenten prayers and worship resources. Reposted:

Commission & Benediction

(based on Exodus 17:1-7, Philippians 2:1-13)

Go now to will and to work for God’s purposes.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
Be filled with the same love
and look to the interests of others.
With reverence for God, work out your salvation.

And may God quench your thirst with love and consolation;
May Christ Jesus strengthen you and encourage you;
And may the Holy Spirit lead you on and make your joy complete.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
........In the name of Christ. Amen.

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.netReposted:

Lenten Prayer

… you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol… Exodus 20:3-4a

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19.14
May the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you . . .

Ouch God!
This week’s lectionary is hard!
O how I wanted a sweet make-me-feel-good passage,
something to cheer me up.

it’s Lent.
It seems like it’s been Lent for a year.

Is this what the exiled ones felt like?
taunted by “Sing us one of the songs of Zion?”
We’ve hung our harps,
unplugged our keyboards,
not touched the organ,
silenced our choirs,
been away from our sanctuaries.
Here by the waters of Babylon,
we’ve wept.
When can we return?

Or are we more like the Israelites
finally released from captivity
but all we can think is
we were better off in Egypt
at least there we had food and drink
and things we were used to
and took for granted
and worshipped??

What is it you ask of us, God,
during Lent?

To return to you?
not “return to your buildings”
not “return to your old ways”
not “return to all the clutter”
not “return to what was”
but to return to you?
re-turn to you?
With all our hearts?
no attachments, no idols?

It’s Lent
and it seems like it’s been Lent for a year.
May the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Amen

Pastor Evie Doyon, Green Mountain District Administrative Assistant and pastor at Northfield United

Third Sunday in Lent, Year B - Liturgical Resources (2024)
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