The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Pastor: From our God who loves us with an everlasting love
who brings forth a new creation in Christ,
who leads us by the Spirit in the wilderness,
grace, love and abundant peace be with you all.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Bend your ear to our prayers, Lord Christ, and come among us. By your gracious life and death for us bring light into the darkness of our hearts, and anoint us with your Spirit, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
John 9: 1-41
A Man Born Blind Receives Sight
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.
Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.
HYMN OF THE DAY
“You Are Mine” (click on the link below)
TODAY IN OUR PRAYERS
Bill, Carol, Curtis, and Christine Buchkowsky, Teri Peterson, Mabel Zolotarchuk, Wayne Turner, Janet Gregory, Norm Gregory, the Rose family, Jody Giesbrecht, Marge McMillan, Kyrie Parimi, John Beaven, Doris Turner, Hilda Anderson, Linda Wolfe, Naomi, Mary Anderson, Joan Schock, Bev Gregory, Dale Robinson, Bryan Matschke, the family of Lyle Sand, the family of Hildegard Schneider (Renita Falkenstern’s mother), and the family of Cortney Palmer (Pat and Carol Sarich’s niece).
We remember the missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada, the people of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Yemen, Venezuela, Somalia, Libya, Hong Kong, the Palestinians and Israelis, the Rohingya Muslim refugees, all at the Mexico/United States border seeking refuge, the people of Haiti suffering from natural and political disasters, the people of the Bahamas suffering from hurricanes, and those throughout the world, in Canada, and in our community threatened by the coronavirus.
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE OF FAITH
[The congregational response after each petition is: “ GRANT US YOUR PEACE.”]
Pastor: As we journey with Jesus to the cross, the tree of life, witnessing to the transformation of life that comes with faith, repentance and forgiveness, let us pray for the renewal of the Church and the restoration of the whole world to the life of God, saying, “O God, in your compassion” and responding, “Grant us your peace.”
Petitioner: Merciful God, help us to see how we are blind to our own greed, our own self-indulgence, and our own pessimism. Through your Word and Spirit heal us of our blindness, open our eyes to see the truth of who we are: your forgiven daughters and sons. Transform us into people who see that the love of Christ gives life to all. O God, in your compassion …
Petitioner: God of wisdom, our blindness to your grace and love has led to resentment where we have built walls, anger where we have shut down communication, sins are stacked up, we pray for your forgiveness and enlightenment for the families of this congregation and all families, that trusting in your care, they make their homes, workplaces, and communities places of welcome, forgiveness, and nurture. Help us to see a future of hope and start anew. O God, in your compassion …
Petitioner: Righteous God, provide the light of Christ to the leaders and peoples of the world that they may have insight to end the darkness of power plays, destructive values, and injustice until all people live in peace and unity. Turn hostility into hospitality for all peoples, bring aid and care to the hungry, poor, and oppressed, so that mercy, peace, and justice might reach to the ends of the earth. O God, in your compassion …
Pastor: Comforting God, your grace enlightens all whose hearts are steeped in darkness and you supply every human need. Give the insight of your love to all who are blinded by doubt, despair, illness, conflict, loss, and grief. We remember especially before you …. Heal them with your Word of comfort , assurance, and hope. O God, in your compassion…
Petitioner: God of new life, with the lengthening of light in these days help us who are blinded by consumption and the abuse of your creation to see the receding polar caps, the disappearing glaciers, polluted waterways and garbage-filled oceans, the shrinking rain forests and species on the verge of extinction. Let the changing of the seasons bring forth growth and new life. Renew us, that we might renew your creation and bear witness to your love for all that is yours. O God, in your compassion …
Petitioner: Praiseworthy God, through the cross of Christ lift us up so that we might live in joy and peace. Put an end to our childish tantrums of anger and selfishness, give us the courage to show forgiveness to all living under the pressures of judgment and condemnation, and lead us to practice works of love. O God, in your compassion …
Petitioner: Sustaining God, plant your Word in our hearts, breathe new life into the ministries of this congregation, so that in its power and love, our love may not grow cold in your service, nor that we may be tempted to fail, deny, or leave you, but in faith, cling to the cross and its way to life. O God, in your compassion …
Petitioner: Generous God, fill us with compassion and concern for others, young and old, that we may look after one another in these challenging days. Bring healing to those who are sick with the virus and be with their families. Comfort the family and friends of those who have died. Strengthen and protect all medical professionals caring for the sick and all who work in our medical and health care facilities. Give wisdom to leaders in healthcare and governance that they may make the right decisions for the well-being of people. We pray in gratitude for all those in our country who will continue to work in the days ahead in so many fields of life for the sake of us all. Bless them and keep them safe. O God of creation and life, we place ourselves in your protection. May the mantle of your peace enfold us this day and tomorrow. O God, in your compassion …
Pastor: Gracious God, hear us as we pray. As you have made us and redeemed us, so now sustain us with your hope, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pastor: God give you the strength to raise up the cross of Christ,
wisdom to follow in the cross of Christ,
and the guidance of the Spirit to carry the cross of Christ
into our world.
Pastor: Go in peace. Proclaim the love of the life-giving cross.
People: Thanks be to God.