Third Sunday in Lent, World Hunger Emphasis
Create Sacred Space
Exodus 20:1–17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18–25, Enos 1:12, Doctrine and Covenants 164:4c
Lenten Reflections and Worship Setting
See the 18 February Lenten Reflections for details. Before the service, insert note cards in the worship bulletins, and place a large basket on or near the worship setting to be used during Joys and Concerns.
Gathering Songs (select two)
“All Things Bright and Beautiful” CCS 135
OR “Lord, You Have Brought Us” CCS 76
OR “Called to Gather as God’s People” CCS 79
Prayerfully consider the following statement from “We Proclaim Jesus Christ” found in Sharing in Community of Christ. How does this statement help you continue your Lenten journey? Print or project the reading.
The church, the body of Christ, is called to proclaim the gospel until Christ comes again. It is he who forgives us in baptism, and feeds us at his table. As disciples of Christ, we are all called to conform our lives to his by living in loving community with others, seeing Jesus in the faces of the least of God’s children, and serving those whom the world has forgotten. It is to Christ and to his gospel that we declare our loyalty and by which we will be judged.
—Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd ed., (Herald Publishing House, 2012, ISBN 9780830915736), 23.
Call to Worship
Hymn of Praise
“This Is God’s Wondrous World” CCS 136
OR “Learn from All the Songs of Earth” CCS 141
Sharing Joys and Concerns
Invite people to write brief notes on the note cards found in the bulletin, pouring out concern for the welfare of others along with their joys. Explain that the information on the cards will be used to develop the Prayer of Intercession and Peace. Provide instrumental or recorded meditation music as people take a few minutes to write. Invite them to bring their cards forward to be placed in a basket located near the worship setting when the chime or bell is heard. Be ready to collect cards from those unable to come forward. Indicate that a prayer of intercession for the concerns will be combined with the Prayer for Peace.
Congregation Unison Scripture Reading
Now, when I had heard these words, I began to feel a desire for the welfare of others; wherefore, I poured out my whole soul to God for them.
—Enos 1:12, adapted
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Prayer of Intercession and Peace
Ask the person who will offer the prayer to hold the basket containing the note cards during the prayer and to reference the concerns held within it.
For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org /daily-prayer-for-peace.
Silent Scripture Meditation: Doctrine and Covenants 164:4c
Allow one minute of silence for people to read the scripture which is either projected or printed in the bulletin.
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Reflections on the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Hymn of Confession
“Is There One Who Feels Unworthy?” CCS 526
OR “O Lord, How Can It Be” CCS 529
Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine
For this week, place in a shopping bag two photos of the building in which you meet for worship. Introduce the object in the shopping bag in your own words using these ideas:
There is something in the shopping bag that represents a place we all know and enter together often during the month. What do you think it might be?
Solicit a few responses. If someone guesses correctly, remove a photo and hold it up. If not, identify it and hold it up. Suggest that during the Lenten season we are reminded that the purpose of our meeting place needs to be centered on preparation for ministry and mission rather than on inward-focused pursuits. Suggest that putting the photo in the storage container is a reminder to avoid idolizing the building and to instead turn our attention to its function, one way of “cleansing our temple.” Add the second photo to the worship setting.
Reading of the Gospel Text
Based on John 2:13–22
Disciples’ Generous Response
Share information concerning local oblation needs and the focus needed on World Hunger.
The Community of Christ World Hunger and Tangible Love Team encourages congregations and mission centers to consider ministries and projects that address the needs of those enmeshed in poverty, hunger, and injustice. This is done by granting seed money from World Hunger and Tangible Love grants that will provide a basis for long-term sustainable ministries.
World Hunger Ministries
A world where every person has adequate food and resources for a life with dignity.
Sharing our abundance, we strive to empower the vulnerable and bring wholeness to all persons through access to life-sustaining provisions and economic fairness.
Support ministry to help end hunger throughout the world, encourage education on root causes of poverty and hunger, and advocate on behalf of relevant industries and services that promote equality and healthy standards of living.
How can you help abolish poverty and end suffering?
Project the World Hunger Meditation video (www.CofChrist.org/resources#/1074/world-hunger-meditation).
The first Sunday of each month focuses on Abolish Poverty, End Suffering which includes Oblation and World Hunger ministry.
As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.
Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes
For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Hymn of Commitment
“God, the Source of Light and Beauty” CCS 593
OR “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky” CCS 640
OR “Now Go in Joy” CCS 659
Third Sunday in Lent
Exploring the Scripture
The setting is Jerusalem just before Passover. Jesus attends the festival in Jerusalem but finds himself uttering harsh words with angry actions. Rather than the usual Passover pilgrimage, Jesus’ journey includes prophetic voice and action especially targeting injustices.
Jesus pointed his vigorous attack (John mentions with a whip) toward the practice of selling sacrificial animals to the pilgrims and exchanging Roman coins, which bore the image of the emperor. While the temple appeared to fulfill its purposes, closer inspection revealed that people had forgotten its role.
The temple courtyard looked and sounded like an open-air market. Markets are noisy places. Animals add sounds and smells. People rowdily bargain for the best prices. Coins rattle back and forth between buyer and seller. None of this was in keeping with Jesus’ understanding of the purpose of the temple.
Jesus found little in the way of sacred space and was outraged. He overturned tables and went about cleansing the area. The ways of the world had invaded gradually, perhaps not intentionally, serving something other than a sacred purpose. Jesus’ words and actions suggest that those running the temple were opposing God’s purposes.
Jesus speaks, his words are misunderstood, and John provides the necessary clarification and a glimpse of what may come. John warns against the danger of thinking we understand Jesus. Often, the “Jesus” we think we understand is a “Jesus” of our design. We’ve become comfortable with that understanding. But what if there is more to his words than we are hearing, more to his will than we are doing?
As we continue on our Lenten journey, it is a good time to consider whether we are serving something other than a sacred purpose. Perhaps we need to overturn the places in our lives that we mask as God’s will but, in reality, are self-serving or culture bound. The early disciples did not fully understand Jesus’ words. They didn’t yet know the cross and resurrection story. What about us? We have knowledge of what is coming. Can we use that knowledge to help transform and reshape the temple of our lives?
- We often focus our lives on self-serving, culture-bound priorities rather than God’s will.
- Lent offers an opportunity to reexamine our temple (sacred space), the dwelling place of God within us, and make changes.
- Like the early disciples, we may have become too comfortable with our understanding of Jesus and his mission.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean to be the church of Jesus Christ?
- Sometimes radical behavior and words are needed. Can you think of situations in your community that need to be “cleansed” like Jesus cleansed the temple?
- What would Jesus see if he walked into our congregations on Sunday? Would he want to overturn something?
- Can you think of comfortable behaviors that may not truly represent Christ’s mission in the world? How might they be transformed?
- When is anger righteous? How might it be linked to injustices?