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THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT: Sunday, March 22, 2020 ~ Year A

Here is this Sunday's Liturgy: Collect, Readings, Sermon, Prayers, and a Greeting from Mother Liles!

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Greeting from Mother Liles

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A Penitential Order
Celebrant: Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
People: His mercy endures for ever.

The Celebrant reads the following sentences

Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”    Mark 12:29–31

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.    Hebrews 4:14,16

The Deacon or Celebrant then says

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Silence may be kept.

Minister and People

Most merciful God, 
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed, 
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

A prayer for absolution is then recited.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins 
through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all 
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us 
in eternal life. Amen.

The Word of GodThe Collect for Purity
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The Collect of the Day
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Juan de Juanes, The Last Supper, circa 1562.

The Lessons

A Reading from The Old Testament: 1 Samuel 16:1–13
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.’ Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah. 

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, David Chosen to Replace Saul, 1860.

The Psalm: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Jesus the Good Shepherd window at Christ & Saint Stephen’s.

A Reading from The New Testament: Epistle: Ephesians 5:8–14
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

‘Sleeper, awake!

Rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.’

Edward Coley Burne-Jones
and William Morris,
Angels Behind the
Inner Sanctuary, from
The Kelmscott Chaucer, 1896.


The Gospel: John 9:1–41 
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.

Nicolas Colombel, Christ Healing the Blind, 1682.

The Sermon: Reflections for Lent 4    The Rev. James Hagen

Click here for the sermon and a new window will open.

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father, God from God,
Light from Light, true God from true God, 
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, 

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, 
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers of the People
In the name of Christ, let us pray to our God whose care embraces every person in need.
That the church, the household of God, may reflect the compassion of Christ, and hurry to welcome sinners with an embrace of love. 
Lord, in our mercy, 
Hear our prayer.
That those who suffer and grieve in places throughout the world may know comfort, justice, peace and restoration.  
Lord, in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer.
That all who are alienated from their families, that they may find the understanding they seek, and the care they need for their healing,
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer. 
That those burdened by hurtful memories or past guilt may come to know our God, whose forgiveness is unconditional and freely given.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer. 
For those who suffer in mind, body, or spirit, especially, Alice, Frank, Margaret, Pat, Ingrid, Father Bert, Bob, Ron, Annie, Jack, Joel, Anastasia, Betina, and for all those affected by the coronavirus and those who are caring for them.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer. 
For those who live alone during this time of isolation, especially the aged who are most vulnerable, that they may be comforted with a sense of God’s presence, love, and care. 
Lord, in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer. 
That we, whose sins have been forgiven so freely, may extend forgiveness to all who have hurt and offended us. 
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer. 
For all who have lost their lives in human and natural disasters, this current pandemic, and all the departed, especially Randall, that they may know peace in the risen life of Christ, 
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Good and gracious God, rich in mercy and pardon. Hear the prayers we raise to you; clothe us in the garment of salvation and give us a foretaste of the joy you have prepared for us in the paschal banquet of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
For the Sick
Alice Byrne, sister of Dorothy Taishoff
Frank Stephan, father of David Stephan
Margaret Yelland
Pat Wheeler, mother of Cullen Wheeler
Ingrid Zeldin
Father Bert Breiner
Bob Russell, organist emeritus
Ron Kaminski, brother of Bobbie Goldberg
Annie Ruth Mouzon, mother of Eddie Mouzon
Jack Philip, husband of Carollyn Philip
Joel Cunningham
Anastasia Swope and Betina Cochran, daughters of Effie Cochran
For the Departed
Randall Garland, brother-in-law of Bill Hogan

Camille Corot, Hagar in the Wilderness, 1835.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, 
for ever and ever. Amen.

James Tissot, The Lord's Prayer (Le Pater Noster), between 1886 and 1894.

The Closing Prayer
Compassionate and loving God, 
Through your Son Jesus Christ you have         
reconciled us to you. 
May we who have shared in this holy meal
know your forgiveness in our lives,
bring your reconciliation to others,
and be a sign of your wholeness in this broken world. 
Following Christ’s example of fasting and prayer,
may we obey you with willing hearts
and serve one another in holy love. Amen. 
The Blessing
May the God of Grace and Glory
be with you wherever it takes you,
and to whomever it takes you,
may it comfort you in times of hardship and 
protect you in times of joy, and
wherever you go, may you go with the blessing of God the Father, 
God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit,
both now and forever.  Amen.

Deacon: Let us bless the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

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