Sunday 26 March, 2017 – Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A

Here are the resources you need for this Sunday. Please feel free to choose what is suitable for your congregation’s needs. You will notice that the orders of service are available in different formats: choose the “pdf” format if you want something that is ready to print and photocopy, the “doc” or “rtf” format if you wish to change the formatting yourself or the “ppt” format if you use PowerPoint.

Altar colour: Violet

Bible readings:
FIRST READING 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Samuel anoints David as king of Israel
PSALM Psalm 23 *For musical settings of this Psalm, please see the song suggestions below*
SECOND READING Ephesians 5:8-14 Live as children of the light
GOSPEL John 9:1-41 Jesus opens the eyes of a man born blind

NEW! Notes on the readings:
1 SAMUEL 16:1-13: King Saul, the first king of Israel anointed by the prophet Samuel, had rejected God’s will for his administration and was thus rejected by God as king. God had rested his spirit on Saul at his anointing but was now sending Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint a new future king. Samuel’s preferred choice among the sons of Jesse was declined by the Lord. God’s choice rested on the inmost heart rather than the outward appearance. The boy David was not even old enough to have been invited to the occasion. Brought in from the field, this shepherd boy was anointed by Samuel to be God’s future ruler over Israel.

EPHESIANS 5:8-14: The Ephesian Christians were converts who had previously lived in paganism. Paul reminds them that because Christ is the light of the world, those who live in Christ also live in his light. The darkness of paganism has its own deeds and lifestyle. Christ’ s light has its fruits in those who live in it. Not only are Christians to live in the light, but they are also to use it to expose darkness and bring it into the light.

JOHN 9:1-41: Jesus’ miracle of giving sight to the man born blind symbolically demonstrated the truth of his light. This was met with anger by the religious leaders of the Jews. They were blinded by obsession with a humanised and legalised style of God’s law. They thus closed their eyes to Jesus’ messiahship and the truth of his teaching. The man’s parents and neighbours didn’t want to know anything in the face of the Pharisees’ aggressive witch-hunting tactics. Left on his own, the man persistently answered the plain simple truth but was eventually cast out of the synagogue (excommunicated) for his honesty and testimony concerning Jesus. Hearing of this, Jesus sought him out, affirmed the man in his action, and then confirmed his messiahship to him.  Those who are determined to remain in their rejection harden themselves in their blindness and thereby remain in their sin.

Lay-readers please note: the linked sermons have not been edited for general use. As part of your preparations, keep in mind that they have been written for specific people in a specific context, and for this reason the issues they address or the examples they use may not be entirely suitable for people in your congregation. If you feel this is the case, you may need to make minor adjustments or find another sermon.
Based on gospel reading:  Pr Vince GerhardyPr Stephen Pietsch; edited for lay reading sermon – john 9 34 – year a – lent 4 ; NEW Pr Heath Pukallus
Based on second reading: NEW Pr Roger Atze ; NEW edited for lay reading sermon – ephesians 5 8-14 – year a – lent 4

Opening sentences:
Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.
Live as children of light. 
(Eph 5:8 NRSV)

Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.  (Eph 5:14 NRSV)

Jesus said: ‘As long as I am in the world,
I am the light of the world.’  (John 9:5 NRSV)

Orders of service:
Lent 4  Sunday Word and Prayer ( pdf / doc / ppt )
Service of the Word (pdf / rtf/ ppt)
Morning Praise (pdf/ rtf/ ppt)
Service without communion (pdf / doc /ppt )
Service orders with holy communion
Service with communion (page 6) (pdf / doc / ppt
Alternative form A (page 58) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Sing the Feast (Chataway) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Simplified Spoken (pdf / doc/ ppt)
Service with Five Songs of Faith (pdf / rtf/ ppt)

Prayer of the Day (Collect): Choose one of the following
Almighty God, grant that we,
who justly suffer for our evil deeds,
may be relieved
by the comfort of your grace;
through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, modernised traditional
Almighty God,
we justly suffer for our evil deeds,
but we ask you to relieve us
by the comfort of your kindness.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, alternative
(Let us pray for strength in our weakness. [silence])
Almighty and merciful God,
you love us and make all things new in Christ.
Transform the poverty of our nature
by the riches of your kindness,
and make known your heavenly glory
in the renewal of our lives.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR, new
(Let us pray for faith in Jesus our Saviour. [silence])
Loving Father,
when we were captive
in the darkness of sin and death,
your Son rescued us
and brought us back to you.
Teach us to trust in him
and to live as your people.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Verse  (to be used after the second reading):
Use either the Verse given in the order of service or the following verse.
Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.’  (John 8:12 NRSV)


Prayer after the gospel:
This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
Lord Jesus, the light for the world,
thank you for healing blindness.
Help us to believe in you and worship you.

Offering prayer:
Thank you, Lord,
for sending us your light.
Help us to live as people of the light,
and to show your light and love to others.


Prayer of the Church/ General Prayer: Prayer of the church – Lent 4A

Resources for services with Holy Communion
It is indeed right and good,
Lord God, holy Father,
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He has taken on himself our sin,
so that we might die to sin
and live to righteousness.
And so, with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we adore and praise your glorious name:

Every time we eat this bread and drink from this cup
we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready.

Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, as you did not spare your own Son,
but gave him up to die on the cross for us all:
Grant that we who have received
his body and blood in the sacrament
may live in him and he in us,
so that, as your children,
we may walk in your ways
and serve you all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

OR use the third prayer of the day (as listed above) at this point. It may be modified as follows.

Almighty and merciful God,
you love us and make all things new in Christ.
Transform the poverty of our nature
by the riches of your kindness
which you have shown to us in this holy meal.
Make known your heavenly glory
in the renewal of our lives.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.


This seasonal blessing is used together with (ie before) the usual blessing in the order of service.

(May) Christ our crucified Saviour draw you to himself,
so that you may find in him the assurance of sins forgiven
and the gift of eternal life; . . .

Go in peace, and live as children of the light.
Thanks be to God.  OR  In the name of Christ. Amen.

Visual images: His Word in Pictures

Song/Hymn suggestions: * =  Modernised version available (please click here to go to the Modernised hymns page) ;G3, G4 . . . =  Guitar chords available in the Music Package 3, 4 . . .; GS =  Guitar chords in the Supplement to LH
First reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
789    My Lord, you wore no royal crown G6
529   God’s excellent adventure

Second reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
168    O blessed Sun whose splendour G4
202    Help us to conquer, Thou prince everliving* G3
222    Thou whose almighty word G6
265    How blest are they who hear God’s Word* G3
525    Awake, my soul, and with the sun G9
126    The light of Christ
214    The Lord is my light
275    In our darkness
313    Christ, be our light
315    Drawn to the light
389    Light of the nations
107    Sing praise and thanksgiving
447    Lord, your almighty word
496    Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands
557    Awake, my soul, and with the sun
622    Holy Father, God of might

Gospel: John 9:1-41
117    Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire
127    Come, Holy Spirit, come* G4
131    Holy Ghost, with light divine*
222    Thou whose almighty word G6
306    I heard the voice of Jesus say G7
335    Just as I am, without one plea G9
750    When Jesus lived among us G7
792    They came, knew his name GS
796    When to our world the Saviour came
851    Amazing grace GS
23    The blind man
43    How shall I call you
128    I am the light of the world
131    Amazing grace
137    I heard the voice of Jesus say
188    Reaching out
263    Blind man’s eyes
344    The New Road (vv 1-4,8)
362    I believe, I do
129    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
396    Come, Holy Spirit, our souls inspire
447    Lord, your almighty word
548    Eternal light, shine in mynheart
579    The blind man sat by the road
584    Just as I am, without one plea
585    I heard the voice of Jesus say
633    Lord, we are blind

The following metrical versions of the psalm may be used:
The Lord’s my shepherd (LHS 387*, TIS 10)
The King of love my shepherd is (LHS 391*, TIS 145)  *Modernised version available
My shepherd is the Lord (TIS 11)
Geoff Strelan’s song Psalm 23 in Praise for All Seasons no 62
The Iona collection Psalms of Patience, Protest and Praise contains a metrical version of Psalm 23 that could be used on this day (page 12)
Note that the Iona Community is willing to allow a church or worship assembly to reproduce the words only of a song from these publications on a service sheet or overhead transperency that is to be used once only on a non-commercial basis, provided that the title of the song and the name of the copyright holder is clearly shown.

David Schütz’s version sung to the tune ‘Shalom, my friends’ ATA 195:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,
Shalom, shalom.
He makes me lie down in green pasture land,
Shalom, shalom.

He leads me beside the slow-running streams,
Shalom, shalom.
My soul he restores; he leads me aright,
Shalom, shalom.

And though I should walk through death’s valley dark,
Shalom, shalom,
there’s nothing I fear, for you, Lord, are near,
Shalom, shalom.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me,
Shalom, shalom.
You set me a place before all my foes,
Shalom, shalom.

My head you anoint, my cup overflows,
Shalom, shalom.
To me you always are loving and good,
Shalom, shalom,

My dwelling shall be the house of the Lord,
Shalom, shalom,
for all of my life, for all of my days,
Shalom, shalom.

Music Resources Vol. 3– Psalm settings: Psalm 23 p35 , Psalm 23 p36 , Psalm 23 p38

Here are some new and modernised hymns suitable for Lent.

Lord, your suffering love to us (Words: Stephen Pietsch; tune: LH 590, TIS 561 Monk’s Gate)

Lord, your suffering love to us
has won salvation.
Let our hearts forgiven thus
gain inspiration
our debtors to forgive;
in unity to live,
walking the path of peace,
patiently bearing.

Cleanse our hearts of bitterness.
Heal all division.
Teach your church to live in peace;
true to our mission.
Jesus, you bore the cross
and suffered death for us!
Pardoned and pardoning,
we live by mercy.

Freedom to the heart you bring,
freedom for living.
From our opened hearts shall spring
your sweet forgiving.
Under your cross we stand
together, hand in hand.
One through your suffering!
One in your glory!

Now is the healing time decreed (Evening office hymn for Lent from before 12th century, translated TA Lacey, modernised by David Schütz; suggested tune: LH 74, Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten)

Now is the healing time decreed
for sins of heart, of word or deed,
when we in humble fear record
the wrong that we have done the Lord;

who, always merciful and good,
has borne so long our wayward mood,
nor cut us off unsparingly
in our so great iniquity.

Therefore with fasting and with prayer,
our secret sorrow we declare;
with all good striving seek his face,
and lowly-hearted plead for grace.

Cleanse us, O Lord, from every stain,
help us the joy of praise to gain,
till with the angels linked in love
joyful we tread your courts above.

Father and Son and Spirit blessed,
to you is all our prayer addressed,
to you, in threefold name adored,
from age to age, the only Lord.

O kind Creator, bow your ear (Ascribed to St Gregory the Great, 5th cent., translated by TA Lacey, modernised by David Schütz; suggested tune: LH 65 Das walt Gott Vater)

O kind Creator, bow your ear
to mark the cry, to know the tear
before your throne of mercy spent
in this, the holy fast of Lent.

Our hearts are open, Lord, to you:
you know the sin and wrong we do;
pour out on all who seek your face
the fullness of your pardoning grace.

Our sins are many, this we know;
spare us, good Lord, your mercy show;
and for the honour of your name,
from power of death, your people claim.

Give us the self-control that springs
from discipline of outward things,
that as we keep the inward fast
our hearts may seek the things that last.

We pray you, holy Trinity,
one God, unchanging Unity,
that we from this our abstinence
may reap the fruits of penitence.

Forty days and forty nights (Words, George Hunt Smyttan (1822-70), alt. by David Schütz; tune: Heinlein, TIS 591 or Vienna, LHS 207, TIS 440). Note: A shorter version of this hymn may be found in Together in Song 591.

Forty days and forty nights
you were fasting in the wild;
forty days and forty nights
strong, yet tempted all the while.

Beating sun throughout the day,
freezing cold when light had fled,
prowling beasts around your way,
stones your pillow, earth your bed.

Now we know, Lord, that you share
our temptation and our pain.
Teach us how to strive in prayer,
fighting greed for earthly gain.

Then when sin and evil press
on our hearts so weak and frail,
Victor in the wilderness,
help us not to stray or fail.

Send us those angelic powers
such as ministered to you.
So shall grace and peace be ours
as you show us what to do.

Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
ever, always, by your side,
so with you may we appear
at the heav’nly Eastertide.

Dear Lord and Father of mankind (Words, John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92), alt. by David Schütz; tune: Repton TIS 598).
Note: A less modernised version of this hymn may be found in Together in Song 598.

Dear Father, Lord of humankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives, your service find,
in deeper rev’rence, praise,
in deeper rev’rence, praise.

In simple trust, like those who heard
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, obey his word,
‘Rise up, and follow me.’
‘Rise up, and follow me.’

In Sabbath rest by Galilee,
with hills so calm above,
there Jesus shared on bended knee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!
interpreted by love!

Rain down on us your quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our minds the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of your peace,
the beauty of your peace.

Breathe through the heat of our desire,
refresh our weary heart;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm!
O still small voice of calm!

Note that Luther’s Dear Christians, one and all rejoice has seven verses in LH ( no 322) and five verses in modernised form in TIS (no 196). A modern version of all ten verses may be found in ‘Modernised Lutheran Hymnal hymns’ (no 322); this tells more completely the salvation history, and may be split into two hymns, verses 1-5 and 6-10.

The Lutheran Hymnal with Supplement has seasonal sections for Lent and the Passion. Since this is not so with the ‘All Together’ songbooks, a list of songs which could be considered for use in Lent is given here. Note: These songs focus on the themes of repentance and discipleship that characterise Lent. For songs that concentrate on the Passion, see the document ‘Holy Week’, under ‘All Together songs suitable for Holy Week’, in this folder.

6    O Father, my Father
10    In the house of God
34    Seek ye first
84    I want Jesus to walk with me
93    Pass my love around
95    Prayer of St Francis
114    The promised land (Come, my brother)
137    I heard the voice of Jesus
145    What wondrous love is this
156    He set us free
168    Hear our prayer
175    The greatest commandment
177    Love one another
180    A time for building bridges
185    Jesus, Son of God and man
190    The way is low
191    The servant song
197    When I needed a neighbour
235    In your hand, my Saviour
261    The Servant King
265    Take us now, we are yours
274    In Jesus’ name (When I call you)
276    Into your death we go
286    Sorrowing song
292    Because we bear your name
300    Practise love
308    We are called to follow Jesus
310    Yesu, Yesu, fill us with your love
322    Lord, where have we left you
327    Sorry
329    This kingdom
331    Turn to me with all your heart
332    We are sorry
348    Sing hey for the carpenter
354    Change my heart, O God
357    Give us hearts to know you, Lord
372    Teach me your way
373    Bound by love
384    If we will trust in God to guide us
397    Before I take the body of the Lord (These I lay down)
401    Follow me
413    The Summons (Will you come and follow me)
436    Amen, amen, it shall be so!
482    His love within the world
491    You call me to love
495    Come and follow me
506    Oh, let’s get up to love and serve
536    If you were a king (Palm Sunday)
538    They went to the garden
571    On that final night (communion)
600    Jesus the bright morning star
622    Out of this world
626    Together through the valley
630   You would not
635    How deep the Father’s love for us
659    Remember now my children
668    As you have loved

25    As pants the hart for cooling streams
26    Just as a lost and thirsty deer
31    Have mercy on us, living Lord
32    Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness
81    Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord
131    Father of heaven, whose love profound
201    King of glory, King of peace
206    With joy we meditate the grace
252    When he was baptised in Jordan
407    Breathe on me, breath of God
463    May this Lenten discipline
546    Lord Jesus, think on me
549    God be in my head
576    O for a closer walk with God
577    Come, let us too the Lord our God
580    Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
591    Forty days and forty nights
633    Lord, we are blind; the world of sight
684    Love will be our Lenten calling

While the LCA does not necessarily endorse the content of these websites, you may find them helpful in your worship planning.
Small Church Music: You can download mp3 and midi files of popular hymn tunes from this site.
Together to Celebrate:lectionary based song and hymn suggestions from a variety of sources.
Singing from the Lectionary:has song and hymn suggestions based on the RCL from other hymnals.
Song Select: you can search for more contemporary songs by theme. If your congregation has a paid subscription you can also download sheet music.
Hymns Without Words: mp3 downloads of hymn tunes.
Song and Hymn Index. Contains all the indexes of the LHS and AT books in one Excel file. Download the file (zip file) here.
Metrical Psalms by Dale Schoening : Psalms set to well known hymn tunes.
Keyboard Accompaniments for Together in Song – CDs are available for purchase through ACR. CD 1 & 2 ; CD 3 & 4.

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