Hope Lutheran Church
First Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2021
Gather at 9:15 am on our YouTube Channel, Hope Riverside
Worship will begin at 9:30
Congregational responses are in Bold
Confession & Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
the keeper of the covenant,
the source of steadfast love,
our rock and our redeemer.
God hears us when we cry, and draws us close in Jesus Christ. Let us return to the one who is full of compassion.
Silence is kept for reflection.
Fountain of living water,
pour out your mercy over us.
Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free.
Rebuild what we have ruined
and mend what we have torn.
Wash us in your cleansing flood.
Make us alive in the Spirit
to follow in the way of Jesus,
as healers and restorers of the world you so love.
Beloved, God’s word never fails.
The promise rests on grace:
by the saving love of Jesus Christ,
the wisdom and power of God,
your sins are ☩ forgiven, and God remembers them no more.
Journey in the way of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
Prayer of the Day
Let us pray.
Holy God, heavenly Father, in the waters of the flood you saved the chosen, and in the wilderness of temptation you protected your Son from sin. Renew us in the gift of baptism. May your holy angels be with us, that the wicked foe may have no power over us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Genesis 9:8-17
God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
To you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.
My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
Let none who look to you be put to shame;
rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous.
Show me your ways, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love,
for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;
remember me according to your steadfast love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.
You are gracious and upright, O Lord;
therefore you teach sinners in your way.
You lead the lowly in justice
and teach the lowly your way.
All your paths, O Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness
to those who keep your covenant and your testimonies.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
Gospel: Mark 1: 9-15
The holy gospel according to Mark.
Glory to you, O Lord.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
“Wandering in the Wilderness” ~ Deacon Margy Schmitt Ajer
Hymn of the Day
“Lord, Keep us Steadfast in Your Word” ELW 517
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen
Prayers of Intercession
Relying on the promises of God, we pray boldly for the church, the world, and all in need.
A brief silence.
In Jesus your realm has come near to us in every place and time. Give your church throughout the world a spirit of humility and repentance; teach us to trust always in the good news of your salvation. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
You have made a covenant of mercy with every living creature. Protect all the earth’s creatures from destruction. Empower the work of biologists, conservationists, and science educators. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
All your paths are steadfast love and faithfulness. Direct the words and actions of leaders in our community and throughout the world, that they may maintain justice for the lowly. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Even in the wilderness you are with us. Walk alongside migrants and refugees crossing dangerous lands. Tend to those whose lives feel desolate. Give healing and strength to all who suffer. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
In the covenant of baptism you claim us as beloved children. Nurture us in our baptismal identity and teach us to live within it for the sake of others. Strengthen this congregation’s ministries of care and concern. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
In baptism you join us to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We praise you for all those who have died trusting in your faithfulness. Bring us with them to the fullness of your reign. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
We entrust ourselves and all our prayers to you, O faithful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Peace The peace of Christ be with you always. And also with you.
~ Offering ~
Please visit www.hoperiverside.org/give to place your offering digitally. This link takes you directly to our tithe.ly giving page. It is a safe and secure church giving site, and all of your information will remain confidential.
Thank you for supporting God’s work in the world.
Let us pray.
Faithful God, you walk beside us in desert places, and you meet us in our hunger with bread from heaven. Accompany us in this meal, that we may pass over from death to life with Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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,
forever and ever. Amen.
You are what God made you to be:
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
chosen as holy and beloved,
freed to serve your neighbor.
God bless you ☩ that you may be a blessing,
in the name of the holy and life-giving Trinity.
Go in peace. Share the good news.
Thanks be to God.
The Power of Water
Water is an integral part of the created order. Water sustains and fosters life; too little or too much water can end it. A glance at the news headlines points out the destructive power of water’s presence or absence: In the United States alone, 2011 saw severe droughts afflict several parts of the country. On the opposite end of the spectrum, floods ravaged the Plains states in the spring and summer, displacing from their homes many people who live near rivers and streams. For those dwelling on or near the Eastern Seaboard, hurricane season is a tense time every year. Yet we need water as much or more than we need food, shelter, or the other “staples” of human life. Since ancient times we have established our communities near sources of water. We cannot survive long without it.
The tension between the saving and destructive powers of water fills today’s lectionary readings. The waters of the flood overwhelmed the world in the days of Noah, yet 1 Peter reminds us that God delivered Noah and his family from death. The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus only after his baptism by John, yet the Spirit immediately drives Jesus into the desert—a place defined by its lack of water. Through water and the word, in baptism our old, sinful self is put to death, and we are reborn as children of God. But the current that flows through these paradoxes is this: in death and life, in flood and drought, God remains faithful. As the psalmist reminds us, God’s mercy and steadfast love “are from everlasting.”
All of the readings are closely connected today. In the first reading, the sign in the sky is a reminder to God of God’s covenant with the people. In the gospel, God’s Spirit, descending like a dove from the sky, is a sealing of the new covenant. The reading from 1 Peter pulls the two events together: “God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (3:20-21). Just as the flood washed away so much, but brought salvation and safety to representatives of God’s great creation, so too baptism washes away sin, and the baptized person emerges safe and saved..