“The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.” ~Thomas Merton
PRELUDE: Down to the River to Pray
by Mark Hayes & Doug Wagner
© 2015 Lorenz Publishing Co
Have mercy on me, O God, For I’ve messed up again
Sinned against You in thought, word and deed, and in what I have left undone.
Been—all too human.
Can you make me a new heart, O God?
and a right spirit? Can you break my willful plundering of all that is Yours?
If I got it together again, others would follow— I could teach, guide, help—and I would!
O Lord, open my lips, that I may praise you.
I know you don’t want ritual sacrifice
were I to give a burnt offering you’d be exasperated.
What you want is that new heart and right spirit.
For this, I pray.
Christine Robinson: Psalms for a New World
Who are we, gracious One, that you call us yours, that you love us as we are? We wallow in self-hatred. We drive away those who love us. We live in fear of transformation, always running from future possibility even as we struggle to relive a past that needs a different outcome.
Yet for all our introspection, for all our grief and fear, you still are the quiet center, the place of compassionate refuge. You grant us consolation, offer us renewed energy, and with the joy of all creation you lure us out the door, and into Love. Amen.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 58: 3-7 Mary-Ellen Petrich
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
SECOND SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4: 1-11 Mary-Ellen Petrich
by Keith Snell
© 2020 Kjos Music Press
PRAYING INTO LENT
Tonight we wash our hands together in a deep spirit of love, preparing ourselves to enter into the service of the Spirit that comes into this world as compassionate servant. As we acknowledge the sacred nature of our own bodies, marked by the washing of hands, may we engage in prayer for healing and for wholeness, for the whole sacred world.
Let us pray together:
May I use my hands for good to help bring love and compassion to others. “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to the Eternal.” (Lam 3:41)
For you are a blessed, sacred, beloved child of God – Go in peace…
POSTLUDE: Ten Thousand Angels
by Ray Overholt, Fred Bock, arr.
© 1967 Lillenas Publishing Company.