This Week’s Theme
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”
At a moment when some Pharisees came to Jesus warning him to avoid Jerusalem (because Herod, who resided there, wanted to kill him), Jesus replied to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’” Jesus did not shrink back from his mission in Jerusalem. Rather than fold under the pressure from Herod’s threat, Jesus affirmed his mission and commitment to finish his course, climaxing his work in Jerusalem for “it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”
Jesus then offered his lament over the city of David: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
The hardness of Jerusalem’s heart prevented Jesus from being welcomed by it; it sustained its representation as being the place which “kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it.” While he had longed to protect it as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, the wicked, unbroken city was simply not willing to yield. His offer of the Kingdom to the people of God, represented by Israel, had been rejected by them. Now, they would reject Jesus’s own words, and their house would be left desolate, forsaken, abandoned to itself.
Jesus noted in finality that the city would not cry Hosanna again until the Son returned the second time to reign as Lord over the entire earth.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Holy Father, God and Father of our Lord Jesus, Jerusalem rejected your pleas for love and grace throughout its history. Even as the city of David refused to hear your call to repentance and faith and became instead the city that killed the prophets and stoned the ones you sent to it, still your mercies and grace never abandoned your people. Give us ears to hear your call, to receive your word, and respond to your command. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: 2 Sam. 2.1-3.5; 23.8-39; 1 Chron. 3.1-4a; 11.10-47
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 27
Gospel: Luke 13.31-35
NT: Phil. 3.17 – 4.1
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick 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.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, our sincere heart’s desire during this lenten season is to be open to your Word that we might respond afresh to your call. Please forgive us for the many times we have failed to listen to your pleas for repentance, for change, and for healing. Help us not be like the city of David, which ignored your pleas and murdered your prophets. Cleanse us, prepare us, and change us, all for your glory. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
The Lord is the God of the second chance; he continues to pursue those in need of his grace and mercy.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
May we, like Jesus, never be intimidated by evil, but commit to finish our course, as God leads.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
It Is Written
Metaxas, Martin Luther