The question of fate, i.e., those people whose actions somehow condemn them to both tragedy and death, was a common issue Jesus confronted in his interactions with others during his ministry. At one point on his journeys there were some people who told him about some Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The force of our Lord’s teaching cannot be missed. It is quite common for people today to speculate on the ways in which others may have earned tragedy or judgment because of their own sinfulness and guilt. Jesus, however, says that the events which occur appear to suggest that people suffer due to their own culpability and error, say nothing of the need for everyone to repent and believe. Salvation is for everyone; we are all guilty before the Lord. No person or group is exempt from the need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. Unless we repent, each one of us, we all will face judgment, and no one can save themselves. The Gospel is truly good news for the world.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God our Father, thank you for the amazing grace you have granted us through faith in your Son. We are neither naive nor deceived; without you and the mercy of Jesus on our lives, we know that not a single one of us can stand in your presence. We live only because of your loving heart and steadfast mercy, mercy granted to all peoples everywhere. Thank you for life, thank you for Jesus. In his name we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
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.
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.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant us the grace to love you more than we do now, more than we have ever loved you. Help us to truly comprehend how lost and broken we are apart from your mercy. Enable us to acknowledge, with love and understanding, the simple truth that apart from the Good News of salvation in your name, not a single soul will survive the judgment. You alone are our source and our life. To you alone be praise, to the glory of the Father. In your name we pray, amen.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Unless we all repent, we will all likewise perish.
Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
If the church needs to express the divine life in order to stay healthy, the lost need to see the divine life expressed in order to desire to have it. The world is always face-to-face with the kind of person whose life says “Take care of yourself,” “Look out for number one,” or “Safety first.” This approach is neither attractive nor appealing. But when the world encounters the sacrificial life or the person who cares for the helpless and looks out for the other fellow, it is drawn to the difference the spiritual life makes possible.
~ Roy J. Fish and J. E. Conant, Every Member Evangelism for Today.
Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1976. p. 56.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
That I May Gain Christ, Philippians 3.4-14
Fish and Conant, Every Member Evangelism for Today
Our Corporate Disciplines
Prayer and Fasting: Monday, March 23, 2022