March 22, 2020 • 4th Sunday of Lent
Parish or Diocesan Leaders, please read this!



Just Before You Begin


Opening Song

We are children of God. We are children of God.
Friends of Jesus and everyone. We are children of God.

Kindness for everyone. We are children of God.
Friendship for the lonely ones. We are children of God.

Healing for the hurting ones. We are children of God.
Love for the forgotten ones. We are children of God.

Care for creation. We are children of God.
Peace between all nations. We are children of God.


Leader: ┼ In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Leader: Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be God forever.
The response is: Blessed be God forever.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Leader: We gather together as a family to celebrate the Lord's Day.
One with our sisters and brothers
and with the entire Church, let us now listen to God's Word
and join in prayer.

All: Amen.

Litany in Praise of God's Mercy

Leader: As we prepare to hear about God's love for us,
let us remember that the Lord always offers forgiveness,
for God is full of gentleness and compassion.
Lord Jesus, you take away our fear in times of trouble:
Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: Lord Jesus, you heal the wounds after we hurt each other:
Christ, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy.

Leader: Lord Jesus, you are the life that renews the world:
Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Opening Prayer

Leader: Let us pray

Leader: All-powerful and ever-living God,
hear us as we ask your loving help
for the many sick people all over the world;
restore their health
that they may again offer joyful thanks in your Church.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

All: Amen.


First Reading

Reader 1: In the time of Samuel, the biggest, the strongest, and the oldest were the most honored and important.
But when it came time for God to pick the next king, he did something that no one expected.
A reading from the first book of Samuel.

Reader 1: One day the LORD said to Samuel,
"Put some olive oil in a small container and go visit a man named Jesse, who lives in Bethlehem.
I’ve chosen one of his sons to be my king.”
When Jesse and his sons arrived, Samuel noticed Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab.
“He has to be the one the Lord has chosen,” Samuel said to himself.
But the Lord told him, “Samuel, don’t think Eliab is the one just because he’s tall and handsome.
He isn’t the one I’ve chosen.
People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.”
Jesse had all seven of his sons go over to Samuel.
Finally, Samuel said, “Jesse, the Lord hasn’t chosen any of these young men. Do you have any more sons?”
“Yes,” Jesse answered. “My youngest son David is out taking care of the sheep.” “Send for him!” Samuel said. “We won’t start the ceremony until he gets here.” Jesse sent for David. He was a healthy, good-looking boy with a sparkle in his eyes.
As soon as David came, the Lord told Samuel,
“He’s the one! Get up and pour the olive oil on his head.”
Samuel poured the oil on David’s head while his brothers watched.
At that moment, the Spirit of the Lord took control of David and stayed with him from then on.

Reader 1: The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Reader 1: The Word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation

All: Glory and praise to you, Word of life! Jesus! Jesus Christ!


Reader 2: In Jesus' time, people believed that if you were born blind then your parents must have done something to make God angry. Jesus breaks a rule to heal a blind person, but it only makes the religious leaders angry.

Reader 2: We now do this action prayer together: May the Lord be on my mind, ┼
on my lips, ┼
and in my heart ┼
as we hear the Gospel today.

A reading from the holy Gospel of John.

Reader 1: As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. He spit on the ground. He made some mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes.
Then he said, “Go and wash off the mud in Siloam Pool.”
The man went and washed in Siloam, which means “One Who Is Sent.”
When he had washed off the mud, he could see.
The man’s neighbors and the people who had seen him begging
wondered if he really could be the same man.
Some of them said he was the same beggar,
while others said he only looked like him.
But he told them, “I am that man.”
The day when Jesus made the mud and healed the man was a Sabbath.
So the people took the man to the Pharisees.
They asked him how he was able to see, and he answered,
“Jesus made some mud and smeared it on my eyes. Then after I washed it off, I could see.”
Some of the Pharisees said,
“This man Jesus doesn’t come from God. If he did, he would not break the law of the Sabbath.”
Others asked, “How could someone who is a sinner work such a miracle?” Since the Pharisees could not agree among themselves, they asked the man,
“What do you say about this one who healed your eyes?”
“He is a prophet!” the man told them. The leaders told the man,
“You have been a sinner since the day you were born! Do you think you can teach us anything?”
Then they said,
“You can never come back into any of our meeting places!”
When Jesus heard what had happened, he went and found the man.
Then Jesus asked, “Do you have faith in the Son of Man?”
He replied, “Sir, if you will tell me who he is, I will put my faith in him.” “You have already seen him,” Jesus answered, “and right now he is talking with you.” The man said, “Lord, I put my faith in you!” Then he worshiped Jesus.

Reader 1: As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.
His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Reader 1: The Gospel of the Lord.

All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Illustration

Reflection on the Readings

In Jesus’ time, they were very strict about not doing work on the Sabbath because it was supposed to be a day of complete rest. They did all their shopping, cooking, cleaning, and laundry ahead of time so they wouldn’t have to do any of it on the Sabbath. The religious leaders, the Pharisees, were so strict about these rules that even making clay from spit and dirt and healing someone was considered “work,” so they accused Jesus of breaking the law.

  1. Rules and laws are usually put into place for good reasons - for example to keep people healthy and to keep society safe. Can you think of some examples of rules or laws like that? (For example: stopping at red lights, driving at or below the speed limit, washing hands after using the bathroom.)
  2. Sometimes people can get so focused on obeying the exact letter of the law that they miss the “spirit of the law” like in this Gospel story. If Jesus had followed the exact law, the blind man would have had to stay blind for longer. Do agree that what Jesus did was right, even though it was against the law?
  3. Brainstorm some examples of times when it might be better to follow the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.

General Intercessions

Leader: Now let’s pray together to God for what we need.

Reader 3: For all those who are seriously ill at this time,
that they may feel God's love and receive healing,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 3: For medical workers, police, government leaders,
and all those working hard to help others at this time,
may God give them strength and wisdom,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 3: That those who are lonely, scared, and confused at this time,
that they can feel God’s love for them,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 3: For what else and for who else shall we pray?

Lord's Prayer

Leader: Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say:

All: 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.

Sign of Peace

Leader: Let us now offer each other a sign of peace.

A Litany for Spiritual Communion

Leader: The response is: Lord, bring us closer to you!

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
we wish we could gather today with our parish community,
but we gather here out of love and concern for others.
You teach us that when two or three are gathered in your name,
you are there.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Christ Jesus, you are present in a special way
when bread and wine are turned into your Body and Blood.
Since we cannot receive you in this way today,
We ask that you enter our hearts
so that we may receive you spiritually.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
watch over your family
and keep us safe in your care,
for all our hope is in you.

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Concluding Rite

Blessing & Dismissal

Leader: May the Lord bless us
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Leader: Go in the peace of Christ.

All: Thanks be to God.

Closing Song

We are children of God. We are children of God.
Friends of Jesus and everyone. We are children of God.

Kindness for everyone. We are children of God.
Friendship for the lonely ones. We are children of God.

Healing for the hurting ones. We are children of God.
Love for the forgotten ones. We are children of God.

Care for creation. We are children of God.
Peace between all nations. We are children of God.

After the Service

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