Sunday Morning We invite you to join us for the following worship services:

Sundays
10:30 a.m. Worship service

Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and other locations in the church for
your use.

Washrooms will be available for use.

In the service: The service will be shown on the screen. The offering will not be gathered and presented, but there will be an offering plate at the back of the sanctuary where you can put your offering as you enter or leave. Pastor David distributes the communion wafers and an Assisting Minister distributes wine or grape juice in individual glasses.

We have coffee and fellowship time available again in Luther Hall after the service.

We will continue to evaluate our worship service procedures on a monthly basis.

SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT, FEBRUARY 25, 2024

St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, Outline for Worship (with Sermon)
Sunday, February 25, 2024 – Second Sunday in Lent
ELW Holy Communion Setting 5

WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS

BRIEF ORDER FOR CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
P: Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God, who writes the law on our hearts, who
draws all people together through Jesus.
C: Amen.

P: Held in God’s mercy, let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one
another.
Silence is kept for reflection.

P: Holy God,
C: we confess that we are caught in snares of sin and cannot break free.
We hoard resources while our neighbours are hungry and cold.
We speak in ways that silence others.
We are silent when we should speak up.
We keep score in our hearts. We let hurts grow into hatred.
For all these things and for sins only you know, forgive us, Lord.
Amen.

P: Here is a flood of grace:
Out of love for the whole world, God draws near to us,
breaks every snare of sin, washes away our wrongs, and restores the promise
of life through + Jesus Christ.
C: Amen.

ENTRANCE HYMN – In the Cross of Christ I Glory (ELW #324)

GREETING
P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion
of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you

KYRIE
A: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God,
and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise,
let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.
C: Amen.

PRAYER OF THE DAY
P: Let us pray.
P: O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of
shameful death to be for us the means of life. Grant us so to glory in the cross of
Christ that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son, Jesus
Christ our Saviour and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
C: Amen.

WORD

FIRST READING: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram,
and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.
2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you
exceedingly numerous." 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,
4 "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of
a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, but your
name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude
of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations
of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant
between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their
generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your
offspring after you. 15 God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife,
you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless
her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she
shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her."

A: The word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

Psalm 22: 23-31
23 You who fear the Lord, give praise! All you of Jacob’s line, give glory.
Stand in awe of the Lord, all you offspring of Israel.
24 For the Lord does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither is the Lord’s face hidden from them;
but when they cry out, the Lord hears them.
25 From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied.
Let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
all the families of nations shall bow before God.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
who rules over the nations.
29 Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow down in worship;
all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel before the Lord.
30 Their descendants shall serve the Lord,
whom they shall proclaim to generations to come.
31 They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying to them, “The Lord has acted!”

SECOND READING: Romans 4:13-25
13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham
or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and
the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law,
neither is there violation. 16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that
the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith
of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, "I have made
you the father of many nations") --in the presence of the God in whom he
believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that
do not exist. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become
"the father of many nations," according to what was said, "So numerous
shall your descendants be." 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered
his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a
hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.
20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew
strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God
was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith "was reckoned
to him as righteousness." 23 Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written
not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who
believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was
handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

A: The word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
C: Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

GOSPEL
P: The Holy Gospel according to Mark 8:31-38
C: Glory to you, O Lord.

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great
suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly.
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking
at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are
setting your mind not on divine things but on human things." 34 He called the
crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those
who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake,
and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain
the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for
their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous
and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he
comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.

SERMON
Mark 8:31-38
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth, and the prayers of our hearts,
always be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, our Strength, and our Redeemer.
AMEN
Eleven days ago, we were celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is a day set aside to
celebrate love with red hearts on greeting cards, decorations, and candy in the
shape of hearts. Nowhere do we see anything acknowledging broken hearts.
Yet, broken hearts are a real thing. Have you ever heard the sound of a heart
breaking? Do you remember what it sounds like?
Maybe it was a family member’s heart breaking when they shared the news that
his or her cancer returned, and they wouldn’t see their children or grandchildren
grow up. Maybe it was your friend’s heart breaking when they called to tell you
that their marriage was over. Or maybe it is the sound of your heart breaking
when a loved one enters hospice care after a short illness. Have you ever heard
the sound of a heart breaking? Do you remember what it sounds like?
I think we hear the sound of a heart breaking this morning in our Gospel lesson.
The sound may be hard to detect at first, but if you listen closely, you can
actually hear a human heart first tremble under the stress of an uncertain
future and then actually break amid severe disappointment and shame.
This happens just outside of Caesarea Philippi, a village 40 kilometers north
of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is walking with his disciples when he asks them
what the people are saying about him. It is an interesting question because
by this time in Mark’s Gospel the disciples have been with Jesus for some time
and have seen Jesus cure the sick and lame, cast out demons, feed literally
thousands of people, even restore life to a young girl. Little wonder, then,
that Jesus might ask what the crowds thought of all of this. And the disciples
do not disappoint, reporting that the crowds indeed recognize that Jesus is
clearly a prophet, a Holy man of God.
Then Jesus comes to what seems like his real question, asking the disciples
themselves, directly, “But who do you say I am?” And again, the disciples come
through and it is Peter who declares that Jesus is not just a prophet but is
actually the long-awaited Messiah, the one anointed by God to save Israel.
We will never know whether that confession had been brewing in Peter for
some time and only needed Jesus’ question to bring it forth or whether it came
to Peter in a flash of divinely guided insight. It is not hard to imagine that making
that confession had to be one of the highlights, one of the best moments,
in Peter’s life. For there is something indescribably wonderful about recognizing
and participating in a truth bigger than yourself, about naming a truth in a way
that somehow makes it more true in your own experience. It is like, saying
“I love you,” for the first time to someone who is dear to your heart, and in
saying it realizing just how true it is, even truer than it was a moment before.
That is what happens to Peter just outside of Caesarea Philippi, as with that
confession his heart, brimming over with insight and faith, begins to sing.
And then, only moments later, his heart begins to break.
Like most of you, my first thought was that Peter’s heart begins to break when
Jesus rebukes him with the words, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting
your mind not on divine things but on human things.” These are harsh words.
Who, after all, could endure such words from Jesus?
But, I don’t think that is when it happens. I think it happened in the verses just
before today’s Gospel lesson when Jesus asked the disciples, “But who do you
say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And Jesus sternly
ordered the disciples not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them
that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders,
the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
He said all this quite openly.
At first the sound of Peter’s heart breaking is faint, just a little tremor, after
Peter’s great confession. Jesus neither affirms nor congratulates Peter for
recognizing who Jesus truly is, but sternly orders not to tell anyone. What?
This is the greatest news in the world and Jesus does not want it shared
with anyone.
Then the sound of Peter’s heart breaking gets louder as the words of Jesus
cause the cracks in Peter’s heart to spread like cracks in a windshield.
Jesus began to teach them “that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering,
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed,
and after three days rise again.” Peter is so taken back by Jesus saying that
he would be killed that his heart shatters so loudly that he misses Jesus’ final
promise that he would “be raised on the third day.”
No wonder Peter rebukes Jesus. This sounds like blasphemy. The saviour of
the world must suffer. God’s messiah must die. This makes no sense. Peter wants
and needs a strong God. Like so many people of his day, Peter is looking for
a descendant of mighty King David to come and overthrow Roman rule and
restore Israel to its rightful place among the nations. Jesus must be that person.
Peter wants a strong God, and who can blame him? Are we any different?
When the crushing weight of hardship weighs upon us, when the voices of
despair drown out all other voices, when it is one disappointment after another,
don’t we also want a strong God to avenge our hurts and to right all wrongs?
I think this is what Jesus means in his rebuke to Peter by contrasting divine
things to earthly things. Our human thinking believes strength is everything,
that might makes right, and the one who dies with the most toys wins. But God
uses a different standard and measures strength not in terms of might but
of love, not of victory but vulnerability, not of glory but by the cross.
Jesus knows this, but Peter does not, at least not yet. This is not the last time
Peter’s heart will break. It happens two more times. The next time comes later
in Mark’s Gospel, not in response to what Jesus says but in response to what
he himself says. With his own lips Peter denies the Lord three times and then
watches Jesus beaten, nailed to a cross, and die alone.
No longer strong, but desolate, no longer seeking victory, but relief from the pain,
Peter with his twice broken heart will hide until, on the third day, the rumour
begins to circulate that Jesus has been raised. The young man dressed in
a white robe in Jesus’ empty tomb told Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother
of James, and Salome that they should “go tell the disciples and Peter that
he (Jesus) is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as
he told you.” Yes, Peter, who denied and fled, Peter who is now broken
and defeated, is to meet Jesus in Galilee, just as Jesus promised.
This time Peter’s heart is broken by a mercy he could not previously comprehend
and knows he does not deserve. His heart is cracked wide open to the possibility
that mercy, forgiveness, and life surpass earthly categories, and for this reason
can promise and grant new and eternal life. Peter’s heart breaks in our Gospel
reading today because he does not get the God he wants. It breaks at the
end of the story when he realizes that instead of getting the God he wants,
Peter gets the God he needs.
So it will be with us, as we recognize that the God we worship comes not for
the victorious but for the vanquished, and seeks out not only the mighty but the
down trodden. Our God comes, as scripture tells us, to feed the hungry, to heal
the lame, to free the bound, and to bind up the broken hearted. Our God comes,
that is, for us.
So, we pray for our Lord Jesus Christ to break open our hearts that we might
perceive his profound love for us and all people and receive God’s mercy
and grace.
AMEN

HYMN OF THE DAY – Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song (ELW #808)

APOSTLES’ CREED
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
A: Trusting in God’s promise to reconcile all things, let us pray for the church,
the well-being of creation, and a world in need.
A: God of our church, send forth your Spirit as we pray for our Bishops Susan
and Michael. Empower them with your wisdom to lead the church. We also pray
for the Thames Ministry area, especially our Pastor David and the people of
St. Ansgar congregation. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: We turn to you for meaning, holy God. Nurture in your children the gifts
of the Spirit poured out in baptism and let the mind of Christ guide the church.
Give wisdom and discernment to our bishops, pastors, deacons, teachers,
and leaders. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: We turn to you for renewal. Save lives and ecosystems threatened by
pollution and a changing climate. Cleanse the earth’s waters and restore
the soil. Preserve rainforests, deserts, and wildlife that generations to come
may cherish your creation. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: We turn to you for justice. Uphold the worth and dignity of every person,
especially any who experience hatred and rejection because of gender, ability,
sexual orientation, colour, ethnicity, or religion. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: We turn to you for healing. Send compassionate helpers to any who suffer
because of war and violence. Shelter unhoused people, befriend those who
are lonely, bring hope to any in despair, and console the bereaved.
Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great

A: We turn to you for purpose. Remind us of your faithfulness to this congregation.
Increase our trust in your guidance and keep us near the cross. Grant that our
acts of service will express Christ’s sacrificial love. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: Merciful God, we pray for peace as war continues to rage in Ukraine and
in Israel and Gaza. Shelter all living in fear; protect those seeking refuge in
neighbouring countries; sustain families separated by the horrors of war;
tend to those who are injured; comfort all who mourn their dead. Direct your
people into the way of peace. Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: We turn to you for peace. We honour the saints who lived in service to others.
Inspire us by their example until you gather us into your kingdom.
Hear us, O God.
C: Your mercy is great.

A: Accompany us on our journey, God of grace, and receive the prayers
of our hearts, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
C: Amen

PEACE
P: The peace of Christ be with you always.
C: And also with you

OFFERING PRAYER
A: Jesus, you are the bread of life and the host of this meal.
Bless these gifts that we have gathered that all people may know your
goodness. Feed us not only with this holy food but with hunger for justice
and peace. We pray this in your name.
C: Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER
P: Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray.
C: 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.

BLESSING
P: Beloved, we are God’s own people, holy, washed, renewed.
God bless you and keep you, shower you with mercy,
fill you with courage, and + give you peace.
C: Amen.

SENDING HYMN - If You But Trust in God to Guide You (ELW #769)

DISMISSAL
A: Go in peace. Share your bread.
C: Thanks be to God.

DISMISSAL HYMN – Go Now in Peace
Go now in peace, never be afraid.
God will go with you each hour of every day.
Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true.
Know He will guide you in all you do.
Go now in love, and show you believe.
Reach out to others, so all the world can see.
God will be there, watching from above.
Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.

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