Getting Ready for Sunday (March 20, 2011) - and a prayer for Lent
There is something special about the people of God coming together for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25). Thus, we hope that Sundays at New City are a highlight of your week. In an effort to help you get more out of it, we're posting a short preview of the upcoming Sunday gathering each week.
We continue this week on our journey through the Apostles' Creed, focusing on the phrase "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." The teaching will be based on Matthew 26:26-29. To prepare, read the text and consider what you learn about the work of Jesus from his words at the Last Supper. Typically we celebrate the Lord's Supper on the first Sunday of the month. However, this text just begs for us to come to communion after we meditate upon it, so we will celebrate communion this week as well.
We'll sing the following songs this week: Come Thou Fount, By Thy Mercy, My Song is Love Unknown, Jesus Lover of My Soul, Weary of Life, and Dearly We're Bought (video below).
In our mission moment, Ryan Benhase will share about the Aruna 5K at UC and the issue of human trafficking. The proceeds of the race go to help fund the Aruna Project, whose primary purpose is to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of the victims of the sex slave trade.
A prayer to help you get ready for worship:
A Prayer about Being Pursued by Jesus - by Scotty Smith
I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking…” Song of Songs 5:2
Dear Jesus, there’s nothing more startling and humbling than to hear you knock at the door of our hearts—to realize afresh, it isn’t us seeking you, but you are the one always seeking us. When we read the Bible, when we gather for corporate worship, in every spiritual discipline and Lenten exercise… even in our sleep, you relentless pursue us. We are known, accepted, desired and enjoyed by you, Jesus. How can this be? You, the Lord of all things, we dare call Lover. If the gospel wasn’t true, to claim such an intimate relationship with you would be the height of presumption and arrogance. But because the gospel is true, to enjoy less is to stay ignorant of the riches, blind to the glory, and deaf to the music of the gospel. Jesus, we don’t just rob ourselves when we doubt your love for us, we rob you. Grant us a finely tuned listening heart that recognizes your knock. Throughout the day, let us hear your voice above every other voice that clamors for our attention. Continue to rescue us from our unbelief, shame and pride. Reassure us that every time we open the door, every time we respond to your pursuit, every time we risk being found by you, we’ll only experience the welcome of your kind heart and the kiss of great hope. Jesus, as we continue to survey your cross during the season of Lent, may we find ourselves spontaneously moved to impassioned adoration. “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine; alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach th’eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own. Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” So very Amen, we pray, shout and sing, in your holy, loving and pursuing name.