Hilary Plowright
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Hybrid Worship, February 18, 2024
Lent I

'The Gift of Uncertainty'

Rev. Suzanna Bates

Music Director: Dorothy Dittrich

Words For Worship

Words in bold italics, please say together

Prelude: How Sacred is This Place                                       Louis Bourgeois (ca 1547)


Acknowledgement of the Land

Threshold to the Dark Woods 


There’s a path

though it winds its way through darkness 

We would choose

to avoid it if we could 

We awake

to an unexpected calling 

God says, “come, - there are gifts in the Dark Wood” 


[soloist sings— people echo] 

There’s a path

there’s a path

though it winds its way through darkness 

We would choose 

we would choose

to avoid it if we could 

We awake

we awake

to an unexpected calling 

God says, “come

God says, “come

there are gifts in the Dark Wood” 

Lighting the Candles

We are here

God is here

This place is sacred ground.

Opening Prayer

Psalm 25:1–10                                                                          (VU #752)

Lead me in your truth, O God.

Litany of Confession and Forgiveness

God hears us when we cry and draws us close in Jesus Christ. 

Let us return to the one who is full of compassion. 

Fountain of living water, 

pour out your mercy over us. 

For giving fear too much voice, 

forgive and restore us, O God. 

For digging in rather than going with the flow, 

forgive and restore us, O God. 

For holding on too tight when what we need to do is let go, 

forgive and restore us, O God. 

Silent prayers… 

Hear these words of forgiveness: God dwells with us, no matter how sure or unsure we are. We are worthy of love. God is with us, forgiving and restoring us to wholeheartedness through the grace of Jesus Christ, who poured out great love, so we might find our way. 

Thanks be to God! Amen! 

Hymn: Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness                                            VU #375

Prayer Before the Reading of Scripture

Let there be light. 

May the path be wide that we walk upon. 

May we hear God’s voice in the deep of the forest.

May the clouds clear so that our eyes are open wide 

to the light and inspiration of holy words.


Gospel Reading                                                       Reader: George Westarp

As is your custom, please stand or sit for the reading of the gospel. 

Reader: God be with you.  
All: And also with you

Reader: The Good News of Jesus the Christ according to Mark

All:      Glory to you, Christ Jesus.

Genesis 9:8-17 (The Message)

God’s covenant with the earth

Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ark with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”                                                                                    3

God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth. ”And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”

This is the Gospel of Christ.

We give thanks for Good News today!

Mark 1:9-15                                                               Reader: Corinne Carlson

Jesus is tempted in the wilderness

The Spirit that comes upon Jesus at his baptism sustains him when he is tested by Satan so that he might proclaim the good news of God’s reign. In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 

Hymn: When We Are Tested                                                       MV #65

Word: “The Gift of Uncertainty”

A Time for Reflection

Song of Meditation: O God, You Love Us                               MV #100

O God, You love us, source of compassion

Prayers of the People                                                          Susan Brockley

God of steadfast love,

Hear Our Prayer.

Prayer of Jesus

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is Heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your Heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom 

sustain our hope and come on Earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, 

now and for ever.


Hymn: May God’s Sheltering Wings                                        MV #214


 The peace of Christ be with you always. 

And also with you. 

May the Spirit of the Living God, 

Made known to us most fully within life’s Dark Wood: 

Go before you 

to show you the way; 

Go above you 

to watch over you; 

Go behind you 

to push you into places you may not necessarily go yourself; 

Go beneath you 

to uphold and uplift you; 

Go beside you 

to be your strong and constant companion; 

And dwell within you to remind you that you are surely not alone, 

And may the fire of God’s blessing burn brightly upon you

and within you, now and always. 


Benediction Song: 

There’s a path (there’s a path)

 and it leads us out together 

To the wood (to the wood) 

where the darkness hovers still 

We are sent (we are sent) 

and the Spirit goes before us God says, “go (God says, go) 

be my presence in the world.” 

Postlude:  Oh Laughing Light                          from Poitres Antiphoner 1746