The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Laetare Sunday is the fourth Sunday in the season of Lent, in the Western Christian liturgical calendar. Traditionally, this Sunday has been a day of celebration, within the austere period of Lent. This Sunday gets its name from the first few words (incipit) of the traditional Latin entrance (Introit) for the Mass of the day. “Laetare Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, O Jerusalem”) is Latin from Isaiah 66:10. Wikipedia In England, it is known as Mothering Sunday. We are now halfway through Lent, with Easter just three weeks away.
For another form of worship in the home based on today’s lessons in the Revised Common Lectionary, go to https://blogs.elca.org/worship/3473/
Ant. Rejoice, O Jerusalem; and gather round,
all you who love her;
rejoice in gladness, after having been in sorrow;
exult and be replenished with the consolation
flowing from her motherly bosom.
V. I rejoiced when they said to me, *
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
And now our feet are standing *
within your gates, O Jerusalem. Isaiah 66; Psalm 122
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
HYMN: Michael R Newbolt; George William Kitchin
Tune: Crucifer https://tinyurl.com/kk48bdtb
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore his sacred name.
1 Come, Christians, follow where our Savior trod,
Our King victorious, Christ, the Son of God. [Refrain]
2 Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of him who died. [Refrain]
3 O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
Your death has bought us life eternally. [Refrain]
4 So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory! [Refrain]
For psalms in contemporary language, https://tinyurl.com/y9tjh7rk
Psalm 71 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/ybx8s3ew)
1 In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust,
let me never be put to confusion *
but rid me, and deliver me, in thy righteousness;
incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
2 Be thou my strong hold, whereunto I may alway resort *
thou hast promised to help me,
for thou art my house of defence, and my castle.
3 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the ungodly *
out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
4 For thou, O Lord God, art the thing that I long for *
thou art my hope, even from my youth.
5 Through thee have I been holden up ever since I was born *
thou art he that took me out of my mother’s womb;
my praise shall be always of thee.
6 I am become as it were a monster unto many *
but my sure trust is in thee.
7 O let my mouth be filled with thy praise *
that I may sing of thy glory and honour all the day long.
8 Cast me not away in the time of age *
forsake me not when my strength faileth me.
9 For mine enemies speak against me,
and they that lay wait for my soul take their counsel together, saying *
God hath forsaken him; persecute him, and take him,
for there is none to deliver him.
10 Go not far from me, O God *
my God, haste thee to help me.
11 Let them be confounded and perish that are against my soul *
let them be covered with shame and dishonour that seek to do me evil.
12 As for me, I will patiently abide alway *
and will praise thee more and more.
13 My mouth shall daily speak of thy righteousness and salvation *
for I know no end thereof.
14 I will go forth in the strength of the Lord God *
and will make mention of thy righteousness only.
15 Thou, O God, hast taught me from my youth up until now *
therefore will I tell of thy wondrous works.
16 Forsake me not, O God, in mine old age, when I am gray-headed *
until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation,
and thy power to all them that are yet for to come.
17 Thy righteousness, O God, is very high *
and great things are they that thou hast done;
O God, who is like unto thee?
18 O what great troubles and adversities hast thou shewed me!
and yet didst thou turn and refresh me *
yea, and broughtest me from the deep of the earth again.
19 Thou hast brought me to great honour *
and comforted me on every side.
20 Therefore will I praise thee and thy faithfulness, O God,
playing upon an instrument of musick *
unto thee will I sing upon the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
21 My lips will be fain when I sing unto thee *
and so will my soul whom thou hast delivered.
22 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long *
for they are confounded and brought unto shame that seek to do me evil.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
Psalm 72 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/ya9qaxre)
1 Give the King thy judgements, O God *
and thy righteousness unto the King’s son.
2 Then shall he judge thy people according unto right *
and defend the poor.
3 The mountains also shall bring peace *
and the little hills righteousness unto the people.
4 He shall keep the simple folk by their right *
defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong doer.
5 They shall fear thee, as long as the sun and moon endureth *
from one generation to another.
6 He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool *
even as the drops that water the earth.
7 In his time shall the righteous flourish *
yea, and abundance of peace, so long as the moon endureth.
8 His dominion shall be also from the one sea to the other *
and from the flood unto the world’s end.
9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall kneel before him *
his enemies shall lick the dust.
10 The kings of Tharsis and of the isles shall give presents *
the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts.
11 All kings shall fall down before him *
all nations shall do him service.
12 For he shall deliver the poor when he crieth *
the needy also, and him that hath no helper.
13 He shall be favourable to the simple and needy *
and shall preserve the souls of the poor.
14 He shall deliver their souls from falsehood and wrong *
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
15 He shall live, and unto him shall be given of the gold of Arabia *
prayer shall be made ever unto him, and daily shall he be praised.
16 There shall be an heap of corn in the earth, high upon the hills *
his fruit shall shake like Libanus,
and shall be green in the city like grass upon the earth.
17 His Name shall endure for ever;
his Name shall remain under the sun among the posterities *
which shall be blessed through him; and all the heathen shall praise him.
18 Blessed be the Lord God, even the God of Israel *
which only doeth wondrous things ;
19 And blessed be the Name of his Majesty for ever *
and all the earth shall be filled with his Majesty. Amen, Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
God our strong fortress,
do not desert us in old age.
Help us to follow your will
through all our years
and under all circumstances,
that forever we may praise your faithfulness;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.
HYMN: Paul Gerhardt; trans. John Kelly
Tune: Ich singe dir https://tinyurl.com/62ytar2v
1 Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing,
A cheerful trust maintain;
For God, the source of ev’rything,
Your portion shall remain.
2 He is your treasure, He your joy,
Your life and light and Lord,
Your Counselor when doubts annoy,
Your shield and great reward.
3 Why spend the day in blank despair,
In restless thought the night?
On your Creator cast your care;
He makes your burdens light.
4 Did not His love and truth and pow’r
Guard ev’ry childhood day?
And did He not in threat’ning hour
Turn dreaded ills away?
5 He only will with patience chide,
His rod falls gently down;
And all your sins He casts aside
In ocean depths to drown.
6 His wisdom never plans in vain
Nor falters nor mistakes.
All that His counsels may ordain
A blessed ending makes.
7 Upon your lips, then, lay your hand,
And trust His guiding love;
Then like a rock thy peace shall stand
Here and in heav’n above.
Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
HYMN: Paulus Speratus
Tune: Es ist das Heil https://tinyurl.com/y6duh9c8
1 Salvation unto us has come
by God’s free grace and favor.
Our works cannot avert our doom;
the law can save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,
who for his people did atone;
he is our one Redeemer.
2 What God did in his law demand
and none to him could render
caused wrath and woe on ev’ry hand
for man, the vile offender.
Our flesh has not the pure desires
God’s holy law of us requires,
and lost is our condition.
3 It was a false, misleading dream
that God his law had given
so sinners could themselves redeem
and by their works gain heaven.
The law is just a mirror bright
to bring the inbred sin to light
that lurks within our nature.
4 From sin our flesh could not abstain;
sin held its sway unceasing.
The task was hopeless and in vain;
our guilt was e’er increasing.
None can remove sin’s poisoned dart
or purify our guileful heart,
so deep is our corruption.
5 Yet as the law must be fulfilled
or we must die despairing,
Christ Jesus came; God’s wrath he stilled,
our human nature sharing.
The law he has for us obeyed
and thus the Father’s vengeance stayed
which over us had rulèd.
Reading: John 3:14-21
Jesus said, ‘And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’
CANTICLE Ephesians 1:3-10
(John Michael Talbot https://tinyurl.com/ya8y3kqs)
Ant. God chose us in his Son to be his beloved children.
Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
who bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
God chose us in him before the world began, *
to be holy and blameless in his sight.
He predestined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ, *
such was his will and pleasure,
that all might praise the glorious favor
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.
In him and through his blood, we have been redeemed, *
and our sins forgiven, so immeasurably generous is God’s favor to us.
God has given us the wisdom to understand fully the mystery, *
the plan he was pleased to decree in Christ.
A plan to be carried out in Christ, in the fullness of time, *
to bring all things into one in him, in the heavens and on the earth
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
THE PRAYERS Joe Milner
For the Church: that we may continue to grow in our relationship with Christ and manifest God’s unbounded love for the human family by our deeds of light
For the grace of transformation: that God will lead us from the comfort of darkness and selfishness and enable us to live in freedom as children of the light
For a greater realization of God’s goodness: that we may recognize everything as a gift from God and open our hearts to accept the additional gifts that God has for us
For the gift of hope: that we may not despair as we encounter violence, greed, and abuse but by the Holy Spirit courageously give witness to God’s mercy and compassion
For all who fear drawing close to God: that the Spirit will free their hearts from fear and lead them into an experience of God’s love for them
For the grace of conversion: that we may lament our selfishness and hurtful deeds and surrender them to God in the sacrament of penance
For all who seek to grow in their faith: that Christ will reveal himself more and more to all who are preparing to receive sacraments this spring and help them to live faithfully as children of the light
For freedom of spirit: that we may surrender our desire to save ourselves and allow God to heal us and raise us to new life
For Pope Francis on the anniversary of his election as pope: that God will sustain him in his ministry, inspire his teaching, and help him to lead the Church to greater faith and love
For all experiencing persecution: that God will preserve them from harm, give them strength, and help them to witness to God’s love and faithfulness
For healing of the wounds of racism: that God will raise up all who have been wounded by racism and prejudice and inspire us with new ways to build a community of justice and cooperation
For all who are suffering: that God’s unending love will bring health to the sick, food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and jobs to the unemployed
For a renewed spirit of stewardship: that we may efficiently use the natural resources entrusted to us and work to share them with those who are in need
For a just and equitable distribution of the Coronavirus vaccines: that God will give insight to those distributing and administering the vaccines so that those who are most vulnerable may be vaccinated
For all who have died: that their faith in Jesus will bring them into the fullness of eternal life
(Traditional chant: https://tinyurl.com/ydzx5jdp)
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,
for ever and ever. Amen.]
you reach out to us in mercy
even when we rebel against your holy call
and prefer to walk in disobedience
rather than in the way of your divine truth.
soften our hearts with the warmth of your love,
that we may know your Son alive within us,
and raising us up into your eternal presence. Amen. RCLP
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14
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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.
1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©
The intercessions are by Joe Milner, http://liturgy.slu.edu
The three main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).
Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.
Compilation © 2020 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.