March 21, 2021 Liturgy

Fifth Week of Lent

Preparation for Worship

Songs:  Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing about confession and forgiveness?” Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.

Bible:  You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures.  You can use this doc or your phone as well…but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.

This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts:

Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33

You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering.  It would be great for every person to have a part.


Call to Worship

Leader:       Friends, we are invited to journey through this season of Lent

All:              toward the One who calls us each by a new name.

Leader:       We will follow Jesus wherever he leads us,

All:              We will follow though we have our fears, our doubts, our longings.

Leader:       We seek to trust the God who always surprises us,

All:              whose promises are fulfilled in the good news of Jesus.

Leader:       Come, let us worship our great God!

Song of Praise

Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.

Some suggestions:

Lord I Need You

In Christ Alone

O Praise the Name 

My Life is in Your Hands

Shine On Me (for kids)

One Way Jesus (for kids) 

For other song ideas click here.

Reading of the Psalm 

The psalmist writes in Psalm 51 (NRSV)

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

    according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

    blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

    and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,

    and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,

    and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are justified in your sentence

    and blameless when you pass judgment.

5 Indeed, I was born guilty,

    a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6 You desire truth in the inward being;

    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;

    let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins,

    and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and put a new and right spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from your presence,

    and do not take your holy spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

    and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Time of Confession

Leader: The season of Lent is a time to turn our hearts toward God and away from our sin. God takes broken promises and turns them into vows of faithfulness. God takes our biggest failings and shapes lives of service. God listens to our prayers of confession and changes them into songs of mercy.

Let us pray together now and offer our confession to God.

All: In a world where we worry about tomorrow before enjoying today, we pause now and pray. We worry about the things we cannot control.  We seek after the temporary things that we desire rather than seeking your hope, joy, and the life you offer us. 

Forgive us and have mercy on us, O God. In humility, may we offer our lives to others. May we share your grace with others. May we trust you in our worries.  In hope, may we wait for you every day, as you come to us in the life and joy of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Pause for Silent Prayer

Assurance of Pardon

Leader: In this place we find God’s word, God’s way,

God’s love, God’s forgiveness.

Hear the good news, in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven. Amen


(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen.  Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)

A reading from Jeremiah 31 (NRSV).

31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,[a] says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

And a reading from John 12 (NRSV),

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.


Let’s remember together what was said in this reading.  What was said first?  What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other.  Try to remember as many details as possible.).

Paying Attention

What is something you heard in the scripture reading today?

Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in this text…a word, a phrase, something that happened in the text, something that you’re thinking about…  Start out by saying “As we read these texts, it made me wonder…”

In what ways does confessing our sins to God and to other people free us?  What stops us from doing that?

What will we carry into this week from this text? 

How can we be praying this week? 


Prayers of the People

God of all Hope,

Thank you for hearing our prayers.

Establish in our minds the same mind that is in you,

that we might be vessels of your humility and grace.

We thank you and we praise you

That you love us and forgive us…

For your faithfulness in times in trouble…

For those offering Christlike service in hospitals, laboratories, grocery stores, restaurants, and warehouses…

For your work as it continues in our community…

We pray for this world:

for all the people in it . . .

for those who are grieving and troubled . . .

for those who are in need of hope . . .

(pause and invite people to respond)…

We pray for your Church . . .

We pray for the strength and courage to follow you.

(At the end of this time of prayer, close with the following)

Lead us, O God, in the way of Christ.

Give us courage to take up your cross every day.

Help us to love you above all else

And to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Give us strength to serve you faithfully

as we pray together the prayer you taught us to pray


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 sins, 

as we forgive those who sin 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. Amen.



Now unto the One that is able to keep you from falling,

and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Savior,

be glory and majesty,

dominion and power,

both now and forever.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

In the name of Christ. Amen. 

PDF for print version HERE. For permission to print and redistribute, comment below.

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