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FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT
March 27, 2022
We Extend the Father’s Prodigal Love to a Lost World
No parable more fully describes the profound character of God’s mercy than the prodigal son and the waiting father. We are the rebels who begin to think we deserve our heavenly Father’s kindness and who demand from Him what is not our right to claim. But instead of disowning us, He meets us with joy, welcomes us with His forgiveness, restores our tattered righteousness with the robe of Christ’s holiness, and sets His Table before us. This is what happens every Sunday as the Lord reclaims us from our sins, restores joy to our heavy hearts, reminds us of His baptismal promise, and feeds our body and soul with the body and blood of His Son. This is the source of our holy joy and this is the peace that passes all understanding.
+ PREPARATION +
OPENING HYMN: #686 – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Pastor: In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION Psalm 51:1–2
Pastor: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
People: and cleanse me from my sin!
Pastor: Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love;
People: according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Silence for meditation and reflection.
Pastor: Merciful Father,
People: we beg You, O Lord, to have mercy upon us sinners. Though we deserve nothing of Your kindness, deliver us according to the mercy You have promised in Your Son, Jesus Christ, and restore us as Your own sons and daughters. Forgive us all our sins, create in us new and contrite hearts, and instill in us the will and desire for all that is good and right and true. Make us to know Your will and grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
Pastor: Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. To the impenitent and unbelieving I declare that so long as you continue in your impenitence, God will not forgive your sins and will visit your iniquity upon you until you turn from your sinful ways, come to repentance, and trust in the merits of Jesus Christ alone.
Pastor: May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
+ WORD +
PSALM Psalm 32 (spoken responsively by verse)
1Blessèd is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2Blessèd is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
6Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
LITANY OF REPENTANCE
Pastor: O Lord, who came to call sinners to repentance,
People: call them still that they may yet answer.
Pastor: Be merciful even to those who have no excuse for their sins
People: but have hated You and the Father who sent You.
Pastor: Lord, who met the hardness of the thief,
People: soften the hearts of all who are impenitent.
Pastor: You who did restore the woman caught in sin,
People: restore all those who have fallen away from You.
Pastor: You who called Zacchaeus from the sycamore tree,
People: arouse the careless and arrest the curious.
Pastor: You who spoke words of spirit and life,
People: enlighten the ignorant and teach them Your way.
Pastor: Dispel the darkness of prejudice and correct all error;
People: establish Your people in the truth of Your Gospel.
Pastor: You who called St. Matthew from the love of money,
People: deliver all who live in slavery to the world.
Pastor: You who prayed for those who crucified You,
People: look in compassion upon those who persecute Your servants.
Pastor: You who called out many devils,
People: set free by Your grace all who are victims of their lies and ways.
Pastor: You who met with mercy the doubts of St. Thomas,
People: deal gently with those who can scarcely believe.
Pastor: You who saved St. Peter from drowning,
People: rescue all those who are weak and fearful.
Pastor: You who proclaimed deliverance to the captives,
People: release the prisoners from the bonds of their sins.
Pastor: You who made the deaf to hear and the mute to speak,
People: open deaf ears to the voice of Your Word and loosen our tongues to confess.
Pastor: You who raised the dead to life,
People: quicken our souls by Your Holy Spirit to lives of faith and righteousness.
Pastor: You who came to save Your people from their sins,
People: save us, O Lord, who put our trust in You.
Pastor: Lord, have mercy upon us.
People: Christ, have mercy upon us.
Pastor: Lord, have mercy upon us.
People: Save us, O Lord, for the sake of Your name. Amen.
SALUTATION and PRAYER OF THE DAY
Pastor: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Pastor: Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, You are the giver of all good gifts and have given us Your own Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. Deliver us from our sin and restore to us the joy of our salvation, that having received such mercy, we need not surrender to despair anymore; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, we pray.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DAY
Pastor: The readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent fill us with a cause for joy. From the prophet Isaiah comes the song of joy in the God who has become our Savior. In the Epistle, we are reminded that in Christ we are a whole new creation. In the familiar parable of the prodigal son, or, better named, the parable of the waiting father, we see the mercy of God that welcomes His wandering children back, forgives them of their sins, and restores them to be His own children again.
OLD TESTAMENT READING Isaiah 12:1–6
(Surely God is my Savior.)
1You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
2“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
3With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
5“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
6Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Lector: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 5:16–21
(If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.)
16From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Lector: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
VERSE Luke 15:22a, 24a
The father said to his servants, “This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
HOLY GOSPEL Luke 15:1–3, 11b–32
(My son was dead and now he is alive again.)
Pastor: The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the fifteenth chapter.
People: Glory to You, O Lord.
1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear [Jesus]. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
3So he told them this parable: . . .
“There was a man who had two sons. 12And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
Pastor: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to You, O Christ.
HYMN OF THE DAY: #915 – Today Your Mercy Calls Us
SERMON – We Extend the Father’s Prodigal Love to a Lost World
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried.
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church,
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life + of the world to come. Amen.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
After each petition:
Pastor: … Lord, in Your mercy:
People: hear our prayer.
Pastor: … through Jesus Christ, our Lord, we pray.
LORD’S PRAYER Matthew 6:9–13
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.
Pastor: Let us pray.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
BENEDICTION Numbers 6:24–26
Pastor: The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.
Pastor: Go in peace! Serve the Lord!
People: Thanks be to God.
CLOSING HYMN: #803 – Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish, Series C, Quarter 2. Copyright © 2021 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.