Grace United Methodist Church
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Valley Stream, New York


Order of Worship



First Sunday in Lent/Black History Month


February 21, 2021 at 10:00 A.M.


Greeting/Centering Words



Opening Voluntary – “Center of My Joy” by R. Smallwood


Opening Prayer

Creator and Sovereign, our world and our lives are often full of threat.  We return to you in this place today to be reminded that you do not abandon us to the hard realities of our lives.  You are the one who saves us.  You are the one who faithfully teaches us your life-giving ways.  You are the one who instills courage within us to stand up from the waters of our baptism and to walk your path.  Enter our hearts and lives for your powerful purposes, in the name of our baptized brother Jesus and the soaring Spirit.  Amen.  (AWA, 2021)


Hymn #144 - “This Is My Father’s World”                                                 TERRA BEATA


Black History Moment                                                                           Maudlyn Scarlett


Prayer of Confession

God of faithful love and powerful purpose, there are times when we are open to your leading—times when we walk the path of Jesus with courage and hope, even when doing so is fearful.  At other times, we close ourselves off, hoping that you won’t tear open the skies and disrupt our lives completely.  Following Jesus can be pretty risky.  Your compassion and faithful love claim us forever, as they claimed Jesus when he entered the Jordan and made a bold decision to follow you on a new and uncertain path.  Amen.  (AWA, 2021)



Words of Assurance

Yes, God’s compassion and love are forever!  What God said of Jesus at his baptism, God says to us today:  You are my dearly loved children, whom I love deeply.  God forgives us and loves us dearly, now and forevermore.  (AWA, 2021)



Old Testament Reading – Genesis 9:8-17 (The Covenant with Noah)

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.  11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."  12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:  13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."  17 God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."


L: Word of God, Word of Life.  PThanks be to God.


Gospel Reading – Mark 1:9-15 (The Baptism of Jesus)

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  10 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.  11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."  12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.  13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.  14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."


L: Word of God, Word of Life.  P:  Thanks be to God.


Hymn Before Message #411 - “Dear Lord, Lead Me Day by Day”    COTTAGE GROVE


Message                                                                                                     Pastor Nation


Pastoral Prayer


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as 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.  Amen.


Passing of the Peace of Christ

God calls Jesus “my Child,” “my Son”—beautiful words that get at their cherished relationship of oneness.  God is saying to Jesus, “We belong to one another!”  Jesus would later call all who follow him his brothers and sisters.  That means we belong to one another in Christ Jesus.  As cherished members of the family of God, let us greet one another with the peace of Christ.  (AWA, 2021)


Invitation to Tithes and Offering

We can say with Jesus today, “Here comes God’s kingdom!...Trust this good news!”  Because we trust the power and love of God, and we live into God’s kingdom, let us give the gifts of our lives to God, including the pieces of our lives for God to transform.  May our gifts announce God’s inbreaking kingdom, transforming us and our world. (AWA, 2021)


Choral Selection – “Speak to Me in Ashes” by K. Crane and D. Nolan


Prayer of Dedication


Closing Hymn #525 - We’ll Understand It Better By and By”                          BY AND BY


Dismissal with Blessing


Closing Voluntary – “Love Psalm” by D. Meader