Aliens on the Way: Services for the six Sundays of Lent, page 2 of 2

Sharing of God's Forgiveness

[Members of the congregation turn to each other and say, "God's forgiveness is for you . . . and for you."]


Hymn of Thanksgiving: "We Come, O Christ, To You"

[PsH 238, TH 181]

Prayer of Thanks and Petition

Tithes and Offerings

Organ Offertory: "Jesus, Priceless Treasure," J.S. Bach

Doxology: "Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow"
[PH 591-93, PsH 637-38, RL 556, TH 731-33]

Deaconal Prayer


Children's Sermon and Song

Scripture Lesson: Philippians 3:8-14

Anthem: "They that Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy," Alfred Gaul
[from Great Choruses for Lent and Easter, Somerset Press, No. 797.]

Sermon: "Our Cost on the Way"

Theme: The way home for the alien seems costly, but the cost is nothing compared to what is to be gained in knowing Jesus Christ.

Objectives: We want people to:

1. Evaluate the cost of knowing and following Christ as Lord.
2. Leave past values and "valuables" behind.
3. Press on toward the goal for the prize God is calling us to receive.


God's Word for Life in Christ:

What further advantage do we receive from Christ's sacrifice and death on the cross?

Through Christ's death

our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with


so that the evil desires of the flesh

may no longer rule us,

but that instead we may dedicate ourselves

as an offering of gratitude to him.

[Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 43]

God's Farewell:

Once you were a people without an identity, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Go and live as a people of God, so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness, into his marvelous light.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Peter 2:9-10, 5:10)

Hymn of Dismissal: "O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts"
[PsH 307]

Organ Postlude: "Jesus, Priceless Treasure," Walther

Alternate Hymn

"Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God"

[PH 333, PsH 209]

Alternate Anthem

"At the Cross," Buryl Red

[Triune Music, Inc. TUM 121]



Organ Prelude: "All Glory, Laud, and Honor," Johnson

Scripture Monologue (based on Psalm 31:9-16):

God's people are aliens on an earth they cannot call home, They are strangers here on their way to their true home. As they walk along the way, they follow the King, who himself walked the way.

Lord! Mercy! I am in distress. My eyes, my soul, my body grow weak with grief. My life is consumed, my strength fails, and my bones weaken. My enemies make me the contempt of my neighbors; those on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead. I'm like broken pottery. There is terror on all sides as they conspire and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord; you are my God. My times are in your hands. Deliver me. Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your unfailing love.

Call to Worship (choirs and brass): "Fanfare and Processional"

[arr. Undine Smith Moore. (Augsburg 11-0591). For Festival Days, the choirs are placed in different areas of the sanctuary, singing from the balcony, front and sides.]

God's Greeting

Psalm 118: "Give Thanks to God for All His Goodness"
Stanza 1: Choirs [antiphonally]
Stanza 3: Choirs
Stanza 4: All
Stanza 5: All [with brass]
[PsH 118]

Declaration of Forgiveness: Psalm 118:17-21

Sharing of God's Forgiveness
[Members of the congregation turn to each other and say, "God's forgiveness is for you . . . and for you."]


Hymn of Thanksgiving: "Praise and Thanksgiving"

[PsH 631]

Prayer of Thanks and Petition

Tithes and Offerings

Organ Offertory: "If You But Trust in God to Guide You," J.S. Bach

Doxology: "Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow"

[PH 591-93, PsH 637-38, RL 556, TH 731-33]

Deaconal Prayer


Children's Sermon and Song

Scripture Lesson: Luke 19:28-40; Philippians 3:8-14

Sermon: "The King on the Way"

Theme: The King on the way models confident obedience.

Objectives: In following Christ, the King, people are to:

1. Decide to be obedient to our sovereign Lord.
2. Be willing to be humbled like our sovereign King.
3. Continue with confidence, knowing they will not be put to shame.

Hymn of Application: "Ride On, Ride On in Majesty"

[PH 90-91, PsH 382, RL 290-281, TH 237]


God's Word for Life in Christ:

As our substitute
he suffered all his years on earth,
especially in the horrible torture of the cross.
He carried God's judgment on our sin;
his sacrifice removes our guilt.
He walked out of the grave, the Lord of life!
He conquered sin and death.
We are set right with God,
we are given new life,
and called to walk with him
in freedom from sin's dominion.
[Our World Belongs to God, 27]

God's Farewell:

Once you were a people without an identity, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Go and live as a people of God, so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness, into his marvelous light.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Peter 2:9-10, 5:10)

Hymn of Dismissal: "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"

[PH 89, PsH 378, RL 282]

Organ Postlude: "O Sons and Daughters of the King,"

Alternate Hymns

"God Himself Is With Us"
[PsH 244, TH 382]

"I Know Not Why"
[PsH 495, TH 705]

"Ah, Holy Jesus"

[PH 93, PsH 386, RL 285, TH 248]


Family Worship: Remembering the Way

Day 1: Deuteronomy 26:1 -11

1. In what ways had God blessed the chosen people, and how did he expect them to respond?
2. In what ways has God blessed your family? Each of you personally? Make a list of as many blessings as you can think of.
3. How might you show your thanks to God, both as a family and as individuals? Make a list of gifts of time, talent, love, and money you might offer as a way of thanking God.

Day 2: Psalm 91:9-16

1. What does this psalm promise to those who "make the Most High their dwelling" (put their trust in God)?
2. In what ways has God protected your family? Perhaps a member of the family can tell the story of a particular time of trouble when he or she felt God's presence and protection in a special way.

Day 3: Romans 10:8b-13

"Jesus Is Lord" was the earliest Christian confession of faith. If you say these words with your mouth and believe them in your heart, how might it affect the way you live? For example, what does confessing Jesus as Lord have to do with sports? Politics? Church budget? Schoolwork? Home improvements? Choice of vocation? Choice of friends? Vacation plans?

Day 4: Luke 4:1-13

1. In the second temptation, Satan claimed to own all the kingdoms of the world. In what ways is this true? Not true?
2. Jesus and Satan both used Bible quotations in their conversation together.
What similarities and differences can you see between the way in which they used the Scriptures?
3. Satan also tempts each of us. Think of ways in which Satan has tempted each of you during the past week. What can help you resist temptation?

Hymn of the Week

Psalm 30 is the theme song of this Lenten season. Sing it often this week and use it during the following weeks as well.

Suggestions for Family Activities

1. Choose a book or two to read with the entire family, a chapter at a time. Two good choices are Hurry Home Candy by Meindert DeJong or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.

Both can be enjoyed and understood at all levels.

2. Begin a special prayer journal for this season. In a small notebook, write down all prayer and praise items for that devotional time. Review those of the previous day(s) as well. Include as many as possible in your family prayers. Begin a new section of the journal each week.
3. Place a basket in the middle of your worship area. After each reading and discussion, think of some way in which God has been faithful to your family in the past year(s). Place an object in the basket to remind you of this faithfulness. At the end of the week spend a special prayer time in which you give thanks for God's faithfulness.


Family Worship: Help Along the Way

Day 1: Genesis 15:1-12; 17-18

1. What did God promise Abraham? How did God help Abraham believe those promises?
2. What has God promised us? Which of God's promises means the most to you as a family? As individuals? Briefly talk about why a particular promise means so much to you.
3. What people, events, places, and things does God give us to help us believe his promises?

Day 2: Psalm 127

1. What message does the psalmist have in verses 1 and 2 for people who try to get along without God? How does God help people who trust in him?
2. The psalmist views all the good things in our lives—including children—as gifts from God. Talk about some of the gifts that God has given your family. Then pray together, thanking God for each gift you have mentioned.

Day 3: Philippians 3:17-4:1

1. How does Paul describe the enemies of the cross of Christ?
2. Paul encourages the Philippians to adopt a Christian lifestyle. In what ways can we, as Christians in the twentieth century, live lives that reflect our position as children of
God? What things should we avoid? What things should we do?
3. If someone were asked to describe your family's lifestyle, what might they say?

Day 4: Luke 9:28-36

1. The transfiguration occurred just a few months before the crucifixion. Keeping that in mind, why might the event have been important for Jesus? For the disciples?
2. We, too, sometimes have "mountaintop experiences"—times when we seeGod very clearly and feel God's presence. In what times, places, andcircumstances have members of your family sensed the glory of God?

Hymn of the Week

"Lead Me, Guide Me"

[PsH 544]

For Children "When We Walk with the Lord"

[PsH 548, TH 672]

Suggestions for Family Activities

1. Create your own "Pictionary"-type game to play after each devotional time this week. Use words from the Bible passage that you examine. Put them on strips of paper in a box and

have each family member take a turn selecting a word. That person then tries to draw a picture of that word for the rest of the family to guess.

2. Discuss with your family meaningful ways in which you can be a "help along the way" to another person. Does somebody need a ride to church? Could the family support a third-world child? Can you visit the local nursing home and perform some songs and Bible readings? If possible, think of something that would involve your family beyond the Lenten season so that your commitment would extend beyond just one-time assistance.


Family Worship: Warnings Along the Way

Day 1: Exodus 3:1-15

1. What does this story teach us about God? Why do you suppose God calls himself I AM WHO I AM?
2. God told Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. How can we show reverence in God's presence?
3. Sometimes we, like Moses, are called to do difficult things that we'd rather not do. Perhaps one or more members of your family can tell of a time when they believe that God called them to do something difficult—something they really didn't want to do. In what ways does God help us obey such commands?

Day 2: Psalm 103:1-13

1. Make a list of the things this psalm reveals about God.

2. Which of these descriptions of God is most meaningful to each of you? Why?

3. This is a well-known and well-loved psalm that many of us memorize. If most members of your family know this psalm, consider reading or reciting it together.

Day 3: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

1. Why does Paul list Israel's sins for the Corinthians?
2. What does Paul mean when he says that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear? Do Christians face fewer temptations than other people? Why or why not?
3. Perhaps a member of your family or someone you know has been through a very difficult time. Talk about that difficult situation, and mention ways in which God helps people bear pain or suffering and/or how God helps people resist temptation.

Day 4: Luke 13:1-9

1. Many people in Jesus' day believed that suffering was a direct result of a person's sins. What does Jesus say about that belief?
2. Jesus uses the parable of the fig tree to help us understand what God is like. Talk together about which character in the parable represents God, and what Jesus is telling us about the Father.
3. The parable also teaches that it's important for Christians to bear fruit—to show by their lives that they love God. Give each family member the chance to mention some of the "fruit" he or she sees in the lives of other family members, friends, teachers, or people in your congregation.

Hymn of the Week

"Man of Sorrows—What a Name"

For Children

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
[PH 403, PsH 579, RL 507, TH 629]

Suggestions for Family Activities

1. Using a houseplant, a poster of a tree, or a felt banner with a leaf-filled tree, have family members think of the kinds of "good fruit"—the result of a God-filled life—that each passage might refer to. For each fruit you think of, add a paper or felt fruit to the plant. During the last discussion, take off the fruit to illustrate a plant without fruit.

2. Draw a road on a long roll of paper, or build one from blocks on a table. Put a photo of each family member on the road. After each evening's reading, put up the warning signs that each passage refers to. Have each family member move him or herself along the road as you discuss how the warnings help children of God stay on the path.

3. Play a game of Mille Bourne or any other travel game you happen to have that includes lots of hazards and warnings. Introduce the game-playing session with a discussion about how some parts of God's Word are designed to warn us away from dangerous spots and to keep us on a safe road.


Family Worship: The Cost of the Way Home

Day 1: Joshua 5:9-12

1. The Passover was a special celebration of God's deliverance. The people had first started celebrating Passover when God delivered them from the land of Egypt, freeing them from slavery. Now, as they enter the Promised Land, they celebrate God's deliverance again.

What wonderful ways in which God had helped them and cared for them in Egypt and in the wilderness might the people of Israel have thanked God for and told their children about as part of this celebration? See how many you can list together.

2. Talk about some of the important celebrations you share together as a family (birthdays, holidays, holy days). In what ways are each of these celebrations a time to thank God for his special care?

Day 2: Psalm 34:1-8

1. What does David praise God for in these verses?
2. Talk together about times when you are frightened, ill, lonely, or in trouble. How might this psalm bring you comfort in such times?

Day 3: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

1. The passage says "the old has gone, the new has come!" Name some things that are part of "the old" that we give up to become new in Christ.
2. In what ways can you, as individuals and as a family, serve as Christ's ambassadors?

Day 4: Luke 15:1-3; 11-32

1. The Pharisees were angry with Jesus for welcoming sinners. What was this parable meant to teach them?
2. The father in this story represents Go the Father. What does the parable teach us about God and how we should approach him? What things might we have to give up as we travt toward God?
3. Talk about ways in which we are like both of the sons. Mention times whei we try to run from God and live on our own, as the younger son did. Als think of times when we follow the rules, as the older son did, but don't really have our hearts in it—times when we think we can earn God's love.

Hymn of the Week

"Give Thanks to God, for Good Is He"
[PsH 182]

For Children

"Jesus Loves Me, This I Know"
[PH 304, PsH 571, RL 457, TH 189]

Suggestions for Family Activities

1. Remember that The Messiah by G. F. Handel includes music for Lent and Easter as well as for Advent and Christmas. Listen to selections from it as part of your family time.
2. Prepare this week to dramatize the final Bible reading on the prodigal son. Keep props and costumes simple.
Older children might like to videotape the production to show after the final Bible reading. Or simply act out the story after reading and discussing it. One person could read all the parts if the children are small. Or each participant can say his or her own lines.


Family Worship: Our Cost on the Way

Day 1: Isaiah 43:16-21

1. How had God cared for the chosen people in the past?

2. How might thinking too much about the past keep God's chosen people from seeing the new ways in which God was caring for them now?

3. Think of some ways in which God has cared for your family in the past. Tell some stories about times when you have experienced God's care. Then discuss special ways in which God is caring for you now.

Day 2: Psalm 126

1. How did God's people react when their Lord brought them back from captivity?
2. How might this psalm bring special comfort to someone you know who is grieving? Consider using this psalm to create a card or another special greeting for this person.

Day 3: Philippians 3:8-14

1. How is the Christian life like a race?

2. What things in each of your lives might you need to "lose," or at least become less attached to, in order to get closer to Christ?

Day 4: John 12:1-8

1. The perfume Mary anointed Jesus with was worth a full year's wages for a common worker in those days. Judas criticized her for wasting money that could have helped the poor. How does Jesus respond to this criticism? Why was this anointing important to him?
2. Think of ways in which you, as a family, can show by something you do or give that you love Jesus as Mary did.

Hymn of the Week

"Lord I Want to Be a Christian"
[PH 372, PsH 264, TH 530]

Suggestions for Family Activities

1. Have each family member contribute a food of personal significance each day to a decorated box in the center of your worship area. Possibilities include a favorite snack or breakfast cereal, or an important ingredient for a favorite dish. Part of an allowance or earnings can be included too. On Sunday bring these items to church as part of your offering.

2. The weekly hymn suggestions do not exhaust the number of Lenten hymns available to your family. Look these up in the Lent section of the Psalter Hymnal and organize several extended family hymnsings this week. Be sure to include a variety of instruments for each family member, if possible.


Family Worship: The King on the Way

Day 1: Isaiah 50:4-9a

1. How would you describe the relationship between God and the speaker in this passage?
2. Have each member of your family choose one verse from this passage that seems especially comforting or challenging. Give each person time to talk about his or her verse. What pictures does it bring to mind? In what types of situations might it have special meaning?

Day 2: Psalm 118:19-29

1. For what does the psalmist offer praise and thanks to God?
2. Write a family prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God, naming specific ways in which God has blessed you as a family.

Day 3: Philippians 2:5-11

1. What attitude of Christ Jesus does Paul want his readers to have?
2. What would be different in your city or town if everyone had the attitude of Christ Jesus? In your church? In your family?

Day 4: Luke 19:28-40

1. Describe the mood of the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Talk briefly about the change that took place in that crowd's attitude during the coming week: these were the same people who would cry "Crucify him!" What might have caused that change?
2. In what ways would it be easier to follow the king who entered Jerusalem than the king who was nailed to a cross five days later? Talk about times in your own lives when it's easy and when it's difficult to follow Jesus.

Hymn of the Week

"Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"
[PH 89, PsH 378, RL 282]

For Children

"All Glory, Laud, and Honor"
[PH 88, PsH 375, RL 279, TH 235]

Suggestions for Family Activities

1. Send Easter cards to special friends this year. As a family, decide on a list of special friends and relatives.

If you are able, design your own cards, using simple crayon drawings or cutouts from construction paper. Older children might enjoy experimenting with their favorite art form. Use ideas and Bible quotes from the previous five weeks to enrich the family's worship time and to share your experience with others. Design an Easter card for your non-Christian friends as well. Send cards to arrive on the Saturday before Easter.

2. Create a palm leaf mobile or poster. Cut out a generous supply of paper palm branches. After each night's reading, reflect on how and what the passage shows about Jesus as king. Write each insight on a palm branch and hang them in clusters from a hanger or light fixture.



The banner concept is in keeping with the Lenten theme "Christians Are Aliens on the Way." The visual also reinforces the idea that our journey takes us through and beyond the cross as we accept its true meaning in personal salvation. The way of the cross is a dark, arduous journey (purple-repentance) that ends in God's bright promise.

Color Scheme 1:

road - dark purple
ground - green
sky - aqua or light blue
glow - yellow
rays - gold braid
cross outline - black braid

Color Scheme 2:

road - black
ground - green
sky - dark blue
glow - white
rays - golden yellow
cross outline - gold braid

Color Scheme 3:

road - medium purple
ground - dark blue
sky - light blue
glow - white
rays - gold braid
cross outline - black

Size: 30" x 72"

Suggestions for Children's Sermons

Christmas Tree Cross

The cross is made from the trunk of a large Christmas tree used at the beginning of the church year. This ties the Christmas season visually to the Lenten season, and Christ's birth to Christ's death. The cross is stripped of its branches and stands in the front of the worship area, in stark contrast to the festivities of Christmas. A purple cloth is draped over the cross on the first Sunday of Lent. On Maundy Thursday and on Good Friday the cloth is changed to black. On Easter morning, the cloth is removed, and the cross is gilded with lilies and greens. Each Sunday during Lent, the objects discussed in the children's sermon (see below) are placed at the foot of the cross.

Children's Sermon Ideas and Objects

Week 1—"Remembering God's Gifts" (Deut. 26:1-11). Use a basket containing objects contributed by church families; each object should reflect or symbolize God's faithfulness through the years (a picture, a painting, etc.).

Week 2—"People to Follow" (Phil. 3:17).Use a few pictures of church members who are good examples of people to follow (perhaps including people who have died, but whose example lives on).

Week 3—"Warning Signs" (1 Cor. 19:1-13). Talk with children about warnings; use some warning signs that remind people of dangers along the way.

Week 4—"Let's Have a Party!" (Luke 15). Use a robe, a ring, and sandals, explaining their significance as part of the celebration in Jesus' story of the "Prodigal Son."

Week 5—"The Cost of a Gift" (John 12:1-8). Use a pretty bottle of perfume and tell the story from John about Mary's love-gift to Jesus (let the children put a little perfume on their wrists as a reminder.)

Week 6—"Celebrating Jesus as our King." Someone memorizes and tells the Palm Sunday story using palm branches. Story concludes with the children laying the palm branches at the foot of the cross.


Reformed Worship 22 © December 1991, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.