Reader 1: Today is the fifth Sunday of the season of Lent. As we continue to travel with each other, listening to the stories of our ancestors in faith, we pause to give thanks for faith, persistence, and hope for the future.
Reader 2: Like Mary and Martha, grieving the death of their brother Lazarus, we know all too well the pain of loss. We also remember that we can experience comfort and renewal through the loving presence of dear friends and family.
Reader 1: The prophet Ezekiel reminds us that even in the wilderness experiences of life, when everything seems dry and lifeless, God’s restorative spirit can breathe new life and hope into our lives.
Reader 2: As we extinguish the fifth Lenten candle we acknowledge that even with our best intentions we sometimes feel discouraged and anxious about the future.
(Extinguishing of one Lenten candle)
Reader 1: As we watch the smoke rise we are reminded that God’s spirit is always with us in mysterious and visible ways in our community of faith and in the world.
Reader 2: With thanksgiving for your constant and faithful presence, we raise our voices in song — a prayer to you, O God.
SUNG RESPONSE: VU 121, v5 for Lent
God of all our fear and sorrow,
God who lives beyond our death;
hold us close through each tomorrow,
love as near as every breath,
love as near as every breath.
Gracious God, you breathe new life into our lives every moment of every day. In this Lenten season, help us to be attentive to your life-giving spirit in the ordinary activities of our lives. May we trust in your enduring and faithful presence as we seek to discern your guidance for us as people of faith. We give thanks for your love made known in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Amen