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A Lenten Midweek Service

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

 

I cannot truly claim this entire service as my own, although there are parts of it that I am responsible for writing, along with the ordering of the material.  The idea of making use of the Ten Commandments in a litany within a service comes straight out of the Book of Common Prayer.  Other portions of this service you will recognize as being from Compline and Evening Prayer of the Lutheran Book of Worship and Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  At the same time, using the parts of the Catechism of Martin Luther as the themes for the five weeks of Lent is also a tried-and-true pattern for many Lutherans. 

 

Also, as a preaching alternative, consider using readings/meditations from some great author or theologian.  I have found Walter Wangerin's Reliving the Passion (Zondervan, 1992) to be quite moving.  These are short, so I have tended to read three out of each week.


WEDNESDAY IN LENT 1
Theme:  Baptism
Office Hymn:  “Were You There”
Lessons:  Romans 6:1-11,   John 3:1-17
Offertory Hymn:   “Where Charity and Love Prevail"
 
WEDNESDAY IN LENT 2
Theme:  Apostles' Creed
Office Hymn:   "Go to Dark Gethsemane”
Lessons:  1 John 1:1-7,  John 14:1-17
Offertory Hymn:  "Jesus Refuge of the Weary"
 
WEDNESDAY IN LENT 3
Theme:  Lord's Prayer
Office Hymn:  "Just As I Am"
Lessons:  James 5:13-18,  Matthew 6:1-13
Offertory Hymn:  "Lamb of God, Pure and Spotless"

WEDNESDAY IN LENT 4
Theme:  Ten Commandments
Office Hymn:  "Beneath the Cross of Jesus"
Lessons:  Romans 7:1-12,  John 15:9-12
Offertory Hymn:  "Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed"


WEDNESDAY IN LENT 5
Theme:  Holy Communion
Office Hymn:  "Amazing Grace"
Lessons:  1 Corinthians 10:16-17,  John 6:48-58
Offertory Hymn:  "Lord Jesus, Think on Me"


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ORDER OF SERVICE


Lent has traditionally been a time of repentance and renewal.  In the early church, this was a time of preparation and instruction for those to be baptized at the Great Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday. Later this idea of preparation and instruction was applied to baptized Christians as well. In our Lenten obser­vance on these Wednesday evenings, we will concentrate on the five great themes of Luther's Small Catechism for our lessons and sermons.  Our service order will be centered around the Ten Commandments as our guide and light to a life in loving response to the Gospel of our Lord.

 

P = Presiding Minister     A = Assisting Minister     C = Congregation


 
PRELUDE
 
INVITATORY:
P: Come and let us walk in the light of the Lord. And he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.
 
PRAYER FOR LENT:
A: Show your servants your works, O Lord;
C: And their children your glory.
 
A: Let your merciful kindness be upon us,
C: As we put our trust in you.
 
A: Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
C: But to your name be the praise.
 
A: Lord, hear our prayer,
C: And let our cry come to you.
 
P: The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you.
 
P: Let us pray. (Prayer of the week)
C: Amen
 
EXHORTATION:
P:  Brothers and sisters:  We are created to experience joy in communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation. But our sinful rebellion separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation, so that we do not enjoy the life our creator intended.  As disciples of the Lord Jesus, we are called to struggle against everything that leads us away from love of God and neighbor.  Repentance, fasting, prayer, and works of love --the discipline of Lent -- help us to wage our spiritual warfare.
    Let us therefore turn to the Word of God this night. For the Word of God contains the Law and the Gospel and is the light before our eyes.  The Gospel is God's gracious promise to us as his beloved children. It shows us all that He has done for us, in Israel and in Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins and for newness of life. Christ makes us his own and heirs of his king­dom. The Law, on the other hand, represents what God expects of us in the response of our lives as we live in loving service to his will.
C: The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart. The commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to our eyes.
 
THE DECALOGUE:
P: God spoke these words, and said: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods,
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: Honor your father and mother.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: You shall not kill.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: You shall not commit adultery.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: You shall not steal.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
P: You shall not covet.
C: Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this commandment.
 
THE LAW OF LOVE
P: Jesus summarized the Decalogue into two great commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."
C: The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart. The commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to our eyes.
 
PRAYER OF AFFIRMATION
P: Let us pray. Gracious Lord, through water and the Spirit you have made us your own. You forgave us all our sins and brought us to newness of life. Continue to strengthen us with the Holy Spirit, and daily increase in us your gifts of grace:  the spirit of wisdom and understanding,  the spirit of counsel and might,  the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord,  the spirit of joy in your presence;  through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
C: Amen
 
Sit 

THE LESSONS
 
After each lesson:
A: This is the Word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.
 
A period of silence follows each reading.
 
RESPONSORY:
P: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
C: Into your hands I commend my spirit.
 
P: You have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth.
C: Into your hands I commend my spirit.
 
P: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
C: Into your hands I commend my spirit.
 
All stand to sing the hymn

OFFICE HYMN
 
THE GREAT LITANY  ELW #238 (LBW p.168)
 
PRAYER
P: Let us pray.  Heavenly Father, you gave your only Son to be a life to redeem us, an example to follow, the word for our rule, the grace for our guide, the lamb on the cross for the sins of our souls.  Send your Spirit to enter into us and take possession of our hearts, and dwell with us forever;  through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
C: Amen
 
P: Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray:
C: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your be, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen
 
Sit
 
OFFERING
 
HYMN
 
SERMON (or reading from some great author/theologian)
 
CLOSING PRAYER:
P: Let us pray. Lord, we thank you that you have taught us what you would have us believe and do. Help us by your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, to keep your Word in pure hearts, that we may be strengthened in faith, perfected in holiness, and comforted in life and in death.
C: Amen
 
BENEDICTION
A: Let us bless the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God
 
P: The almighty and merciful Lord,  the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you.
C: Amen
 
Please return this service folder to an usher as you leave so that we may use it again next week.