Fourth Sunday in Lent

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Created, saved and gifted by God, we seek, serve and share Jesus Christ.

Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 27, 2022 – 10:30 am

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
901 East Stroop Road
Kettering, OH 45429-4688
(937) 298-0136


The psalm sets the tone this day: “Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away!” Happy are those who have “become the righteousness of God” in the merits of Christ Jesus. Happy are those for whom the forgiveness of God has “rolled away . . . the disgrace” of former times. Happy is the father at the return of his prodigal son. Happy are we that our sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. Rejoice!
As We Forgive Others
Jesus’ parables are not simple fables with fixed meanings, but unsettling plot-twisting narratives that raise more questions than they answer. If we set aside the most familiar interpretations of today’s gospel and enter into the story through another door (or another character’s point of view), we may find surprising new insights.
What if the story of the prodigal son is not only about the steadfast love and forgiveness of God the Father? What if it is also a story about the complexity of family life, grudges held for years, words left unspoken, and scores unsettled? That is, what if this is a story about us?
Like most parables, the story ends unfinished, and we’re left to ponder what happens next as it continues to unfold off the page. Does the older brother accept his father’s invitation and come back to the party? Does anyone ever thank him for his years of loyalty? Is the younger brother really changed by his experience, or is his father enabling him? Do the mother and sisters show up? Will the family fall back into the same old dynamics, or will there be accountability and repair?
The good news in this story is that God loves all of these characters: the selfish son, the foolish father, the resentful brother, the absent mother. And God’s love frees them to change.
Forgiveness is complicated. While we draw strength from the power of being wholly and uncon- ditionally forgiven by God, human relationships are messy. It is rare that one party is entirely wrong and another entirely gracious. We pray as Jesus taught us: “Forgive us, as we forgive others.”
At its most basic, repentance means changing our way of perceiving. This is also the first move- ment of forgiveness: imagining ourselves in another’s place, seeing the situation through their eyes. Held in the power of God’s love, we are free to let our perception shift and to break out of the ruts of family systems to find new ways of being.


The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.




In remembrance of their baptism, all may make the sign of the cross.

Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, the parent who rouses us from slumber, the shepherd who gathers us on the holy mountain, the deliverer who sets us free.

Let us come before the living God in confession.

Silence is kept for reflection.

As we wait and watch for the promised day of salvation,
we open our hearts to you, O God. Search us and know us. Reveal all that we keep inside. To you, O God, we confess our sins, known and unknown. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us in your ways of justice and peace. Make us reflections of the radiant love of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Beloved children of the Most High, you are gathered before the righteous judge who has mercy on all. Splash exuberantly in the waters of baptism, where sin is washed away in the river of life. Dwell peacefully in the loving arms of the one who nurtures all creation. Go forth boldly in the assurance that your sins are forgiven in the name of the one who is coming and is already here, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

GATHERING HYMN – “Come as You Are”

Come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been.
Come, broken-hearted, let rescue begin.
Come, find your mercy. O sinner, come, kneel;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal,
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.

Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame.
All who are broken, lift up your face.
O wanderer, come home;
You’re not too far.
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart,
Come as you are.

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed.
Come, sit at the table; come, taste the grace.
There’s rest for the weary,
Rest that endures;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t cure.

Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame.
All who are broken, lift up your face.
O wanderer, come home;
You’re not too far.
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart,
Come as you are.
Come as you are.

Fall in his arms.
Come as you are.

There’s joy for the mourning. O sinner, be still.
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal,
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.

So, lay down your burdens, lay down your shame.
All who are broken, lift up your face.
O wanderer, come home;
You’re not too far.
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart,
Come as you are.

Come as you are. Come as you are. Come as you are.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.


In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord,
Lord have mercy.
For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.
Amen, amen.


God of compassion,
you welcome the wayward, and you embrace us all with your mercy. By our baptism clothe us with garments of your grace, and feed us at the table of your love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

FIRST READING Joshua 5:9-12

By celebrating the Passover and eating the produce of the promised land instead of the miraculous manna that had sustained them in the desert, the Israelites symbolically bring their forty years of wilderness wandering to an end at Gilgal.

A reading from the book of Joshua.
The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day. While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Ca- naan that year.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

SECOND READING 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

One way to describe the gospel is the promise that in Christ everything is transformed into newness. All mistakes, all deliberate sins, all old history is reconciled with Christ’s resurrection. This is Paul’s strong message to the congregation in the city of Corinth.

A reading from the book of 2 Corinthians.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL Luke 5:11-24

The Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Glory to you, O Lord.

“The Prodigal Son Suite”
A paraphrase by Keith Green.

Son: I was done hoeing out in the fields for the day,
I was thinkin’ of goin’ I had to leave right away.
My life is just fading and oh I felt so alone,
the nearest young maiden was a full day’s ride from home.

My father was reading the Holy books in his room,
my heart was just bleedin’ I knew I had to go soon.
He smiled and pointed to an old wooden chair,
I wanted to hold him but then I just wouldn’t dare.

I said, “Father there’s so much to know,
there’s a world I have to see
and I’m ready to go and make a life for myself.
If you give me what is mine,
I will go if I can have your blessing,
but if you won’t bless my journey,
I’m gonna leave anyway.”

Father: Son, I’ve always tried my best for you,
and if you must be leaving home,
then go with the blessing of God.

Son: Not too many days later I was well on my way,
I met a traveling stranger who seemed to have much to say.
He told me tales of the city, and all the women he’d had,
I asked him, “Wasn’t that sinful?” He said, “No, it isn’t that bad.”

And then a few days later on an old city road,
we were drowning in laughter and we had women to hold.
And this went on quite a long time. My father gave me a lot,
but when my pockets were empty, Lord, my friends all left me to rot.

Then a famine hit and drained the land,
everywhere I looked I saw starvation,
and a job was so hard to find.
I wandered through the city streets,
competing for the food of common beggars,
up ’til then I’d never known hunger,
but now I wasn’t too proud.

I finally found some employment, feeding pigs on a farm,
I wasn’t treated too kindly, Lord, I had to sleep in the barn.
I had to eat with the swine, the bread I ate was like stone,
it didn’t take too much time until I was dreamin’ of home.

All the servants there are better fed
if I could only have what my father gives them,
I would truly need nothing more.
Oh, I will go and say to him,
“I’m no longer worthy to be in your family,
will you take me as your servant,
and let me live with them?”

It didn’t take too long to pack my things,
I left with only what I wore,
as I prayed that I’d still have a home.

I was near home, in sight of the house.
My father just stared, dropped open his mouth.
He ran up the road and fell at my feet,
and cried, and cried.

“Father, I’ve sinned, heaven’s ashamed,
I’m no longer worthy to wear your name.
I’ve learned that my home is right where you are.
O Father, take me in.”

Father: “Bring the best robe, put it on my son.
Shoes for his feet, hurry, put them on.
This is my son who I thought had died,
prepare a feast for my son’s life.

I prayed and prayed, never heard a sound.
My son was lost, oh thank you, God, he’s found.
My son was dead and now is alive,
prepare a feast for my son’s life.

My son was dead, my son was lost,
my son’s returned in the hands of God.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.


I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Drawn close to the heart of God, we offer these prayers for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

A brief silence.

Each intercession concludes:
Merciful God.
Receive our prayer.

Accept the prayers we bring, O God, on behalf of a world in need, for the sake of Jesus Christ.


God feeds us with the presence of Jesus Christ.


The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our Savior Jesus Christ. You comforted your people with the promise of the Redeemer, through whom you will also make all things new in the day when he comes to judge the world in righteousness. And so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna, in the highest.


In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

With this bread and cup we remember your Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. We remember our new birth in his death and resurrection. We look with hope for his coming.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Holy God, we long for your Spirit. Come among us. Bless this meal. May your Word take flesh in us. Awaken your people. Fill us with your light. Bring the gift of peace on earth.
Come, Holy Spirit.

All praise and glory are yours, Holy One of Israel, Word of God incarnate, Power of the Most High, one God, now and forever.

Amen, amen, amen.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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.


Here is food and drink for the journey. Take and be filled.


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us peace, grant us peace.

COMMUNION HYMN – “Come Down, O Love Divine”

Come down, O Love divine;
seek thou this soul of mine
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near;
within my heart appear
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

Oh, let it freely burn,
till worldly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity
mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing–
true lowliness of heart,
which takes the humbler part,
and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the pow’r of human telling;
no soul can guess Love’s grace
till it become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.


The body of Christ, given for you.
The blood of Christ, shed for you.

Each person may respond: Amen.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you always in his grace.


Blessed Jesus, in this rich meal of grace, you have fed us with your body, the bread of life. Now send us forth to bear your life-giving hope to a world in need.


God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.


You are children of God, anointed with the oil of gladness and strengthened for the journey. Almighty God, motherly, majestic, and mighty, bless you this day and always.

SENDING HYMN – “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found;
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood his mercy rains,
Unending love, amazing grace.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood his mercy rains,
Unending love, amazing grace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine,
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine,
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood his mercy rains,
Unending love, amazing grace.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood his mercy rains,
Unending love, amazing grace.


Go in peace. Jesus meets you on the way.
Created, saved and gifted by God, we seek, serve and share Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God!


“W + 2” = Worship Plus Two
Make a commitment to not only worship each week but also try to find a way to serve in the congregation and seek out a way to serve our community.


Upcoming Commemorations

Hans Nielsen Hauge, renewer of the church, died 1824
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Hauge was a layperson who wished to revitalize the church in Norway. As a result of a mystical experience, he felt called to preach. Many professionals in the church feared his motives and influence, and he was imprisoned for leading unauthorized gatherings.

John Donne, poet, died 1631
Thursday, March 31, 2022

After finishing his education at Oxford University, Donne seemed headed for a career in the English public service. But a series of circumstances led him into the ordained ministry. He is well known as a writer of both secular and sacred poetry.

From Sundays and Copyright 2014 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #22920.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Curches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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