First Sunday in Lent (Year C)

Opening Sentences 

  • Those who live in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord,
    My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.
    Those who love me, I will deliver, says the Lord.
    I will protect those who know my name.
    When they call to me I will answer them,
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue them and honor them,
    and show them my salvation.

    --from Psalm 91 

Call to Confession 

  • Remember that our Lord Jesus Christ is able to sympathize with us in our 
    weakness, since in every respect he was tested as we are, yet without sin.
    Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
    that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
    --from Hebrews 4:15-16 

Prayer of Confession  

  • Most merciful God,
    whose Son Jesus Christ was tempted in every way, yet without sin,
    we confess before you that we have sinned;
    • we have hungered after that which does not satisfy;
      we have compromised with evil;
      we have doubted your power to protect us.

    Forgive our lack of faith; have mercy on our weakness.
    Restore in us such love and trust that we may walk in your ways
    and delight in doing your will.

Assurance of Pardon 

  • God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
    so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
    God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,
    but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
    Believe the good news of the Gospel: in Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Prayer for Illumination 

  • Gracious God, we do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from your mouth.
    Make us hungry for this heavenly food, 
    that it may nourish us today in the way of eternal life;
    through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven.  

    The hymn, "Jesus, Tempted in the Desert" (Tune: Ebeneezer) by Herman Stuempfle (copyright 1993 G.I.A. Publications, Inc.) closely follows the gospel text for the First Sunday in Lent. Consider using the hymn to frame the Gospel lesson (Luke 4:1-13), singing a verse of the hymn after each of the three temptations. (The second and third verses of the hymn will need to be switched in order to parallel the Lucan version of the temptation narrative.) The final verse of the hymn, "When we face temptation's power..." can be sung as a response following the sermon. Permission to reproduce the hymn for one time use can be obtained for a modest fee from G.I.A. Publications (800-442-1358).

Written by John Paarlberg, pastor of First Church in Albany, New York