Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Holy Communion on the First Sunday in Lent, 10:30 a.m.

The livestream may be found here. You need not have a Facebook account to view the livestream.

February 21, 2021

The First Sunday in Lent



The color purple is used for the vestments and paraments in Lent. After he was condemned to death, Jesus was clothed in a purple robe and mocked as ‘King of the Jews’ (Mark 15:17-20). We clothe our icons and symbols of the Lord in purple to remind us both of the suffering and the royalty of Jesus.


OLD TESTAMENT: The theme of covenant reverberates through the Old Testament lessons in this year’s cycle of Lenten readings. In the ancient church, Lent was a forty-day period of preparation for catechumens who were to be baptized into the new covenant in Christ. The baptismal covenant is foreshadowed in the covenants of the Old Testament, beginning with the covenant with Noah.


In his reading of Scripture, Martin Luther describes God’s ‘alien work’ in opposition to his ‘proper work.’ The work that is proper to God’s nature is to save and make alive. When chaos threatens to overwhelm human community, God must resort to the alien work of punishment, as here in the flood, for the sake of life, holiness, and purity. As Luther reads the Bible, he discerns that God’s wrath is ever is in the service of God’s love – the rainbow, the sign of God’s promise, is given to Noah and to all humankind.


NEW TESTAMENT: The apostle Peter links the water of Noah’s flood with the covenant of baptism. Interestingly, in this lesson we have one of the only scriptural referents for the line in the Apostles’ Creed ‘he descended into hell’ (or, ‘he descended to the dead.’) In the Spirit, Jesus made a proclamation to the ‘spirits in prison’ who did not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Presumably, he released from hell those who heard and trusted in him. This makes Christ the true ‘Lord of hell,’ if you will. Satan is not triumphant even in hell. Christ does not descend to endure more punishment, but to assert his kingship ‘in heaven, on earth, and under the earth’ (Philippians 2:10)


GOSPEL: Immediately following his baptism, the Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness. In the midst of temptation, he is sustained by the Word of the covenant God has made with him in baptism: ‘You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ The Son of God is predecessor and pattern for all those who are baptized. They are claimed as God’s sons and daughters and called to the covenant until the day when all temptation has ceased.


OPENING MUSIC                                                                         Lord of Our Life

I.                        Roger Petrich

II.                      J.M. Strobel


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played:


1      Lord of our life and God of our salvation,

        star of our night and hope of ev'ry nation;

        hear and receive your church's supplication,

        Lord God Almighty.


2      See round your ark the hungry billows curling,

see how your foes their banners are unfurling.

Lord, while their poisoned arrows they are hurling,

you can preserve us.


3      Lord, you can help when earthly armor fails us;

Lord, you can save when deadly sin assails us;

and, in the day when hell itself appalls us,

Grant us your peace, Lord:


4     Peace in our hearts, our troubled thoughts assuaging,

        peace in your church, where kindred souls are raging,

        peace, when the world its endless war is waging,

        peace in your heaven.


Text: Matthäus A. von Löwenstern, 1594-1648; tr. Philip Pusey, 1799-1855, alt.





(Though God’s promise knows no season, we fast from hearing the public announcement of the forgiveness of sins during the forty days of Lent. The Great Three Days begin on Maundy Thursday with the pronouncement of forgiveness.)



Blessed be God: Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit,

  And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen


Hear the commandments of God to his people:

I am the LORD your God,

who brought you out of the house of slavery.

You shall have no other gods.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not make wrongful use

of the name of the LORD your God.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


Honor your father and your mother.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not murder.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not commit adultery.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not steal.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,

or his male or female slave, or his ox, or his donkey,

or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

  Amen. Lord, have mercy.


These are the commandments of the LORD our God.

  Lord, have mercy on us sinners,

  and incline our hearts to keep your law.


The almighty Lord bless us,

forgive us our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,

strengthen us in all goodness,

and by the power of the Spirit keep us in eternal life.





The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.      2 Corinthians 13:13

  And also with you.



God of the covenant,

as the forty days of deluge swept away the world’s corruption

and watered new beginnings of righteousness and life,

so in the saving waters of baptism

your people are washed clean and born again.

  Throughout these forty days,

  unseal for us the wellspring of your grace,

  cleanse our hearts of all that is not holy,

  and cause your gift of new life to flourish once again.

Grant this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.                           




The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;

repent and believe in the good news.

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.                                                       Mark 1:15



First READING                                                                           Genesis 9:8-17


8God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”


The Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 25:1-9                 

The psalm is read responsively between the pastor and the people.


Your paths are love and faithfulness to those who keep your covenant.   (vs. 9)

  Your paths are love and faithfulness to those who keep your  



1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my | trust in you;*

                let me not be humiliated, nor let my enemies triumph | over me.

2 Let none who look to you be | put to shame;*

                let the treacherous be disappointed | in their schemes.

3 Show me your | ways, O Lord,*

                and teach | me your paths.

4 Lead me in your | truth and teach me,*

                for you are the God of my salvation;

in you have I trusted all | the day long.

5 Remember, O Lord, your compas- | sion and love,*

                for they are from | everlasting.

6 Remember not the sins of my youth and | my transgressions;*

                remember me according to your love

                and for the sake of your good- | ness, O Lord.

7 Gracious and upright | is the Lord;*

                therefore he teaches sinners | in his way.

8 He guides the humble in | doing right*

                and teaches his way | to the lowly.

9 All the paths of the Lord are | love and faithfulness*

                to those who keep his covenant and his | testimonies.


Your paths are love and faithfulness to those who keep your  



SECOND READING                                                                    1 Peter 3:18-22


18Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.


The Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.




One does not live by bread alone,

  but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4


Gospel                                                                                             Mark 1:9-15


The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                

  Praise to you, O Christ.





HYMN OF THE DAY                                Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.



1      Lord, keep us steadfast in your word;

        curb those who by deceit or sword

        would wrest the kingdom from your Son

        and bring to naught all he has done.


2      Lord Jesus Christ, your pow'r make known,

        for you are Lord of lords alone;

        defend your holy church, that we

        may sing your praise eternally.


3      O Comforter of priceless worth,

        send peace and unity on earth;

        support us in our final strife

        and lead us out of death to life.


Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878, alt.




The pastor and people confess the faith of the Church in the words of the Nicene Creed.


X At the words ‘For us and for our salvation,’ and continuing through ‘and was made man,’ a solemn bow is appropriate to praise the incarnation of our Lord.


We believe in one God,

                the Father, the Almighty,            

                                maker of heaven and earth,

                                of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

                the only Son of God,

                eternally begotten of the Father,

                God from God, Light from Light,

                true God from true God,

                begotten, not made,

                of one Being with the Father.

                Through him all things were made.

                X For us and for our salvation

                                he came down from heaven;

                                by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                he became incarnate from the virgin Mary,   and was made man. X

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

                                he suffered death and was buried.

                On the third day he rose again

                                                in accordance with the Scriptures;

                                he ascended into heaven

                                                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

                                and his kingdom will have no end.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

                who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

                With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

                He has spoken through the prophets.

                We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

                We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

                We look for the resurrection of the dead,

                                and the life of the world to come. Amen



Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


Silence is kept.


That the covenant you have made with us in Baptism may sustain your Church through the forty days of Lent: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


That our Faith Family may continually grow closer to one another and to you: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


That all who serve in public office and those who protect and serve us may be sustained and strengthened for their callings: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


That those who work in business, technology, media, and research be motivated not simply by hope of gain but by desire to benefit all: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


That all who are tempted may cast their cares on Jesus the Lord who was also tempted. Give them strength and peace: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


That you would hear the prayers of those who suffer from any illness, injury, or need; and our prayers for others:


The pastor reads the names on the prayer list.

The people are invited to offer intercessions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


That we may come to that day when all your saints will be gathered around Jesus, who returned from the wilderness to establish his covenant with us: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



The peace of the Lord be with you always. 

  And also with you. 


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.




God of mercy and compassion,

your Word calls us home to faith and love.

accept all we offer you this day,

and prepare us to receive Him

who in great mercy is offered for us:

Jesus Christ, our Lord.





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 him thanks and praise.


It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord.

  Living in the covenant of his baptism, he endured temptation in the wilderness so that he might make covenant with us; and, confident in this hope and sustained by his Spirit, we journey through the wilderness of this world toward the life of the world to come.

  And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


                Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;

                the whole earth is full of his glory!

                Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

                Hosanna in the highest!


Blessed are you, O Lord our God.


You created us in your image;

    and in the mystery of your great love for us

    you sent your only Son, Jesus  Christ,

    born of Mary by the power of the Spirit. 


Led by that Spirit he was tempted as we are tempted;

                He proclaimed your forgiveness to sinners;

    he loved even his enemies. 


Despised and rejected,

                he bore the alienation of the world

    as he stretched out his arms on the cross;

    and by this all-sufficient sacrifice

    he has drawn all people to himself,

    giving his life as a ransom for many. 


As we gather in his name and celebrate his testament,

    send your Spirit upon us

    and upon these gifts of bread and wine,

    that they may be for us

    the very body and blood of your Son,

    Christ Jesus, redeemer of the world.


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.


Blessed are you, O Lord our God. 


By your Son's life-giving passion and death,

                and by His resurrection and ascension into glory,              

                our Lord Jesus continually intercedes for us

                and for all he has claimed as his own. 


As we now share together

                this Bread of Life and this Cup of Salvation,

                unite us with all your faithful people

                in the forgiveness of sins,

                and bring us, at length, to that eternal celebration of life

                at the Lamb's high feast.  


                Through him, with him, in him,

                in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

                all honor and glory is yours,

                almighty Father, now and forever. Amen


Christ is in our midst.

By the power of the Spirit,

we pray to his Father, saying:


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 God’s Son, the beloved; with whom he is well pleased.      Mark 1:11

  Thanks be to God.


We adore Christ with the words of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).


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.                                                   John 1:29, see also Luke 17:13



Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated, and please do not remove your mask until you have reached the table with the elements on it.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated. Please put your mask on before returning to your seat.


Those who are able may kneel at the altar rail as a sign of reverence and homage to the Lord Jesus who comes to us in the bread and the wine.


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.


O Bread of Life from Heaven


1      O bread of life from heaven,

        O food to pilgrims given,

        O manna from above:

        feed with the blessed sweetness

        of your divine completeness

        the souls that want and need your love.


2      O fount of grace redeeming,

        O river ever streaming

        from Jesus' wounded side:

        come now, your love bestowing

        on thirsting souls, and flowing

        till all are fully satisfied.


3      We love you, Jesus, tender,

        in all your hidden splendor

        within these means of grace.

        Oh, let the veil be riven,

        and our clear eye in heaven

        behold your glory face to face.


Text: Latin hymn, c. 1661; tr. Hugh T. Henry, 1862-1946, sts. 1, 3; tr. Philip Schaff, 1819-1893, st. 2


When all have received, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.



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



Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now,

and will be forever. Amen                                 Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)



Almighty God,

you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin

and a model of the godly life.

Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving,

and to conform our lives to his;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.




God the Father,

who does not despise the broken spirit,

give to you a contrite heart.



Jesus Christ, the Son of God,

who bore our sins in his body on the tree,

heal you by his wounds.



God the Holy Spirit,

who leads us into all truth,

speak to you words of pardon and peace.



The blessing of God, Father, X Son, and Holy Spirit,

be upon you and remain with you forever.




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.          

Thanks be to God!


CLOSING MUSIC                                                       





·         If you wish to attend worship, you will need to pre-register every week by either calling the office or sending an email.

·         Registration ends Saturday at 12 noon.

·         Masks are required to be worn while in the building.

·         Upon entering and leaving the church, you must sanitize your hands or wash them with soap and water.

·         You should not loiter for greeting or conversation in the narthex, but instead go directly to your place in the church. After worship, you should not loiter in the nave or the narthex, but immediately exit the building.

·         Everyone must sign in when entering the church. This way we can keep track of who was in the church and when.



WORSHIP SERVICES are held every Saturday evening at 6:30 PM and Sunday morning at 10:30 AM. Pastor Frontz also livestreams Compline (Prayer at the Close of the Day) on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. and Vespers (Evening Prayer) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. These can be accessed on the church’s Facebook page (


AN ONLINE BIBLE STUDY meets on Wednesday evenings at 7:30, following the livestreamed service of Evening Prayer. The topic is Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Please contact Pastor Frontz if you would like the ZOOM link. You can also watch Facebook Live if you do not want to or cannot ZOOM.


ST STEPHEN COUNSELING CENTER: A site of Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute/PPI). For marriage, family, teen and individual counseling – for first appointment call PPI at 412-661-1239. St. Stephen Center is

412-279-5452. Counseling opens doors to hope. Counselor: Caroline Graham-McGuire.




Sun/Feb 21          WORSHIP 10:30 AM

                                Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM

Wed/ Feb 24      Evening Prayer (livestream) 7:00 PM

                                ZOOM Bible Study 7:30 PM

Sat/Feb 27           NA Meeting 11:00 AM


Sun/Feb 28          WORSHIP 10:30 AM

                                Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM








From Sundays and Copyright 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Eucharistic Prayer reprinted with permission from A Little Book of Canons by Rod L. Ronneberg, STS, ©1997 and ©2010.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Prayer of the Day from Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language,

copyright 1997 International Commission on English in the Liturgy. All rights reserved.

Ermakova, Natalia. Noah's Ark Icon, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved February 17, 2021]. Original source: - Jim Forest.

Agnus Day appears with the permission of

St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868