Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Holy Communion on the Fourth Sunday in Lent

The livestream may be found here.

March 14, 2021

The Fourth 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 of both the suffering and the royalty of Jesus.


OLD TESTAMENT: The people of Israel, journeying through the wilderness after the covenant at Sinai, complain against Moses; their lack of trust in God is reflected in their wish to go back to slavery in Egypt. The serpents (harking back to the serpent of Genesis 3?) are punishment that fits the crime. The serpent of Genesis 3 deceived Adam and Eve by casting doubt upon God’s promise. In the same way the tempter brings the people of Israel to doubt God’s covenant promise. The snakes testify to Israel of the sin into which they have fallen.


The remedy of the serpent of bronze inoculates the people against the death which sin brings upon them. To look upon the serpent of bronze is at once confession of sin and assurance of forgiveness. It is both acknowledgment that sin leads to death and expression of faith that God will give life.


NEW TESTAMENT: In Ephesians 2, Paul explores the theme of sin and redemption through Jesus Christ. The love and mercy of God is extolled which brings the dead to life. We are reminded that it is by God’s grace we are saved without our works. We are created anew so that we might do good works, not in order to be saved but simply because we are saved.


GOSPEL: Jesus explains the significance of his suffering and death by reference to the event of Numbers 21. The lifting up of the servant in the wilderness is a ‘type’ or a ‘foreshadowing’ which finds its completion in the lifting up of the Son of Man upon the cross. The life which is given through him is not simply a healing from disease; rather, it is the gift of eternal life, which saves us from eternal death, separation from God. This gift of eternal life comes through the Son, whom God sent in great love for a world of sinners.  But although the Son came to save the world, those who refuse to repent in the light of the crucified one condemn themselves.


OPENING MUSIC                                                                   Lift High the Cross

I.                    Paul Manz

II.                  Charles Orr


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


Refrain:   Lift high the Cross,

                        the love of Christ proclaim

                        till all the world adore his sacred name!


1              Come, Christians follow where our captain trod,

                our king victorious, Christ, the Son of God.                           Refrain  


2              Led on their way by this triumphant sign,

                The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.                  Refrain


3              All newborn soldiers of the Crucified

                bear on their brows the seal of him who died.                       Refrain


4             O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,

                as thou hast promised, draw us all to thee.                             Refrain


5              So shall our song of triumph ever be:

                praise to the Crucified for victory!                                            Refrain



Text: George W. Kitchin, 1827-1912




(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.                                    Exodus 20:2-17

  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.



O God, rich in mercy,

you so loved the world

that when we were dead in our sins,

you sent your only Son for our deliverance.

  Lifted up from the earth,

  he is light and life;

  exalted upon the cross,

  he is truth and salvation.

Raise us up with Christ

and make us rich in good works,

  that we may walk as children of light

  toward the paschal feast of heaven.

Grant this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.





Let God’s people tell of his acts with shouts of joy.

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.                                                 Psalm 107:22



First READING                                                                        Numbers 21:4-9


4From Mount Hor [the Israelites] set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”

 9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.


The Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 107:1-3, 17-22                  

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


The Lord delivered them from their distress.                                       (vs. 19)

  The Lord delivered them from their distress. 


1 Give thanks to the Lord, for | he is good,*

                and his mercy en- | dures forever.

2 Let all those whom the Lord has re- | deemed proclaim*

                that he redeemed them from the hand | of the foe.

3 He gathered them out | of the lands;*

                from the east and from the west,

from the north and | from the south.

17 Some were fools and took to re- | bellious ways;*

                they were afflicted because | of their sins.

18 They abhorred all man- | ner of food*

                and drew near | to death's door.

19 Then they cried to the Lord | in their trouble,*

                and he delivered them from | their distress.

20 He sent forth his | word and healed them*

                and saved them | from the grave.

21 Let them give thanks to the Lord | for his mercy*

                and the wonders he does | for his children.

22 Let them offer a sacrifice | of thanksgiving*

and tell of his acts with | shouts of joy.


 The Lord delivered them from their distress. 


SECOND READING                                                        Ephesians 2:1-10


1You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.


The Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.




Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

  that whosoever believes in him may have eternal life.            John 3:14-15


Gospel                                                                                                  John 3:14-21


The Holy Gospel according to St. John.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said:] 14“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16“For 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.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                

  Praise to you, O Christ.





HYMN OF THE DAY                                                         God Loved the World


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


1              God loved the world so that he gave

                his only Son, the lost to save,

                that all who would in him believe

                should everlasting life receive.


2              Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,

                who was made flesh and suffered death;

                all who confide in Christ alone

                are built on this chief cornerstone.


3              If you are sick, if death is near,

                this truth your troubled heart can cheer;

                Christ Jesus saves your soul from death;

                that is the firmest ground of faith.


4             Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son

                forgives all sins which you have done,

                and justified by Jesus’ blood,

                your baptism grants the highest good.


Text: Gesangbuch, Bollhagen, 1791; tr. August Crull, 1846-1923, 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.


For the grace to humbly confess our sins and fix our eyes upon the cross of Christ, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For our St Stephen faith family and our mission to bear witness and serve others in God’s name, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For those whom the Church calls to preach the good news of God, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For our city and communities, the nation, and the world; for our public servants, the members of the armed forces, and all who work for peace, justice, health, and protection; let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For all who are called to baptism, and for those who seek reconciliation with you in this time of penitence, let us pray to the Lord.

  Lord, have mercy.


For those who suffer from any illness, injury, or need; for those who have asked us for our prayers:


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.


For all who have been seated in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus, especially those dear to us who rest in him, let us pray to the Lord.

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love, 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.

  He was lifted high upon the cross for the salvation of the whole world; and by his grace we are brought from death to life, created anew for the life of loving and serving you.

  And so, 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!


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


God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,

but in order that the world might be saved through him.                

  Thanks be to God.                                                                                       John 3:17



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.


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

Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life


1              Come, my way, my truth, my life:

                such a way as gives us breath;

                such a truth as ends all strife;

                such a life as conquers death.


2              Come, my light, my feast, my strength:

                such a light as shows a feast;

                such a feast as mends in length;

                such a strength as makes his guest.


3              Come, my joy, my love, my heart:

                such a joy as none can move;

                such a love as none can part;

                such a heart as joys in love.


Text: George Herbert, 1593-1632


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                                                      



                Last Weekend’s Attendance:  13 + 17 = 30


Offering: 3/7/2021

                Towards Budget:                                   $         3,029.00

Itemized Non Budget:

              Lenten Offering:                $           85.00

                                  Misc:                  $            61.23

                        Food Bank:                 $           25.00       


                                                Total:                        $          3,200.23



Linda Armento, at home

Matthew Armento, at home

Mary Jo Bondi, at home

Linnese Dawe, at home

Ruth Duessel, at Concordia, Rebecca

The Rev. Carl Hendrickson, at home

Elsie Kemmler and Bill Roth at Concordia, South Hills

Scott Klammer, at Concordia, South Hills

David Noel, at Kane Rehab, Scott Township

Geneva Schrag, at Consulate Health Care, Canonsburg

William Wetzel at Concordia, Cabot




·         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.

·         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.


OUR PURPLE LENTEN OFFERING ENVELOPES will support Carlynton High School’s ‘backpack program,’ which provides free weekend meals to students who might ordinarily go hungry. The backpacks contain two breakfasts, two lunches, and three dinners. Students pick the backpacks up on Friday and return them Monday. The money we give will be used to purchase meals for the students. This is important this year as the normal fund-raisers which support this program have not been able to occur due to COVID-19.


EASTER FLOWER SIGN UP SHEETS are available in the Narthex. Please make your selections by Sunday March 21, 2021. Lilies, Mums, Hyacinths, and Tulips are available. Costs and color selections are listed on the sheets.


KINDLY REMEMBER TO PAY FOR THE FLOWERS you ordered for the weekend Altar and for the special occasions.  Altar flowers are $20/vase. Checks can be made out to St. Stephen Lutheran Church with a notation “flowers” and placed in the offering plate.


ALTAR FLOWERS FOR 2021: Please see the sign-up sheet available in the Narthex for altar flowers. If you are unable to sign up in person, you may call or email the office to make a request for a date(s). We will assign date(s) in the order in which the requests are received. The process will repeat until the slots are filled. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding. The cost per arrangement is $20.


DAILY DEVOTIONS, including THE WORD IN SEASON, PORTALS OF PRAYER AND CHRIST IN OUR HOME (January, February, and March 2021) are available on the table in the Narthex. Take one or more to share with family and friends. If you are able, a donation would be welcomed to help defray the cost to the congregation for these resources. Thank you!

2021 ‘DAILY TEXTS’ are available in the Narthex. A donation of

$10 per book would be appreciated to help cover the cost of the books. Thank you.


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/Mar 14         WORSHIP 10:30 AM

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

Wed/ Mar 17      Evening Prayer (livestream) 7:00 PM

                                ZOOM Bible Study 7:30 PM

Sat/Mar 20         NA Meeting 11:00 AM


Sun/Mar 21         WORSHIP 10:30 AM

                                Church Council meeting 7:00 PM

                                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.

Coming into focus - Rose window, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved March 9, 2021]. Original source:

Agnus Day appears with the permission of


St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868