Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Holy Communion on the First Sunday of Lent: February 26, 2023, 10:30 a.m.

 The livestream may be found here.

February 26, 2023

The First Sunday in Lent


The color purple, used for the vestments and paraments in Lent, symbolizes somberness and solemnity. Crosses and images of our Lord and the saints are veiled with purple cloth during Lent.


FIRST READING (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7): ‘Did God really say…? – that is the utterly godless question.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). It is godless because it puts humanity in the position of being judge over God’s word. The devil invites us to discuss God’s word with him, and the evil one will always frame the question in a way which leads away from living in trusting relationship with God. Once the man and the woman ate of the tree, ‘they knew that they were naked.’ In other words, they became aware of their vulnerability and sought to conceal themselves from each other and from God.


SECOND READING (Romans 5:12-19): Paul juxtaposes Adam and Christ, condemnation and justification, death and life. The world we live in is a world in which sin and jealousy are already present and activate the potential for sin and jealousy in us. However, the obedience of Christ which leads to justification cancels the curse which Adam’s disobedience brought. Christ’s obedience is stronger than Adam’s disobedience, for even though one trespass brings condemnation for all, Christ’s obedience after many trespasses brings justification.


GOSPEL (Matthew 4:1-11): The evil one invites Jesus to participate in his godless theological discussion. The three temptations are variants on the serpent’s question to Eve, ‘Did God really say?’ Jesus does not engage in conversation with the devil, but replies with the trustworthy words of his Father.


OPENING MUSIC         A Mighty Fortress Is Our God                  J. S. Bach




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.


Let us pray together the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

  O Lord and Master of my life,

  take from me a spirit of laziness, despair,

  love of power, and idle talk.

  But give your servant a spirit of chastity,

  humility, patience, and love.

  Yes, O Lord and King,

  grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my neighbor.

  For You are blessed forever and ever. Amen   



found in the front section of the Green Lutheran Book of Worship, p. 168

 L              Lord, have mercy. R             Lord, have mercy.

L              Christ, have mercy.             R             Christ, have mercy.

L              Lord, have mercy. R             Lord, have mercy.


L              O Christ, hear us. R             In mercy hear us.


L              God, the Father in heaven, R             have mercy on us.

L              God, the Son, redeemer of the world,              R             have mercy on us.

L              God, the Holy Spirit,          R             have mercy on us.

L              Holy Trinity, one God,       R             have mercy on us.


L              Be gracious to us. R             Spare us, good Lord.

L              Be gracious to us. R             Spare us, good Lord.


L              From all sin, from all error, from all evil;

                from the cunning assaults of the devil;

                from an unprepared and evil death:

R             Good Lord, deliver us.

L              From war, bloodshed, and violence;

                from corrupt and unjust government;

                from sedition and treason:

R             Good Lord, deliver us.

L              From epidemic, drought, and famine;

                from fire and flood, earthquake, lightning and storm;

                and from everlasting death:

R             Good Lord, deliver us.


L              By the mystery of your incarnation;

                by your holy birth:

R             Help us, good Lord.

L              By your baptism, fasting, and temptation;

                by your agony and bloody sweat;

                by your cross and suffering;

                by your death and burial:

R             Help us, good Lord.

L              By your resurrection and ascension;

                by the gift of the Holy Spirit:

R             Help us, good Lord.


L              In all time of our tribulation;

                in all time of our prosperity;

                in the hour of death;

                and in the day of judgment:

R             Save us, good Lord.

L              Though unworthy, we implore you

R             to hear us, Lord our God.


L              To rule and govern your holy catholic Church;

                to guide all servants of your Church in the love of your Word

                                and in holiness of life;

                to put an end to all schisms and causes of offense to those who would believe;

                and to bring into the way of truth all who have gone astray:

R             We implore you to hear us, good Lord.

L              To beat down Satan under our feet;

                to send faithful workers into your harvest;

                to accompany your Word with your Spirit and power;

                to raise up those who fall and to strengthen those who stand;

                and to comfort and help the fainthearted and the distressed:

R             We implore you to hear us, good Lord.

L              To give to all nations justice and peace;

                to preserve our country from discord and strife;

                to direct and guard those who have civil authority;

                and to bless and guide all our people:

R             We implore you to hear us, good Lord.

L              To behold and help all who are in danger, need, or tribulation;

                to protect and guide all who travel;

                to preserve and provide for all women in childbirth;

                to watch over children and to guide the young;

                to heal the sick and to strengthen their families and friends;

                to bring reconciliation to families in discord;

                to provide for the unemployed and for all in need;

                to be merciful to all who are imprisoned;

                to support, comfort, and guide all orphans, widowers, and widows;

                and to have mercy on all your people:

R             We implore you to hear us, good Lord.

L              To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to reconcile us to them;

                to help us use wisely the fruits and treasures of the earth, the sea, and the air;

                and graciously to hear our prayers:

R             We implore you to hear us, good Lord.

L              Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,

R             we implore you to hear us.


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

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

L              Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;        R             give us peace. Amen


L              O Christ, hear us. R             In mercy hear us.


L              Lord, have mercy. R             Lord, have mercy.

L              Christ, have mercy.             R             Christ, have mercy.

L              Lord, have mercy. R             Lord, have mercy.


Lord our God, in every age you call a people to hear your word and to do your will. Renew us in these Lenten days: washed clean of sin, sealed by the Spirit, and sustained by your living bread, may we remain true to our calling and, with the elect, serve you alone. We ask these things through Jesus Christ, our liberator from sin, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven,

and whose sin is put away!

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.                                          Psalm 32:1



FIRST READING:          Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7


15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.


The Word of the Lord.                                                  

  Thanks be to God.






1 Happy are they whose transgressions | are forgiven,*

                and whose sin is | put away!

2 Happy are they to whom the Lord im- | putes no guilt,*

                and in whose spirit there | is no guile!

3 While I held my tongue, my bones with- | ered away,*

                because of my groaning | all day long.

4 For your hand was heavy upon me | day and night;*

                my moisture was dried up as in the | heat of summer.

5 Then I acknowledged my | sin to you,*

                and did not con- | ceal my guilt.

6 I said, "I will confess my transgressions | to the Lord."*

                Then you forgave me the guilt | of my sin.

7 Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers

to you in | time of trouble;*

                when the great waters overflow, they | shall not reach them.

8 You are my hiding-place; you preserve | me from trouble;*

                you surround me with shouts | of deliverance.

9 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way that | you should go;*

                I will guide you | with my eye.

10 Do not be like horse or mule, which have no | understanding;*

                who must be fitted with bit and bridle,

or else they will | not stay near you."

11 Great are the tribulations | of the wicked;*

                but mercy embraces those who trust | in the Lord.

12 Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice | in the Lord;*

                shout for joy, all who are | true of heart.



SECOND READING                                                    Romans 5:12-19


12Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—13sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.


The Word of the Lord.                  

  Thanks be to God.




VERSE                Matthew 4:4                              Setting by John W. Becker

One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the

mouth of God.


Gospel                                                                                             Matthew 4:1-11


The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.

1Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
 ‘One does not live by bread alone,
  but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
 ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
  and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
 so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’

7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
 ‘Worship the Lord your God,
  and serve only him.’

11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.


The Gospel of the Lord.




W Hymn of the DaY    A Mighty Fortress Is Our God    Green LBW 228



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.


Father, sustain your Church throughout our forty-day pilgrimage to the cross. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Father, bless with zeal and knowledge those who preach the life-giving Gospel. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Father, give our faith family the spirit of mutual love and care for each other, and increase in us a desire to hear and spread your Word. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Father, be with all who hold office in our land, and let our citizens work together for the good of all in their communities, workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods. Be with the peoples of the world and bless all who strive for peace. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Father, have mercy upon the people, leaders, and armed forces of Ukraine, resisting aggression and invasion for one year. Grant to those who mourn the loss of home and family comfort and mercy. Empower those in every land who desire order, peace, security, and justice to act and speak with courage. Convert and restrain those who worship violence, and make your name holy despite those who take it in vain. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Father, we pray for the poor in body, mind, and spirit; those without shelter and medical care; the grieving; the dying; for those in need everywhere, and for those who have asked for our prayers.


The Pastor reads the names and situations submitted for prayer.

The People may intercede for others aloud or in silence.


Lord, in your mercy,                                                          hear our prayer.

Father, we remember with thanksgiving all who have been made righteous by Jesus Christ. Confident in his grace, we look to that day when we shall join the saints and our departed loved ones around the tree of life. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


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




Since we are justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has given us access to his grace.

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.



OFFERTORY  Ezekiel 18:30-32                  Setting by Kevin Norris              

Repent and turn from all your sins, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away

from you all the sins which you have committed against me, and get

yourself a new heart and a new spirit. For I have no pleasure in the

death of anyone, says the Lord God of hosts, so turn to me and live.




Lord, come to us and cleanse us,

come to us and heal us,

come to us and strengthen us,

 and grant that, having received you,

 we may never be separated from you,

  but continue yours forever.




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; In the time of trial, he remained faithful to your Word, and exposed the lies of the evil one; by the obedience of his life and passion he made righteous the many who had been disobedient, that sin and death might give way to holiness and life. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:



The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


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.









In the presence of Christ, we pray to his Father using the words he gave us.


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                                    

Matthew 6:9-15


This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Happy are we who are called to his supper.

  Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,

  but only say the word and I shall be healed.

John 1:29; Revelation 19:9; Matthew 8:8


HYMN                   For Perfect Love So Freely Spent                     stanzas 1 and 2  


                For perfect love so freely spent,

                for fellowship restored,

                we celebrate your sacrament

                and sing your praise, O Lord.


                We come, by sin disquieted,

                and find our lives made whole;

                around this table we are fed

                refreshment for the soul.





                Green LBW 503              O Jesus, I Have Pondered

                                                                        St.3/ Choir

  1      O Jesus, I have promised

        to serve you to the end;

        remain forever near me,

        my master and my friend.

        I shall not fear the battle

        if you are by my side,

        nor wander from the pathway

        if you will be my guide.


2      Oh, let me feel you near me;

        the world is ever near.

        I see the sights that dazzle,

        the tempting sounds I hear.

        My foes are ever near me,

        around me and within;

        but, Jesus, then draw nearer

        to shield my soul from sin.


3      Oh, let me hear you speaking

        in accents clear and still

        above the storms of passion,

        the murmurs of self-will.

        Now speak to reassure me,

        to hasten or control;

        now speak and make me listen,

        O Guardian of my soul.


4      O Jesus, you have promised

        to all who follow you

        that where you are in glory

        your servant shall be too.

        And Jesus, I have promised

        to serve you to the end;

        oh, give me grace to follow,

        my master and my friend.


Text: John E. Bode, 1816-1874, alt.             

When all have received, the People stand at the direction of the pastor.


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




                 For Perfect Love So Freely Spent                                      stanza 3


                Abide with us; in all our ways

                your saving love be shown;

                so may our lives be hymns of praise,

                O Christ, to you alone.



O Lord, you have called us to be your witnesses.

Cleanse us from all unbelief and sloth

and fill us with hope and zeal,

  that we may do your work,

  and bear your cross,

  and bide your time,

  and see your glory.



Almighty God, Father, X Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.




                                Green LBW 470   Praise and Thanks and Adoration   



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                

  Thanks be to God!




Lutheran Book of Worship Daily Scripture Readings


Monday, February 27:  Deuteronomy 8:1-20; Hebrews 2:11-18; John 2:1-12

Tuesday, February 28: Deuteronomy 9:1-12; Hebrews 3:1-11; John 2:13-22

Wednesday, March 1: Deuteronomy 9:13-21; Hebrews 3:12-19; John 2:23-3:5

Thursday, March 2: Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5; Hebrews 4:1-10; John 3:16-21

Friday, March 3: Deuteronomy 10:12-22; Hebrews 4:11-16; John 3:22-36

Saturday, March 4: Deuteronomy 11:18-28; Hebrews 5:1-10; John 4:1-26

Sunday, March 5: Jeremiah 1:1-10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-23; Mark 3:31-4:9




From Sundays and Copyright 2023 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 Canon reprinted with permission from A Little Book of Canons by Rod L. Ronneberg, STS, © 1997 and © 2010.

Additional liturgical material from Common Worship: Times and Seasons,

© 2006 The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England,

and Foretaste of the Feast to Come, by Philip Pfatteicher, 1997 Augsburg Publishing House.

Mola, Gasparo, 1571?-1640, Tacca, Pietro, 1577-1640. Temptation of Christ, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved February 21, 2023]. Original source:

Agnus Day appears with the permission of


St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road, Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868




Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am