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St. John's Worship Service - February 26, 2023
Pastor Wende Bleam
Pastor Wende Bleam
Sunday, February 26, 2023
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Today's gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. His forty-day fast becomes the basis of our Lenten pilgrimage. In the early church Lent was a time of intense preparation for those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. This catechetical focus on the meaning of faith is at the heart of our Lenten journey to the baptismal waters of Easter. Hungry for God’s mercy, we receive the bread of life to nourish us for the days ahead.


PRELUDE        Jesus, I Will Ponder Now    (Vulpius) 


Blessed be the holy Trinity, ? one God, who journeys with us these forty days, and sustains us with the gift of grace. Amen.

Let us acknowledge before God and one another our need for repentance and God’s mercy.

Holy God,
we confess to you our faults and failings. Too often we neglect and do not trust your holy word; we take for ourselves instead of giving to others; we spoil rather than steward your creation; we cause hurt though you call us to heal; we choose fear over compassion. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, as we seek to follow in your way of life.

Hear the good news: God so loved the world that God gave the only Son,
so that all may receive life. This promise is for you! God embraces you with divine mercy, ? forgives you in Christ’s name, and revives you in the Spirit’s power. Amen.
* indicates please stand as you are able
Let us pray. 
Lord God, our strength, the struggle between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your word, and when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

GATHERING SONG   The Glory of These Forty Days (ELW 320)

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.

PSALM: Psalm 32
?1Happy are they whose transgressions | are forgiven,
??and whose sin is | put away!
?2Happy are they to whom the LORD imputes no guilt,
??and in whose spirit there | is no guile!
?3While I held my tongue, my bones withered away,
??because of my groaning | all day long.
?4For your hand was heavy upon me | day and night;
??my moisture was dried up as in the | heat of summer. 
?5Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not conceal my guilt.
??I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” Then you forgave me the guilt | of my sin.
?6Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in | time of trouble;
??when the great waters overflow, they | shall not reach them.
?7You are my hiding-place; you preserve | me from trouble;
??you surround me with shouts | of deliverance.
?8“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that | you should go;
??I will guide you | with my eye. 

?9Do 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.”
?10Great are the tribulations | of the wicked;
??but mercy embraces those who trust | in the LORD.
?11Be 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.







Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11
The holy gospel according to Matthew. Glory to you, O Lord.

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.  Praise to you, O Christ.

MEDITATION                            Pastor Wende Bleam






HYMN OF THE DAY  Rock of Ages  (ELW 623)

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 Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* 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.

Please place your offering in the plate near the Sanctuary door any time during or following worship. Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our website: or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.


God of good gifts, receive these and all our offerings as we present them in faithful service for the sake of your gospel. Prepare our hearts to receive you in this meal as you pour out your very presence through Christ Jesus, the wellspring of eternal life.


Sustained by God’s abundant mercy, let us pray for the church, the world, and all of creation.

You alone are God. Sustain your church in times of wilderness. Give vision and wisdom to bishops, their staff, and all entrusted with the ministry of administration. Counsel all who faithfully lead your people into the future. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

You create verdant gardens and expansive deserts. Tend to the needs of every living creature. Bless those who work in fields and orchards, that the world is nourished by the fruits of their labor. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

You know our temptations. Sustain those who govern and legislate. Instill in them a sense of your justice and righteousness, that equity and peace would pervade all the regions and nations of the world. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the Ukrainian people that they be surrounded by your love and protection against the attacks on their country.  Lift them up and protect them, end this war against them and let your peace reign.   Merciful God, receive our prayer.

You are a hiding place for all in distress. Draw near to exiles, and accompany all refugees and immigrants, especially children who travel alone. In times of trouble, trauma, or illness, surround your people with your steadfast love. We pray especially for the family of Dajauna, Kathy and Rich McLaughlin, Carol, Connor, Ana, Helen, Arlene, Jose, Hoon, Connie, Pat, Hazel, Deb, Joe, Ruth, Lisa, Bill, Rick, Dick, Alisia, Jacklyn, Lillian, Alexis, Jim and those we now raise before you in our hearts.  We pray for those affected by the Covid virus in mind, body or spirit.  Grant them healing and wholeness.  Merciful God, receive our prayer.

You offer abundance to all. Bless the ministries of hospitality in this place. Care for those who tend to the needs of others, especially worship greeters, coffee hour hosts, and nursery attendants. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

You alone are God. We praise you for the faithful departed in every age. Unite our prayers with theirs, until our wilderness journey is complete, and we rest in you. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

We lift our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your steadfast love and your promise to renew your whole creation; through Jesus Christ our Savior.


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.
God, the giver of love,
? Christ, the resurrection and the life,
and the Holy Spirit of rebirth
bless you in this Lenten journey.

* SENDING SONG  Bless Now, O God, the Journey (ELW 326)

DISMISSAL - Go in peace. Serve in love. Thanks be to God.

POSTLUDE:      Bourree #1 in b    (Bach)

We hope that this service was meaningful for you and brought God’s peace and comfort into your homes.  Continue to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently and to love others as yourself.  Pray, trust, believe and wait. See you next week.

You are welcome to watch the live service at 10:15 am at
Or you can watch live streaming on the St. John's website:
If you are having trouble accessing, please let us know.

The ETERNAL CANDLE is sponsored for the month of February by MaryAnne Rossi in memory of her sister, Linda Fries.


Mid-Week Lenten Services – This year, services will be held at 7:00 pm with fellowship and light refreshments following worship. Focus this year will be on the “Sights and Sounds of Lent”. The preachers haven’t been lined up yet. There will not be a healing service this year, but we will do it later on a Sunday at St. John’s (tbd).
     3/1 - Ashes – at St. Timothy’s, Aston
     3/8 - Alleluia – at Holy Spirit, Secane
     3/15 - Purple – at St. John’s, Folcroft
     3/22 - Cross – at Holy Trinity, Wallingford
     3/29 – Palms – at Immanuel, Norwood or St. Matthew, Springfield


Lenten Food Drive going to Mt. Zion, Sharon Hill
           5 - Breakfast items – cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars, muffin mixes
         12 - Lunch items – soup, canned pasta, tuna, peanut butter/jelly, ramen noodles
         19 - Dinner items – canned ham, spam, chili, canned vegetables, pasta and spaghetti sauce
         26 - Healthy snacks – canned fruit, applesauce, pretzels, crackers, rice cakes, popcorn
YOU CAN HELP!  You can be a good steward AND get your grocery shopping done.  Did you know that if you purchase a grocery food gift card from St. John’s, our congregation will receive 5% of all sales of gift cards.  Please see Ruth Weaver if you wish to purchase and gift cards.  Thank you for helping us raise that 5% for helping to continue our ministry. 

Each week, we collect food for our hungry neighbors in need in our SHARING GOD'S BOUNTY WAGON.  Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.  Please consider making a donation of a food item each week. 

Our Financial Response  (January)   

Budgeted costs per month                     $   8,510.68
Offering last month                         $   5,055.29

Budget required to date (1 month)                 $   8,510.68
Total received to date                         $   5,055.29

Budget required to date (1 month)                 $   4,800.00
Total received to date                         $      415.11

Please continue to support St. John's.  Our expenses continue each month even if we are not all worshipping together inside our building.

Your offering and tithes may be made on line through our website:
 or sent by mail to
St. John’s Lutheran church, 1500 Glen Avenue, Folcroft, PA 19032.