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St. John's Worship Service - March 5, 2023
Pastor Wende Bleam
Pastor Wende Bleam
Sunday, March 5, 2023
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During Lent we journey with all those around the world who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. In today’s gospel Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of water and Spirit. At the font we are a given a new birth as children of God. As God made a covenant with Abraham, in baptism God promises to raise us up with Christ to new life. From worship we are sent forth to proclaim God’s love for all the world.


PRELUDE        Incline Thine Ear  Himmel  Lisa Fortwangler, Soloist


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. 
O God, our leader and guide, in the waters of baptism you bring us to new birth to live as your children. Strengthen our faith in your promises, that by your Spirit we may lift up your life to all the world through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

GATHERING SONG Eternal Lord of Love, Behold Your Church (ELW 321)


FIRST READING Genesis 12:1-4a
1The LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4aSo Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him.

PSALM: Psalm 121
1I lift up my eyes | to the hills;
from where is my | help to come
2My help comes | from the LORD,
the maker of heaven and earth.
3The LORD will not let your | foot be moved
nor will the one who watches over you | fall asleep.
4Behold, the keeper of Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep; 
5the LORD watches | over you;
the LORD is your shade at | your right hand;
6the sun will not strike | you by day,
nor the | moon by night.
7The LORD will preserve you | from all evil
and will | keep your life.
8The LORD will watch over your going out and your | coming in,
from this time forth forevermore. 

SECOND READING: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
1What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the scripture say “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. 5But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.
13For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Gospel: John 3:1-17
The holy gospel according to John. Glory to you, O Lord.

1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things
11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And 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.”

The gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.

MEDITATION                            Pastor Wende Bleam

HYMN OF THE DAY  God Loved the World  (ELW 323)





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.

O God, you so love your church. Raise up leaders who care for your people. Bless lay theologians, seminary and college professors, and all who are called to the ministry of teaching, that they form and inspire us for the work of the gospel. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

O God, you so love your creation. Breathe new life into our planetary home. Guide the work of researchers, scientists, and activists who love your earth and who inspire us to care for the natural world. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

O God, you so love the world. Uphold leaders who resist tyranny and oppression. Strengthen organizations that promote peace and harmony. Direct their work to alleviate human suffering and to address its root causes. 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.

O God, you so love your people. Draw near to all who live with mental illness, depression, or addiction, and accompany them in healing and recovery. Hear the cries of those who look to you in their distress. 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.

O God, you so love your children. Bless the young in our midst, and delight us with their joy, wonder, and curiosity. Revive our ministries with children and youth and equip us all for faithful discipleship. Merciful God, receive our prayer.

O God, you so love your saints. As our ancestors in the faith have been a blessing to us, so inspire us by their example of holy living to be a blessing to those who come after us. 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.

The Lord be with you.  And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.  We lift the to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.  
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our Savior, Jesus Christ.  With all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your holy name.





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.

Come to the banquet, for all is now ready.






COMMUNION HYMN   Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth    (ELW 735)



Embodied God,
at your table, we have tasted the goodness of Jesus. With the eyes of our hearts open to your promise, empower us to hear the needs of our neighbors
and touch the world with your love.

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  Beneath the Cross of Jesus (ELW 338)

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

POSTLUDE:       La Florentine    (Couperin)
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 March by MaryAnne Rossi in honor of her daughters on their birthday.

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”. There will not be a healing service this year, but we will do it later on a Sunday at St. John’s (tbd).
3/8 - Alleluia – at Holy Spirit, Secane - Preaching, Pr. Marie Sager
3/15 - Purple – at Immanuel, Norwood - Preaching, Pr. Rachel Scheible
3/22 - Cross – at Holy Trinity, Wallingford - Preaching, Pr. Jenn Casey 
3/29 – Palms – at St. Matthew, Springfield - Preaching, Pr. Marie Sager
                   Communion will be held at this service
Offerings will go to Lutheran Disaster Relief - Turkey earthquakes.

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. 




Lenten Food Drive going to Mt. Zion
           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

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. If you are in need of food, please notify Pastor Wende and she will let you know available what we have available.

Our Financial Response  (January)   

Budgeted costs per month                     $   8,510.68
Offering last month                         $   5,300.29

Budget required to date (2 months)             $  17,021.36
Total received to date                         $  10,355.58

Budget required to date (2 months)             $     800.00
Total received to date                         $     828.22

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.


Easter flowers are beautiful, and this year, especially, we would love to see them in our sanctuary.  Make your check payable to St. John’s and send to the church office along with the Easter Flower tear-off included at the end of this bulletin. You may also call the office and leave a message with your specific wishes, or send an email to the office , Be sure to specify your wishes on the tear-off, and if you are giving in honor or in memory of someone. In the Easter bulletin we will list all who have made flower dedications. 

This year we are offering  Lilies ($9), Mums ($8) and Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths ($7).  Deadline for ordering is March 27.

There are extra forms available on the hallway table to sponsor Easter flowers.


Easter Flowers 

Choose from:

  Lilies ($9)   Mums ($8)
  Daffodils       Hyacinths      Tulips  (all $7)

      Given by _________________________________________________________

In memory of ______________________________________________________

In honor of ________________________________________________________

Make checks payable to St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Place this envelope in the offering or return to the Church Office.
Deadline for ordering: March 27