Online Worship: 28th February 2021, Second Sunday of Lent

This Sunday is the 28th of February 2021,
the second Sunday of Lent.

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you.

Welcome to our Online Worship for this week. Today is the second Sunday of Lent and Rev David returns from his half-term break with some reflections on how we might find a ‘darker faith’ as ‘we take up our cross’ to follow Christ. When prayer remains unanswered, or we are called to find life and joy even in the midst of loneliness or suffering, it’s important we continue to look to the Lord for grace and support. Our thanks also to Anne for recording the Bible reading today.

With the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown now published, there’s a little more hope that we may be able to resume our worship in church soon. But there will still be people who can’t be present, for a variety of reasons, and it is important we continue to watch out for one another. If you need help, please do ask in confidence. It is always our pleasure to help.

Notices

There’s a lot of good stuff planned for the next few weeks. Please do take a few moments to read the notices so you know what’s coming up!  This page will tell you more.

Songs to sing today

Praise to the holiest in the height

The Servant King (From Heaven you came, helpless babe)

All-Age: Heaven is in my heart

Virtual Sunday School

We have discovered a fantastic YouTube channel set-up by 4front Theatre and St Peter’s in Worcester offering weekly Sunday School Bible stories and activities. We thought we would give it a go and see if our children like it! Parents might like to bookmark the VSS website too.

If you have children, why not have a watch and a listen to Nat and Rob. This week’s episode explores Jesus’ parable about the Lost Coin.

David’s video sermon for this Sunday

00:28 the Bible Reading with Ken, 02:02 onwards the Sermon with David.

Prayers for today

Prayers of Intercession
for Lent

We pray to the Lord for courage to give up other things
and to give ourselves to him this Lent.

Give your Church the courage
to give up her preoccupation with herself
and to give more time to your mission in the world.

May the blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus
bring forgiveness to your people
and help us to face the cost of proclaiming salvation.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give your world the courage
to give up war, bitterness and hatred,
and to seek peace.

May the shoulders of the risen Jesus,
once scourged by soldiers,
bear the burden of political and military conflict in our world.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up quarrels, strife and jealousy
in our families, neighbourhoods and communities.

May the presence of the risen Jesus,
his body once broken and now made whole,
bring peace and direction as we live with one another.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give us the courage
to give up our selfishness as we live for others,
and to give time, care and comfort to the sick.
May the wounded hands of Jesus bring his healing touch,
and the light of his presence fill their rooms.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up our fear of death
and to rejoice with those who have died in faith.

May the feet of the risen Lord Jesus, once nailed to the cross,
walk alongside the dying and bereaved in their agony,
and walk with us and all your Church
through death to the gate of glory.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer,
here and in eternity. Amen.

A prayer about the COVID-19 pandemic

A prayer from Zimbabwe

To our brothers and sisters who have contracted
and are suffering due to the Coronavirus Disease,
we pray that God’s healing hand may rest upon you.
To medical doctors, nurses and the supporting staff
who are in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19,
may the Good Lord sustain you and inspire you
to render your life-saving services with due care, love and compassion.
To all those who have lost their loved ones due to the Coronavirus outbreak,
we convey our deepest sympathies.
We pray that their souls, through God’s mercy, may rest in eternal peace.
We pray that God may grant all bereaved families his consolation
and strengthen their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.
Amen.

The Collect for this Sunday

Almighty God,
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Blessing

May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness,
to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.

Be at peace. Love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Resources for the week ahead

Prayer pointers

  • Those who have asked for our prayers (Offham): Jim & Jean Brown, Ron Marchant, Cynthia & John Noble, Malcolm Scott, Irina Walker, Hazel Watson.
  • Those who have asked for our prayers (West Malling): Jane Best-Shaw, Robin & Rosemary Law, Barbara & Graham Norton, Barbara Pallett, Stuart Richards, Eileen Vickers, Janet & John Wincott, Ann, Heather, William, Stephanie, Michael, Alice, Jennifer and Rene.
  • Giving thanks that Martin Healing-Mills, for whom we have been praying, is now cancer free!
  • For the families of Jim Ryans-Smith, Ernie Smith, Colin Douglas-Fairhurst, Peter Watson, Martyn Begbey, Gloria Pearson, Kenneth Holman and Patricia Williams who have all died recently.
  • For those in our congregation who work with the police or courts. For strength, for justice to be done and for their witness to Christ at work.
  • Giving thanks for Becky Clifford, her service and ministry in our Benefice in the last few years, and praying for her and her family as she moves to St Margaret’s Bay in Canterbury diocese.
  • Prayers for St Mary’s Church and the people of West Malling.
  • As we respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, we pray for the UK and world authorities; political, medical, scientific, civil and religious. We pray especially for those involved in caring for the sick and dying, and those who are working to distribute the vaccine.
  • For HM Queen and our nation, for the Prime Minister and Government, for loving and respectful discourse, truth and integrity in political life.
  • For unity and reconciliation in our nation now that our departure from the European Union has been completed.
  • For authorities and emergency services working in areas of war, humanitarian or ecological tragedy including all nations affected by Coronavirus. Especially we pray for the USA, India, Brazil and Russia, for Myanmar, for Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and the Yemen.
  • For Daniel & Sarah Brito Medeiros, CMS mission link partners in Brazil.

Lectionary readings for Daily Prayer

Morning & Evening Prayer in Lent.

Monday Morning – Psalms 26, 32, Jeremiah 7.21-end, John 6.41-51 (St David’s Day)
Monday Evening – Psalms 70, 74, Genesis 43.16-end, Hebrews 1 (St David’s Day)
Tuesday Morning – Psalm 50, Jeremiah 8.1-15, John 6.52-59
Tuesday Evening – Psalms 52, 53, 54, Genesis 44.1-17, Hebrews 2.1-9
Wednesday Morning – Psalm 35, Jeremiah 8.18-9.11, John 6.60-end
Wednesday Evening – Psalms 3, 51, Genesis 44.18-end, Hebrews 2.10-end
Thursday Morning – Psalm 34, Jeremiah 9.12-24, John 7.1-13
Thursday Evening – Psalms 71, Genesis 45.1-15, Hebrews 3.1-6
Friday Morning – Psalms 40, 41, Jeremiah 10.1-16, John 7.14-24
Friday Evening – Psalms 6, 38, Genesis 45.16-end, Hebrews 3.7-end
Saturday Morning – Psalms 3, 25, Jeremiah 10.17-24, John 7.25-36
Saturday Evening – Psalms 23, 27, Genesis 46.1-7, 28-end, Hebrews 4.1-13

Online Worship: 21st February 2021, First Sunday of Lent

This Sunday is the 21st of February 2021,
the first Sunday of Lent.

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you.

Welcome to our Online Worship for this week. Today is the first Sunday of Lent. Have you decided to give something up this year, or perhaps take something on as a Lenten discipline? Let’s pray for one another to keep our disciplines as we seek to grow closer to God with Easter approaching.

Aside from Ash Wednesday, Rev David has been taking a bit of a half-term break with his family and so we welcome Canon Alan Vousden once again who reflects on the Gospel of Mark’s account of Jesus going out into the wilderness before the start of his ministry. Our thanks also to Ken for recording the Bible reading for us today.

With Government shortly to review the current lockdown, let’s hope for some brighter days ahead. But in the meantime, if you need some help of any kind – practical assistance with groceries or a prescription, a listening ear and someone to talk with, prayer and counsel, financial or food assistance, please do ask in confidence. It is always our privilege to help.

Notices

There’s a lot of good stuff planned for the next few weeks. Please do take a few moments to read the notices so you know what’s coming up!  This page will tell you more.

Songs to sing today

Forty days and forty nights

Here is love, vast as the ocean

All-Age: Let your light shine

Virtual Sunday School

We have discovered a fantastic YouTube channel set-up by 4front Theatre and St Peter’s in Worcester offering weekly Sunday School Bible stories and activities. We thought we would give it a go and see if our children like it! Parents might like to bookmark the VSS website too.

If you have children, why not have a watch and a listen to Nat and Rob. This week’s episode explores why we observe the season of Lent.

Alan’s video sermon for this Sunday

00:28 the Bible Reading with Ken, 01:44 onwards the Sermon with Alan.

Prayers for today

Prayers of Intercession
for Lent

We pray to the Lord for courage to give up other things
and to give ourselves to him this Lent.

Give your Church the courage
to give up her preoccupation with herself
and to give more time to your mission in the world.

May the blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus
bring forgiveness to your people
and help us to face the cost of proclaiming salvation.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give your world the courage
to give up war, bitterness and hatred,
and to seek peace.

May the shoulders of the risen Jesus,
once scourged by soldiers,
bear the burden of political and military conflict in our world.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up quarrels, strife and jealousy
in our families, neighbourhoods and communities.

May the presence of the risen Jesus,
his body once broken and now made whole,
bring peace and direction as we live with one another.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give us the courage
to give up our selfishness as we live for others,
and to give time, care and comfort to the sick.
May the wounded hands of Jesus bring his healing touch,
and the light of his presence fill their rooms.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up our fear of death
and to rejoice with those who have died in faith.

May the feet of the risen Lord Jesus, once nailed to the cross,
walk alongside the dying and bereaved in their agony,
and walk with us and all your Church
through death to the gate of glory.
Lord, meet us in the silence,
give us strength and hear our prayer,
here and in eternity. Amen.

A prayer about the COVID-19 pandemic

A prayer from Colombia

Lord Jesus,
give us the grace to hear your voice,
and the strength to continue working for your kingdom
in this time of pandemic.
Do not allow us to be indifferent to those
who today suffer the loss of a loved one,
or who suffer from the absence of work.
Give us the courage to accompany
and side with those who suffer violence or injustice.
Amen.

The Collect for this Sunday

Heavenly Father,
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these 40 days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Blessing

May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness,
to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.

Be at peace. Love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Resources for the week ahead

Prayer pointers

  • Those who have asked for our prayers (Offham): Jim & Jean Brown, Ron Marchant, Cynthia & John Noble, Malcolm Scott, Irina Walker, Hazel Watson.
  • Those who have asked for our prayers (West Malling): Jane Best-Shaw, Lucy Clifford, Martin Healing-Mills, Robin & Rosemary Law, Barbara & Graham Norton, Barbara Pallett, Stuart Richards, Eileen Vickers, Janet & John Wincott, Ann, Heather, William, Stephanie, Michael, Alice, Jennifer and Rene.
  • For the families of Colin Patterson, Doreen Roberts, Valerie Crittenden, Jim Ryans-Smith, Ernie Smith, Colin Douglas-Fairhurst, Peter Watson, Martyn Begbey, Gloria Pearson, and Kenneth Holman, who have all died recently.
  • For those in our congregation who work in government, whether locally or nationally. For wisdom, servant-hearted leadership and their witness to Christ at work.
  • Giving thanks for our Flower Arrangers, praying for their blessing and giving thanks for all they do to support and inspire worship.
  • Prayers for St Michael’s and the people of Offham.
  • As we respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, we pray for the UK and world authorities; political, medical, scientific, civil and religious. We pray especially for those involved in caring for the sick and dying, and those who are working to distribute the vaccine.
  • For HM Queen and our nation, for the Prime Minister and Government, for loving and respectful discourse, truth and integrity in political life.
  • For unity and reconciliation in our nation now that our departure from the European Union has been completed.
  • For authorities and emergency services working in areas of war, humanitarian or ecological tragedy including all nations affected by Coronavirus. Especially we pray for the USA, India, Brazil and Russia, for Myanmar, for Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and the Yemen.
  • For Rev Peeter Kaldur, and our partner churches of St Michael’s, Jõhvi and Pühajõe church in Estonia.

Lectionary readings for Daily Prayer

Morning & Evening Prayer in Lent.

Monday Morning – Psalms 10, 11, Jeremiah 4.19-end, John 5.1-18
Monday Evening – Psalms 12, 13, 14, Genesis 41.25-45, Galatians 3.23-4.7
Tuesday Morning – Psalm 44, Jeremiah 5.1-19, John 5.19-29
Tuesday Evening – Psalms 46, 49, Genesis 41.46-42.5, Galatians 4.8-20
Wednesday Morning – Psalms 6, 17, Jeremiah 5.20-end, John 5.30-end
Wednesday Evening – Psalms 9, 28, Genesis 42.6-17, Galatians 4.21-5.1
Thursday Morning – Psalms 42, 43, Jeremiah 6.9-21, John 6.1-15
Thursday Evening – Psalms 137, 138, 142, Genesis 42.18-28, Galatians 5.2-15
Friday Morning – Psalm 22, Jeremiah 6.22-end, John 6.16-27
Friday Evening – Psalms 54, 55, Genesis 42.29-end, Galatians 5.16-end
Saturday Morning – Psalms 59, 63, Jeremiah 7.1-20, John 6.27-40
Saturday Evening – Psalms 4, 16, Genesis 43.1-15, Galatians 6

Lent, repentance, fasting and the difference

Lent worldIt always seems to come around a little quicker than I would hope and with my preparation lacking, but we are once again in the season of Lent and I notice various people are giving up various things once again.

If you are still pondering what to do this Lent, I try not to tell people what they should or should not give up for Lent, but I think there are a couple of principles to bear in mind.

Firstly, Lent is about temporarily abstaining from something in order to create time and space to increase our focus on God and ultimately increase our well-being. But it’s not just about having more time for prayer (by doing less). It’s also about a sense of sacrifice. Sacrificing something for the duration of Lent is an opportunity to consider what I am allowing in my life to have mastery. 

In his first letter to the Corinthian Church, St Paul wrote (in chapters 6 and 10) about how all things are permissible, but not all are beneficial. He said “everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor 6.12).

Lent is a good opportunity each year for that spiritual healthcheck that asks “what am I at risk of being mastered by?” “What do I need to ensure means less to me than God does?”

You won’t find many people venerating wooden idols these days, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in danger of idolatry. Work, food, sex, relationships, a sport or a hobby, alcohol, gambling, anything really, even church or a particular way of worshipping can become an idol if it becomes more to us than our relationship with God. Lent gives us a chance to reset.

Second, abstaining or fasting from something in Lent is about giving up something neutral or good, as a sacrifice. You can’t really “fast” from anything that’s actually a sin. Giving up gossip or complaint or lying is good, but that is not fasting. That is repentance, and is something we should be doing all-year round anyway.

Think about it from the other end. You get to Easter and can stop fasting, so you celebrate our Lord’s passion and resurrection by resuming the gluttony, or lust, or pride? No. Doesn’t sound very appropriate does it? Those are not the things to ‘fast’ from. We just need to repent of those regularly and ask God’s help to live differently all year round.

It is true that we can start to drift, and sometimes our sins and our idols come together as one and Lent becomes a good reminder to repent and live life as God would ask of us. But repenting of sin in Lent is additional to any fast you undertake.

So! If you’re still wondering what to do, think about time you can set aside, think about something you’d be comfortable joyfully resuming at Easter, but which it might be useful to you to temporarily step back from and reevaluate your relationship with, and don’t confuse your Lenten sacrifice with our daily need to repent of our sins and live for Christ.

Rev David Green