Rev Olwen Woolcock

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT – 28th February 2021

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT – 28th February 2021

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT – 28th February 2021

Video of Service

Order of Service

Good Morning everybody. Welcome to our service of worship on this Second Sunday of Lent. Thank you to Caroline Longlands for taking part in this service. The theme for this Sunday is what it costs to follow Jesus. 

HYMN At the name of Jesus

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

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

PRAYER OF PREPARATION

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

PRAYERS OF PENITENCE

The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.
Let us come to the Lord, who is full of compassion,
and acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
Amen.

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Kyrie Eleison

THE COLLECT

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.

READING

Romans 4:13-end

For 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. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

16 For 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, 17 as 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. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23 Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

HYMN: The Lord’s my shepherd (I will trust in you alone)

GOSPEL READING

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark
Glory to you O Lord

Mark 8: 31-38

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

SERMON
Mark 8: 31- end. God’s roadmap – the way of the cross

I love maps. I buy Ordinance Survey maps of the places where we go on holiday. I like to know where I am. I like to study the land and note the landmarks and places of interest.  But maps are out of fashion. Nowadays all you need is a postcode to get to your destination. You don’t have to find your way. Just follow the instructions on the sat nav. But the problem with a sat nav is that you have no idea of the big picture. You don’t where you are, or what you’re near to – you only know the next turn on the journey or the right exit from the next roundabout and the only way to get where you’re going is to obey instructions.

This week we’ve been given that old fashioned thing – a road map – a map to find our way through the destructive effect of the pandemic. We’ve been given the big picture, shown the detail and shown the route through. It might not be straightforward but we’re told it will get us where we want to go. And it is a turning point. It has given us hope, given us a new outlook. We have been lost but now we know the way ahead.

The gospel story that we just heard is also a turning point. The conversation that Jesus has with his disciples where Peter proclaims him the messiah is the point on which Mark’s whole gospel turns. It’s the pivotal point in his story of Jesus. There’s a before this point and an after this point. Before this incident, Jesus proclaims that the kingdom of God has come and he heals and teaches throughout Galilee. His disciples travel with him but without much understanding of what it’s all about. From this point onwards Jesus sets his face towards Jerusalem and what awaits him there. His arrest and trial and crucifixion. From here on in, his purpose is to fulfil his destiny.

It’s also a turning point for Peter. We entered the conversation half way through. This is the occasion at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus was getting his disciples to think about his identity – ‘who do people say that I am?’ he asks them. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ The disciples would have known by this point that he was no ordinary man – they had spent a year or two travelling with him – so when Jesus asks the question Peter suddenly gets it- a light comes on – you’re the Messiah! And when he twigged it – in his head the picture of the messiah would have been of God’s chosen one, the one all Israel has been waiting for, the one who will rescue the people from the hated Romans – the one who will get our land back and lead us in rebellion against our oppressors.

But then Jesus turns and tells them that the Son of man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the Jewish leaders and finally be killed and not surprisingly Peter doesn’t like it – this scenario doesn’t fit his picture at all. It’s a shock, it’s not what he was expecting – but when he protests at what Jesus says – then he gets fiercely rebuked –get behind me Satan! At that point Jesus sees Peter as the one tempting him to an easier way just like the devil tempted him in the desert. And Peter is left confused, his ideal has been shattered, it seems he and the disciples are not on the road to glory or triumph but on the road to persecution and trouble.

This is the route says Jesus:

‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 

This is a much harder path to walk for Peter, for the disciples and for us. But just as I pointed out last week that living in lockdown since January has made us feel like we have already done Lent, living through the trajectory of this pandemic over the last twelve months may well make us feel like we have already walked the way of the cross. We have borne our own and others suffering, we have lived with uncertainty and anxiety, we have denied ourselves, we have sought to meet one another’s needs – many, as we know, with an incredible degree of sacrifice and commitment.

We have thought of others – as the queen has urged us all to do. Many have faithfully lived a life of service – a phrase which has also had some royal discussion this week. Though of course we would recognise and realise that many people here and across our world will be in worse plight than ourselves, we may wonder what taking up the cross still holds for us.

Yet this is still the way. Following Jesus is about being less than rather than more than. And that’s hard – It’s a hard sacrificial calling and not an easy ticket to heaven.  It means living a life which goes against the grain and stands in contrast to the values and customs of the rest of the world. You’re likely to get a bit of stick for it. To follow Jesus may take us to some very sacrificial places indeed.

Yet as we look towards the passion of Christ and the cross, we know what the disciples didn’t know that day when they had that chat with Jesus, which is that the cross is not the end of the story. We have the benefit of hindsight- we know the big picture. We can see the whole map. It turns out that Jesus’ way is down in order to lead up.  His route is death then resurrection, despair which turns to hope, suffering which does turn to glory, defeat which does turn to triumph. An end which is actually a beginning and life overcoming death. He is the Christ who brings freedom and rescue but not in the way in which Peter assumed.

It turns out that in keeping Lent and in following the roadmap through the pandemic which the government has set us – we still have further to go. We still have to keep faith – in our Christian walk and in our public behaviour. Yet we do it with an end in sight. We are more in synch with the world around us than we thought. We have the example of Christ whose dedication to his hard calling brought us all into a new kingdom. Our Christian faith can lead us through these coming weeks with inspiration and hope, let us walk ahead, trusting in Christ, with the sure knowledge of deliverance and redemption lying ahead of us.

THE CREED

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.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
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,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who 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.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

Let us pray, thanking God for his loving faithfulness and bringing to him our own concerns and the needs of the world around us.

Lord, we pray for your church during this season of Lent. We pray that all of us who believe in you will be strengthened to remain faithful to our calling; to work for understanding and unity where we have created divisions and to show your love and compassion to each other and to all people.  We pray for churches during this time as they seek to serve congregations and connect with communities despite the COVID restrictions.
Lord in your mercy

Lord, we pray for those who have suffered serious illness or bereavement as a result of COVID. We pray for the many people who are suffering in this world because of violence, oppression and injustice. We pray for those impacted by floods, drought, lack of food, clean water or medical help and supplies. We pray for ourselves that we may learn to see more clearly the needs of your people and to respond to those needs for they are our brothers and sisters.
Lord in your mercy

Lord, we pray for our country and our community. We thank you for the continued roll out of the vaccine and for a clear road map to health and wellbeing. We pray that you will continue to lead us forward to a time when we can resume our lives and see our families. We pray for those who continue to serve in the health service and other places of care, for teachers and all who work in schools, we pray for parents of young families and all others who have carried the strain of these times. We pray that your peace and love will surround them bringing them comfort and strength.
Lord in your mercy
Lord, we remember those who are sick and struggling at this time and we thank you for those who have travelled before us on the way of the cross and are now at peace in your eternal presence. Help us to live in the assurance of your promise to us that this road of faith will lead into your kingdom.
Lord in your mercy

Lord we thank you that you receive our prayers with grace, mercy and love. Trusting in your compassion and faithfulness we commend to you all those for whom we have prayed and commit ourselves to seeking to do your will and to bringing in your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

HYMN:  Take my life and let it be

THE PEACE
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 always with you.
And also with you.

Although we’re apart let us hold one another in the peace of Christ in a moment of prayer.

THE LORD’S PRAYER


Let us pray with confidence as our saviour has taught us

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. 
Amen

 
THE BLESSING

Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him;
and the blessing …

HYMN: All my hope on God is founded

DISMISSAL

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
Thanks be to God.


Liebster Jesu Wir Sind Hier BWV 731 J.S. Bach Matthijs Breukhoven



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