Holy Communion Sunday 28th February


We meet in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Amen


Song: Come now is the time to worship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPWq8eM4lu8&ab_channel=Mick


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.


Our Confession:

Let us admit to God the sin which always confronts us.


We confess to you our selfishness and lack of love:

fill us with your Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


We confess to you our fear and failure in sharing our faith:

fill us with your Spirit.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.


We confess to you our stubbornness and lack of trust:

fill us with your Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


May the God of all healing and forgiveness

draw you to himself,

and cleanse you from all your sins

that you may behold the glory of his Son,

the Word made flesh,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


The Collect

Heavenly Father,

your Son battled with the powers of darkness,

and grew closer to you in the desert:

help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer

that we may witness to your saving love

in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


First Reading: Genesis 17:1-7,15,16,


17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right. 2 I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.” 3 Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said, 4 “I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations. 5 Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, because I am making you the ancestor of many nations. 6 I will give you many descendants, and some of them will be kings. You will have so many descendants that they will become nations.

7 “I will keep my promise to you and to your descendants in future generations as an everlasting covenant. I will be your God and the God of your descendants.

15 God said to Abraham, “You must no longer call your wife Sarai; from now on her name is Sarah. 16 I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will become the mother of nations, and there will be kings among her descendants.”


This is the word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


Song: Waymaker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wyotu9Twko&ab_channel=AllstarsKidsClub

The Gospel Reading: Mark 8:31-38


Praise to you O Christ King of Eternal Glory.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Praise to you O Christ King of Eternal Glory


Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark

Glory to you, O Lord


31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”



This is the Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you, O Christ


Sermon:



In Lent, we think about what it means to be a follower of Jesus; what is means to be a Christian, there is an emphasis on self-reflection – thinking about ourselves and our own walk with God as well as what we can positively do for others.

Sometimes we find that we’re faced with a few home truths about ourselves.

Our gospel reading starts with a bit of a shock. The disciples are eagerly following Jesus. There have been great miracles and astounding teaching. (Also, John the Baptist has been locked up and then murdered by Herod but maybe they’ve forgotten that).

Jesus warns them that he too, will suffer. And not just suffer, and be rejected but be killed.

This makes no sense at all to Peter. He takes Jesus on one side. It’s quite darkly amusing. On the one hand Peter tells Jesus off – perhaps, he doesn’t want to hear that God’s chosen one could suffer or die. That doesn’t fit in with Peter’s idea that God’s chosen on is going to win, be a big success. However, if Jesus is God’s chosen one, I’m not sure what Peter thinks he’s doing telling Jesus off!

Peter just doesn’t like it. Suffering, rejection and death aren’t what he’s signed up for.



We can fall in with Peter so easily. I don’t want to face what following Jesus might bring. We emphasise God’s love for us, his power and healing, his plan and purpose for our lives. All that is absolutely true. But it’s also true that following Jesus brings challenge and change to us. We have to face ourselves, admit our faults, change our behaviour. And we too may face open hostility or rejection from those around us or those we care for- as well as from unknown voices in society.

When our conscience twinge a bit, we have that nagging feeling that we ought to do something else or something better, often, the first reaction is to shrug it off.

And it starts with Peter telling Jesus off. But then- to Peter’s absolute horror, Jesus is having none of it.

And Jesus tells Peter in no uncertain terms. Get behind me Satan! What a thing to say to someone else. Jesus identifies what’s really behind Peter’s thinking. God’s enemy tempts us. God’s enemy minimises things. God’s enemy tries to draw us from the true path of following Jesus. And God’s enemy first tried it on with Jesus directly; now he has a go through one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers.

I think we find all this language of Satan etc quite offensive and unpleasant. We don’t like to think of ourselves as lining up with those who oppose God. But it’s all to easily done.


Anyone can be a Peter. Minimising what it costs to follow Jesus. Only looking for wins, and triumphs and victory; not warning someone that they may need to face up to themselves or to other people.

Sometimes it’s in very ordinary things. Walking away when there’s gossip or unkind things spreading round. Standing up for someone who is being bullied. Owning up to what we’ve done wrong. Do I now tell you that I’ve got 3 points on my license? I was caught speeding – doing 55 in the zone on the A45 which changes between 50 and 60 mph. With the penalty notice, came a letter explaining how to appeal your fixed penalty fine. Things that aren’t accept as reason to appeal: everyone else was going faster; I was in a hurry; there was no-one else on the road; I was distracted….

It felt like a real lesson to me about how we try and wriggle out of things when we’re in the wrong. Minimising it; blaming others, making excuses.


And Jesus is really clear. Trying to avoid any real cost of following God, comes from God’s enemy.

And then he goes on. Take up your cross daily. I should point out that paying my speeding fine is not taking up my cross. Paying the fine for something I did wrong is the law- and I should do it!



Taking up your cross is taking on the cost of something that you do because you’re following Jesus.

Choosing worship rather than a lie in on a Sunday.- it’s real sacrifice if you’ve been up all night.

Being willing to do the jobs that no one wants to do because it’s what needs to be done. At home; at church – usually something to do with cleaning, tidying, or bins, Or a behind the scenes job like minutes or admin that’s necessary but not glamorous.. Committing and then doing it.

Giving time money or energy to something that none is going to see or thank you for.

Keeping going- supporting someone who is in difficulty or unwell when it’s not getting better or they can’t say thank you.

Risking inviting someone to church or bible study – don’t keep the benefits or joy of Jesus to yourself.

Reaching out across barriers- again and again. Keeping going when relationships are difficult. I’m not talking about putting yourself in danger of abuse but keeping going from a place of safety.



Following Jesus isn’t just painful self-sacrifice. Following Jesus has rewards!

If we try to hang onto the power or control or material possessions in our lives, we run the risk of losing them- here and now. Who knows what the future holds?

But even if we don’t lose them now, we can’t keep them after death.

Surrendering the control, direction, material things, wealth or power in our lives now – means that we rely on God’s grace and goodness to us. We won’t run out of what we need to live.

And at the end of all live, God will own us as his own.


All this talk of surrender, self sacrifice and taking up our cross can see harsh and burdensome. What kind of a God do we follow?


In our first reading, God makes a covenant, makes an everlasting promise to Abram and Sarai. God promises and though they also promise to follow God, God keeps his part of the covenant, whether Abraham and his descendants did. Or do now. We’re all included in that original promise.


I will keep my promise to you and to your descendants in future generations as an everlasting covenant. I will be your God and the God of your descendants.


Abraham and Sarai understood the promise to be for them that they would have a family of their own. But God’s commitment to be there for us whatever. That’s some eward.



The Creed

Let us declare our faith in God.


Though he was divine,

he did not cling to equality with God,

but made himself nothing.

Taking the form of a slave,

he was born in human likeness.

He humbled himself

and was obedient to death,

even the death of the cross.

Therefore God has raised him on high,

and given him the name above every name:

that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Our Prayers

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.

[We pray for …]


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.

[We pray for …]


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.

[We pray for …]

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.

[We pray for …]

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.

[Especially we hold … in our minds.]


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.


We share the Peace


Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God.

We meet in the name of Christ and share his peace.

The Peace of the Lord be always with you

And also with you


Song: Before the throne of God above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5-BGG3DMYs&feature=emb_imp_woyt&ab_channel=MusicMinistry


Holy Communion


The Lord be with you

and also with you.


Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.


Blessed are you, Lord God,

our light and our salvation;

to you be glory and praise for ever.

From the beginning you have created all things

and all your works echo the silent music of your praise.


In the fullness of time you made us in your image,

the crown of all creation.

You give us breath and speech, that with angels and archangels

and all the powers of heaven

we may find a voice to sing your praise:


Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


How wonderful the work of your hands, O Lord.

As a mother tenderly gathers her children,

you embraced a people as your own.

When they turned away and rebelled

your love remained steadfast.


From them you raised up Jesus our Saviour, born of Mary,

to be the living bread,

in whom all our hungers are satisfied.

He offered his life for sinners,

and with a love stronger than death

he opened wide his arms on the cross.


On the night before he died,

he came to supper with his friends

and, taking bread, he gave you thanks.

He broke it and gave it to them, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.


At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,

he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Lord, by your cross and resurrection

you have set us free.

You are the Saviour of the world.


Father, we plead with confidence

his sacrifice made once for all upon the cross;

we remember his dying and rising in glory,

and we rejoice that he intercedes for us at your right hand.

Pour out your Holy Spirit as we bring before you

these gifts of your creation;

may they be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.


As we eat and drink these holy things in your presence,

form us in the likeness of Christ,

and build us into a living temple to your glory.


Bring us at the last with St Catherine and all the saints

to the vision of that eternal splendour

for which you have created us;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

by whom, with whom, and in whom,

with all who stand before you in earth and heaven,

we worship you, Father almighty, in songs of everlasting praise:

Blessing and honour and glory and power

be yours for ever and ever.

Amen.


We continue with the words of 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


Jesus is the Lamb of God

who takes away the sin of the world.

Blessed are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,

but only say the word, and I shall be healed.


Prayer of Spiritual Communion


Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,