First Sunday in Lent – 21st February 2021
NOTE: For some reason in the video it stops at 1.8″, but if you inch it forward to about 1.15″ all’s well thereafter. Apologies for any inconvenience.
ORDER OF SERVICE
You can click to expand or minimise the order of service below.
All are requested to join in wherever text is GREEN
HYMN: Forty days and forty nights Thou wast fasting in the wild,
Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild,
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted and yet undefiled.
Let us thine endurance share,
And awhile from joys abstain,
With thee watching unto prayer,
Strong with thee to suffer pain.
And if Satan, vexing sore,
Flesh or spirit should assail,
Thou, his vanquisher before,
Grant we may not faint nor fail.
Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
Every constant by thy side,
That with thee we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide..
BLESSED BE GOD: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen
From Easter to Pentecost:
Allelulia. Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia
In Lent and other penitential occasions:
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
His mercy endures for ever.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, to whom all hearts be 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.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
This prayer is omitted during Lent and Advent:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
THE FIRST READING
God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Ad te, Domine, levavi
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
my God, I put my trust in you; *
let me not be humiliated,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
2 Let none who look to you be put to shame; *
let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.
3 Show me your ways, O Lord, *
and teach me your paths.
4 Lead me in your truth and teach me, *
for you are the God of my salvation;
in you have I trusted all the day long.
5 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, *
for they are from everlasting.
6 Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; *
remember me according to your love
and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.
7 Gracious and upright is the Lord; *
therefore he teaches sinners in his way.
8 He guides the humble in doing right *
and teaches his way to the lowly.
9 All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness *
to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
THE SECOND READING
1 Peter 3:18-22
Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you– not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God
All stand for the Acclamation and Gospel reading.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to:
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
After the Gospel reading
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ
Mark uses the initial words of his gospel to move the reader very quickly into the story of Jesus, with none of the preliminaries found elsewhere. In 11 brief verses, we see Jesus in three critical settings. First, his baptism, revealing him as the anointed one of God, is the starting point of all. The third setting is the beginning of the rest of the story – Jesus emerging among the people, to begin his ministry of proclaiming the Good News, living out, and bringing to human kind the salvation of God.
But between these, Mark describes a second setting, one that flowed from the first and provided empowerment for the third. Immediately after his baptism, “the spirit drove him into the wilderness” – a separate place, far away from the hungry crowds that would follow him in the months ahead. This was the only place, and the only sustained time he would have, to wrestle with the forces that work against the will of God.
It wasn’t a choice for him to go there; it was a godly necessity. The Spirit drove him into the wilderness, not like a chauffeur in a limousine, but rather like a cowboy prodding a steer. Before he could begin work as God’s beloved, Jesus had to face hard realities – he had to prepare for the test, which would eventually ensure his obedience to God, even unto death.
The test involved beating down temptations to follow the ways of the world, instead of the pathway to God – temptations to give in, to the seductive powers that work against love and grace. Though alone, Jesus was comforted, in the presence of angels, by the same Spirit that announced him as God’s beloved, and that required his 40-day test in a dark place of ultimate danger.
And then there is this passage in today’s reading from Mark: “He was with the wild beasts.” This amplifies the difficulty of Jesus’ time in the wilderness, and serves as a symbol of the strength of the temptations that confronted him. The Greek word used for “beasts” refers to animals with a brutal nature – not Isaiah’s image of lambs lying down with lions. Being tempted by Satan was as demanding as wild animals threatening to devour him!
St. Mark reveals a vivid scene, but with briefest description, leaving us to flesh out the details. Perhaps the image of the beasts can help us understand the lonely ordeal of Jesus’ experience. He had to face down the powers that would seek to prevent him from doing God’s will in his coming ministry.
Proof that Jesus defeated those powers – completely, utterly and decisively – is found in the way he conducted himself, after he left the place of temptation. Afterward, Jesus moved out among God’s people, loving them as God loves, teaching them about God, and finally proving that we are loved by God without condition, by his making us all worth dying for!
In responding to that gracious love, we find ourselves once more in the solemn season of Lent. As today’s collect reminds us, we, too, are “assaulted by many temptations.” We are called to dedicate ourselves in our “weaknesses”, to face the same tests that Jesus confronted in hiswilderness – but not alone, for we each can find God “mighty to save” us.
In our various kinds of wilderness experiences, we, too, struggle against the wild beasts of our times, and our lives. When doing so, we can learn from Jesus. In the wilderness, he encountered all the evil that there is – because he found it in himself, in his own humanity. For in every human being lies the best of God and the worst of evil.
In the wilderness, the aim of the tempter was to move Jesus from faith in God, to doubt. The forces that work against God also press us toward selfishness, and away from love. Jesus resisted temptation by keeping himself connected to God. And that is exactly how we can resist the beasts of our lives, how we can overcome the evil that lurks within us, and the sin that is a part of us – all that lingers in the midst of our humanity.
We resist, as Jesus did, by staying connected to God, through the power of the scriptures, prayer, and the sacraments, and through regular self-examination and confession, through repenting of our sins, accepting God’s forgiveness, and leading renewed lives. By these means we defeat evil, and overcome temptation.
Yes, we can defeat these beasts, just as Jesus did, by staying connected to God. And we don’t do it alone. As the angels waited on Jesus in his wilderness experience, we are sustained by the Holy Spirit of God, and through the aid of God’s beloved disciples in our midst, our brothers and sisters in Christ, who minister to us and help us face down the beasts of our lives, as they face down theirs.
Just as Jesus’ time in the wilderness came after his baptism, so does ours, as our Christian formation continues to flow from that foundation.
Self-examination during Lent comes as essential reappraisal, in the midst of our journey in faith, and takes its form in our baptismal renunciations. As we promise at baptism, we commit to turning away from “all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God”, that “corrupt and destroy the creatures of God.”
The beasts that we encounter in our wilderness reflect the power of evil that is real and active in our lives. If we dare become self-aware, we see it, hear it, and feel it. It is a power that gets inside us, and an influence that comes from outside of us – a force that draws us toward what is wrong. It is personal, because it deals with each of us as a person; deals with each of us individually, in our darkest and most trying moments.
Evil can enter our lives when hard decisions need to be made, and we encounter it most strongly in those areas where we are weakest, in our desire to serve ourselves first, through greed, excessive pride, divisiveness and prejudice, gluttony of food and material possessions, the desire to control others, cowardice, faithlessness and many other forms of selfishness, that draw us away from the way of God.
Above all, the temptations we fight are destructive. Satan’s beasts find a way to poison, and harm what is good and loving in the world, and in ourlives. The evil that works in us is our enemy, seeking to grab hold of us to work against God, and against our brothers and sisters, whom we hurt when we give in to such powers. The evil also works against us individually, eating us from the inside out, like a cancer.
The temptations that Jesus met in the wilderness are also our temptations, drawing us to a selfishness that prevents us from showing love and respect to others, pressing us to manipulate the world into the form that we want, rather than that which God intends.
But the power of God’s love can help us resist the temptations and defeatthe beasts that dwell among us. From our baptism, we gain the sign of the cross, that marks us as Christ’s own forever. Our success in resisting evil, turning from our sins into lives renewed in love, moves us beyond our time in the wilderness. And as recipients of the Good News Jesus proclaims, we are empowered by the reality of God’s kingdom, that has come near, and can become a people, who, with God’s love, can transform the world. Amen
THE NICENE CREED
Please stand for the Nicene Creed.
Let us together affirm the faith of the Church.
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 of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and became truly human.
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.
Let us pray for the world and for the Church:
Prayers of intercession are now said and at the end of each prayer the priest says:
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Lord hear us,
Lord graciously hear us
At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:
Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers.
Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus said: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.
Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins, Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The congregation stands.
We are the Body of Christ.
His Spirit is with us.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.
Please greet each other with a sign of peace.
HYMN: Be thou my guardian and my guide, And hear me when I call
Be thou my guardian and my guide,
And hear me when I call;
Let not my slippery footsteps slide,
And hold me lest I fall.
The world, the flesh, and Satan dwell
Around the path I tread;
O, save me from the snares of hell,
Thou quickener of the dead.
And if I tempted am to sin,
And outward things are strong,
Do thou, O Lord, keep watch within,
And save my soul from wrong.
Still let me ever watch and pray,
And feel that I am frail;
That if the tempter cross my way,
Yet he may not prevail.
Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.
Blessed be God forever.
Let us pray
We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us. Amen.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER C
CLICK HERE FOR EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
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.
Father, we give you thanks and praise through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word, through whom you have created all things; who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.
By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh; as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin, he lived on earth and went about among us; he opened wide his arms for us on the cross; he put an end to death by dying for us; and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life; so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.
Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:
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.
Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: 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.
Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.
And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.
As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has 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, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.
This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world;
Happy 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.
After Communion the celebrant and the congregation say
Let us pray.
Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.
Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.
HYMN: O kind Creator, bow thine ear To mark the cry, to know the tear
O kind Creator, bow thine ear
To mark the cry, to know the tear
Before thy throne of mercy spent
In this thy holy fast of Lent.
Our sins are many, this we know;
Spare us, good Lord, thy mercy show;
And for the honour of thy name
Our fainting souls to life reclaim.
Give us the self-control that springs
From discipline of outward things,
That fasting inward secretly
The soul may purely dwell with thee.
We pray thee, holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence. Amen.
NOTE: The introductory music is ‘Fidelis’ – Percy Whitlock
Here is the music for this week’s hymns, if you would like to practice beforehand.
Performed by Fr. David Price