Lent Service for 14th March 2021

Based on Service by Mrs. Anne Wilde for Fourth Sunday in Lent

PRAYER

For your presence in the power of your creation; in the mighty wind, the roaring sea,
the burning sun, the blazing fire, we sing your praises….
For your presence in the humility of your people; in honest preaching, in devoted worship,
in obedient service, in sacrificial living, we sing your praises …
For your presence in the glory of your Son; in his stable birth, in his wonderful teaching,
in his compassionate ministry, in his violent death and victorious resurrection we sing your praises…
For your presence in the holiness of your Spirit; in calling to confession, in the gift of forgiveness
in refreshing inspiration, in the offering of new life, we sing your praises…
Help us to be aware of your presence in your Creation, in your church, and in our lives that we may always offer you our glory, gratitude and praise in the name of Christ. Amen.

 

HYMN: Immortal, Invisible
Walter C Smith (1867)

1.Immortal, invisible,
God only wise,
in light inaccessible
hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious,
the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious,
thy great name we praise.

2 Unresting, unhasting,
and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting,
thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

3: To all life Thou givest,
to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest,
the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish
as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish,
but nought changeth Thee

4 Great Father of glory,
pure Father of light,
thine angels adore thee,
all veiling their sight;
all praise we would render;
O help us to see
’tis only the splendour
of light hideth thee!

READING: Story of the Transfiguration (Matthew Ch 17 vv 1 to 9)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”
When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

REFLECTION

Today’s passage echoes the words spoken from heaven at Jesus’s baptism. This time however the disciples closest to Jesus share a glimpse of the relationship Jesus has with his father. The disciples have previously noticed that Jesus slips away on his own: now they are invited to accompany him.

Like Moses and Elijah before them, this is an overwhelming mountaintop experience – a powerful revelation of the holiness and glory of God. They must have shielded their eyes from the blinding light as they hear the declaration of love from the heavens.

We are living in a world longing for love – the shops are full of red gifts and cards, tokens of love freighted with obligation. Special filters on social media, themed television advertising and talk show sets all amplify the message that we should be marking the season by proclaiming our love in a special way. So if you are not in a loving relationship you may feel oppressed by the colour scheme and the implication that you should be buying stuff to show that you care for the true love in our life.

I am reminded of an old Graham Kendrick ballad which has the line “Does anybody love you for just who you are?” The Christian can answer ‘yes’, even if they are one of this country’s 8 million people who live alone. As followers of Jesus we are drawn into the loving relationship of the Trinity. As children of God, like Jesus, we can know ourselves beloved. And, like the disciples before we should pay attention to what God says next, namely listen to him.

So whatever your circumstances today, hear this, you really are God’s beloved.
That love is more than a card or gift, that love really is forever. How does that make you feel? Maybe you know someone who needs to hear that message too.

HYMN: Go Forth and Tell! O Church of God Awake
James Seddon (1915 – 1983)

Go forth and tell! O church of God, awake!
God’s saving news to all the nations take;
proclaim Christ Jesus, saviour, Lord, and king,
that all the world his worthy praise may sing.

2 Go forth and tell! God’s love embraces all;
he will in grace respond to all who call:
how shall they call if they have never heard
the gracious invitation of his word?

3 Go forth and tell! O church of God, arise!
go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies;
go till all nations his great name adore
and serve him, Lord and king for evermore

PRAYER

In faith, Lord, we pray for the liberation of all who are held captive by famine, injustice, war or terrorism…
Father, we pray for freedom for the captives.

In faith, Lord, we pray for the liberation of all who are held captive by addiction, homelessness or abuse…….
Father, we pray for freedom for the captives.

In faith, Lord, we pray for the liberation of all who are held captive by fear, loneliness or confusion…
Father, we pray for freedom for the captives.

In faith, Lord, we pray for the liberation of all who are held captive by greed, gluttony or self-gratification….
Father, we pray for freedom for the captives.

In faith, Lord, we pray for the liberation of all who are held captive by Coronavirus, disease, disability or bereavement….
In faith, Lord, we pray for the liberation of all who are held captive by lockdowns causing financial failure, awkward education, poor working conditions, overwork…
Father, we pray for freedom for the captives.

Liberator Lord, hear our prayer in Christ’s name. Amen

LORD’S PRAYER

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


BLESSING

Liberator Lord, stretch out your wounded hands in blessing over your people, to heal and to restore and to set us free, and to draw us to yourself and to one another in love. Amen