St James, Gatley                                              

Holy Communion

The Second Sunday of Lent – 28 February 2021

 

 

The Gathering

 

          In the name of the Father,

          and of the Son,

          and of the Holy Spirit.

All      Amen.

 

          The Lord be with you

All      and also with you.

 

Prayer of Preparation

 

All      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

         

          God shows his love for us

          in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

          Let us then show our love for him

          by confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

 

All      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.

 

          Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

          Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

          Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

 

          Almighty God,

          who forgives all who truly repent,

          have mercy upon you,

          pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

          confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

          and keep you in life eternal;

          through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All      Amen.

 

The Collect

 

          Almighty God,

you show to those who are in error the light of your truth,

that they may return to the way of righteousness:

grant to all those who are admitted

into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,

that they may reject those things

that are contrary to their profession,

and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same;

through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

All      Amen.

        

Readings

 

Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’

This is the word of the Lord.

All      Thanks be to God.

 

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

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, 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. 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.’ 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. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

          This is the word of the Lord.

All      Thanks be to God.

 

Gospel Reading

 

Mark 8.31-end

 

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

All      Glory to you, O Lord.

 

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. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 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.’

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. 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. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 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.

All      Praise to you, O Christ.

 

Reflection

 

In this morning’s gospel reading Mark narrates how Jesus addresses his disciples with a stark message. Mark writes, ‘Then [Jesus] 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.’ This morning’s gospel reading comes right in the middle of Mark’s gospel, and even by this point in the gospel Jesus is talking about his death and resurrection; and the news is not welcome news, especially to Peter, who takes Jesus aside for a quiet word. In fact, it’s not so much a quiet word, he rebukes Jesus for talking like this. Nevertheless, Jesus now has his face set towards the path he must follow, and he rebukes Peter, saying to him: ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ Peter wants to save Jesus’s skin, he doesn’t want a Messiah who suffers, and in doing so, Peter’s very human perspective is blocking the divine purpose. In the Greek that Mark uses, Jesus says to Peter, ‘Depart, behind me’, and this was after Jesus had called Peter at the beginning of the gospel with the words ‘Come, behind me’. If Peter wants to continue to follow Jesus as a disciple, he cannot prevent Jesus from making the journey to Jerusalem where he will ‘be killed, and after three days rise again’.

 

There’s no doubt that Jesus takes his disciples by surprise by his words about his imminent death and resurrection. His next words too would have been a huge challenge to the crowd and the disciples – Jesus says to them: ‘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. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 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.’ These are challenging words, they are about being willing to go with Jesus to the place of suffering and death, they are about serving him before everything else, they are about making a decision to follow him, even if that means losing their life. Jesus’s words are really stark here; as the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, once said, ‘When Jesus calls someone, he bids them to come and die’. So, how do we make sense of this? How do we detect within these words the good news of the gospel?

A modern day saint who can help us think about this, and who took those words of Jesus to heart in one of the darkest periods of recent history was Oscar Romero. He was the Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 until he was assassinated in March 1980. He witnessed first-hand the violent and ruthless actions of the government in San Salvador and became one of their most vocal critics and opponents. Speaking about Oscar Romero in 2010, Rowan Williams highlighted how the martyr-saint lived out in a radical fashion the command to love God and love his neighbour. For Romero, loving God and his neighbour, especially his poor, oppressed neighbour, meant speak out against the government violence and oppression that stalked San Salvador in those days. We can see how Jesus’s injunction to love God and neighbour in the face of such injustice and oppression was a call to take up one’s cross, to accept that self-protection and self-preservation in such a context would be a failure to love.

Expanding on this theme, Williams writes: ‘That was the love out of which Monseñor Romero spoke in his last sermon when he urged the soldiers of the government to lay down their arms rather than obey unjust orders and commanded the rulers of El Salvador to stop the murder and repression. That was the love which provoked exactly what the love of our Lord provoked – that ultimate testimony to the emptiness and impotence of violent power that is murder. Organised evil has no final sanction except death; and when death is seen, accepted and undergone for the sake of the only true power in the universe, which is God's love, organized evil is helpless. It is exposed as having nothing to say or do, exposed as unreal, for all its horrific ingenuity and force. 'Life has the last word', said the great Gustavo Gutierrez preaching in 1995 in memory of the martyrs of El Salvador.’

In the gospel reading today Jesus reveals to Peter that the only true power in the universe is divine love, and that the cross will be the means by which divine love will conquer the twin powers of sin and death, and set God’s people free. Jesus’s love lays hold of Peter and calls him to let go of his fear and self-protection, to see that his death and resurrection will be the means by which God will rescue his people. In Lent, we journey with Jesus to the cross and resurrection, and in the process we are freed from our fears of death. We are inspired by people like Oscar Romero and others who through their faithfulness and love have embodied the divine love in their lives. To take up our cross is ultimately about finding freedom, about being led by divine love, even in the face of evil and death. Peter too became a saint-martyr who was able to walk in freedom of the gospel, to witness to the saving death and resurrection of his Lord, even in the face of persecution and violence. He learnt to set his mind on divine love, and in doing so he found freedom. Amen.

 

The Nicene Creed

 

All       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

If you are praying at home you could use the following pattern your prayers…

 

God our Father, we pray for the needs of the world…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Lord Jesus, we pray for your Church throughout the world…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Holy Spirit, we pray for our local community…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of love, we pray for all who are unwell…

We pray by name for Isobel, John, Millie, Sue, Anne, Kath, Mary, Martina, Mike, Christine, Malcolm, Tilly, Norman, Sharon, Mick and Catherine, and all others known to us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

God of peace, we commend to you all have died in recent days, praying by name for Annie Hodgkinson – may she rest in peace and rise in glory.

We pray for those whose year’s mind fall this week, remembering from this parish, Jean Read, John Harwood, Emmie Milne, Norman Edwards, Mary Logan, Cicely West. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.ku

 

You may want to make some personal prayers of your own here

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

All      and also with you.

 

Offertory Prayer

         

          Pour upon the poverty of our love,

          and the weakness of our praise,

          the transforming fire of your presence.

All      Amen.

 

The Eucharistic Prayer

 

          If you are praying at home and not following the service online, you can now continue your prayers at the heading ‘Spiritual Communion’ near the end of the service.

         

          The Lord is here.

All      His Spirit is with us.

          Lift up your hearts.

All      We lift them to the Lord.

          Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All      It is right to give thanks and praise.    

         

          It is indeed right and good

          to give you thanks and praise,

          almighty God and everlasting Father,

          through Jesus Christ your Son.

          For in these forty days

          you lead us into the desert of repentance

          that through a pilgrimage of prayer and discipline

          we may grow in grace

          and learn to be your people once again.

          Through fasting, prayer and acts of service

          you bring us back to your generous heart.

          Through study of your holy word

          you open our eyes to your presence in the world

          and free our hands to welcome others

          into the radiant splendour of your love.

          As we prepare to celebrate the Easter feast

          with joyful hearts and minds

          we bless you for your mercy

          and join with saints and angels

          for ever praising you and singing:

 

All      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.

 

          We praise and bless you, loving Father

          through Jesus Christ, our Lord;

          and as we obey his command,

          send your Holy Spirit,

          that broken bread and wine outpoured

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

 

          On the night before he died he had supper with his friends,

          and taking bread, he praised you.

          He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:

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

          do this in remembrance of me.

         

          When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.

          Again he praised you, gave it to them 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.

         

          So, Father, as we remember all that Jesus did,

          In him we plead with confidence his sacrifice

          made once for all upon the cross.

          Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation,

          we proclaim his death and resurrection

          until he comes in glory.           

 

          Jesus Christ is Lord:

All      Lord, by your cross and resurrection

you have set us free.

You are the Saviour of the world.

         

Lord of all life,

          help us to work together for that day

          when your justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.

 

          Look with favour on your people,

          gather us in your loving arms

          and bring us with St. James and all the saints

          to feast at your table in heaven.

 

          Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,

          in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

          all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father,

          for ever and ever.

All      Amen.

 

          As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

 

All      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.

 

Breaking of the Bread

           

          We break this bread

          to share in the body of Christ.

All      Though we are many, we are one body,

          because we all share in one bread.

 

All      Jesus, Lamb of God,

          have mercy on us.

          Jesus, bearer of our sins,

          have mercy on us.

          Jesus, redeemer of the world,

          grant us peace.

 

Giving of Communion

         

          Draw near with faith.

          Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ

          which he gave for you,

          and his blood which he shed for you.

          Eat and drink

          in remembrance that he died for you,

          and feed on him in your hearts

          by faith with thanksgiving.

         

All      Most merciful Lord,

          your love compels us to come in.

          Our hands were unclean,

          our hearts were unprepared;

          we were not fit

          even to eat the crumbs from under your table.

          But you, Lord, are the God of our salvation,

          and share your bread with sinners.                                           

          So cleanse and feed us

          with the precious body and blood of your Son,

          that he may live in us and we in him;

          and that we, with the whole company of Christ,

          may sit and eat in your kingdom.

          Amen.

 

          If you are following online you could now pray the ‘Spiritual Communion’ prayer below.

 

Prayer after Communion

         

          Almighty God,

you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:

keep us both outwardly in our bodies,

and inwardly in our souls;

that we may be defended from all adversities

which may happen to the body,

and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All      Amen.

 

All      Almighty God,

          we thank you for feeding us

          with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

          Through him we offer you our souls and bodies

          to be a living sacrifice.

          Send us out

          in the power of your Spirit

          to live and work

          to your praise and glory.

          Amen.

 

Spiritual Communion

 

For those praying at home

 

Lord Jesus, it is not possible for me to share in the sacrament of Holy Communion today, but I want to be united with you and so I receive you into my heart and share in communion with you through the gift of your Holy Spirit. I pray for spiritual nourishment and give thanks that nothing can separate me from your love. Amen.

 

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

         

          Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,

          to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him;

          and the blessing of God almighty,

          the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

          be among you and remain with you always.

All      Amen.

 

          Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

All      In the name of Christ. Amen.

Gatley VP
St James
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