February 28th          2nd Sunday of Lent 



 (10 am Parish Communion service on zoom 2)

 

PRAYER


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. Amen.

 

FIRST READING:  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.’

 

SECOND READING:  Romans 4: 13-25


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.

 

GOSPEL  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. 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.’

 

REFLECTION  


Poor Peter, he must have been very shocked and confused when Jesus addressed him as ‘Satan’.  How could this be? He was the only one who had recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, and how could it be also that the Messiah ‘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’? For the Messiah was sent to save, not to suffer. Yet Jesus responded to his baffled concern as nothing better than setting his mind not on divine things but on human things.

 

Peter was indeed all too human. He thought about things on earth and not least about human desires. He had learned from his childhood that the desired messiah was to come to save Israel and to re-establish the throne of David, and this was what Peter desired.  So his messiah must be a mighty warrior, the very idea that Jesus was now standing on its head.  Jesus was talking about the divine way of salvation, saving not only the Israelites but rather the entire human race and doing so through the route of Calvary rather than military might as he understood.  Peter, because he expected his messiah to save only Israel and to do so through terrestrial power, did not understand God’s will in the true Messiah.  So it had been in the Garden of Eden, when Eve listened to the voice of the serpent, desired the fruit because it looked to be good food, and so, following her own desire, disobeyed God’s commandment. So it was now. Satan was still in the picture.

 

Lent is a season when we, the followers of Christ, go with Him into the wildness in order to listen to the voice of the divine, to seek God’s will.  The purpose of Lent is not primarily for us to give up various petty enjoyments, such as eating chocolates, drinking alcohol and so forth. Rather this surrender is made in order to concentrate our minds on things divine.  The little rituals of our daily round are, no doubt, habits that sustain us, yet those comfortable pillows of ordinary life often shut out the voice of God.  In this Lent season, we are able to put aside some of them, and let the divine voice be heard.  Peter gives us a good example of how to be a follower of Christ: to be close to Him, to listen to Him all the time, eventually to let human thought yield to the message of God even though it inverts all expectations.  May this Lent offer us an opportunity to hear and discern divine things.

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION  by Revd Marie Edwards


Let us pray

Lord, as we come before you this morning please open our hearts and minds to your presence in our lives.

Lord, we give thanks for the beautiful countryside and the towns and cities where we live.  For the people and wildlife that live in these places.  We pray that in this time of difficulty and uncertainty that we will continue to help and support each other where and when we can.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We pray for the children as they return to their areas of education.  We think especially of those who are anxious about returning, for those who will find it difficult to return to the classroom, for all parents and carers as well as the teachers who are preparing for their full classrooms.  We pray too for the university students who have to return to their accommodation and for those who are not allowed to return until next September.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We pray for the world around us, we think especially of the girls taken in Nigeria.  We pray for their safe return, for their families and friends.  We pray for all people who are under oppressive regimes, for people who suffer discrimination or abuse and ask you to help us be mindful of our own thoughts and actions when speaking to or about others.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We continue to pray for those affected by the flood in India recently.  We pray for the rescue workers and families and friends of those still missing.  For the areas damaged by the water and for the survivors of the flood.  We pray for all countries that suffer disasters such floods or droughts, for those who loose loved ones and livelihoods as a result.  We give thanks for the organisations who provide relief aid to those who need it.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We pray for those who are sick in body, mind or spirit.  For those who have found this last year especially difficult and challenging.  We take a moment of silence to pray for those known especially to us….

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We pray for those who have gone from this life to the next and ask that you welcome them with open loving arms.  We pray for those who mourn them and pray that they can feel your comforting, caring presence surrounding them.  We pray for those who support them, enable them to know the right things to say and do in these difficult times.  In a moment of silence we pray for those known especially to us…..

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

As our Saviour taught us so we pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

 

BLESSING

 

Delight in the Lord always.

Rejoice in the brightness of His presence. 

Be renewed by the power of His love.

And the blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.