Sunday Worship – 21st February 2021 (1st Sunday in Lent)

Trumpet Sonata No 2 in D by John James
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Call to worship
After his baptism in the Jordan, Jesus was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. (Luke 4)

StF 465 – Hymn – Guide me, O thou great Jehovah

William Williams (1717-1791) translated by Peter Williams (1727-1796)

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Lent Prayer
Slow us down for the fast.

Still our restless spirits …
Calm our racing minds …
Centre our being …
And create in us a beautiful yearning space.

Slow us down for the fast.

Before the journey begins …
Before the wanderlust calls us …
Before the wilderness beckons …
and breaks our searching spirits …

from Slow us down for the fast by Sally Foster-Fulton
from Dancing in the Desert published by Wild Goose

Reading
Isaiah 43 v18 to 25    God does a new thing: a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert

Luke 4 v1 to 13    Jesus tempted in the wilderness …and  emerges stronger and ready for his mission

StF 236 – Hymn – Forty days and forty nights

George Hunt Smyttan (1822-1870) adapted by Jubilate Hymns

Click here to listen and watch – this version is recorded by Jubilate Hymns Ltd

Poem
Wilderness is wide,
bare rocks are there –
No place to hide,
exposed to all the elements
from every side.

Wilderness holds fear
of dangers seen, unseen,
From far and near,
threatening sounds and shadows
are everywhere.

Wilderness can bloom,
creative power is there.
Trees and plants find room,
signs that life will flourish,
death be overcome.

Wendy Ross-Barker
from Christian Aid anthology Let Justice Roll Down, ed Geoffrey Duncan

Thoughts to Ponder
Wilderness in biblical times was a natural place, a place of emptiness, arid, nothing to eat, lonely and dangerous.

What of wilderness today – a place? Or a state of being? War-torn?
Over industrialised? Polluted? Divided?  Poverty stricken?
… or even Engulfed in Pandemic?

Yet: Can wilderness be a place of re-creation and growth? Of HEALING?
God says to Isaiah – “I am about to do a NEW thing.”
He will provide a way where there was no path; water to quench thirst where there were no rivers. Beauty where there was only brokenness.
Will he also give LIFE for his people in place of sickness, fear and death?
GROWTH through and from Pandemic?

Is it possible that we NEED wilderness to give the creative process a shove, to spark lateral thinking, to become God’s thinkers and do-ers for the way ahead? Yet sustained by silence, prayer, and receptiveness?

In Lent we journey with Jesus from his first wilderness toward the point where he will enter a second wilderness on the Cross – and through it bring Joy and New Life to all who will enter it with him.  Amen

Poem
Jesus, come now into life’s wilderness,
Where pain and suffering threaten and dismay,
Walk with your people in life’s harshest days,
Give us your courage, take our fears away.

Wendy Ross-Barker
from Christian Aid anthology Let Justice Roll Down, ed Geoffrey Duncan

Prayers of Intercession
Please pray your own prayers – these are only suggestions.
–  For Government, Health Service, Care workers, Vaccinators
–  Education providers and receivers (in schools, universities and at home)
–  All who are sick in body, mind or spirit, especially friends/family
–  Those who struggle with bereavement, or loss of income.
–  Our church family.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

StF 518 Hymn – Father hear the prayer we offer

Love Maria Willis (1824-1908)

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Blessing
We share with those with us and apart:
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us now, and remain with us evermore. Amen

Fugue by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
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