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                             St Clement Church Second before Lent Service

                          

 

Good morning, everyone                                                                                                                           On this, the second Sunday before Lent, we think of Jesus’ words to his disciples and indeed to us, that it is not enough to love those who love us.                                 To love those who dislike or actively harm us, to give generously without thought of receiving anything, to never judge others and to willingly forgive no matter what the offence – is so hard and we frequently fail.                                                             During the coming season of Lent, may we take Jesus’ words and really absorb them, so that we do live much better lives treating all with love and consideration no matter who they are.

With love                                                                                                                                                          Liz                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Let us pray

God of being, be present in our gathering.                                                                                            God of becoming, help us to become more fully ourselves.                                                           God of learning, light our passion to know more.                                                                                  God of seeking, be in our search for understanding.                                                                            God of teaching, show us how to teach one another.                                                                         God of story, weave together our own stories with yours.

Amen

Hymn:  433   O worship the King

 A prayer of Penitence

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.                                                                            In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.                                                                                                    I firmly intend, with your help, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.                                                                                                                                                          Our Saviour, Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.

‘Remember, Lord, your compassion and mercy which you showed long ago.                            Do not recall the sins and failings of my youth.                                                                                    In your mercy remember me, Lord, because of your goodness.’ (Psalm 24:6-7)

Amen

Let us pray the Collect for Second Sunday before Lent

Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and forever.

Amen

Readings

Genesis 45. 3 – 11, 15                                                                                                                                 1 Corinthians 15. 35 - 38, 42 – 50

                                                                                                                                             Hymn: 285   For the beauty of the earth                                                                                                                                

Gospel of Luke 6. 27 - 38

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.                                                                                                         

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord)

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.                                                                                                                                                                  If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.                                                                          Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.                                                                                                                               Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.                                                                                                                         If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.                                                                                                                            If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.                                                               But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.                                           Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.                                                                                                      Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.    

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.                                                                                                                                                   Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.                                                      A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’

(This is the Gospel of our Lord      Response:    Praise to you, O Christ)                                                                                                        

Reflection

I don’t know about you, but for me, Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel reading are both difficult and challenging. Although the words are very familiar, trying to live them seems impossible most of the time.                                                                                        It’s not that I challenge or disagree with what Jesus says – I know in my heart that the world would be a much better place if we all lived according to these words – but, even though I may start each day saying, ‘Today, I will be a kinder, more tolerant, less judgemental, forgiving person,’ somehow, at the end of the day, I am very aware just how far short I have fallen – a thoughtless word, a sudden thought, an unthinking deed - and that’s when I’m really trying so hard to ‘be good.’ It’s not easy, is it?

Jesus in referring to the Law of the Old Testament uses the phrase, ‘but I say to you.’ Jesus is calling His disciples, and us, to a new way of living, behaving, responding to our daily, human encounters. Living this new way as Jesus outlines in this passage is only possible with God’s help – we can’t do it on our own … but, ‘with God all things are possible.’

The first words of Jesus recorded in John’s Gospel are, ‘without me, you can do nothing.’ And, that’s it. No situation will ever arise when Jesus is not by our side helping us to do what is for God’s glory and our own good. Didn’t He promise at the Ascension to be with us always to the end of time?

In the Acts of the Apostles, the following words are attributed to St Paul, ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me.’

If what Jesus asks seems too much for us, we are beginning to understand that our response will depend not on ourselves alone but on a grace that comes from God. Only by receiving the Spirit that Jesus promises will we be able to witness to the love, forgiveness and peace to which Jesus calls us.

Perhaps it’s not so much that we are asked to imitate God’s compassion as to be a channel for it. Let us pray that we may be open, transparent and free in letting the image of God in which we are created, be seen and experienced.

If you think about it, today’s Gospel reading must rank as one of the most extraordinary texts ever written! It completely reverses human thinking about enemies and forgiveness. It spells out the way God goes about things, holding nothing against us despite all our failings. This is how Jesus lived, this is how He died for His executioners. His attitude of heart was blessed by His Father and brought Him into eternal life. Our world can be transformed if we take Jesus seriously. Our task is to collaborate with Him and to live on a higher level of loving than we had imagined possible. We are called to go beyond loving our neighbour as ourselves, beyond loving only those who love us, beyond only loving ‘nice’ people. We are to love our enemies, do good to them, pray for them, wish them well!

Jesus uses extreme language to highlight the importance of our relationships to one another. We are to deal with others, mindful of how we ourselves have received the good gift of forgiveness from God. This reminds us of the words in ‘The Lord’s Prayer, ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …’ When one has difficulties with others, it is good to pray for ourselves, to know our own faults, if any; and to pray for the others, that they may receive the grace from God for their better selves to emerge. Do to others as God has done to you.

Lord Jesus, again you turn our thinking upside down! Love of enemies is so contrary to human nature, but that is what You demand of us.                                                                   But Lord, we are what you call ‘sinners,’ because when others offend us, we close our hearts to them and punish them as best we can!                                                               You ask us to bring our enemies into our hearts and show mercy to them. Lord, change our hearts or we will never become ‘children of the Most High.’                                   Let us spend time pondering how merciful You are to us, even when we are ‘ungrateful and wicked.’ Hopefully, that will make us pause before judging and condemning our enemies.

Jesus invites us to respond to the world as He did – loving, blessing, praying and offering. We are called to do this not only where there are things of which we approve, but in all circumstances.

Please God, we ask you to remove any way of seeing which causes us to distrust, to judge, to condemn or to hold back. We pray for patience to endure difficult circumstances and courage to be able to confront them as well as we can.                                                                                                                                                                    Lord, we are the focus of Your indiscriminate love. Grant us a profound appreciation of this limitless gift. Transformed by this love, may we, in turn, show unrestricted love to others – especially our enemies.

Amen 

Daphne’s Thoughts

The vicar is away on a long overdue rest with Ken and May. I hope that she has left her mobile behind – but that is highly unlikely!

Liz is also away at a significant time when she needs the comfort and solace that only her loving family can give.

That only leaves me, and I regret to say that I have not been as supportive to St Clement as I ought.  Covid leaves you weak, very low, no energy or confidence and Dave and I were the lucky ones. Loved ones have been lost too soon and life for many will never be the same especially here at St Clement.

I’m sure, like myself you will have seen, over the last few weeks, that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The gardeners at Boscawen Park are talking about the signs of Spring. Snowdrops and crocus are already flowering and those of you with a garden will have seen signs of plant life as well.

Life as we know it in our city is beginning to re-emerge; events are being planned and things are returning to nearly normal. I don’t think we will ever be restored to normal as we knew it, but things are looking better.

The diocese is looking to the future and I know that all of us here this morning, and those of us sharing the service at home, will do all we can in whatever small way to ensure a healthy and secure future at St Clement.

We look forward to Easter Day and the Flower Festival. We have missed out on so much the last two years – now we will appreciate everything so much more.

We have had a lot of time to think over the last two years and I wonder if the pandemic was a necessary part of our lives. Hatred, greed, violence and prejudice played a large part of every day life in many places.

Has Covid stopped us in our tracks? Has it had an impact on those troubled souls intent on evil deeds? I pray it has. Over the last two years there have been a lot of ordinary folk not only nursing, healing, caring and providing our everyday needs but little extra deeds - people sharing food, helping vulnerable and frail neighbours, words of kindness, phone calls to the lonely, businesses and companies providing much needed supplies to our communities, raising much needed money for families and those without incomes. There have been so many acts of kindness and generosity, love and friendship in this time of need. I hope this time of renewed care and consideration for others will continue.

We have even found beds for our homeless, something that was not achieved in Truro for many years. The building that once provided shelter for the poor and destitute is now luxury flats. We needed to wake up and smell the coffee!

It is so good to all be together this morning. The warmth and friendship are so welcome after months of lockdown and the risk of the invisible enemy – Covid. God is taking us forward, changing the priorities in our lives, awakening us to the simple beauty of our surroundings, sunrise and sunset, bird song, little ones playing and laughing – all these gifts are free!

We have had time to look around, to evaluate the things that really matter.                                There is so much more to come. I hope we all leave here today looking forward with hope and God’s help to put our energy into our tasks ahead – remembering that the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Amen                                                                                             

Affirmation of our Faith

Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God

 Though he was divine, he did not cling to equality with God, but made himself nothing.                                                                                                                                           Taking the form of a slave, he was born in human likeness.                                                            He humbled himself and was obedient to death, even the death of the cross.                           Therefore, God has raised him on high, and given him the name above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Amen

Hymn:  342   Breathe on me breath of God

Intercessions by Daphne Hawkins

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ let us pray to the Father.

God of mercy and love we ask that you will be with us all as we share this service be it here in our beloved church or in the sanctuary of our homes. We are united in friendship, faith, love and peace.

Lord, we thank you for each new day, the beauty and tranquillity of our countryside and surroundings. May we always be aware that in spite of so many problems and challenges of the wide world, we are blessed in so many ways.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for the holy Church of God, Archbishop Justin, Bishops Philip and Hugh and all the leaders of our sister churches. We pray for our own priest Reverend Diane and her family and for Liz and all other officers who are working so hard during these dark and difficult days to keep our church alive and active.                                       We pray for all world leaders and especially our own government at this time of unrest. May they recognise the plight of those in poverty, with mental health issues, homelessness, pain and suffering, sickness, hatred and prejudice. May they work steadfastly to relieve the suffering and fear of so many, making good and fair decisions for all people.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for our own community and all changes in our county and our diocese. May these new changes be a welcome benefit to all our society. May we all work together to Improve our wellbeing and continue in God’s work.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for Elizabeth our beloved Queen and her family. We pray that you will be with them all. Give them health and strength to carry out their duties and to support Her Majesty in this her Platinum Jubilee.

Dear Lord, may we always be mindful of the need to protect and care for our environment and work to restore the damage we have caused. May we care for and respect all animals, birds, insects and any form of domestic and wild life.                           May we remember we are all equal in your sight. We thank you for our world and everything in it.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Dear Lord, we bring to you all who are suffering especially at this time: those whose body, mind or spirit needs healing, the many who have no one even to pray for them. We remember Ken and Diane, Ollie, Margaret, Rob and Alison and Liz. Dear Lord, lay your healing hands on all who need you. Give them comfort, courage, hope, peace and love in their time of trouble and the light and joy of your salvation.

Dear Lord, we pray for all those whose earthly journey is over and they are with you at rest and in peace. We remember all who have gone before us, those we love but see no more. Help us to follow in their footsteps until with them we see you face to face.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrew, St Clement and the Blessed Virgin Mary, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus 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.

Love your enemies by jaytharding  (this is how the writer’s name is written!)

Let harm from enemies be dealt by God                                                                                       Or else their evil turns your heart to hate.                                                                                           Vendettas never serve the path you trod                                                                                           Especially if you seek Heaven’s gate.

Yearn mightily to understand this point                                                                                         Outgrow the worldly need to gain revenge.                                                                                  Undo such things that serve to disappoint                                                                                      Remember, God alone your pains avenge.

Embrace your enemies with love instead                                                                                        No mercy given freely is in vain.                                                                                                  Exalted Christ forgave us when He bled                                                                                           Might not we too forgive those causing pain?                                                                                 Instead of hating back the haters in your life                                                                                    Evoke the love of Christ and end such strife.                                                                                  Stay on the path of grace and you’ll abide.

 

The Peace

Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.                                          Not as the world gives do I give to you.                                                                                           Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.’                                                                                        The peace of the Lord be always with you.

Amen

Hymn:  271  Alleluya, sing to Jesus

Dear God                                                                                                                                            Thank you for your great love and blessing over our lives …                                                           We pray that you will make our way purposeful and our footsteps firm out of your goodness and love.                                                                                                                   Give us a heart of wisdom to hear your voice, and make us strong by your huge favour and grace.

Blessing

In darkness and in light,                                                                                                                in trouble and in joy,                                                                                                                             help us, heavenly Father,                                                                                                                  to trust your love,                                                                                                                                 to serve your purpose,                                                                                                                         and to praise your name;                                                                                                                   through Jesus Christ our Lord.                           

Amen

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                  

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 17th February 2022 8:50 AM