St Clement Church Community 5th Sunday of Lent Word Service 21.3.21

 

                                

                                        

        

             St Clement Church Community Fifth Sunday in Lent

                                   (Passion Sunday) Service                                                                                                                                         

 

Good morning everyone

Welcome to our service on this the Fifth Sunday in Lent. The other name for today is Passion Sunday because it marks the beginning of the two-week-long period before Easter, known as Passiontide.

For me, preparing this service – not an easy one – has really made me anticipate and think about the events of Holy Week and all it means.

Thankfully, we are back in St Clement Church but there are still folk isolated at home.

Let us remember all those who need our thoughts and prayers at this time.

God Bless

With my love

Liz

  

Let us pray:

 

Jesus, Lamb of God, when You walked this earth You did not consider heavenly equality, though that was Yours to choose, but took the role of a lowly servant, and in humility and obedience allowed the rough nails of our sin to be hammered into Your flesh for the sake of our salvation.

So it is, that we acknowledge You as Lord of all, to the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

 

Our prayers of Penitence

 

Holy God, hear our prayer:

For the mending of our hearts, torn apart by our unkindness;

For the healing of our souls, wasting away from the despair around us;

 

Lord, have mercy.

 

For the forgiveness we seek for the sin we have allowed to persist;

For the reconciliation of the world, whose division condemns us;

 

Christ, have mercy.

 

We pray for the courage to admit our fault, the strength to amend our actions, and the hope that Your grace awaits us.

 

Lord, have mercy.

 

May our Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Old Testament reading:     Jeremiah 31. 31 - 34

New Testament reading:   Hebrews 5. 5 - 10

 

Let us pray our Collect for today.

 

Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen

 

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John) (12. 20 – 33)

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord

 

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.                                 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’

Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Those who love their life, lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.

Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

 

Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say – “Father – save me from this hour?”

No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

Father, glorify your name.’

Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’

The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder.

Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’

Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.

Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’

He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

 

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.)

Response: Praise to you, O Christ.

 

 

Reflections

 

In the passages before the Gospel reading for today, Jesus raises Lazarus – Mary and Martha’s brother - from the dead and many believe in Him. Afterwards, Jesus eats with Lazarus, his sisters and Judas (and maybe some of the other disciples) and it is at this meal that Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with costly perfume.

A huge crowd of people learn that Jesus is there and they come out to see the risen Lazarus and the man who has raised him from the dead.

Yet again, the chief priests are angry and concerned and they begin to plot not only to put Jesus to death but Lazarus too.

Despite the growing fears and plots of the religious leaders, the crowd continues to grow. The people have seen that even death is no match for Jesus and they are beginning to believe in Him.                                                               The Pharisees are greatly concerned by the growing movement of people believing in Jesus, and they say, ‘You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.’

 

So, to today’s reading!

Among those who went up to worship at the festival, were some Greeks.’ They have come to see Jesus. They find Philip – a disciple with a Greek name and who, perhaps, can speak Greek – and they say, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’

Not only are there local Jews wanting to see and hear Jesus but people from other countries – as the Pharisees say, ‘… the world has gone after him.’ Here, we see a powerful glimpse that the news of Jesus is NOT intended for only one group of people, or one period of time, or one geographical location. It is for the whole world.

Strangely, we never learn whether these Greeks actually see or meet Jesus.  As soon as Philip and Andrew tell Jesus that some Greeks have come to see Him, Jesus says, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified...’  This is a highly significant moment for Him. He has ministered to the house of Israel (the Jews) who were meant to take that message out to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. However, now the Gentiles themselves are taking the initiative in wanting to see Him. They want to meet Him, to talk with Him and get to know Him.

To the Philip and Andrew, all the followers and now foreigners asking to meet with Jesus must be exciting. After all the years of work and public ministry things really seem to be taking off – Jesus has raised someone from the dead, been anointed with costly perfume, and has come into Jerusalem to a fanfare that is fit for a king. Now is the time for Jesus to be glorified because the world is coming to Him. This is why Jesus has come into the world – but Jesus’ reaction isn’t what they expect or want. Jesus tells them that they have lost sight of the scope of God’s work, and the way God works in the world.                                                                

For Jesus, the arrival of the Gentile Greeks is the sign that His ministry is about to come to an end. The Gospel message He proclaims is to go out beyond the Jews to the wider world but He also knows that the time is soon to come for Him to die for the sins of the world.                                                       

Jesus knows that He needs to die to release Eternal Life. He explains the significance of His death in this way. It will be a dying to release His life in others.

Every year a wheat farmer takes some of the seed he harvested in the previous season and puts it back into the soil because he knows that it has to be sown again in order to enable it to multiply.

The wheat seed as it were, dies to allow more wheat to grow.

That’s how Jesus explains the necessity of His death. Eternal life exists in Him alone among humans, but by dying He can release that life to others who put their trust in Him.

Jesus also explains that if we aren’t willing to die to self and to follow Him, we will miss out on receiving eternal life. We have a choice – to follow Jesus by believing and trusting in Him and following His commandments, or to keep rejecting Him. The former brings eternal life. The latter means eternal death.

Jesus sees us as His servants. He has work for us to do. It means following Him as disciples, doing what He has commanded us to do, walking in His footsteps. In that way we will be where He is, in the place He wants us to be.

 

So, if our allegiance is to Jesus, we have made a decision to follow and serve him. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised if that following at times takes us into uncomfortable, uncharted areas. Jesus says, ‘Where I am, there will my servant be also,’ - which sounds wonderful when we think about Jesus after His ascension sitting at the right hand of God in heaven. But not so wonderful when we think about Jesus mixing with the outcasts, or situations of rejection and suffering reminiscent of Jesus being lifted up on the cross in front of a baying, sneering mob.

But the fact is, Jesus wants us to be involved, to be where He is or would be. We are to become part of the tragedy and glory of the cross, part of the story to lift Him up, to be revealed to others. To be part of why Jesus came, to love and suffer for this world, to be part of glorifying the name of God.

So how is God glorified? Jesus makes the request, ‘Father, glorify your name’ and God responds, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’

In Greek, the word for ‘glory’ and ‘reputation’ are the same word. Jesus is asking God to show the reputation he has in the world and God responds. God places his glory, his reputation, into the person of Jesus: misunderstood, reviled and rejected, while all the while loving and forgiving those who revile and reject Him.

 

The Greeks came to Philip asking to see Jesus. If people come to us asking to see Jesus, what would we say? What would we show them?

 

If following Jesus is being where He is, or would be, where would Jesus be today, and are we willing to be there also?

 

If God has placed his reputation into our hands, how are we doing as signposts and ambassadors? Are people able to see him for who he truly is?

 

‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus’ - perhaps we need that engraved in our minds and in our hearts.

Amen

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

 

We believe in God the Father, maker of all things.

We believe in his Son Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour of the world.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, giver of life and light.

We belong to the Church, God’s family everywhere.

 

Amen

 

 

Our Intercessions this week are by Daphne Hawkins

 

Dear Lord

We come to you this morning at our beloved St Clement Church and in our homes as we continue on our Lenten journey, in the midst of a pandemic we could never have imagined could be possible.

In spite of almost a year of lockdown and with so many painful duties and challenges being faced, both personal and church duties our priest Diane and church leaders are coping with, they still unite us in a church service every Sunday without fail.

We can all share in the comforting and inspiring services made available to our own congregation and many new friends scattered far and wide. We all cherish the weekly service that sustains and brings us comfort in our daily lives as we look ahead with love and hope in our hearts.

 

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ let us pray to the Father a most merciful and loving God we come to you on this Fifth Sunday of our Lenten journey thanking you for the first signs of new birth of Spring. Thank you for giving us renewed faith and hope that by your grace and mercy we may emerge from the darkness of the past year intent on each of us striving to be a better person.

 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

We continue to pray for: all people who daily put their lives at risk caring for the sick, the elderly, the homeless, the hungry, the vulnerable and anyone disabled or alone; for all those working to provide us with food, water and utilities; for those who keep us safe and provide our many needs that we take for granted. Lord, watch over them and keep them safe.

 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Lord, we pray for all governments and world leaders; for all who have the responsibility of keeping us safe dealing with all the requirements needed to eliminate this Covid 19 disease.

May we work to the best of our ability to follow the guidelines laid down to help us, difficult as they are at times.

 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Dear Lord, we are facing so much unrest and bitterness at this time. We are seeing evil and violence adding to the distress and despair we already endure. Please help all who feel threatened, mentally or physically, and help them to overcome the fears that they hold. May they see a way forward, a kinder and gentler way of life and bring love and faith into their lives.

 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

We pray for Elizabeth our much loved and respected monarch. We see how vulnerable she is, sharing the same worries and cares as we have all known from time to time. Please be with her.

We give thanks that Prince Philip is now well enough to return home.

We pray for the whole Royal family at this time.

 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

We pray for all who are sick or suffering at this time, many not known to us, being in lockdown.

We pray for Ken and Diane, Sue, Kate, Martin and Liz.

In our community we have witnessed sorrow and sadness and have not been able to support so many dear friends. They are always on our minds and in our prayers.

Lord, please lay your healing hands on all, in need at this time, and be with them always.

 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Father, give to us and to all your people, in times of anxiety, serenity; in times of hardship, courage; in times of uncertainty, patience; and at all times, a quiet trust in your wisdom and love.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrew, St Clement and all your saints, we commend ourselves and all Christian people to your unfailing love.

 

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of You 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.

 

Lent Calls

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

To do what?

Like Martha, I tend towards doing

Doing is something I understand

Chairing a committee

Taking food to the sick

Reading the Bible

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

He wants more of me than I’ve ever given

More than Lenten study

More than giving up dessert

More than extra church services

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

He wants more of me and I’m frightened

Frightened of losing control

Frightened of letting go

Frightened of what He might ask me to do if I really listened

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

I feel a yearning, a tugging towards something more

Whispers of love unimaginable

Glimpses of a relationship unshakeable

Tastes of a water so clear and sweet that my thirst is slaked for ever

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

A step is all I can manage, Lord

A hand extended

A head bowed

A conscious placing of myself on Your Potter’s wheel

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

Help me with the hard part, Lord

Help me surrender

Help me abandon myself to You

Help me reconcile myself to You

 

Lent calls to me again …

 

Here I am, Lord

 

By Elizabeth Herbert Cottrell

 

The Peace

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you know our faults and have heard our prayers. You have ripped apart the barriers that separate us from God and opened us to the grace of God through Your sacrifice of love on a cross, and Your resurrection from the dead.

Promise of God, fill Your people and give us peace.

 

The peace be with us all.

  

Amen

 

 

God is our refuge

In times of trouble,

Keeping our feet steady upon the road,

Watching over us and keeping us from harm.

 

Where does our help come from?

Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!

 

God is our fortress

In times of distress,

Circling us in the safety of his arms,

Granting peace when our lives are not at ease.

 

Where does our help come from?

Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!

 

God is our Father

Who knows us so well,

Wanting only the best for his children,

Willing always to forgive and forget.

 

Where does our help come from?

Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!

 

Amen

 

 

Blessing

 

Now may the Lord of peace himself give us peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with us all.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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