St Clement Church Community First Sunday of Lent Service





               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service


Good morning to you all as we celebrate our service of the first Sunday of Lent, Oh my gosh, no chocolate for me until Easter day……..

Lent (the ‘lengthening of the days) is an old English word meaning Spring.  In earliest times it was observed by those who were preparing for their Baptism at Easter.  Later the 40 days of Lent were identified with the 40 days when Jesus was tested in the wilderness.  It’s an opportunity for us to humbly re-examine our lives and through prayer, study and self-denial, to renew our love for God.

We’re continuing to share worship in our own homes, the local Covid levels are falling now thankfully, and I suggest that we return to worship in our church building on March 14th (Mothering Sunday)

(Could PCC members give their views on this…)

Many thanks must go to the folk who have been busy keeping our building ‘fit for purpose’ the Christmas tree was ‘upcycled’, the nativity scene packed away and we now look forward to our Easter Garden (no pressure, Angela!)

I was pleased to receive the faculty yesterday that gives us permission to commence work on our ‘Loos in the Lych Gate Project.’ We have a year to complete this endeavour but we hope and pray it won’t take that long! 

May Christ’s love sustain you always.

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx



Let us pray;

Lord God, as we begin our journey through Lent, give us the desire to seek first your Kingdom, the honesty to admit our failings, and the humility to receive your forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.



Our prayers of Penitence

The first commandment is:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this:

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.

Amen. Lord have mercy.


Let us confess to God our failure to keep his commandments:

Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly, love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.



Let us pray our Collect for today

Heavenly Father, your Son battled with the powers of darkness, and grew closer to you in the desert: help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Old Testament Reading: Genesis 9. 8-17

New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 3. 18-22

Gospel: Mark 1. 9-15

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

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)


The Gospel According to


The Word Became Flesh

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’


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



In the cycle of days and seasons in the lectionary that make up church-time, this year we’ve already heard verses from the first chapter of Mark.  And here we are, back again, but this time the lesson includes two verses that weren’t included in January.
Verse 12; And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

And verse 13; He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
After Christ’s baptism, that amazing moment when the heavens were torn apart, the Spirit descended like a dove, and a voice proclaimed Jesus was God’s Beloved, there was the wilderness.

Crumbs!  Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum!  And it’s not as if Jesus chose to go is it? The lesson reads; “And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness,”

The trouble is, in preparing this sermon I got to the ‘drove’ part of the reading and wondered; ‘I wonder what they went in? A Land Rover would definitely be needed for that kind of terrain.’ 

It just proves doesn’t it folks, that you can’t take the coach driver out of the priest, whatever you dress her up in!
Anyway, back to the plot…The original Greek translation of; ‘drove’ means something like; “threw out.” So we could say that The Spirit ‘threw Jesus out’ into the wilderness, and the wilderness was a scary place, because it was where the people of God come face to face with fear.

Remember the Israelites, glad for about 40 seconds to be out of slavery in Egypt, suddenly face to face with what it means to be in the wilderness?

No food. No water. The very real threat of death. “If only God had killed us in Egypt,” they moan, “At least there we had food.”

Fear is always, on some level, the fear of death, whether the death of our physical bodies, or the death of relationships, or the death of a certain way of living.  And in the wilderness the people of God come face to face with the fear of all such kinds of death.
So it is for Jesus. Mark’s telling of the story is famously short on detail, but evocative in what he does include. For forty days Jesus was tempted by Satan - two of the other gospels spell that out for us, but Mark leaves it to our imagination to fill in the blanks.

In this lesson we don’t know what the testing of Jesus looked like. We only know that before he emerged from the wilderness he had other encounters too, for instance; ‘he was with the wild beasts’.

I think there are at least two ways we can think about these words. In one, Jesus encounters the wild beasts and masters them, he fights them off and sends them running away with their tails between their legs, with not a scratch on him.

But of course, the wild beast scenario I prefer is an echo of a passage from Isaiah that we usually associate with the Christmas prophecies:

‘The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling together,

and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together;

and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,

and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.’

Jesus is with the wild beasts, and they do not harm him. But it’s not because he puts them in a head lock or any of the other hundreds of professional wrestling holds I found on Wikipedia, Jesus is with the wild beasts and they don’t harm him because this is the beginning.

The time is fulfilled. The reign of God has come near.

Something entirely new has dawned, and the angels complete the picture, waiting on Jesus and attending to him.
The wilderness is the place where the people of God come face to face with fear. And, people of God, it is wilderness time, for you and for me.

We’ve been invited into the wilderness, with all its inadequate dining facilities, questionable companions, wild beasts, and angels.

So the question for us is: what do we fear? What variety of death has its stranglehold on our hearts, head-locking us with terror, doubt and insecurity?

For some of us the fear is very real, and hits close to home.

For some of us the fear of death is literal, especially during these times of Covid we have looked it in the face and know in our hearts the reality of it.
But there are the other kinds of death that are equally real.

For instance in these difficult times we might fear the loss of our, or family member’s jobs, and the death of the way of life that loss will bring.

We might fear the loss of relationships, the friendship of those we know and love, and the death of that way of life.

We might fear the loss of our future security, our health, or retirement pensions no longer enough to enable the way of life we had planned, again, another death.

Well, welcome to the wilderness folks. But the good news is, look around you. Here we all are, in it together.
But just maybe, and you’ll have to keep up with me here; just maybe; Jesus looked around him in the wilderness and, abruptly (or, “immediately,” as Mark likes to say), the wild beasts were angels.

It all gets back to; “Belovedness.”

If Jesus managed to take the memory of that heaven-torn moment, the dove descending and the voice saying; “You are my Son, the Beloved” into the wilderness with him, the memory of that Love obliterated the fear of being there.

And those who seem to be the wild beasts… the ones who, in our normal everyday mode would bring fear to our hearts, suddenly, immediately, have the look of angels about them.
The angels waited on him. Somehow, in the wilderness, the rocky, scrubby wasteland, there was bread. And there were angels.

Who are our angels? We might well ask.

And who do we suspect are our wild beasts, but who might really, in the presence of love, be angels, just cleverly disguised?

The wilderness is the place where the people of God come face to face with fear. So it is, so it was, so it shall be. 

But if we can just carry the memory of our Belovedness with us…not only this Lent but always, the stones turn to bread, the beasts turn to angels, and the table is spread.

Thanks be to God.



Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



Our Intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies


Dear Lord, as we quieten our thoughts and open our hearts to You,

we give thanks that we are able to worship in our homes in a country where there is freedom to worship without fear of persecution or arrest.

We remember all those around the world who are not so fortunate;

who daily face danger in admitting to even knowing Your name.

We ask Your blessing on each and every one of them as they live out their lives in the sure faith of Your love.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.


Too often, we are too busy to set aside time to give thanks for all that we have; to read Your Word and to be still in Your presence. 

May we open our hearts and minds to listen for Your voice and be guided in all that we do.

Guide and help us to live our lives as You would have us live them, always true to the way You lived, on earth, so long ago.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.

Dear Lord, we pray that the leaders of the nations and those in authority will always show respect, tolerance and a willingness to work together to make this world a better and safer place;

that they will always strive for the good of those they govern or supervise and not for their own self-interests and profit;

that they will do their utmost to provide food for those who are hungry, shelter for those who have nowhere to live and safety and security for those who are vulnerable.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.


We ask Your blessing on all, in so many parts of the world, who are suffering from natural and man-made disasters.

We especially think of those who face starvation because of the self-interests of others; those caught up in war zones because of individual or group demands for power; those who suffer because others can, and do hurt them.

May other nations, groups and individuals, free from such traumas, reach out the hand of friendship and support them.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord, we ask Your forgiveness on all who do not ‘love their neighbour’ as themselves.

We ask Your forgiveness for our frailty – please help us to live our lives using the talents that You have given us – true to Your calling and in peace and love with all.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord, we ask Your blessing on all who are sick in body, mind or spirit. We remember those who are suffering with Covid especially those in hospital. We pray that they may feel Your love and may those who care for them know that they are never alone and that You will be with them always to help them through the difficult times.

We especially remember: Beth, Sue, Kate, Hilary and Martin and all those known to each of us.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.


We remember those who have died in the faith of Christ.                      

Be with their loved ones as they face the future without them.

Give them strength and envelop them in Your love

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us.


In this Lenten season may we truly make our way and follow in the steps You trod in the service of our God.                                                                             

May our hearts be filled with love as our mighty Lord above.                                                                                  May we be Your servants true, and live our lives as You would do.             

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.


The Peace

‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name’ says the Lord,

 ‘I am there among them’

May the peace of God be always with us.  Amen.



May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness, to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always. Amen.





































Page last updated: 19th February 2021 3:05 PM