A service for the 2nd Sunday before Lent

Sunrise over Swanage

Sunrise over Swanage


A Service for The Second Sunday before Lent 

Sunday 7th February, 2021

 

Preparation:

Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross or a candle.  

 

Hear the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ:

‘I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me shall never walk in darkness

but shall have the light of life.’

 

Let us therefore bring our sins into his light

and confess them in penitence and faith.

 

Lord Jesus, illuminate the darkness in our hearts:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

 

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to your saving love:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

 

Lord Jesus, unstop our ears to hear your living word:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

 

May God who loved the world so much

that he sent his Son to be our Saviour

forgive us our sins

and make us holy to serve him in the world,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

The Collect

 

Silence is kept.

 

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 for ever.

Amen.

 

The First Hymn

Immortal Invisible: https://youtu.be/LZqr_iWrKjY

 

1 Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

2 Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might,
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

3 To all, life thou givest, to both great and small.
In all life thou livest, the true life of all.
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.

4 Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight.
All laud we would render; O help us to see
‘tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

 

The First Reading:

Proverbs 8:1,22-31

 

Does not wisdom call,
   and does not understanding raise her voice?

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
   the first of his acts of long ago.
Ages ago I was set up,
   at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
   before the hills, I was brought forth—
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
   or the world’s first bits of soil.
When he established the heavens, I was there,
   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
   when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
   so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
   then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
   rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
   and delighting in the human race.

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

 

Psalm 104: 26-end

 

Refrain:    I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

 

26  O Lord, how manifold are your works!  

In wisdom you have made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

27  There is the sea, spread far and wide,  

and there move creatures beyond number, both small and great.

28  There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan  

which you have made to play in the deep.

29  All of these look to you  

to give them their food in due season.

30  When you give it them, they gather it;  

you open your hand and they are filled with good.

31  When you hide your face they are troubled;  

when you take away their breath,

they die and return again to the dust.

32  When you send forth your spirit, they are created,  

and you renew the face of the earth. [R]

33  May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;  

may the Lord rejoice in his works;

34  He looks on the earth and it trembles;  

he touches the mountains and they smoke.

35  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;  

I will make music to my God while I have my being.

36  So shall my song please him  

while I rejoice in the Lord.

37  Let sinners be consumed out of the earth

and the wicked be no more.  

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Alleluia.

 

Refrain:    I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

 

Creator God,

send your Holy Spirit to renew this living world,

that the whole creation,

in its groaning and striving,

may know your loving purpose

and come to reflect your glory;

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

The Second Reading:

Colossians 1:15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

 

The Gospel:

John 1: 1-14

 

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Glory to you, O Lord.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

 

Homily

The theme of creation is a thread running through our readings today and it settles in little pools of thought around ‘Wisdom’ and ‘The Word’ particularly, but also – as the writers wrestle with the very real problems in describing God’s creation – with majesty and awe; the stretching of the mind to encompass the visible and the invisible, the created and the eternal.  The personification of wisdom sits comfortably with these expressions of amazement at the contemplation of what is beyond us.  Equally, and by no means adequately, we find ourselves caught up with the concept of a personified ‘Word’ too.  He who swept the creation into being, and brought light and life to the dark places of a world devoid of the loving presence and influence of the divine; which sounds quite airy-fairy and disconnected with the reality of what we face day by day.

Let us consider this from the point of view of the heavens declaring the glory of God.  Looking at the last paragraph of the Proverbs reading we hear ‘Wisdom’ addressing us – it is not difficult for us, in fact it is natural, to think ‘Christ’ and read his presence back into this wisdom declaration: “When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, etc.  I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight…..’  Compare that for a moment with, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.’ – we can see the pattern that is building here of the action of Christ at the heart of the creation, both at the beginning of time and the day to day and everywhere presence that our Lord, in his redeeming pattern of work brings hope to all people.  

If the heavens and the earth declare God’s glory, we may think of that in terms of a visual glory, such as we have often experience in our beautiful corner of Dorset, with very beautiful sunrises and sunsets, across hill and meadow and sea.  But let us push the connection of God and Christ with creation a bit further than the divine glory being seen in beauty.  How in fact is God’s glory declared?  We may answer this by saying that God is glorified in his presence.  Life it may be said has many different skies; not just flaming sunsets, but grey evenings dropping into sombre night, but God’s glory is not dependent on our apprehension of beauty, nor indeed on everything being perfect, as we recognise that much is far from perfect at the moment in the midst of a pandemic.  Our understanding of his glory is related to his presence.  That is where the seeking and the finding comes, whether in the experience of great natural beauty and happiness, or on days when much is demanded of us and the challenges are great.  

The Gospel today is ever related to Christmas.  It is heard as the ninth lesson at a traditional Christmas carol service based upon the King’s College pattern; it is read at midnight in most churches, and on Christmas Day itself it would be seen as being the principal Gospel reading.  It talks about a breaking in to creation; a light coming into the world; a dwelling; it is for all Christians the message of incarnation – God coming amongst us as someone who is not only from everlasting and certainly present at the beginning of the creation, but also as one who is reflecting God’s glory.  There it is again: a window onto the glory of God.  The heavens declare it, but so does Christ; he whose death on the Cross was the manifestation, if ever there was one, of the glory of God.  Christ shows us Calvary; desolation, sacrifice and love.  He shows us what God is truly like. Somewhere where we do not expect to see glory, we experience it within and cherish it in our hearts.

John Mann

 

Second Hymn 

Ye Servants of God: https://youtu.be/dD75fuF-100

 

Ye servants of God, 
your Master proclaim, 
and publish abroad 
his wonderful Name; 
the Name all-victorious 
of Jesus extol: 
his kingdom is glorious, 
and rules over all.

God ruleth on high, 
almighty to save; 
and still he is nigh: 
his presence we have. 
The great congregation 
his triumph shall sing, 
ascribing salvation 
to Jesus our King.

Salvation to God 
who sits on the throne! 
Let all cry aloud, 
and honour the Son. 
The praises of Jesus 
the angels proclaim, 
fall down on their faces, 
and worship the Lamb.

Then let us adore, 
and give him his right: 
All glory and power, 
all wisdom and might, 
all honour and blessing, 
with angels above, 
and thanks never ceasing 
and infinite love.

 

Prayers 

Let us pray to the Father through Christ who is our light and life; the wisdom and glory of the eternal God being fully present in the Son.  May the Holy Spirit reveal the Father’s will to us in our prayers.

Father, bring to the Church in our day the light of your presence, stirring our hearts and desires to follow your way and that opened by Christ, the Word made flesh and the Way and the Truth and the Life to all who believe in him.  Grant to the Church in Swanage and Studland your mercy and blessing as we seek to serve you in this place.  Guide with your wisdom all who are seeking a new member of our clergy team at this time, and all who may feel drawn to consider the call to offer themselves for the position of team vicar.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

 

Father, the world is facing many problems at this time; some challenges are global, as the nations seek to combat the threat of coronavirus and other serious illness together, others local and closer to home.  May the distribution and delivery of vaccines be fairly administered and many millions be protected from illness.  We pray for the countries going through tortuous change in these days; for those who are living through conflict or the effects of division, whether racial, economic, religious or ideological.  May the love and peace of Christ, uniting peoples, be the gift of the Church to those who are in the dark places of life.  May our words be matched with action and our ears be open to the cries of those in need.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

 

Father, look in mercy on the needy in our society and those who support them. Bless and touch with your healing presence those who live anxious of their livelihood, business, health, or that of their family or friends.  We pray for those in our own churches who are in distress, thinking of those who are waiting for vital treatment, or the payment of benefits, or who are seeking news of others for whom they are concerned.  We remember those whose path is through the vale of tears.  Bless all who have suffered the loss of a loved one.  May your light shine on them and your love bind them close to one another and to you.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

 

As Spring brings days with a renewal of life and light, give us the eyes to see the beauty of the world all around us.  Thank you, Father, for all the blessings of this life.  Keep us conscious that in you and in one another we share more than we can possibly hold alone.  As our ears are open to your Word, and every sense that is your gift to us, make us more loving and at peace with your whole creation, revealed to us in your Son.  In his name we pray, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Amen.

 

The Peace

 

In the tender mercy of our God,

the dayspring from on high has broken upon us,

to give light to those who dwell in darkness

and the shadow of death,

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

A few moments of silence before we pray:

 

God our creator,

by your gift

the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise,

and the bread of life at the heart of your Church:

may we who have been nourished at your table on earth

be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross

and enjoy the delights of eternity;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

 

Conclusion

 

Christ the Son of God perfect in us the image of his glory

and gladden our hearts with the good news of his kingdom;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always.

Amen.

 

Voluntary: Entree Pontificale - Bossi: https://youtu.be/SlCVKLguUak

 

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included here,

is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2006 and published by Church House Publishing.

 

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