Sunday, 7th February

Together in Prayer
The Second Sunday Before Lent

O Lord open our lips.
And our mouth shall declare your praise!
Reveal among us the light of your presence.
that we may behold your power and glory

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.

Preparing our hearts
Eternal Father, shine your Wisdom in our lives,
that we may delight in you and your light.
Scatter the darkness that is before us,
enlighten our minds and dispel our ignorance,
that we may know you as the true God,
the Maker, Redeemer and Sustainer of all things.

Reading: Psalm 104:24-35
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
This is the Word of our Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading: John 1:1-14
The Word Became Flesh
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 Word of our Lord
Thanks be to God

Thought for the week: Nigel Hughes
Now I have to be honest and say that when I first read the opening chapter of John’s Gospel, I was at a loss to comprehend the significance of John’s words and what they meant. It was only after they had been explained to me that I truly understood what they meant with regards to Jesus’ divinity with his Father.
If we look back over the past few months, we have discovered how each of the Gospels introduced us to Jesus in different ways. Mark, we found introduces Jesus to us as an adult, as being a man from Nazareth whose presence fulfils the arrival of God’s salvation as foretold by the prophet Isaiah. Matthew and Luke on the other hand introduce us to Jesus from his very conception and subsequent birth to fulfil the prophecies of the Old Testament in being God’s will to deliver humanity.
But John, however, goes even further by setting his opening account of Jesus, who was the Word back to the very beginning of time itself. Before anything else had been created, John was using language that defined the divine Jesus as not only being with God at the very beginning, but that he was indeed God. Goodness what an opening that was.
It would be difficult for us to overstate the importance of this text in shaping Christian conceptions of Jesus’ divinity, the incarnation, and the Trinity. John presents to us Jesus as ‘one of being with’ God. As we further read John’s gospel, we will find that he will continue to stress that to see Jesus is to see the Father. So, when doubting Thomas finally comes to terms with the reality that Jesus is alive, his confession serves as a fitting inclusion with the Gospel’s opening when he say’s “My Lord and my God’ (20:28).
John introduces us to several themes that we find will dominate the chapters to come. Firstly, we have already heard that “the world came into being through him (v10). Jesus was integral to the earth’s formation and all its creatures. Although he has transcended to human form Jesus is also intimately acquainted with every dimension of creation. Secondly, John presents Jesus to us a being the source of revelation and grace for humankind: he is “the true light which enlightens everyone” (v9), reflecting God’s glory, he is “full of grace and truth (v14, 18).
John also introduces us to the fact that the world would tragically reject Jesus: 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(v10-11) Finally we find that John’s prologue with eloquent simplicity, reveals that the Divine World became incarnate among and within humanity, “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (v14). Together these themes all help us to recognise that the extraordinary claims John makes throughout his Gospel about Jesus, whilst significant in their own right, are inextricably connected to the claims he makes about why Jesus is sent to us from his Father into our world.
But in order for Jesus to serve as this conduit of God’s grace and truth, he must be of God in the fullest sense. And, in order for Jesus, the Divine Word to serve as this conduit of grace and truth, he must also become a ‘human being’ who could walk, talk, laugh, share a table, and morn with us. But more extraordinary that that, he must suffer the rejection and bloody outrage of his own choose not to know or accept him.
The scandal, and it really was a scandal, was that Jesus became so deeply entangled in our twisted affairs that he was even willing to endure the humiliation and hatred that was embodied in the cross. He allowed it to happen, in fact he embraced it to enlighten all those who would receive him. He comes to his own, and loses his life for them, for us, that we might become children of God (v12-13), and like him, close to the Father’s heart (v18).
We surely cannot comprehend how blessed that we are, that he made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so that we would know in our hearts that ‘God so loved the world’

Collect – The 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 for ever.


Come, Spirit of God, fill our lives,
fill our minds that we may know you,
fill our hearts that we may love you,
move our wills that we may serve you.
Let our whole being proclaim you.
We pray for our communities and all
who strive to serve you in whatever way they can.
We ask that your spirit continues to be amongst us.
Come Holy Spirit, upon us.
Lord renew us and direct us.

Lord, we pray that you be known among leaders
of our communities and in government.
We pray that you guide them with your goodness
to make the right decisions for us.
We pray for our councillors and all politicians:
give them wisdom and a sense of service.
We pray for our homes and our neighbours.
Come Holy Spirit, upon us.
Lord renew us and direct us.

Lord we pray for all who are walking in darkness,
who are doubting or despairing during these troubled times.
Lord, we think of all who are suffering illness or are in hospital,
for those families who are grieving and in need of your strength.
We prayer for all who are struggling with depression or bad memories.
May the light of your love shine in their hearts and strengthen them.
Come Holy Spirit, upon us.
Lord renew them and direct us.

We give thanks Lord, for all who have shared their wisdom,
and all who left us good examples to follow.
We pray that they, with all the Saints and our loved ones departed,
may rejoice in the brightness and glory of your kingdom.
We pray especially for Captain Tom who was an inspiration to all
and for any known to us now in a moment of silence or out loud.
Come Holy Spirit, upon us.
Lord renew us and direct us.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

The Peace
Let the Lord touch you and transform you.
Let the Lord surround you with peace.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

The Blessing

May the Lord open your eyes to his presence,
and surround you with his great love,
fill your days with his glory,
and may the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you all this day and forever.