St. Leonard, Clent
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Saint Leonard’s Service for the Second Sunday in Lent 28 th February Welcome to our OpenCast church service - on-line. There are prayers, readings, hymns and music; just as you would have in church. As you read through this service you may care to say aloud the bold text. To hear the music and the readings, click on each title (red, underlined text) (and remember to adjust the volume on your speakers). Let us pray: God of covenant and cross, you come alongside us and call us to follow, to take up our cross of our own free will, to carry it to the end that only you know, so that we might lay hold of all that you promise. Jesus said, 'Those who would come after me, must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.' Amen. Lord, we thank you for the challenges that Lent brings: for the struggles we face to be less selfish, and for the joy of reaching out to others. Amen. Almighty God, y the prayer and discipline of Lent may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings, and by following in his Way come to share in his glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Hymn: “O Jesus, I have promised ..” The Sanctuary Choir of the First United Methodist, Downtown, Houston Tx Dr. Terry Morris, Director of Music John Gearhart, Organist November 18, 2018 We praise God We thank you, Jesus, for exceeding our expectations, for loving us more than we can imagine, and for blessing us more than we deserve. You suffered but you didn’t give up. Help us to have courage when we are called to carry our cross, and to help each other through life’s ups and downs; for the sake of you and the good news. Amen. Bible Readings: Old Testament: Psalm: New Testament: Gospel: Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16 Psalm 22.23-28 Romans 4.13-25 Mark 8.31-38. Audio Audio Audio Audio Click these links to hear the readings Text Text Text Text Click these links to read the text A Reflection for this week During Lent we’re all challenged to look at our lives through the lens of God's values. We are invited to pause and reflect on God's will for our lives; Not what we want, but what God wants. God’s values are different to ours – we are all about self-preservation and self-interest, its only human and we all do it in one way or another. We only see what we want to see, but God sees beyond this, God’s will is done through the faith of His people. In Genesis we see God making an elderly, childless couple responsible for the population of many nations! How does this seem possible? But Abraham has enough faith to see what God sees. In our Gospel reading, Jesus sees what is coming and he can’t allow the human reaction of Peter to distract him. It is at this point Jesus is gives his followers a choice – ‘if you want to follow me, you need to take up your cross and bear it’. Now this must have sounded a little shocking to the people who heard it, as back then the cross was just an instrument of torture, followed by death. Nowadays we revere the cross, it is something we use as a focal point in our worship, we wear crosses round our necks and we adorn our holy places with its form. But Jesus wasn’t expecting his disciples or followers to follow him to the cross. He just wanted them to see - if you follow me, it will come with responsibilities and there will be consequences that you will have to bear. This message is for us too, we shouldn’t need to shout it from the roof tops, that we are Christians, but neither should we hide it. We should be confident enough to own it and live it every day. We should be proud to be Christians, we should wear our faith as a badge of honour. I don’t think any of us will ever be like Jesus, I know I won’t, but we can be Jesus-like. In our own small ways, we can be selfless, we can think of others before ourselves, we can all do more to make life better for someone else. And we can unapologetically acknowledge that Christ is our saviour. In our children’s church group, Lenny’s Club, we have one rule, It’s the J.O.Y. rule. That we put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last and that you do it joyfully. Although we ask the children to think about this in their everyday lives, I’ve found it good practice to live by it myself. It’s not easy, but then again, carrying a heavy wooden cross through the streets of Jerusalem in front of friends and family whilst being whipped wasn’t much fun either. We all have problems, some bigger than others, we all have our crosses to bear. But the big idea here is for us not to off- load our cross onto someone else, but for us to share the load, for us to offer to help carry someone else’s cross for them, if only for a little while. To sacrifice (if you want to use that word) our time and love and life to help support someone else, without counting the cost, as Jesus did. If we are all carrying the same cross, it will be so much lighter. We need to see what is possible through God’s eyes. I love this image which a mother captured of her daughter in Texas. When she saw the statue in the park, in her innocence, the little girl didn’t ask questions, she didn’t um and arr, she didn’t need to know all the details. Her first instinct was to go and help, even though she couldn’t have any impact on the situation, it was in her heart to do something. I think in this time of Lent, while we’re waiting, preparing and reflecting, we need to be good to each other, we need to put our God goggles on and see us, as He sees us. And then ask ourselves the question - Would He like what he sees? Amen. Worship Song “God of Salvation” Lyric / Chord sheet Intercessions Let us pray. We pray for followers of Jesus Christ; for those who are imprisoned for their faith, for those who serve as missionaries, for teachers of the faith. We pray: Your kingdom come. We pray for those who deny themselves to serve others; for those who work in hospitals and prisons, for those who are carers, for those who serve their communities as volunteers. We pray: Your kingdom come. We pray for those who carry the weight of a cross; for the homeless and unemployed, for those who are ill or bereaved, for those who struggle with mental health. We pray: Your kingdom come. We pray for ourselves, as we follow Christ; for strength to overcome our struggles and failures, for our fears and worries, for those we love, and those who love us. We pray: Your kingdom come. Amen. Closing Prayers Lord, grant me patience to endure, faith to trust in you, joy to see you at work, and the knowledge to know that all will be well; in the name of Jesus. Amen. Christ, give me grace to grow in holiness, deny myself, take up the cross, and follow you; .. and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with me and remain with me always. Amen. As I leave, I pray for the courage to let go of things that bind me, the strength to hold onto things that are important, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen. _____________________________________________ Postlude “I sought the Lord .. and He answered me” Music video by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir performing Psalm 34