Service of the Word on Sunday 21st February 2021

SERVICE OF THE WORD
THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
21ST FEBRUARY 2021

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Good morning…

The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

Let us come to the Lord, who is full of compassion,
and acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.

We have not loved the Lord with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
We seek the forgiveness of God for what we have been.
We pray that he would help us to amend what we are,
and to direct what we shall become.

silence

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Against you, you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy on you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

COLLECTS
Almighty God,
whose son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
Give us grace to discipline ourselves
in obedience to your Spirit,
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made,
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts,
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CANTICLE – SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD
Jesus, Saviour of the world, come to us in your mercy:
we look to you to save and help us.
By your cross and your life laid down you set your people free:
we look to you to save and help us.
When they were ready to perish you saved your disciples:
we look to you to come to our help.
In the greatness of your mercy, loose us from our chains,
forgive the sins of all your people.
Make yourself known as our Saviour and mighty Deliverer;
save and help us that we may praise you.
Come now and dwell with us Lord Christ Jesus:
hear our prayer and be with us always.
And when you come in your glory:
make us to be one with you and to share the life of your kingdom. Amen.

A READING FROM THE FIRST LETTER OF ST PETER,
CHAPTER THREE, BEGINNING AT VERSE EIGHTEEN.
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

PSALM 25
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies triumph over me.
Let none who look to you be put to shame,
but let the treacherous be shamed and frustrated.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation; for you have I hoped all the day long.
Remember, Lord, your compassion and love,
for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions,
but think on me in your goodness, O Lord, according to your steadfast love.
Gracious and upright is the Lord;
therefore shall he teach sinners in the way.
He will guide the humble in doing right
and teach his way to the lowly.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth
to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. Amen.

A READING FROM THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST MARK,
CHAPTER ONE, BEGINNING AT VERSE NINE.
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 word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

SERMON

THE APOSTLES’ CREED
Together we affirm our faith, saying:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS
Let us pray to the Lord for courage and strength to give up those things which pull us away from him, and to embrace those things which draw us closer.
Lord God, give your Church the courage to give up her preoccupation with herself and to give more time to your mission in the world.
We pray for all bishops, priests, deacons and people of faith, that they may faithfully obey their calling and bring the good news to all people, and lead them to you. We pray for all people of faith, that they may be nourished through the agency of the church and not put off or spurned by it; and for all those who have not yet heard or accepted the good news of Jesus Christ, that they may hear its truth and be blessed by its acceptance.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Give the world the courage to give up war, bitterness and hatred, and to seek peace.
We pray for the leaders of the world and for those charged with running international organizations, may they remember Christ’s words “blessed are the peacemakers.” We pray for all countries and nations in distress, for the oppressors as well as the oppressed, for you are the God of all. We remember before you those who are presently the underdogs of this world, like the Uighurs, the Rohinja and the Roma; and peoples in areas of particular stress, Myanmar, Russia, Belarus, Hong Kong, Tibet, Ethiopia, and the Middle East. When the global media has gone away and the news is silent, the suffering goes on; but You never forget your people in distress, let us not do so either.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up quarrels, strife and jealousy in our families, neighbourhoods and communities.
We pray for our Province of Northern Ireland, so small that we are all interconnected, yet so divided that we fall back into ancient tribal enmity so easily. Bring us to recognize our common interests and opportunities, make us quick to forget the injuries of the past and swift to embrace a shared future. In our families help us to get over the problems of yesteryear, to see all things as part of your plan and our lives as one-off opportunities to bring peace and reconciliation in your name.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up our selfishness as we live for others, and to give time, care and comfort to the sick.
We pray for all who are sick in body or mind and for those who care for them. Let us remember that we play a part in the lives of all those we meet; and make us mindful of all that has been done to help us when we needed the love and care of others, even strangers; let us remember to return that love and care to those in present need, as you would have us do.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Give us the courage to give up our fear of death and to rejoice with those who have died in the faith.
We pray for all those facing the end of life, in the knowledge that we too will share that dread moment. May those who hold to the faith feel your presence with them as the light fades, and may those with no faith turn at the last to your comforting embrace. Be with those who mourn, for the wounds of loss never quite heal, the memories linger and the void remains unfilled. We remember that in life we are in death, yet we can rejoice in the promise of salvation. Let that promise which gives hope to the hopeless and joy to those in sorrow be with us all our lives, however long.
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

THE BLESSING
Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
to deny yourselves,
and to take up your cross and follow him:
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always. Amen.

THE DISMISSAL
In this season of Lent, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.