Sun 21/2/21

On this page. 

Broadcast & Online services.

Full Morning Prayer with Sermon and Hymns which will be used on ZOOM at 11am to join us email 

Broadcast and Live-streamed Opportunities for Worship
8.10 am  Radio 4 Sunday Worship 
10.00 am Chester Cathedral are livestreaming the Cathedral Eucharist at:
10.45 A modern-style of service will be livestreamed from Christ Church Gipsy Hill available at:
The Prayer Book Society continue to livestream a wide range of Book of Common Prayer Services available at:

A Service of the Word For 

Use on Zoom



Leader   We come from scattered lives to meet with God. Let us recognise his presence with us.


Leader   As God’s people we have gathered:

All          Let us worship him together.


All          Lord, direct our hearts, and teach us to pray.  Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


HYMN    Forty days and forty nights



Leader   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.


Leader   God our Father, 
we come to you in sorrow for our sins

For turning away from you,
and ignoring your will for our lives;
Father, forgive us:

All          save us and help us.

Leader   For behaving just as we wish,
without thinking of you;
Father, forgive us:

All          save us and help us.

Leader   For failing you by what we do,
and think and say:
Father, forgive us:

All          save us and help us.

Leader   For letting ourselves be drawn away from you
by temptations in the world about us:
Father, forgive us:

All          save us and help us.

Leader   For living as if we were ashamed
to belong to your son;
Father, forgive us:

All          save us and help us.


Leader   May the God of love
bring us back to himself,
forgive us our sins,
and assure us of his eternal love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

All          Amen.

Psalm Psalm 25, To You I Lift Up My Soul (a new musical setting) - YouTube


Reading        1 Peter 3: 18 - end      


A Song of Triumph (The Venite)

Leader   Come, let us sing to the Lord our God

All          raise the roof to the Rock of rescue.


Leader   Come into the presence of the Lord with thanks

All          raise the rafters with songs of praise.


Leader   The Lord is the great God, over all;

All          greater than every other power.


Leader   He holds the depths of the earth in his hands,

All          and the mountain peaks belong to him.


Leader   The ocean is the Lords; it was made by God;

All          the land was formed by his own hands.


Leader   Come, let us bow before the Lord our maker;

All          with humble heats we worship God.


Leader   The Lord is God and we are his;

All          we are the Shepherd’s very own flock

Paraphrase of Psalm 95: 1 - 7


Hymn    Peace is flowing like a river


Reading       Mark 1: 9 - 15



Mark is the shortest of the gospels at only sixteen chapters. It misses out much of what other gospels tell us as Mark hurtles non-stop through the story of Jesus, from baptism to resurrection, like an express train.



 The Baptism of Christ, Giovanni Bellini (1502)

Here, in today’s reading, we have a wonderful tableau of all three persons of the Trinity explicitly revealed to us at the same time. Though Mark tells us that Jesus saw heaven being torn open and the Holy Spirit descending he doesn’t say that anybody else saw it. Mark tells us the story as if Jesus’s divinity has to be kept secret. In the tableau of the Trinity we see Jesus as being divine, in his baptism we see Jesus as taking his place among the repentant humanity whom he has come to save. Not that Jesus had anything to repent of. John called people to repent and be baptised, Jesus called people to repent and believe the good news.


 The descending of the Holy Spirit on to Jesus re-enforces something which already existed - it does not mean that Jesus becomes God’s son at this point - he was always the Son of God - but it does mark the point at which his earthly ministry begins, it marks his Father sending him out into the world so that the world may come to know God. As I look forward, God willing, toward my ordination in July I can see a parallel here as I undertake a step-change in my own journey with God as I, too, am being sent out into the world to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. The descent of the Holy Spirit is mirrored on Pentecost Sunday when the Holy Spirit descends as tongues of flame on to the disciples and they begin building the Church.


And then in the blinking of an eye Jesus is cast out into the wilderness where Satan tries, and fails, to tempt him. Perhaps the idea of Jesus being “sent out” into the wilderness reflects the old testament practice of scapegoating (Leviticus 16:22) - Marks way of telling us why Jesus came to live amongst us. He came that we might know God and he came to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Scapegoat William Holman-Huint 1855


The wilderness was significant in the history of Israel as a place of testing. Moses led the people of Israel in the wilderness for forty years before they crossed into the promised land. If the wilderness was a place of disobedience and testing, it was also the place where God did wonders and mighty acts for the people of Israel: providing manna, water and the bronze serpent that delivered the people from death.


Perhaps some of us are feeling that this time of covid has sent us out into the wilderness. Certainly it is a time of testing for all of us, and we have heard much in the news about disobedience of the restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus. Perhaps some of us are feeling distanced form God because we have not been able to gather in our church buildings for worship. But if we look we can see God mighty acts in guiding science to produce vaccines and methods of treating those who are seriously ill with the virus. We can see God at work in the medical teams who are looking after patients in hospital. We can see God in the many staff and volunteers who are administering vaccines. There are many other wonders that God is performing using the hands and feet of ordinary people - wonders that you and I may never know about.


As we continue in our covid wilderness and travel through our period of Lent we can, perhaps, see the light at the end of the tunnel.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). In the vaccination programme we see hope of a new beginning, a new normal, where we can once again go about our lives with the confidence that we shall be saved from this virus. In the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus at Easter we see hope of a new beginning where we can be confident that we shall be saved from our sin. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15”.



Jim Britcliffe 17/2/2021



Hymn            O for a closer walk with God                           

Statement of Faith

Leader   Let us affirm our faith in God.

All          We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.

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


Prayers of Intercession

Leader   As we begin this season of Lent,
move us off into the desert
to communicate with our God.

Lord God, we come with all our muddled priorities, and conflicting agendas,,
to be made whole as the Body of Christ;
to renounce evil so as to be equipped
to announce the kingdom of peace.
With our God:

All          all things are possible.

Leader   Lord God, we come with the world’s clamour ringing in our ears,
with comfort zones beckoning us,
but the pain of injustice refusing to be shut out.
We come for the world’s healing,
and for the end to all lying and deceit.
With our God

All          all things are possible.

Leader   Lord God, we come with the demands 
of home, family, work and expectations
warring in us for space and attention.
We come on behalf of those
too busy or too exhausted to pray;
that our daily lives may be washed in your peace,
ordered in holiness and lit up with your joy.
With our God:

All          all things are possible.

Leader   Lord god, we come with the needs and sorrows,
pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters
all over the world, who are aching -
physically, emotionally or spiritually;
we come to ask your comfort and healing love.
With our God:

All          all things are possible.

Leader   Lord God, we come to realign our lives
in the context of your eternity,
and to commend to your love our own loved ones who have passed through earthly death
to the life which has no end.
With our God:

All          all things are possible.

Leader   Lord God, we come with thankfulness
for the    gift of life and for the call to holiness.
Give us the grace to respond to your calling.

Merciful Father

All          accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


The Collect for the First Sunday of Lent

Leader   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.

All          Amen

Leader   Trusting in the compassion of God, let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us.

All          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.



Hymn    The Kingdom of God is justice and joy


Closing Prayer

All   God of compassion
through your Son Jesus Christ,
you have reconciled your people to yourself.
As we follow his example of prayer and fasting,
may we obey you with willing hearts
and serve one another in holy love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.