Sun 31/1/21

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 

crosscountryparishes@outlook.com 

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: https://chestercathedral.com/stream/
10.45 A modern-style of service will be livestreamed from Christ Church Gipsy Hill available at: https://www.facebook.com/christchurchgipsyhill
The Prayer Book Society continue to livestream a wide range of Book of Common Prayer Services available at: https://www.pbs.org.uk/churches-and-services/-1


A Service of the Word For 

Use on Zoom

 

OPENING

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

Silence

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    Come, thou long expected Jesus

 

CONFESSION

Leader   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. 

 


All          Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
              we have sinned against you and against
              our neighbour
              in what we have thought,
              in what we have said and done,
              through ignorance, through weakness
              through our own deliberate fault.
              We have wounded your love,
              and marred your image I us.
              We are sorry and ashamed,
              and repent of all our sins.
              For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
              forgive us all that is past;
              and lead us out from darkness
              to walk as children of light.  Amen.

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

All          Amen.

Psalm 24      This earth belongs to God

 

Reading               Hebrews 2: 14 - end

 


 

The Song of Simeon (The Nunc Dimittis)

 

All          A light to lighten the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

 

Leader   Now Lord, you let your servant go in peace:

              your word has been fulfilled.

All          A light to lighten the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

 

Leader   My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people.

All          A light to lighten the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

 

Leader   A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

All          A light to lighten the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

 

All          Glory to the Father, and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;

              as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.  Amen

 

All          A light to lighten the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

              

 

Reading              Luke 2: 22 - 40

 

A Sermon for Candlemas

Hebrews 2: 14 – end; Luke 2: 22 – 44

 

Light has been the theme of a number of sermons recently.  It is one of the Biblical themes of the Christmas season which ends today on the festival of Candlemas.  And so we return, once again, to the theme of light.  Light which, songwriter Graham Kendrick observes, ‘shines from infant eyes’ as the elderly Simeon blesses the 40-day old Jesus.

In that light shining from the infant Jesus, Simeon recognised the Messiah he had waited so long to see and bursts into his famous song which has formed part of Christian worship for at least 1500 years:

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace
according to your word,
for my eyes have seen the salvation 
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light to lighten the Gentiles
and the glory of your people, Israel.

After the visit of Jewish Shepherds, and Gentile wise men, there could be little doubt that this baby has been born for everyone.  To make sure, Simeon makes it clear; the light of salvation is for Gentiles as well as Jews, but Simeon didn’tt finish there.

Familiar as we are with Simeon’s song, we pay less attention to the prophecy Simeon gives to Mary. If his song is comforting, Simeon’s prophecy is chilling.  ‘This child is destined for the falling and rising of many, and a sign which will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

Today is the point in the Church year, where we turn away from the manger and begin to travel towards the cross.  Only when we journey with Jesus and his mother to the cross on Good Friday does Simeon’s prophecy become clear.  Today, we see with Simeon, the light which ‘shines from infant eyes’.  Yet, standing on the other side of the cross and the resurrection, we know just how searching the light will be by the time we reach Good Friday.

It is the search light which has revealed the scandalous inequalities in our own nation revealed as we passed the appalling landmark of 100,000 COVID deaths in the UK this week.  It is the search light which challenges us, about how we can share that light of God’s love, bringing hope into the dark places of our world.

There are many ways of doing that, depending on who we are, and the gifts, and skills which God has given to each of us.  It may be lobbying our MP (I can provide contact details) or the Prime Minister.  It may involve volunteering in the Food Bank, or with the homeless.  It may mean quietly helping those we know in need in our own communities.  It may mean creating apprenticeships in our places of work for a young person who would otherwise become NEET (Not in Education or Employment), or mentoring a young person who has taken a wrong turn, or is in danger of doing so… the list is endless.  If you sense the Holy Spirit nudging you to bring the light of hope into a situation, take notice and take action.

If practical response is not, for many reasons possible, then prayer can be a powerful way of bringing light and hope into hopeless situations.  This is not an easy option.  Faithful, regular prayer is demanding and challenging.  It is also a powerful way of enabling God to act.  If you doubt that, ask the Christians who, fearing violence, took candles and silently prayed as the Berlin Wall fell.  A monumental historic act which passed off peacefully.

There are many examples of Christians engaging in all kinds of social action to bring the light of hope into dark and challenging situations.  From William Wilberforce and his colleagues who prayed and acted until slavery was abolished, to the great Christian industrialists who built healthy places such as Port Sunlight Village for their workers to live.  They had a great example; a tiny, 40-day old baby who challenged the darkness and oppression of the Roman Empire to bring salvation to the whole world.

This is the light of hope; the light of God’s love ‘shining from infant eyes’ which we celebrate today even as we continue to travel through the seemingly endless darkness of the COVID pandemic and the chaos it is bringing in its wake.

I want to end with some words from Archbishop Desmond Tutu; a man who knew something about the darkness in the world around him.  During an interview following the imprisonment of his alcoholic son for involvement in an attempted bombing he said:

‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.  You see it wonderfully when you fly, and the sky is overcast.  Sometimes you forget that, just beyond the clouds, the sun is shining.’

Amen.

S Anne Lawson

28/01/2021



Hymn            Born in the night                               



Statement of Faith

Leader   Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

All          Though he was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself
and was obedient to death,
even death on the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
and every voice proclaim that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

 


 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to the Father through Christ who is our light and life.

 

Father, your Christ is acclaimed as the glory of Israel:

look in mercy on your Church, sharing his light.

Lord, have mercy.

All Christ, have mercy.

 

Father, your Christ in his temple brings judgement on the world:

look in mercy on the nations, who long for his justice.

Lord, have mercy.

All   Christ, have mercy.

 

Father, your Christ, who was rich, for our sakes became poor:

look in mercy on the needy, suffering with him.

Lord, have mercy.

All   Christ, have mercy.

 

Father, your Christ is the one in whom faithful servants find their peace:

look in mercy on the departed, that they may see your salvation.

Lord, have mercy.

All   Christ, have mercy.


Father, your Christ is revealed as the one destined to be rejected:

look in mercy on us who now turn towards his passion.

Lord, have mercy.

All   Christ, have mercy.

 

Lord God, you kept faith with Simeon and Anna,

and showed them the infant King.

Give us grace to put all our trust in your promises,

and the patience to wait for their fulfilment;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.

 

 

The Collect for the Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Leader   Lord Jesus Christ
              light of the nations and glory of Israel:
              make your home among us
              and present us pure and holy
              to your heavenly Father,
              your God and our God

All          Amen


 

Leader   Believing the promises 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.

              Amen.

 

Hymn    Lord, the light of your love is shining

 

Closing Prayer

Leader   We stand near the place of new birth.

All          Let us shine with the light of your love.

Leader   We turn from the crib to the cross.

All          Let us shine with the light of your love.

Leader   We go to carry his light.

All          Let us shine with the light of your love.                    Thanks be to God.


HYMNS