SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

SUNDAY 25th FEBRUARY 2024

Cross Inspirational Images

OPENING SENTENCE

All the ends of the earth shall turn to you, O Lord

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

There is no other commandment greater than these.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from our sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

KYRIE
sung by Sue Turner

COLLECT

O God,

you see that we lack the strength to help ourselves:

protect us both inwardly and outwardly;

that our bodies may be guarded from adversity,

and our minds might be defended

from such thoughts as assault and harm the soul;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

PROCLAIMING & RECEIVING GOD’S WORD

FIRST READING
PSALM 22:20-30
read by Margaret Morton

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
   in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

Psalms 22 23 You Who Fear The LORD Powerpoint Church Sermon | Presentation  PowerPoint Images | Example of PPT Presentation | PPT Slide Layouts

23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
   All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
   stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor
   the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me
    but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
   those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
   May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
   and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
   shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    and I shall live for him.

Psalms 22:30 WEB - Posterity shall serve him. Future generations

30 Posterity will serve him;
   future generations will be told about the Lord
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
    saying that he has done it.

SECOND READING
Romans 4: 13-25
read by Annabelle Guthrie

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null, and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

Romans 4:20-22 | Free Christian Images

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL
MARK 8: 31-38
read by Reverend Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 8 beginning at verse 31

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Earth Sunrise Mark 8:36 Phone Wallpaper - FREE - Bible Verses To Go

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel.

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

In our culture we use many animal phrases like “a bull in a china shop”; “a cat among the pigeons”; “the lion’s share”, “hold your horses”; “one trick pony”; “weasel out of something”,” let sleeping dogs lie”; “the elephant in the room” and so on. “The elephant in the room” addresses our human tendency to avoid the obvious. The plain fact is that there are some realities that are so painful and difficult that we go to great lengths to deny their importance.

Stock Images: Free Images Elephant In The Room

Jesus never shirked from confronting reality, and he had an uncanny ability to name “the Elephant in the Room.” The elephant in the room was that he had to undergo suffering as the Messiah, something that his disciples could not comprehend and did not want to entertain. Previously Jesus was identified by Peter as the Messiah but when Jesus goes on to explain that as the Messiah he must suffer and die, Peter refused to accept that, resulting in Jesus rebuking Peter with the words: “Get behind me Satan”

Satan is still tempting Jesus. This time his disciple Peter, is the tempter, encouraging Jesus to take the easy way. Jesus recognized the voice of the tempter, who had come to him in the desert. Jesus did not want to suffer and die. He knew that he possessed the strength and power from God to bring down the angelic hosts and destroy Israel’s enemies once for all. In the concerned words of his friend Peter, Jesus recognized the temptation of the devil. The devil was tempting him again to fall down, and worship him, to take the road of least resistance rather than God’s way.

This, then, is how you should pray…' [10] “…lead us not into temptation” –  JesuitReflections

Isn’t it interesting how the devil tries to persuade us through the words of a well-meaning friend to play it safe in our lives? Sometimes, an opportunity for Christian service, or an opportunity to stand up for justice and peace comes our way. In our hearts we are absolutely convinced that this is from God, and that he is calling us to obey His will. We know that it will cost us a lot in terms of “losing” some of the comforts that we have grown used to. However, we are at peace with our decision, knowing that it is God’s will. As we share our decision with family and friends, they raise one red flag after another. Has this ever happened to you?

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You see, the Devil is very clever. Without our knowledge he uses the people who are closest to us to break our spirits and our obedience to God. Peter was that special friend, who just a little while earlier had received a revelation from God when he confessed, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s good intentions and his dedication to his Master kept him from seeing God’s divine plan of salvation for humankind. Jesus saw through the well-meaning words of his disciple. He caught the devil in the act, and quickly said so.

Jesus was fully focused on God’s agenda, not his own. Jesus named the “elephant in the room”- he was the Suffering Messiah. Like others in Israel, Peter was expecting a mighty leader from the line of David to overthrow the Romans and restore Israel politically. With hindsight, it is easy to see that error. The reality is, that we are uncomfortable with a Suffering Messiah. We all want a strong God. When we are hurt in life, when we suffer loss, when we have to put up with thoughtless words from others, when we are sick or dying, we want a strong God. We want a God who will heal us or justify us or turn our darkness into light. We want a strong God. However, the problem is that we see strength from a very purely human perspective and not from a divine perspective. We understand strength to be the same thing as power and to be the same thing as vindication in the eyes of others. We understand strength to be victory. However, that is seeing things from a human perspective. In the eyes of God, strength looks very different.

30 Take up your cross daily ideas | cross, god, luke 9

For God, strength is measured in vulnerability, in sacrifice and by our willingness to endure all things in the name of God. It was this example Jesus – the Suffering Messiah – was about to show for his disciples, and that is how he wants us to live our lives too. We know this for he communicates this not just to his disciples but to the gathered crowd. Jesus utters those words that are hard for us to take in. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Some truth we seek to avoid no matter how difficult it is to do this. The elephant can be large and grey and fill the room, but if we do not want to see it, we will not. So, it was with the disciples. I wonder if Peter felt let down at this point: I suspect so, up until then, there was a certain glamour in following Jesus: he was hanging out with the coolest superhero in Israel, the crowds flocked to them, the miracles never stopped coming, the teaching was amazing, and no doubt Peter enjoyed bathing in the reflected glory of Jesus. But now, that all changes. The glamour is gone, and Peter is left with the cold, stark reality of the pain of discipleship and the agony of realising that if he truly wants to follow Jesus, he can’t have it all on his own terms. There is a real cost to discipleship. It is as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “costly discipleship.” We can’t have God on our terms. We can’t create a cosy religion or a comfortable way of being. There is a real cost to discipleship: and it hurts. It is as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “when we are called to Christ we are called to die.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - Womenary Winterlude -  The Smith Slant

Jesus was calling Peter into a place of self-reflection: to reflect deeply on whether he wanted Christ or whether he wanted his own idea of Christ. Does he want to be a disciple of Israel’s superhero? Or does he want to be a disciple of the Suffering Messiah? We too are called into that same process of self-reflection throughout the period of Lent. What does it mean for us to die to self? What does it mean for us to die to our own ego? What does it mean for us to lay down our comfortable images of Christ and the church for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the gospel?

Denying yourself and taking up your cross is a counter cultural concept. It almost sounds like an oxymoron. In a book by Tony Campolo entitled who switched the price tags, there is a suggestion in our culture that the tags have been switched. You see, at every turn our culture screams at us: “You must be yourself! You must fulfil yourself! Be Number one and push yourself regardless of others up the success ladder.” Whereas Jesus is saying the opposite. Put God first.

C.S. Lewis says “The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and surrender to God, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him, that millions and millions of ‘little Christs’, all different, will still be too few to express him fully. Our real selves are all waiting for us in him, until you have given up yourself to him, you will not have a real self.” So, he says coming to Jesus is what allows you to step into more fully the “you” that He designed you to be, but it requires that we let go of the “me” that we long to be.

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To be the person God designed us means denying ourselves and taking up your cross to follow him. Denying ourselves does not mean losing our personal identity. Nor does taking up your cross mean a personal hardship, like some aches and pains or suffering that we have to endure. These may well feel like taking up your cross but in Jesus’ day, the cross was the method of execution for criminals. Christ, in fact is saying, that his followers must be willing to suffer for his name’s sake.

You might ask why?  Why does Jesus make things so hard and complicated for us? We find the answer these words “What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and lose your soul?” What can you give or possess in exchange for your soul? We are often tempted to fall down and worship the deceiver for a little bit of instant gratification. Sometimes we may be tempted to sacrifice our honour for personal gain or profit. We may put a higher value on material things than on spiritual growth and integrity.

We may be tempted to sacrifice our moral principles in exchange for popularity. We can save ourselves a lot of trouble if we always agree with everyone on controversial issues. Let us keep in mind that the question we will all need to face one day is not “What are the people going to think of me?” but, “What does God think of me?” It is not the verdict of public opinion, but the verdict of God that will determine our final destiny.

We may also be tempted to lower our standards and to settle for cheap rewards as long as we don’t have to work too hard to earn them. So easily we become indifferent about things that go on around us. We find it too time-consuming and too much of a hassle to get involved in social, political, and even congregational matters. It’s easier to keep our nose out of it and live with the decisions that others make for us. Consequently, we sacrifice the best that could be for a cheap substitute.

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We are also tempted to sacrifice eternity for the moment. There are many things in life – today more than ever before – that offer pleasure and success instantly. Our greatest mission in life is to have God’s things in mind and to check ourselves against the life of the suffering Christ and measure our lives according to God’s will.

God gave us life to spend and not to keep for ourselves. If we live carefully, always thinking first of our own profit, ease, comfort and security; if our sole aim is to make life as long and trouble-free as possible; if we make no effort except for ourselves, we will lose our life. But if we spend our life for others then we are making a mark for eternity. There is nothing less than our very soul at stake here. As CT Studd said: “Christ gave everything for me there is nothing I will not do for him.”

29 C.T. Studd ideas | christian quotes, missionary quotes, words

Every time we open ourselves to the needs of those around us. Every time we actually take time to love someone who desperately needs our love; every time we get out of ourselves a little and seek not what we want but what the world needs; we get a little closer to what Jesus was talking about when he spoke of taking up your cross and following him. Amen

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NICENE CREED

We believe in one God,

the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living

and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,

the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.

with the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

PRAYERS

Lord Jesus,

you shocked your disciples

by making them face up to your cross and their own.

Give to your church courage to emulate your sacrificial love.

May we find our true life in you!

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

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Lord Jesus,

help us as your followers in your church

to understand what it fully means

to love and serve you.

At times of testing strengthen us,

at unexpected or undeserved suffering support us,

at the end of our energy revive us

and teach us through it all

the inexplicable peace and joy

that comes from doing your will.

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

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Lord Jesus,

Peter struggled to accept the danger

and purpose of your actions.

Be with all who are anxious for a loved one,

whose job places them in grave danger.

We think especially of soldiers and rescue workers,

may they know of your presence and help.

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

don't give up. You are not alone, you matter signage on metal fence

Lord Jesus,

renew our commitment to love

as you loved in all your relationships.

In the hard choices give us wisdom,

In the painful decisions, affirm us,

and may our words speak your truth

whether that is to encourage, support or challenge.

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

photo of brown wooden cross at cliff

Lord Jesus, fill us with your wisdom

that we might hold to your values.

Help us not to gain the whole world

and forfeit our soul,

but instead enable us to nourish

our hearts and minds in your ways and truth.

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus,

you are with us as stand staring into the darkness.

Strengthen and help us in all our sufferings.

Be near to those struggling with illness, depression,

anxiety, conflict or family problems.

Hold them in your love, guide and direct their path,

and meet them at their point of need with your healing touch.

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

27+ Peaceful Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Lord Jesus, you hold open the door to eternity.

Strengthen all who stand on its threshold in faith and fear

and bring them in due course to the loving place

that you have prepared for them.

Lord of faith and truth

Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, your love for us is so great,

greater than we can imagine,

accept our thanks and praise.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

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.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

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BLESSING

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

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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St John's Church

20 hours 7 minutes ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to Choral Evensong for Lent, this coming Sunday 3rd March, 6pm, at St John’s Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, sung by the

St John's Church

20 hours 30 minutes ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to Choral Evensong for Lent, this coming Sunday 3rd March, 6pm, at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, sung by the

St John's Church

5 days 20 hours ago

Sunday 25th February 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11:00am! You are most welcome to come along to our service. Be great to see you! Contemporary service is on Sunday

St John's Church

5 days 22 hours ago

Booking is necessary to attend the Pamper Session on Thursday 14th March starting at 3.45pm until 6pm, in St John’s Church Hall, Lovers’ Walk, Dumfries, DG1 1LW. For more information

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