| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Second Sunday of Lent 28th February 2021 Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Praise to the holiest in the height
Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness God so loved the world that he gave his only Son to save us. Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins, seeking healing and forgiveness. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Lord, I am truly sorry for all the wrong things I have done. Have mercy on me, O God, for your love has no limits. Lord, have mercy. Wash away all that is wrong in my life. Cleanse my heart, O God, and fill me with your Spirit. Christ, have mercy. Help me to follow more closely in the way of Christ. Restored and forgiven, may I walk in the joy of your salvation. Lord, have mercy. May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from your sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer Almighty God, by 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.
Bible Readings Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16 17When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; * walk before me, and be blameless. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4 ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, * but your name shall be Abraham; * for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring * after you. 15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’
Hymn: The God of Abraham praise
Hymn: Take up thy cross, the Saviour said
Romans 4.13-end 13 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. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. 16 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, 17 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. 18 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.’ 19 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. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith * ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23 Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
Mark 8.31-end 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. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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.’ 34 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. 35 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. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 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.’
Reflections By Reverend Tony Richards Three readings in today’s lectionary, Genesis 17:1-7,15-16; outlining God’s promises to Abram Psalm 22:22-30; recognising God’s promises and giving thanks, Romans 4:13-25 assuring us of God’s promises and Mark 8:31-38 showing us the cost of the promise. Shaka Zulu was one of the most influential Zulu monarchs who ruled the Zulu empire in the early 1800's. He was a military genius and considered a great king for his reforms and innovations and condemned by others for the brutality of his reign. Captain Fairwell (a British army officer) had built a cautious relationship with Shaka and spent a great deal of time gaining his confidence. Because of his friendship with the king, he was sent to see if these two nations could live together in harmony uniting custom and respect despite their differences. Shaka was familiar with the various incentives that England had previously offered and after a long pause and without turning toward his guest, he broke the silence. "Tell me, Zebana," (his name for the Captain), how do you catch a monkey?" Captain Fairwell responded, by using a gourd with a narrow neck - with the top removed and something put inside, such as a piece of fruit or sweet. When he reaches in and grabs the bait’ he’s trapped, because when holding the fruit he cannot withdraw his fist." Shaka said, “when the monkey realizes he is trapped, why doesn’t he let go of the bait?" "Because his greed makes him blind," the Captain answered. "And what is he greedy for?" asked the king. "I suppose for something he can’t have," was the answer. After another long pause Shaka said, and what new bait have you brought for this monkey? Do I yearn for something shiny?" What do we desire most? To build our relationship with God and Christ, and the rewards that relationship brings or just accept the temptations of the world? Worldliness is our gourd, and it has a very narrow neck. As we journey through Lent, we have the opportunity to look inside ourselves - the way that we live our lives - and let go of the “shiny things” that the world offers and look to be more like Jesus. Charlemagne was pretty infamous, and it is said that when he died, he was buried in royal robes in a marble chair. On his lap was a Bible opened to Mark 8. With his finger pointing to verse 36. "For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?" Our souls are far more important to God than any shiny trinket or the temptations and short-lived rewards that the world offers. To think only of personal satisfaction and an easy life, to take what you want with little or no regard for the needs of others. All too often far too many have this as their creed - looking only for their own personal needs; not just for food, shelter and health, but to achieve their spiritual and emotional needs. Jesus tells us that we must lose ourselves to find ourselves; that he who loves his life loses it and he who hates his life will keep it. He is not just speaking of our wellbeing here on earth, but of eternal life. A loser by worldly standards is one who has failed to accomplish what the world sees as success; an accumulation of stuff, money, prestige, or status; who has lived life for themselves to their own standards with little or no regard for others or the will of God. The Gospel is about losing a former life and gaining a new life in Christ. Lent is a time when we can re-appraise our lives and let go of the “shiny trinkets” that trap us, to get our hands out of the gourd and let go of the worldly things that are holding us back and weighing us down. Do you ever feel that you are being asked to give something up? Many say no, because they seldom or never make time to seek God's will to look at their lives in a quiet moment to hear God’s voice. We cannot mature in faith unless we change the way that we live, and look to Jesus to guide our lives… To make time to hear his voice and seek his will… To set aside time to hear and… To allow God transform us into the spiritual people that he has called us to be. But like so many things, a faith and ministry that costs nothing will accomplish nothing. Discipleship requires discipline - the discipline that lets us let go of whatever shiny trinket holds us back and keeps us from focusing on God. We need to depend on Jesus, not on the world, for as it said on a sign in a textile mill: "When your thread becomes tangled,.... call the foreman." The writer of Hebrews helps us to understand what we are called to do: " Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." When we are committed to Jesus, we shed the worldly trinkets; the things that writer tells us that are not necessarily a sin, but are a weight holding us back. It will be so difficult to experience a deeper relationship and fellowship with Christ and those around us, if we continue to do the same things that we have done in the past. As an old professor once said; ‘Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is a mark of insanity. We need to change and do things differently, to let go of the temptations and charms of the world, to find and make time to spend one on one with our Lord in or prayers and lives. Selflessness is at the heart of discipleship and disciples are disciplined. They find and set aside time to listen and perfect that special relationship with our maker. In the words of today’s Gospel: "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? It is time to get our hands out of the gourd, to let go of the ways of the world and let God lead and transform us... into the image of His Son. May this Lent be blessed as we look forward to Easter.
Prayers As you listen to the words of this beautiful prayer, echo them in your heart and make it your prayer as we continue our journey through Lent…
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION St Blasius Home Page St Blasius Home Page St John’s Home Page St John’s Home Page
Opening our hearts to God 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We gather together all our prayers and praises in the words that Jesus taught us… The Lord’s Prayer 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.
The Prayer of St Richard of Chichester
Hymn: O Jesus, I have promised
God’s Blessing May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up our cross, and follow him; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us now and evermore. Amen.
Claudio Monteverdi: Christe, Adoramus te Christ, we adore you and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Lord, have mercy on us.
Spend a few moments bringing your own prayers before God: Praying for our Church family; Asking God to give wisdom to the leaders of the nations; Praying for all those who are unwell and all those who care for them; Giving thanks for those who have shared this life with us but have now journeyed on into God’s presence.

| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Second Sunday of Lent 28th February 2021 Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Praise to the holiest in the height
Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness God so loved the world that he gave his only Son to save us. Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins, seeking healing and forgiveness. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Lord, I am truly sorry for all the wrong things I have done. Have mercy on me, O God, for your love has no limits. Lord, have mercy. Wash away all that is wrong in my life. Cleanse my heart, O God, and fill me with your Spirit. Christ, have mercy. Help me to follow more closely in the way of Christ. Restored and forgiven, may I walk in the joy of your salvation. Lord, have mercy. May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from your sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer Almighty God, by 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.
Bible Readings Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16 17When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; * walk before me, and be blameless. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4 ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, * but your name shall be Abraham; * for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring * after you. 15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’
Hymn: The God of Abraham praise
Hymn: Take up thy cross, the Saviour said
Romans 4.13-end 13 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. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. 16 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, 17 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. 18 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.’ 19 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. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith * ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23 Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
Mark 8.31-end 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. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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.’ 34 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. 35 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. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 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.’
Reflections By Reverend Tony Richards Three readings in today’s lectionary, Genesis 17:1- 7,15-16; outlining God’s promises to Abram Psalm 22:22-30; recognising God’s promises and giving thanks, Romans 4:13-25 assuring us of God’s promises and Mark 8:31-38 showing us the cost of the promise. Shaka Zulu was one of the most influential Zulu monarchs who ruled the Zulu empire in the early 1800's. He was a military genius and considered a great king for his reforms and innovations and condemned by others for the brutality of his reign. Captain Fairwell (a British army officer) had built a cautious relationship with Shaka and spent a great deal of time gaining his confidence. Because of his friendship with the king, he was sent to see if these two nations could live together in harmony uniting custom and respect despite their differences. Shaka was familiar with the various incentives that England had previously offered and after a long pause and without turning toward his guest, he broke the silence. "Tell me, Zebana," (his name for the Captain), how do you catch a monkey?" Captain Fairwell responded, by using a gourd with a narrow neck - with the top removed and something put inside, such as a piece of fruit or sweet. When he reaches in and grabs the bait’ he’s trapped, because when holding the fruit he cannot withdraw his fist." Shaka said, “when the monkey realizes he is trapped, why doesn’t he let go of the bait?" "Because his greed makes him blind," the Captain answered. "And what is he greedy for?" asked the king. "I suppose for something he can’t have," was the answer. After another long pause Shaka said, and what new bait have you brought for this monkey? Do I yearn for something shiny?" What do we desire most? To build our relationship with God and Christ, and the rewards that relationship brings or just accept the temptations of the world? Worldliness is our gourd, and it has a very narrow neck. As we journey through Lent, we have the opportunity to look inside ourselves - the way that we live our lives - and let go of the “shiny things” that the world offers and look to be more like Jesus. Charlemagne was pretty infamous, and it is said that when he died, he was buried in royal robes in a marble chair. On his lap was a Bible opened to Mark 8. With his finger pointing to verse 36. "For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?" Our souls are far more important to God than any shiny trinket or the temptations and short-lived rewards that the world offers. To think only of personal satisfaction and an easy life, to take what you want with little or no regard for the needs of others. All too often far too many have this as their creed - looking only for their own personal needs; not just for food, shelter and health, but to achieve their spiritual and emotional needs. Jesus tells us that we must lose ourselves to find ourselves; that he who loves his life loses it and he who hates his life will keep it. He is not just speaking of our wellbeing here on earth, but of eternal life. A loser by worldly standards is one who has failed to accomplish what the world sees as success; an accumulation of stuff, money, prestige, or status; who has lived life for themselves to their own standards with little or no regard for others or the will of God. The Gospel is about losing a former life and gaining a new life in Christ. Lent is a time when we can re-appraise our lives and let go of the “shiny trinkets” that trap us, to get our hands out of the gourd and let go of the worldly things that are holding us back and weighing us down. Do you ever feel that you are being asked to give something up? Many say no, because they seldom or never make time to seek God's will to look at their lives in a quiet moment to hear God’s voice. We cannot mature in faith unless we change the way that we live, and look to Jesus to guide our lives… To make time to hear his voice and seek his will… To set aside time to hear and… To allow God transform us into the spiritual people that he has called us to be. But like so many things, a faith and ministry that costs nothing will accomplish nothing. Discipleship requires discipline - the discipline that lets us let go of whatever shiny trinket holds us back and keeps us from focusing on God. We need to depend on Jesus, not on the world, for as it said on a sign in a textile mill: "When your thread becomes tangled,.... call the foreman." The writer of Hebrews helps us to understand what we are called to do: " Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." When we are committed to Jesus, we shed the worldly trinkets; the things that writer tells us that are not necessarily a sin, but are a weight holding us back. It will be so difficult to experience a deeper relationship and fellowship with Christ and those around us, if we continue to do the same things that we have done in the past. As an old professor once said; ‘Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is a mark of insanity. We need to change and do things differently, to let go of the temptations and charms of the world, to find and make time to spend one on one with our Lord in or prayers and lives. Selflessness is at the heart of discipleship and disciples are disciplined. They find and set aside time to listen and perfect that special relationship with our maker. In the words of today’s Gospel: "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? It is time to get our hands out of the gourd, to let go of the ways of the world and let God lead and transform us... into the image of His Son. May this Lent be blessed as we look forward to Easter.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION St Blasius Home Page St Blasius Home Page St John’s Home Page St John’s Home Page
Opening our hearts to God 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Prayer of St Richard of Chichester
Prayers As you listen to the words of this beautiful prayer, echo them in your heart and make it your prayer as we continue our journey through Lent…
We gather together all our prayers and praises in the words that Jesus taught us… The Lord’s Prayer 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: O Jesus, I have promised
God’s Blessing May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up our cross, and follow him; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us now and evermore. Amen.
Claudio Monteverdi: Christe, Adoramus te Christ, we adore you and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Lord, have mercy on us.
Spend a few moments bringing your own prayers before God: Praying for our Church family; Asking God to give wisdom to the leaders of the nations; Praying for all those who are unwell and all those who care for them; Giving thanks for those who have shared this life with us but have now journeyed on into God’s presence.

| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Second Sunday of Lent 28th February 2021 Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Praise to the holiest in the height
Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness God so loved the world that he gave his only Son to save us. Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins, seeking healing and forgiveness. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Lord, I am truly sorry for all the wrong things I have done. Have mercy on me, O God, for your love has no limits. Lord, have mercy. Wash away all that is wrong in my life. Cleanse my heart, O God, and fill me with your Spirit. Christ, have mercy. Help me to follow more closely in the way of Christ. Restored and forgiven, may I walk in the joy of your salvation. Lord, have mercy. May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from your sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer Almighty God, by 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.
Bible Readings Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16 17When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; * walk before me, and be blameless. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4 ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, * but your name shall be Abraham; * for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring * after you. 15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’
Hymn: The God of Abraham praise
Hymn: Take up thy cross, the Saviour said
Romans 4.13-end 13 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. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. 16 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, 17 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. 18 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.’ 19 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. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith * ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23 Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
Mark 8.31-end 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. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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.’ 34 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. 35 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. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 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.’
Reflections By Reverend Tony Richards Three readings in today’s lectionary, Genesis 17:1-7,15-16; outlining God’s promises to Abram Psalm 22:22-30; recognising God’s promises and giving thanks, Romans 4:13-25 assuring us of God’s promises and Mark 8:31-38 showing us the cost of the promise. Shaka Zulu was one of the most influential Zulu monarchs who ruled the Zulu empire in the early 1800's. He was a military genius and considered a great king for his reforms and innovations and condemned by others for the brutality of his reign. Captain Fairwell (a British army officer) had built a cautious relationship with Shaka and spent a great deal of time gaining his confidence. Because of his friendship with the king, he was sent to see if these two nations could live together in harmony uniting custom and respect despite their differences. Shaka was familiar with the various incentives that England had previously offered and after a long pause and without turning toward his guest, he broke the silence. "Tell me, Zebana," (his name for the Captain), how do you catch a monkey?" Captain Fairwell responded, by using a gourd with a narrow neck - with the top removed and something put inside, such as a piece of fruit or sweet. When he reaches in and grabs the bait’ he’s trapped, because when holding the fruit he cannot withdraw his fist." Shaka said, “when the monkey realizes he is trapped, why doesn’t he let go of the bait?" "Because his greed makes him blind," the Captain answered. "And what is he greedy for?" asked the king. "I suppose for something he can’t have," was the answer. After another long pause Shaka said, and what new bait have you brought for this monkey? Do I yearn for something shiny?" What do we desire most? To build our relationship with God and Christ, and the rewards that relationship brings or just accept the temptations of the world? Worldliness is our gourd, and it has a very narrow neck. As we journey through Lent, we have the opportunity to look inside ourselves - the way that we live our lives - and let go of the “shiny things” that the world offers and look to be more like Jesus. Charlemagne was pretty infamous, and it is said that when he died, he was buried in royal robes in a marble chair. On his lap was a Bible opened to Mark 8. With his finger pointing to verse 36. "For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?" Our souls are far more important to God than any shiny trinket or the temptations and short-lived rewards that the world offers. To think only of personal satisfaction and an easy life, to take what you want with little or no regard for the needs of others. All too often far too many have this as their creed - looking only for their own personal needs; not just for food, shelter and health, but to achieve their spiritual and emotional needs. Jesus tells us that we must lose ourselves to find ourselves; that he who loves his life loses it and he who hates his life will keep it. He is not just speaking of our wellbeing here on earth, but of eternal life. A loser by worldly standards is one who has failed to accomplish what the world sees as success; an accumulation of stuff, money, prestige, or status; who has lived life for themselves to their own standards with little or no regard for others or the will of God. The Gospel is about losing a former life and gaining a new life in Christ. Lent is a time when we can re-appraise our lives and let go of the “shiny trinkets” that trap us, to get our hands out of the gourd and let go of the worldly things that are holding us back and weighing us down. Do you ever feel that you are being asked to give something up? Many say no, because they seldom or never make time to seek God's will to look at their lives in a quiet moment to hear God’s voice. We cannot mature in faith unless we change the way that we live, and look to Jesus to guide our lives… To make time to hear his voice and seek his will… To set aside time to hear and… To allow God transform us into the spiritual people that he has called us to be. But like so many things, a faith and ministry that costs nothing will accomplish nothing. Discipleship requires discipline - the discipline that lets us let go of whatever shiny trinket holds us back and keeps us from focusing on God. We need to depend on Jesus, not on the world, for as it said on a sign in a textile mill: "When your thread becomes tangled,.... call the foreman." The writer of Hebrews helps us to understand what we are called to do: " Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." When we are committed to Jesus, we shed the worldly trinkets; the things that writer tells us that are not necessarily a sin, but are a weight holding us back. It will be so difficult to experience a deeper relationship and fellowship with Christ and those around us, if we continue to do the same things that we have done in the past. As an old professor once said; ‘Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is a mark of insanity. We need to change and do things differently, to let go of the temptations and charms of the world, to find and make time to spend one on one with our Lord in or prayers and lives. Selflessness is at the heart of discipleship and disciples are disciplined. They find and set aside time to listen and perfect that special relationship with our maker. In the words of today’s Gospel: "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? It is time to get our hands out of the gourd, to let go of the ways of the world and let God lead and transform us... into the image of His Son. May this Lent be blessed as we look forward to Easter.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION St Blasius Home Page St Blasius Home Page St John’s Home Page St John’s Home Page
Opening our hearts to God 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers As you listen to the words of this beautiful prayer, echo them in your heart and make it your prayer as we continue our journey through Lent…
The Prayer of St Richard of Chichester
We gather together all our prayers and praises in the words that Jesus taught us… The Lord’s Prayer 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: O Jesus, I have promised
God’s Blessing May Christ give us grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up our cross, and follow him; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us now and evermore. Amen.
Claudio Monteverdi: Christe, Adoramus te Christ, we adore you and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Lord, have mercy on us.
Spend a few moments bringing your own prayers before God: Praying for our Church family; Asking God to give wisdom to the leaders of the nations; Praying for all those who are unwell and all those who care for them; Giving thanks for those who have shared this life with us but have now journeyed on into God’s presence.