Monday 15 February 2021

Prayers 15/16th February 2021,

God our creator who goes before us

You draw us forward in faith

Like a pillar of fire across deserts 

A rock of assurance

As we journey 

Speak to us with your words of comfort and wisdom.


Prayer of confession

God of love and forgiveness

Save us by your tenderness

From each deed that is destructive

From each act that grieves you

From each thought that is careless

From each idea that is unloving

From each word that hurts.

Help us to face up to your call on our lives, by creating love and 

goodness, community, society where it has been broken. In Jesus Name, Amen.


The Lords Prayer in our own language


Mark 1v12-13


12 And immediately the Spirit brought Him out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving Him.


Preparation for Lent


This week we begin the period of time known traditionally as Lent. It is named after the Anglo Saxon word, Lenten meaning the lengthening of days. In the first three centuries of the church a few days were set aside for strict fasting. By the 4th century this preparation time had developed to 40 days, like the 40 years of the Exodus that the people of Israel spent lost in the desert, like the 40 days of fasting of Moses, Elijah and Jesus. 40 days is a long time to go without food and drink. It's really the maximum a body could stand. 


Lent is about self-discipline preparing ourselves to be closer to God through fasting and reading the scriptures and meeting together to pray. It has traditionally been seen as a time of personal meditation, a cleansing of the soul and also a time of preparation for those receiving baptism on Easter Sunday. It begins with a time of penitence, of saying sorry, on Ash Wednesday when we receive a cross on our forehead in ash and we say the words “from dust you came and to dust you will return”.


In the Roman Catholic Church fasting is still practiced on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. In the Eastern Orthodox Church not eating eggs, meat and fish is still common throughout Lent, which is why painted eggs are given out on Easter Sunday. 


There are spiritual disciplines that can help us in our Lenten journey. Silence, prayer, reading the scriptures, fasting. Ignatian prayer.


Our Muslim neighbours celebrate Ramadan with a month of disciplined fasting from dawn to dusk. What about us? How are we going to give this Lent to God, to allow the Spirit of Christ to work something new in us, to learn more about our faith, to seek God in prayer about our life together as a church, a community of God's people? The number 40 represents a change. We have 40 days to reflect and to enact change, with God's help.


We may choose to go into a desert or we may be driven there like the Israelites and like Jesus. We may already be in a desert, a Covid wilderness, or on the edge of it. 


The Israelites in the Exodus moved from a situation of slavery but where they had food and shelter into a situation of great risk, not knowing where they were going, how they were going to be fed, where they were going...into a desert.


God is there through the trauma, through the storm, yet how do we access that spiritual resource, especially now? Circumstances can through unemployment, tough times, cause us to sink into despair, to wish we were back in the old normal days. Will they return?


The Christian journey requires we take risks otherwise we stop growing as people of faith. We may move away from being respectable and risks are taken with no guarantee of success otherwise they would not require faith, they wouldn’t be risks. It is easy to trust God when things are going well but when the going gets tough then many of us look down and start to sink.


Lent is a journey. It's a journey from the wilderness, to encountering 

God, to the question of identity "Who am I? A journey that takes us 

through to the healing of others, the denial of those called friends, 

accusation, trial, torture and death.....and finally resurrection.  

It's a journey we all can identify with, we can all opt in to one or 

other of the experiences of Jesus. 


Song “The Lords my shepherd”

Our Prayers for our world, others and ourselves.

May God’s hand be upon us, angels protect us and the Holy Spirit work in and around us. Amen 




Loving God help us to follow you

Into a place of quietness,

Where we may face beasts and wilderness

But we will know the presence of angels 

Even in the desert times. Amen. 


We will begin Lent on Wednesday at 8pm with Ashing. 

If you want to be part of this zoom service 

email with your name and your home country. May God be with us all at this time. 




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