Weekly Online Service
07 February 2021 The Second Sunday before Lent

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.

Hymn

Immortal, invisible, God only wise

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
all laud we would render: O help us to see
’tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

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.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria in Excelcis

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Lord Jesus Christ,
only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand
of the Father:
receive our prayer.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Amen.

The Old and New Testament Readings

Proverbs 8.1,22-31 - Read by Alison Reeve

Does not wisdom call,
   and does not understanding raise her voice?
22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
   the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
   at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
   before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,
   or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there,
   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
   when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
   so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30   then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
   rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
   and delighting in the human race.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Colossians 1.15-20 - Read by Luke Reeve

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

John 1.1-14 - Read by Janet Reed

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us.’

John 1: 1-14 Amen.

“And the Word became flesh.”

When we are babies we are not born with language, we have no words, they have to be learned and that process begins before birth. The baby hears the mother’s voice and becomes familiar with it and any others’ close enough to be heard. After birth the child will gradually become familiar with the most used words, come to know mamma or dada and that both belong to their parents or care givers. The next stage is the pointing game and the child discovers names, of things and people and so language develops over time. The Word for us in the beginning then is a name or identity.

“And the Word became flesh”

We hear those words so easily that they are lost on us. We quickly associate them with the baby in Bethlehem's manger, and rightly so, but then we dismiss them without being startled or shocked or even mildly surprised. “The Word became flesh.”

Some of the Greeks were appalled at such a thought and quickly acted to correct what they thought of as a ludicrous, even sacrilegious thought. It wasn’t that God could not have become flesh, but why would God have wanted to become flesh? By their way of thinking, the flesh was bad and the body was evil. They tolerated the body as a necessary way to “house the soul.”

We too sometimes slip into this mind-set that the soul is good and spiritual, and the body is bad and animal. At the root of this is the idea that physical expression is bad and should take a back seat to the higher and purer gifts of the mind and the soul.

The Greek word behind flesh in this example is the same word Paul uses over and over to describe human nature in all its weakness and sin. In other words, when God became flesh God immediately became acquainted with all the desires, problems, and temptations inherent in human life, which is one more reason why the Word becoming flesh isn’t all that desirable. Who wants a God who is so much like us? We want a God who rules over the earth, who gives power and dominion to human beings, and whose knowledge and goodness, are always beyond reproach.

But isn’t that the point of John’s account? There is in the earth the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Eternal has appeared in time. The God whom no one has seen has become visible. The inaccessible One is now available to us. The Word became flesh is not a sign that the great God has been reduced to the lesser nature of humanity, but that the great God has paid us a visit in human form.

It’s not the first time God’s presence was made known, and it won’t be the last. God is always looking for a place to dwell. God is present in the words of scripture, in the beauty of a painting, in majestic architecture, and in the stirring drama of great literature. God was present at the Red Sea, and at Mount Sinai, and in the foreign land where the people were held in captivity. But God did, not become a book, or a painting, or a building. God took on human form. The Word became flesh.

If people want to know what God looks like, and they do, they are going to look at us. People who will come to experience something of God’s presence will not arrive at that moment by argument or logical thinking or scientific proof. More than likely, they will come to know what God is like through knowing God’s people, us. People who experience love do not do so by reading about it in a book. They experience love through other human beings. There is so much for people to read about God in scripture and elsewhere, but not much of it will hold water unless they come to know women, men and children, who appear in the flesh in the same way that God appears on the page.

That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect people, but it does call us to take seriously the fact that our bodies are God’s temple and God's spirit dwells in our flesh (1 Corinthians 3:16). We can’t be perfect people, but we can be so responsive to the spirit of God that “the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). It means that we not only see the heart or soul as religious, but that we “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength” (Mark 12:30) and that we present our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1-2). Our existence is not about worshiping God with our souls and treating our bodies as if they were our own. Our earthly life is not about having a pure heart and paying no attention to our physical needs. Instead, we are about presenting our whole selves in faithful service to God because we carry the good news in these bodies of ours, as well as in our hearts and minds. We cannot share the good news until we become the good news. We are to become the good news in the flesh for the world to see.

It’s always nice to hear people say, “I saw your church. It’s beautiful.” They are right, of course, but they only saw a part of the church. They only saw the building. They missed the best part. If they didn’t have time to see all those occasions when the church becomes the good news, when the Word becomes flesh. And the Word becomes flesh all over the place.

Anyone who has ever delivered meals or visited the bereaved or responded to a disaster or given sacrificially or taken people in or sat with friends in a difficult time knows that what we give pales in comparison to what we get back. It’s not just that the Word becomes flesh in our actions, but that the Word is already flesh in those to whom we minister.

The decline that so many churches are experiencing is baffling since we live in a time when there is a desperate need for community. People are less and less concerned about what church name a congregation has, and more and more concerned with finding a supportive, receptive, loving congregation that will welcome and take care of them. There is a lot of debate about various issues, but people who are hurting aren’t looking for a Mission Action Plan. They are looking for the Word that gives life, comfort and hope, and they are looking right at us to see if that Word has any flesh on it.

The Word becoming flesh is a powerful statement about God’s presence in Jesus, but it is also more. The Word becoming flesh leads us toward one another, pointing us toward a new community where we see the truth and dignity in all of God’s children. The Word becoming flesh reminds us that the truth and light live in us. Yet, we know none of us are capable of holding all the truth and light, so we need and depend on each other for pieces of the truth and light that we do not yet have.

If we are all made in the image of God, if we are all distinct revelations of God, then we all carry within us some message and experience that the rest of us need to hear. May we become and then share the good news. More than that, may we be open to the good news, which all the people of the earth embody, learning and receiving from them as much as they learn and receive from us. May the love of God, which we talk about so freely, be recognized in the love of human beings like us.

So then the Word is God’s will in action as well as a name and identity.

“And the Word became flesh”. Amen.

The Rev'd Mo Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 07/02/2021

Service Audio

The 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 Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and 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 and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who 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.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

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

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Collect

God our creator, by your gift the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise, and the bread of life at the heart of your Church: may we who have been nourished at your table on earth be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross and enjoy the delights of eternity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

Christ Triumphant

Christ triumphant, ever reigning,
Saviour, Master, King!
Lord of heaven, our lives sustaining,
hear us as we sing:

Refrain:
Yours the glory and the crown,
the high renown, the eternal name.

Word incarnate, truth revealing,
Son of Man on earth!
power and majesty concealing
by your humble birth:

[Refrain]

Suffering servant, scorned, ill-treated,
victim crucified!
death is through the cross defeated,
sinners justified:

[Refrain]

Priestly king, enthroned for ever
high in heaven above!
sin and death and hell shall never
stifle hymns of love:

[Refrain]

So, our hearts and voices raising
through the ages long,
ceaselessly upon you gazing,
this shall be our song:

[Refrain]

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.