Weekly Online Service
21 March 2021 The Fifth Sunday of Lent - Passion Sunday
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.
Lift hight the cross
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore his sacred name.
Come, Christians, follow where our Savior trod,
Our King victorious, Christ, the Son of God. [Refrain]
Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of him who died. [Refrain]
O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
Your death has bought us life eternally. [Refrain]
So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory! [Refrain]
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.
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.
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy
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.
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.
The Collect of the Day is said or sung.
Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Old and New Testament Readings
Jeremiah 31.31-34 - Read by Diane Coxon
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Hebrews 5.5-10 - Read by Vic Harrington
So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you’;
6 as he says also in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.’
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
John 12.20-33 - Read by Pam Hagan
The Gospel reader says
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
All say: Glory to you, O Lord.
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
27 ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ 30 Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
This is the gospel of the Lord.
All say: Praise to you, O Christ.
Not for after dinner conversation? Amen.
We all know there are three things that cannot be talked about. You know them, don’t you? Religion, sex, and politics. But have we got it wrong? We do talk about those things. We just do it really badly. There is, however, something we don’t talk about. Death. Yes, we acknowledge death when it happens but for the most part we don’t talk about death with any real depth or substance, and certainly no enthusiasm. We don’t deal with it. We deny it. We ignore it. We avoid it. No one wants to die.
We don’t really acknowledge, talk about, and deal with death. The death of our loved ones is too real, too painful. Our own death is too scary. The relationships and parts of our lives that have died are too difficult. So, for the most part, we just avoid the topic of death. Besides it’s a no go in a culture that mostly wants to be happy, feel good, and avoid difficult realities.
I suspect the Greeks in today’s gospel did not go expecting to talk or hear about death. They just wanted to see Jesus. And who can blame them? Jesus had a rather good reputation up to this point. He had cleansed the temple, turned water into wine, healed a little boy, fed 5000, given sight to the blind, and raised Lazarus from the dead. I don’t know why they wanted to see Jesus, but I know the desire. I want to see Jesus. I expect you do too. Seeing Jesus makes it all real. After all, seeing, they say, is believing. We all have our reasons for wanting to see Jesus.
If you want to know your reasons for wanting to see Jesus look at what you pray for. It is often a to do list for God. You probably know those kinds of prayers. We want to see Jesus on our terms. We don’t want to face the pain of loss and death in whatever form it comes. Sometimes we want something from Jesus more than we want Jesus himself. There is a real danger that we will become consumers of God’s life rather than participants in God’s life. We pick and choose what we like and want but we skip over and leave behind what we don’t like, want, or understand. Christianity, however, is neither a supermarket nor a spectator sport. Christianity means participating in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what Jesus sets before the Greeks who want to see him.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
If we want to see Jesus then we must face up to. To the extent we refuse to acknowledge the reality of death, to the degree we avoid and deny death, we refuse to see Jesus. Really looking at, acknowledging, and facing death is some of the most difficult thing we will ever do. It is, as Jesus described, soul troubling. It shakes us to the core.
There is a temptation to want to skip over death and get to resurrection. So it is no coincidence that this week our readings point us towards Holy Week and remind us that death is the gateway to new life. Death comes first. Death is not always, however, physical. Sometimes it is spiritual or emotional. We die a thousand deaths every day. There are the deaths of relationships, marriages, hopes, dreams, careers, health, beliefs. Regardless of what it looks like, this is not the end. Resurrection is always hidden within death. There can be, however, no resurrection without a death.
If we avoid death we avoid life. The degree to which we are afraid to die is the degree to which we are afraid to fully live. Every time we avoid and turn away from death we proclaim it stronger than God, more real than life, and the ultimate victor.
The unspoken fear and avoidance of death underlies all our “what if” questions.” What if I fail, lose, fall down? What if I get hurt? What if I don’t get what I want? What if I lose that one I most need and love? Every “what if” question separates and isolates us from life, God, one another, and ourselves. It keeps us from bearing fruit. We are just a single grain of wheat. We might survive but we aren’t really alive.
Jesus didn’t ask to be saved from death. He was unwilling to settle for survival when the fullness of God’s life was before him. He knew that in God’s world strength is found in weakness, victory looks like defeat, and life is born of death. This was what allowed him to ride triumphantly into Jerusalem, a city that would condemn and kill him. That is what allows us to ride triumphantly through life. Triumph doesn’t mean that we get our way or that we avoid death. It means death is a gateway not a prison and the beginning not the end.
Regardless of who or what in our life has died, God in Christ has already cleared the way forward. We have a path to follow. That path is the death of Jesus. Jesus’ death, however, is of no benefit to us if we are not willing to submit to death, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ultimately, death, in whatever way it comes to us, means that we entrust all that we are and all that we have to God. We let ourselves be lifted up; lifted up in Christ’s crucifixion, lifted up in his resurrection, lifted up in his ascension into heaven. He is drawing all people to himself, that where he is we too may be.
Grains of wheat. That’s what we are. Through death, however, we can become the bread of life. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies….”
At the end of a perfect dinner, death may not be the perfect conversation, but it should always be faced head on and with confidence, knowing where we are heading.
The Rev'd Mo Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 21/03/2021
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 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:
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.
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.
The Post Communion Collect
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever. Amen.
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.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
The royal banners forward go
The royal banners forward go;
The cross shows forth redemption's flow,
Where He, by whom our flesh was made,
Our ransom in His flesh has paid:
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life's torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in the precious flood
Where flowed the water and the blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In sure prophetic song of old.
That God the nations' king should be
And reign in triumph from the tree.
On whose hard arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world's ransom hung,
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Tree of beauty, tree most fair,
Ordained those holy limbs to bear:
Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough
Proclaims the King of Glory now.
To Thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
As by the cross Thou dost restore,
So guide and keep us evermore.
Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.