OPEN FOR MORNING WORSHIP ON SUNDAY AT 10:30AM
OPEN FOR MORNING WORSHIP
SUNDAY AT 10:30AM

Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship for Sunday 28 February - 2nd in Lent

by Peter Blount 28 February 2021

Greetings in the name of Jesus – Joy and peace to you all.


Welcome to worship with us at Newmount Methodist Church for our online service for the 2nd Sunday in Lent. 

We begin this week where Andy left us last week with the hymn Trust and Obey

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Prayers 
We lead into our prayers with these words from Psalm 22 (v25-28)

‘From you comes the theme of praise in the great assembly, before those who fear you I will fulfil my vows.  The poor will eat and be satisfied, they who seek the Lord will praise Him, may your hearts live for ever. All the end of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.’


Gracious God, on this second Sunday in Lent we come, as always, with a voice of praise and a sense of expectation.  
We pray today that our praise will be worthy of you and acceptable in your sight. 
Speak to each one of us, O Lord, such that we will know it’s you, and that your unending love for us will be always evident.
Help us to understand the scriptures and identify your message within. 

Lord we confess how, so often, we are consumed with selfish desires and an inward looking attitude that prevents us from doing your will in our lives. Forgive us, and renew a right spirit within us.
Help us to be led by your spirit, renewed in strength and made richer by your wisdom, which together make us stronger disciples of you, our Lord Jesus.
Amen 

Let us share together in the prayer that Jesus taught us,
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.  

 

Reflection 
On this second Sunday in Lent the lectionary directs our attention to the end of the gospel of Mark Ch8. In the early part of this chapter Mark records some notable events in the life of Jesus, firstly, we get the second recorded instance when Jesus meets the practical needs of his listeners by organising a mass picnic – better know as ‘Jesus feeds four thousand’. 

Then, an individual act of healing, that of the blind man at Bethsaida who was brought by his friends convinced that Jesus could and would heal him. 

Next, and relevant to today’s reading, whilst travelling between villages Jesus enquires of his disciples ‘who do people say I am’? Now much could be said at this point, but suffice to say Peter declares ‘You are the Christ’. 

Now to Mark: 8 v 31 – 38. Please read the verses from the version you are most comfortable with – I have recorded the reading from ‘The Message’ 

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That portion of scripture entitled ‘Jesus Predicts His Death’ is a change in direction for Mark and the narrative focuses more on Christ’s approaching passion, here as well as in the next two chapters Mark records occasions when Jesus Predicts His Death (9:31 & 10:33f). 

Clearly Jesus, who was fully aware of all that He must do on earth, including His agonising death, to fulfil His mission of salvation to all mankind; having so recently recruited his disciples was now in the process of making it clear to them that the fulfilment of his short but dynamic time on earth was going to end soon, dramatically and painfully. 

It’s not surprising, then, that the disciples were not fully on board when Jesus spoke of rejection, pain and suffering.  Indeed, Peter, having in the previous verses declared ‘Jesus was the Christ’ and now in a style which we have grown to love, immediately protects, defends and almost admonishes Jesus for suggesting such things. But Jesus comes out with this harsh response to Peter’s defence of Him ‘get behind me Satan’!    Last week Andy shared with us from Mark’s gospel ch 1, right at the beginning of Jesus ministry how he was tempted by the Devil.  Here we are again, the Devil tempting Jesus even through his own disciples. 

Note that the Devil’s subtlety is not in forcing a choice between good and evil but, in forcing a choice between good and best!

To explain – last week, Jesus’ choice was between food for his body (after forty days and nights without food, a meal, on the face of it, is a good choice) BUT it was not the best choice!

In the scripture today, Jesus is faced with another subtle choice, the protection, support and help of his disciple to avoid/delay the inevitable fate due to Him (again, on the face of it, not unreasonable) OR to recognise the Devil’s temptation through his own disciple and reject it, therefore, making the best choice. 

In Lent as we consider own choices as we go through life, it’s not often we are faced with a choice between good and evil, but daily we choose between good (easiest) and the best choice which is often more involved, time consuming and costly. 

In other words are we prepared to, as Mark puts it in verse 34 to ‘deny ourself, take up our cross and follow Him’. 

Another powerful and ultimately crucial choice which can only be made ourselves.  

Amen 

 

This is a slow version of the Hymn ‘I want to walk with Jesus Christ’ the chorus goes ‘Follow Him Follow Him’  sing and pray the words.

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Prayers 
You may like to play this music quietly as you pray

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Lord as we come again to pray, these are difficult times for us all.

We are faced as individuals, as a church and as a nation with problems that seem out of all control and even beyond our understanding, yet Lord our creator, and whose passion is for our safety and salvation we place into your hands all things.

We seek the smallest faith that leads to the greatest transformation because the problems then go from our hands to yours. 

Lord today, in our personal and private prayers we remember those known to us who suffer sadness, loneliness and bereavement at this time, particularly the families of Dennis Bales and Trevor Smith – Lord grant them your comfort and peace. 

Allow us to become still in your presence that we all may receive peace and comfort to attend our needs and anxieties.  Make us strong through your love and positive through your grace. 

Silence 

Amen    

We conclude by joining the congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London to sing ‘O for a heart to praise my God’, stirring words of Charles Wesley

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Grace 
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! 
Amen.