Sunday Worship – 25th February 2024 – Lent 2

(All our songs this morning are from Mission Praise (MP) or Singing the Faith (StF) numbers will be given where available)

Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our circuit and with the congregation at Calverley Methodist Church and led by Claire Nott one of our Circuit Local Preachers.

Click on the blue links to follow them for bible readings and associated links

Before you start worship, it would be helpful to have a cross to use as a focus. If you don’t have one to hand, perhaps you could draw one or cut one out of paper/card.

The Lent Liturgy which is being used by several churches in Bradford North during Lent:
our Lent progression, and the theme for our services during Lent, has been inspired
by Charles Wesley’s hymn “Love Divine”. Each week there will be a focus on a line
of the hymn.

Todays’ focus is: “Visit us with thy salvation”, and we think about the ways we
attempt to insulate ourselves from God’s love.


Matthew 26:14-25

Lord, we cannot understand how Judas, who was with you throughout your ministry,
could betray you. Yet we, too, refuse to see your love at work and ask why you do
things as you do.

Help us to examine ourselves and not point the finger at others until we have
first confessed our own sin.

May we open our hearts to you and let you fill us with your love.
Imagine placing a bag of coins at the cross.

Song – MP 396 or StF 556 – Just as I am

Call to worship

Words from StF 161: Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds; help us to grasp the heights of your plans for us. And by grace we’ll stand on your promises, and by faith we’ll walk as you walk with us. Speak, O Lord, as we come to you.

Song – StF 481 – The Lord’s My Shepherd

Prayers of Adoration:
The Lord is my Shepherd. Amen
I invite you to add your own prayers of adoration by saying what the Lord is to you, followed by Amen.

Prayers of confession and assurance (from Roots on the Web, 25/2/24)

God of our days and nights, we are sorry for those moments when we see obstacles and you see stepping stones:
We are sorry when we just see the years behind us, and you see the years ahead:
We are sorry for the times we put limits on what we feel is possible, and lose sight of the fact that you are the God of the impossible:
We are sorry when we shrink the world to our size and lose sight of the vastness of your compassion:
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Living God, from upside down to the right way up:
you change our lives and our perspectives.
From being burdened by guilt to being freed by your grace:
you change our lives and our perspectives.
From the fear of death to the embracing of each moment:
you change our lives and our perspectives. Amen.

Song – MP 48 or StF 18 – Be still and know that I am God


Genesis 17: 1-16

17 When 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. And I will make my covenant between me and you and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 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. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 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 also give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

Reflection 1: What’s in a name?

My first name is Claire although my parents were intending to call me Heidi until I was born. The name Claire is French in origin and means clear or bright. Do you know what your name means? If you are with others and are willing to do so, share what you know about your name and why you were called it.

In our reading, we heard about God establishing a covenant with Abram and Sarai and changing their names to Abraham and Sarah. The name Sarai means ‘my princess’ whereas Sarah is a more general ‘princess’. Similarly, Abram, meaning ‘father of Aram’ becomes Abraham, ‘father of the masses’. The name changes signify their calling from God, no longer are they focused on ruling over their immediate family and connections but many nations and people. With what you know about your name, how could you adapt its meaning for mission and evangelism, for how God has been working in your life and continues to have plans for you?

We sing now of Jesus, the one whose name means ‘God is salvation’:

Song – MP 41 or StF 317At the name of Jesus


Mark 8: 31-38

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Talk 2: The Way of the Cross

When I read this passage, I feel empathy with Peter. He is listening to his friend, the person he left his job and family to follow, talking about what lies ahead – that he will suffer at the hands of those who claim to understand scripture and teach about God, be put to death and will rise again after three days. In many translations, there is repetition of ‘must’: Jesus says he must suffer and must be killed. Imagine you were listening to a good friend of yours saying this – I’m fairly confident that you would have the same reaction as Peter, a human instinct to say, “Don’t talk like this. Why would you have to die? You have so much more you can do in teaching and healing. You are scaring me and the others with these words.” And Jesus is blunt in his response, literally turning his back on Peter and saying, “Satan, get behind me.” He’s not saying that Peter is evil but that Peter’s words are a temptation he doesn’t need. Jesus has to turn his back on his human desires, on hurting his friends and family. He doesn’t have a choice in the matter if we are to be saved – this is the cross he must carry. This passage is the first of three passion predictions in Mark’s gospel and each one is followed by a misunderstanding by one or more of Jesus’ disciples. Each time, Jesus speaks plainly or openly: he doesn’t hide his meaning within a parable or questions and, on each occasion, he explains the implication of following him in how we should live our lives. Both here and in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says that “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” It is followed by an explanation that appears in every gospel, “For whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Jesus tells us that we mustn’t be focused on human concerns, as Peter, Abram and Sarai were but to understand that God’s Kingdom requires us to exhibit self-denial and sacrificial service. The word ‘life’ or ‘soul’ appeared 4 times within 3 verses in our reading from Mark, mirroring the ‘Live’ commitment within A Methodist Way of Life which encourages us to live in a way that draws others to Jesus.

As you read the following poem, please reflect on occasions when you have exhibited self-denial or servanthood as a response to God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice.

Risk poem – (Author unknown)

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their love.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

But the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The one who risks nothing does nothing and has nothing –
and finally, is nothing.
They may avoid sufferings and sorrow,
but they simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by certitude, they are a slave; they have forfeited freedom.
Only one who risks is free!

From p.33 in The Spectacular Stinking “Rolling Magazine” Book, Pip Wilson(1991, Marshall Pickering). Found in Roots on the Web, Lent 2, 2021, accessed 14/2/24.

What are you prepared to risk for Jesus? Write down something specific that you have already denied or are prepared to deny yourself for the sake of Christ. Then exchange that commitment for the cross you prepared at the start of the service and hold your cross, dedicating that promise to Jesus as we sing:

Song – MP 755 or StF 287 – When I survey the wondrous cross

Prayers of intercession (first 4 verses from Roots on the Web 25/2/24 but originally published in 2018)

We pray for followers of Jesus Christ;
for those who are imprisoned for their faith,
for those who serve as missionaries,
for teachers of the faith…

We pray for those who deny themselves to serve others;
for those who work in hospitals and prisons,
for those who are carers,
for those who serve their communities as volunteers…

We pray for those who carry the weight of a cross;
for the homeless and unemployed,
for those who are ill or bereaved,
for those who struggle with mental health…

We pray for ourselves, as we follow Christ;
for strength to overcome our struggles and failures,
for our fears and worries,
for those we love, and those who love us…

We pray for those at risk from war and conflict;

for those who have lost homes and loved ones;

for refugees and asylum seekers;

for those who choose to work or volunteer to provide shelter, medical support, food or simply someone to listen to those in need…

The Lord’s Prayer

Our final song reminds us of the grace offered to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, that love divine which prompts us to be new creations, with Jesus living in our hearts. Jesus, we pray that you would ‘visit us with Thy salvation’.

Song – MP 449 or StF5 03 – Love Divine

Keep your cross close by you this week to remind you of what you have promised to risk for Jesus, knowing that only one who risks is free and truly alive.

May the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, evermore. Amen

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