Lent 1 Sunday 26th February

Hymn Forty Days and Forty Nights

  1. Forty days and forty nights
    You were fasting in the wild;
    Forty days and forty nights
    Tempted, and yet undefiled.
  1. Shall not we your sorrow share
    And from worldly joys abstain,
    Fasting with unceasing prayer,
    Strong with you to suffer pain?
  1. Then if Satan on us press,
    Flesh or spirit to assail,
    Victor in the wilderness,
    Grant we may not faint nor fail!
  1. So shall we have peace divine;
    Holier gladness ours shall be;
    Round us, too, shall angels shine,
    Such as served You faithfully.

5.      Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
Ever constant by your side,
That with you we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide
. (by George Hunt Smyttan – 1856)


The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

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

All: And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

All:  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We have come together in the name of Christ to offer our praise and thanksgiving  to hear and receive God’s holy word, to pray for the needs of the world, and to seek the forgiveness of our sins, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we may give ourselves to the service of God.

All: We say Sorry

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’

So let us turn away from our sins and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

All: Lord God, we have sinned against you;

We have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us and restore to us the joy of your salvation;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in His image to the praise and glory of His name through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

All: Amen.

Blessed is the Lord,

All: For He has heard the voice of our prayer;

Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy

All: And in our song will we praise our God. 

Blessed are you, Lord our God, creator and redeemer of all;

to you be glory and praise for ever.

From the waters of chaos you drew forth the world, and in your great love fashioned us in your image. Now, through the deep waters of death, you have brought your people to new birth by raising your Son to life in triumph.

May Christ your light ever dawn in our hearts as we offer you our sacrifice of thanks and praise.

Blessed be God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

All: Blessed be God for ever.

 Hymn  Bind us together Lord. 

Collect for the First Sunday of Lent

Almighty God,

whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,

and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:

give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;

and, as you know our weakness,

so may we know your power to save;

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.

one God, now and for ever. 

All: Amen 

.Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.

All: And Christ shall give you light.

You have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.

All: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.

Set your minds on things that are above,

not on things that are on the earth.

All: And Christ shall give you light.

When Christ our life appears

you will appear with him in glory.

All: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. 

Hymn – Father I Place Into Your Hands

Our First Reading is taken from Romans Chap: 5

12 Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned.

13 There was sin in the world before the Law was given; but where there is no law, no account is kept of sins.

14 But from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, death ruled over all human beings, even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam did when he disobeyed God’s command. Adam was a figure of the one who was to come.

15 But the two are not the same, because God’s free gift is not like Adam’s sin. It is true that many people died because of the sin of that one man. But God’s grace is much greater, and so is his free gift to so many people through the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.

16 And there is a difference between God’s gift and the sin of one man. After the one sin, came the judgment of “Guilty”; but after so many sins, comes the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!”

17 It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.

18 So then, as the one sin condemned all people, in the same way the one righteous act sets all people free and gives them life.

19 And just as all people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man, in the same way they will all be put right with God as the result of the obedience of the one man.

This is the Word of the Lord

All: Thanks be to God

Here the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to – Matthew Chap: 4

1 Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil.

2 After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry.

3 Then the Devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, order these stones to turn into bread.”

4 But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, “Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’ ”

5 Then the Devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, the Holy City, set him on the highest point of the Temple,

6 and said to him, “If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down, for the scripture says, “God will give orders to his angels about you; they will hold you up with their hands, so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.’ “7 Jesus answered, “But the scripture also says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “

8 Then the Devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in all their greatness.

9 “All this I will give you,” the Devil said, “if you kneel down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus answered, “Go away, Satan! The scripture says, “Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ ”

11 Then the Devil left Jesus; and angels came and helped him. 

This is the Word of the Lord

All: Thanks be to God


Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,

All: who has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,

All: born of the house of his servant David. 

Through his holy prophets God promised of old  

All: to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us, 

To show mercy to our ancestors,

All: and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:

All: to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

Free to worship him without fear,

All: holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. 

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,

All: for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

To give his people knowledge of salvation

All: by the forgiveness of all their sins. 

In the tender compassion of our God

All: the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,

All: and to guide our feet into the way of peace.                    (Luke 1.68-79)

All: Glory to the Father and to the Son

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning is now

and shall be for ever.



(Matthew Chap: 4)

Goodness me. How did we get here – the first Sunday of Lent!

In the church we seem to have rushes of seasons – Advent, a time of excited expectation, Christmas, no explanation needed,  Epiphany, all wise men and camels and child murder stuff  and now Lent – it doesn’t seem five minutes since Lent last year. Maybe that’s why we have these seasons in church life – to make sure that we have recognisable periods to particularly concentrate on the big aspects and events of our faith each year – splitting these aspects apart to pay special attention because in the total order of things, our faith is one big continuous stream involving just everything. There’s Easter, Pentecost and Trinity yet to come, Ordinary time and blow me, it’s Advent again! Phew!

It doesn’t need me to tell you that in Lent, the aspect we turn up the volume on is ourselves – our inner selves and how that matches up to the example and teachings of Jesus, our Saviour.

This is all every educational but what has it to do with what we heard in our Bible readings today, particularly the Gospel reading from Matthew Chap: 4.

In Lent, our non-faith friends expect us Christians to give something up,  to deny ourselves of something we like during the season,  to sacrifice. Maybe they would like to see us suffer as we as sacrifice, hair shirts, a bit of flagellation to suffer, something to show our piety to the world. In fact, some of our non-faith friends join in with this giving something up as a personal discipline for their own good. No bad thing in either case. A little more self- discipline would go a long way in this troubled world.

Let’s be clear, there is much written in scripture denouncing public and visible evidence of suffering.

Jesus denounce the Pharisee standing on the street bellowing out his prayers and  supplications so everyone could see how holy he was.

No that’s not the way.

But this giving up thing is only a part of the season .It’s the bit with which the world if familiar.

So let’s get on with looking at this bit from Matthew Chap: 4.

Jesus has just recently received baptism form his cousin, John the Baptist.

John was baptising people in order to direct their attention to the worship of the One Almighty God, but at Jesus’ baptism, God himself responded to the event.

 “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased”

My Son!

God’s Son publicly announced to the world.

What a moment in human history!

Where would it lead?

We know well where is led now. Jesus didn’t use this accolade to blast off his ministry like a flaming rocket,.

I’m the Son of God,  God said so, ask the people who were there, I’m God’s Son listen and worship!

No he went off on his own into the Wilderness for nearly six weeks, well away from anybody else.

Why would he do this and lose what might have been a big advantage to the start of his ministry.

We know that Jesus was human.

  • He had by now lived in the ordinary world for thirty years,
  • He saw what people did, good and bad.
  • He recognised the inherent imperfection and the potential from wandering far from good deeds and actions.
  • He had lived in ordinary society of the time as a boy and as a working man.
  • He knew people and their thoughts and actions.
  • He recognised temptation.
  • He recognised that temptation is a very insidious thing because almost always giving in to it gives personal gratification and pleasure.

To not give in to temptation may cause you to miss out on something. The human Jesus recognised these urges in himself. He recognised that before he started his ministry he had to make sure that he was sorted out first, to make sure that he who would be preaching holiness and wholeness was not guilty of hypocrisy, do what I say, not what I do.

We’ve all met hypocrisy in our lives and we know how hollow it rings. So Jesus went off on this self- imposed retreat to prepare himself against such accusations.

He purposely set himself up to be tempted by a whole variety of things that would inevitably crop up during this sojourn,  hunger, thirst, shelter, loneliness and so on.

Forty days is a long time to be on your own with the knowledge that it didn’t have to be like this if he gave in, but he also knew that nothing good would come of it.

Scripture gives us a vivid account of some of the trial Jesus had to deal with, to find his own salvation before he could offer that salvation to us.

Just as we are, Jesus is plagued by this character called variously the Tempter, the Devil, Satan, whatever it is, physical or in our thoughts that induces us to behave in ways that are not honouring to God, our Creator.

Out there in the desert, Jesus gets hungry . He’s been sacrificially fasting and he must by now be on the verge of starvation. The temptation, knowing that though he is human, he does possess extraordinary powers and he was perfectly able to use those powers to eat, something to take away the gnawing, grumbling discomfort in his stomach. He could without doubt turn’s those rocks into bread like the tempter was whispering persuasively in his ear.

“No” says Jesus, “No, I won’t do that. Bread is all very well but I will not fall into the trap of using my powers for self- gratification. The word of God is my food and what counts.”

Jesus knew that all things come from God, his Father. He himself was a part of God and his charge over creation was the same.

The Tempter’s insidious whisper in Jesus’ ear says look what power and possession you could have.

“Why don’t you do something spectacular, show the people what you can do. Oh look, all of a sudden we are on the high tower of the temple in Jerusalem. Throw yourself off and you know that God will send angels to catch you before you hit the ground, it says in scripture that he will,  go on, give it a go. People will certainly be impressed by you and with God for that”.

Again Jesus emphatically says “No!” and pushes the temptation to the side. He knows that it’s not his time to die. He knows that it’s not right to show off God’s power this way,  to force God into action that would ultimately work against his plan for Jesus’ ministry.

“Don’t test God, it’s wrong, don’t do it!” says Jesus.

The final example quoted is a temptation to lose all control. Matthew’s account puts it like this.

“The Devil took him to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour”

What a fantastic offer of power, wealth fame, adoration.

 “All this could be yours,” says the Devil, “All this, there’s just one thing though, you can have all this for yourself but you’ve got to be prepared to bow to me and worship me, not you Father God.”

“Go away from me Satan,” Jesus faces off this and the other temptations, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only!

That’s the Law, that’s the first of the commandments that God himself created for us to follow,  giving mankind to determine how to live a life in this world that is pleasing to God , pushing aside temptations and pressures to stray and pressing on with every effort to live our lives in accordance with God’s wisely considered Laws, the laws given to Moses so long ago that are just as valid today as they were when first inscribed on those stones on Mount Sinai”.

  • The Tempter gives up. He’ll be back but he knows that right now he’s on a loser, but he never entirely goes away.
  • The Tempter is always there, just in the background, waiting for a weak moment to worm his way in.
  • The Tempter comes to us with feasible, often more pleasant and pleasing propositions that are all to easy to accept.

Our emphasis in this season of Lent is to consider more closely how the various temptation we all have, temptations in the past, at the moment and in the future and how we are dealing with them. A time to look at our frailties, the real and potential and to consider what and how we deal with them.

So I’m not going to ask you what you are giving up for Lent, not that that self-discipline isn’t a good thing. Rather, I’m going to ask you what you are going to take on during Lent by way of preparation for the next church season, the joyous season of Easter.

What will be the state of your conscience as we approach the remembrance that despite our continuing failings against the commandments, this man who was prepared to be tested so harshly at the beginning of his mission, this Jesus who could have had so much for himself had HE given in to temptations that came his way. This man chose, in HIS  sinlessness, to take  our misdoings as his own burden, even to losing his life for us.

So, as we progress through Lent, I pray that not only do we keep to our ‘giving up’ promise, I sincerely pray that alongside that sacrifice we all make the effort to take on the task of some serious self- analysis to recognise our weaknesses and failings and to pray that with the help of the Holy Spirit we may copy Jesus’ resistance to sin and  can firm ourselves against falling into the Tempter’s trap.

May we be able to present ourselves at the foot of the Cross on the Friday we remember Jesus hanging there, cruelly nailed to that cross, waiting for death in desolation – suffering the agony our sins have placed upon him that we may arrive at Easter morning cleansed, refreshed, forgiven and un-expressible grateful..


Hymn –Is – Be Still for the Presence of the Lord 

 Time of Silence ….. 

We Say Together:

The Creed.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. 

All: Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit. 

All: Generous God,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.


We gather our thoughts and prayers in the words our Saviour gave us 

All: 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.

Hymn – Jesus, Lover of my Sole 

  1. Jesus, lover of my soul,
    Let me to Thy bosom fly,
    While the nearer waters roll,
    While the tempest still is high.
    Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
    Till the storm of life is past;
    Safe into the haven guide;
    Oh, receive my soul at last.
  1. Other refuge have I none,
    Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
    Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
    Still support and comfort me.
    All my trust on Thee is stayed,
    All my help from Thee I bring;
    Cover my defenceless head
    With the shadow of Thy wing.
  1. Wilt Thou not regard my call?
    Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
    Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall
    Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
    Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
    While I of Thy strength receive,
    Hoping against hope I stand,
    Dying, and behold, I live.
  1. Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
    More than all in Thee I find;
    Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
    Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
    Just and holy is Thy Name,
    Source of all true righteousness;
    Thou art evermore the same,
    Thou art full of truth and grace.
  1. Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
    Grace to cover all my sin;
    Let the healing streams abound;
    Make and keep me pure within.
    Thou of life the fountain art,
    Freely let me take of Thee;
    Spring Thou up within my heart;
    Rise to all eternity.   (by Charles Wesley 1707 to 1788)

Closing Blessings

May God give to you and to all those you love

his comfort and his peace,

his light and his joy,

in this world and the next;

and the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ

and the Love of God

and the fellowship  of the Holy Spirt

be with us all evermore. 

All: Amen.

Hymn – We Rest on Thee

  • We rest on thee, our Shield and our Defender!
    We go not forth alone against the foe;
    strong in thy strength, safe in thy keeping tender,
    we rest on thee, and in thy name we go;
    strong in thy strength, safe in thy keeping tender,
    we rest on thee, and in thy name we go.
  • Yea, in thy name, O Captain of salvation!
    In thy dear name, all other names above:
    Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
    our Prince of glory and our King of love,
    Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
    our Prince of glory and our King of love.
  • We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
    and needing more each day thy grace to know:
    yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
    “We rest on thee, and in thy name we go”;
    yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
    “We rest on thee, and in thy name we go.”

4   We rest on thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, thine shall be the praise;
when passing through the gates of pearly splendour,
victors, we rest with thee, through endless days;
when passing through the gates of pearly splendour,
victors, we rest with thee, through endless days . (by Edith A G Cherry 1872 to 1897) 

The Grace 

All: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

And the love of God,

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

Be with us all evermore.


Go in joy and peace to love and serve the Lord

All: In the name of Christ Amen.

© 702211