Good morning everyone and I hope you are well. Lots of things are happening in the team and the mission community, firstly the Mission Community fun quiz night takes place on Friday 27th January at 7pm at St Andrew’s Bromley Cross. Everyone is welcome and it is in teams, but if you have not got a team don’t worry you can make up with others on the night. On Sunday the 12th February there will be a team service at Canon Slade School chapel starting at 10am. However breakfast will be served at 9.15-9.45, but we need numbers for catering and any dietary requirements, so please inform your organiser at your church or contact Chris Sutcliffe the team administrator. Finally at St Maxentius on Sunday 5th February at 3pm, we will be holding a remembrance service for all our loved ones we have lost. It is open to others in the team if you would like to attend. If you would like your loved ones’ name read out during the memorial please let me have it by way of church or to myself.
Today’s Gospel reading looks to Jesus calling his disciples in Matthew’s gospel, intercessions are by Sue Usher and the reflection is by Rev Marcus.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
God is good, all the time
All the time, God is good.
Loving God, we have come to worship you.
Help us to pray to you in faith, to sing your praise with gratitude, and to read your word with eagerness; through Christ our Lord. Amen
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Father of all, we have sinned against heaven and against you. We are not worthyto be called your children. We turn back to you again. Have mercy on us, bring us back to yourself as those who were dead but now have life, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the God of love bring us back to himself, forgive us our sins, and assure us of his eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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. 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. 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. Amen.
Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power; 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 NEW TESTAMENT READING
1 CORINTHIANS 1. 10-18
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’
Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you O Lord.
Matthew 4. 12-23
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’ From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
I don’t know about you but I am not a big fan of the month of January. People tell me the days start to get longer and we have turned the corner and are on our way to spring, but for me it’s still dark and gloomy, cold and rainy days, especially this year, I think. Permanent twilight throughout the day, clouds often gathering to wage war on the daylight. However, on the odd occasion we do see light breaking through, to brighten the day. If you get a moment, have a search and listen to a song called Jacob’s Ladder by the Canadian band Rush. You will get the idea if you do.
In our Gospel reading this morning we skip through not only in Jesus earlier ministry but also sadly we approach the end of John the Baptist’s ministry. Rather like on a stormy day when the clouds start to gather, we read that the storm clouds of opposition to John and by association Jesus, are gathering. Its reminiscent of Jesus early life, having to move to Egypt, for safety. Here Jesus goes to Capernaum, quite a significant move, geographically and importantly ministerially.
The move we read is part of a prophecy, something that has been anticipated, waited for, longed for, change is on its way, as promised. Verse 17 we hear Jesus proclaiming “Repent, for the Kingdom of God has come near” just as John the Baptist had done (Matt 3:2). John prepared the way for Jesus to bring that repentance promised, that light for those sat in darkness. The key for us here is we read that Jesus is bringing that message to the gentiles, to you and me. There is I believe a strong allegory within our reading where Jesus moves away from the promised land, crosses back over the river Jordan to meet with us.
The light Isaiah prophesised about, the light that the Magi followed, that drew the Shepherds, still breaks through the storm clouds of life to show the way. It beckons us, to come and see, as Jesus called us in the reading last week. To follow him, because the Kingdom of God has come near, to be part of His ministry. That’s how our reading ends, with calling of the disciples, Jesus tells them to leave their nets, to come and see what is going to happen, to make them fish for people. And that’s what they did proclaimed the good news of the kingdom.
Jesus is the light that has come in to our dark world, we are drawn to it, it has risen upon us, guides us. It beckons calls each and every one of us to come and see, answer the call, to follow him.
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 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, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory 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. Amen.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Here we for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.
“I waited, I waited for the Lord, then he stooped to me and heard my cry”
Heavenly Father, we pray for our world. For those who work the land and fish the sea. Thank you for their good husbandry which gives us food security. Protect and provide for all those who wonder where their next meal will come from. Unite us, your people, in our mission to show love, compassion and generosity to all our neighbours.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise to bring us out of darkness; the darkness of war, poverty, grief and despair, into your light; the light of peace, unity, love and forgiveness, as we heed the invitation to follow you and become your disciples. We ask that you continue to pour out your grace on all those who point the way to you, especially our bishops, clergy and spiritual leaders of our diocese and mission communities.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who feel engulfed in darkness as they struggle with ill-health, worry, sadness and a sense of abandonment. Draw them nearer to you. Enfold them with your love and protect them. For you are our fortress and our strength. In the quietness let us bring to mind those known to us in need of our prayers, remembering especially:- Thomas Causton, Evelyn Cooper, Joan Finch, Kevin Maguire and Harold Bowers.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, we remember those who have gone before us into your glorious kingdom. A place where there is no sadness, only joy, no oppression, only peace and no doubt, only a sure certainty that they are now at rest with God. We pray for the souls of the recently departed known or unknown to us and from our Book of Remembrance we remember:-Margaret Ratcliffe and David Jonathan Digner.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer
Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.
Merciful Father, We ask these prayers for the sake of you Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
May God himself, the God of peace, make us perfect and holy, keep us safe and blameless, in spirit, soul and body and strengthen us in his presence. And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all this day and for ever more. Amen.