ST. MAXENTIUS WORSHIP AT HOME – First Sunday of Lent 26th February 2023


Good morning everyone , I hope you are well. Today is the first Sunday of lent and our Gospel reading tells us of the temptations of Christ, quite appropriate as some of try to give something up for Lent. I am starting a placement out of the area in hopeful preparation of staring ordinand training so it is going to be quite strange being in a different church for six weeks, so it will certainly be a very different Lent for me.

Our intercession today are by Chris Sutcliffe and the reflection by Rev Peter.


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.


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.


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.


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. Amen.


GENESIS 2. 15-15, 3. 1-7

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.”’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

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. 1-11.

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’  Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ


The temptation of Jesus by the devil is very different mountain-top experience from the Transfiguration last week. Again we only get a brief and sketched account – I am sure we would want to ask further questions. Matthew wants us to see the challenge Jesus would face not just at this point but all through his ministry. It is a theological passage more than “history”.

In all three encounters, Jesus stands on Scripture, key verses that shape his life and values. When we are tempted or challenged what can we stand on, and is it strong enough?

The first temptation is very crafty – “Why don’t you just conjure up some food? No one will know and you are hungry and as the Creator you can easily do this.”

Jesus could have made his life easier for himself, avoided human limitations and difficulties, but he did not. He shared our life in its difficulties and limitations.

The second is a more public temptation I think. Jesus is not going to throw himself off the temple to see if the angels will hold him; the devil is – I think – suggesting that Jesus could increase his following by doing some “stunts”, and yes, God will not let him crash and die, and the devil is even crafty enough to quote some Scripture at Jesus. Jesus responds with a key text- Do not put God to the test. It is possible that the devil was poking at Jesus self-belief: “Are you sure you are the Son of God? Why not reassure yourself with the angels catching you.” And of course, on the cross Jesus does not get rescued by the angels or by Almighty God. God’s salvation plan is achieved through self-sacrifice and trust.

The third temptation, the final one in Matthew is the most insidious. The devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world; “all these can be yours IF you worship me”. In the first two the devil has tried to sow doubt – “If you are the Son of God” but in the third “if” works in a different way. The kingdoms of the world are on offer, now, if Jesus will but worship the devil. Jesus rebukes the devil – Jesus says “worship only the Lord God”. Augustus and Herod and Napoleon and Hitler and so many others all sought to gain power through force and violence and the sword. Putin tries today and the cost is awful. As individuals we can find ourselves seeking to get what we want or to get the answer we want through  various forms of force or “persuasion” / pressure. 

The first temptation was about taking an unethical shortcut (nobody will know); the second may well be about making a glitzy impression, or it pushes at our doubts and uncertainties – (if God does not answer, maybe God is not there or does not care). Both these sow doubt about what we know to be right, but the third offers us answers through force, selling our soul for what we want. 

This passage can teach us much about ourselves, but more importantly we see Jesus, despite his hunger, renounce the devil, stand firm for what is true, and so live out his ministry which gives us freedom. If he had succumbed we would be entirely under the forces of power, violence, the amoral / immoral power that grasps and grabs.

Thanks be to God for the way of Jesus.

Rev Peter


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.


During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme.

After his baptism Jesus is led by the spirit into the wilderness before returning to proclaim God’s kingdom.

Our God knows us and the temptations we face. Let us pray to him now. As the Church begins this season of Lent we ask you to remind us of what is important and what is not;

Of where we are wandering away and what we need to change;

So that by Easter we will be renewed and strengthened for your service in the world

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord God, your son Jesus, taught his disciples to pray, to do good deeds and to fast cheerfully, without hypocrisy or ostentation; help us to use this season of Lent sincerely for your service, so that we may pray more, do more and discipline ourselves cheerfully for your sake for he died for us and now lives for ever and ever, world without end.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord God, we pray for all those in positions of authority. Leaders of the churches and countries throughout the world. May they lead with integrity and justice and that the decisions they make may be for the good of all people not just the minority. Jesus taught us to treat everyone as equals and to share what we have.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord God, give strength to the people affected by war, natural disasters, earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes. We pray for those who no longer have jobs, homes, adequate food and clothes.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

This Lent, one of our themes is ‘Generosity and Thankfulness’ O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat. Thank you for our home and family and friends. Thank you for our health, our work, and our play. Make us mindful of those who do not have the same security and are struggling at this time having to choose between heating their homes or eating. Let us give generously to help those who have so little when we ourselves have so much.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain, knowing that your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength. Praying especially today for anyone known or unknown to us.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Lord God, may the dying be prepared to meet you, and the souls of those who have died in faith live for ever in the joy of your presence. Give courage and faith to those who are bereaved, may they find the strength to face the days ahead.

Lord, we give you thanks and praise for the hope we have in Jesus; for the strength to resist temptation and the joy and relief of forgiveness when we fail.

Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ


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 for ever. 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.

Scroll to Top