ST. MAXENTIUS WORSHIP AT HOME – Lent 5 26th March 2023


Good morning everyone and I hope you are well and looking forward to Easter and hopefully some brighter weather. Today’s Gospel reading from John is about Jesus’ friend Lazarus being brought back from the dead and of the differing sisters Martha and Mary. Not a dismal story but one of hope, faith and joy.

The reflection today is by myself and the intercessions from Arthur Greaves.

We continue to pray for Rev Peter and his family and all who are ill at this time.

God bless, Jan B.


Be with us, Spirit of God. Nothing can separate us from your love

Breathe on us breath of God. Fill us with your saving power

Speak in us, wisdom of God. Bring strength, healing and peace.

The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us.


The Spirit of the Lord fills the world and knows our every deed and word. Let us then open ourselves to the Lord and confess our sins in penitence and faith.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you through our own fault, in thought, in word, and deed, and in what we have left undone. We are heartily sorry and repent of all our sins. For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may serve you in the newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen.

May almighty God who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.


Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; 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.


ROMANS 8. 6-11.

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law – indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. Glory to you O Lord

JOHN 11. 1-45

  A certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’

 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’ When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him.

Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’ Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

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


Another very long reading from John but there is so much in it is difficult to cut it shorter. Let us firstly look at the situation; Jesus’ very good friends called for him as their brother, Lazarus, was very sick. Jesus delays in going to his aid, and instead takes two days to decide on his action, so what do we think he was doing during this time and why? Perhaps looking at the outcome of this story it was planned, perhaps he was carrying out God’s own instructions? It is far more dramatic to bring a man from the dead, witnessed and entombed to the point of a stench, than to cure someone of an illness who could be exaggerating or faking it. The result of Lazarus’ resurrection is far more convincing that he is the Son of God, than a faith healer, there is no question that this man is the Messiah.

When Jesus meets Martha and then Mary he is moved to tears by his friends being so distraught and devastated by their brothers death, the word love is used quite liberally but in translation could be said that this family were very good friends and were very close. Martha meets Jesus, she shows her faith and knows he could have healed him and avoided this death, but she states that she believes his is the Son of God and could bring him back from the dead, Jesus is quite sharp with her when he asks the tomb to be opened, but he knows her well, he is a lot softer with Mary who is not coping showing that he recognises emotion and has feeling. He is God in human form who knows how we feel and act and this is important for us so that he understands our prayers, our sins and our needs.

This Gospel story has so much in it beside Jesus’ character on earth, it gives us an understanding of how important faith is, how with faith we get hope, and from this we get joy. Jesus is quite firm with the sisters because he knows that they believe in God and in himself, but this is probably the biggest challenge he has faced them with and they were both wavering. You might remember the time when he went to their house and Mary sat at his feet listening to him while Martha did all the work, preparing food cleaning the house and making it fit for the important visitor. Neither of these sisters were wrong but it shows how we are all different and should accept each other for what we are. This was a remarkable event, there were a lot of people witnessing it and the crowd are mesmerised and immediately believe in him. To emphasise that he was doing God’s work he thanked God publicly so they would know that he was from God himself.

It shows how different God has made us, it shows that because of Jesus he knows us and understands our difficulties and our limitations. He is loving and wants the best for us, he knows we do the wrong thing but forgives us. Psalm 139 says “ For you created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. We must keep our faith as with faith comes hope and joy and what a wonderful gift that is.

 Jan B.


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.

Jesus showed his love for his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus – who became like family to him. We thank you for our friends and for the richness and diversity that they bring to our lives. Help us to return that gift to them whenever we meet and to keep in touch with those who we see less frequently.

Lord in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Lord, it is always tempting to believe that when we become followers of Jesus, we are spared the torment and tears of the world. It’s tempting, too, to imagine that your Son Jesus has done all the cross-carrying that is necessary. Keep on reminding us that discipleship is about taking up new crosses and that we are not protected from the cruelty of human beings or the unanswerable circumstances of nature. Then weeping with those who weep and laughing with those who rejoice, show us how we can enter into the world completely and wholeheartedly trusting you as Lord of all.

Lord in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Be near to those whose faith is tested to the limit by personal suffering and sudden grief, offering through us to them the genuine comfort of those who know that you can gather up human pain in your heart and make it the means of declaring your grace and love. Here we remember those who are ill, remembering especially Team Rector Peter and Thomas Causton.

Lord in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Merciful God, the death of a friend is one of life’s most difficult situations to cope with.

Help us through Jesus’ example to recognise that our tears are natural and bring healing. Help us also to see that through his sacrifice on Good Friday, death is no longer such a final matter and that we shall meet again in God’s good time. From our book of remembrance we remember Walter Greenhalgh.

Lord in your mercy – hear our prayer.

As Jesus our Lord was raised in up in crucifixion, so lift up our lives those unusual qualities of meekness and unselfishness which the world derides as weak. Bring glory to lives lived in faithfulness to the truth, to nations who seek justice and peace and to your church where it follows your way of suffering love.

Lord in your mercy – hear our prayer.

To conclude – a prayer from Japan.

To dance at the margins and see the face of Christ where hurt is real and pain a way of life. To be touched in the eye of the storm, aware that that tomorrow may not bring peace. Impossible, you say; let me retreat and find my rest. What rest my friend, in these fragmented times? Unless you lead me Lord, the road I journey is all too hard.

Through trust in you alone can I go on.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


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 give to us and to all those that we love,

His comfort and peace, his light and his joy,

In this world and the next

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us today and for ever. Amen.

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