St Maxentius Worship at Home – Sunday – 28th January 2024 – Epiphany 4

This service can be used at home if you are unable to get to church. As you pray and reflect, we trust you will feel part of the wider church community.


As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,

so may the light of your presence,

O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; 

now and forever. Amen.


Almighty God our heavenly Father

we have sinned against you

and against our neighbour

in thought word and deed,

through negligence, through weakness, 

through our own deliberate fault.

We are truly sorry

and repent of all our sins.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ who died for us,

forgive us all that is past

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name. 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 sins of the world: 

have mercy upon 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.


God of heaven, you send the gospel to the ends of the earth and your messengers to every nation: send your Holy Spirit to transform us by the good news of everlasting life in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Corinthians 8. 1-13

Concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge;

but anyone who loves God is known by him.

Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘no idol in the world really exists,’ and that ‘there is no God but one.’

Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth – as in fact there are many gods and many lords –

yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.    It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge.

Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

 ‘Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.

But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak.

For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?

So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed.

But when you thus sin against members of your

family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

Gospel: Mark 1. 21-28

The disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, John entered the synagogue and taught.

They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,

and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’

And the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions

and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.

They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching – with authority!

He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’

At once his fame began to spread

throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Three questions you might ask about the readings

What strikes you from the readings?

What puzzles you from the readings?

What excites you from the readings?


After leaving Nazareth Jesus made his home in Capernaum, which was a prosperous town at the north end of the Sea of Galilee. It was also the home of Jesus’ first disciples.

On the Sabbath day, as was his custom, Jesus went to the synagogue which was devoted to the study of scripture. Sabbath worship included prayer and the public reading and exposition of the scriptures. The role of the president of the synagogue was more administrative than pastoral, so he would have been glad for a suitably qualified layman to speak. 

The scribes were the scholars who interpreted and taught the Jewish scriptures and made judgments regarding their application. They tended to be conservative, giving judgments based on precedent—deriving authority from their knowledge of earlier experts on the law. By Jesus’ day, they were powerful and enjoyed considerable deference. The best seats in the synagogue were reserved for them and people rose to their feet when they entered a room. People called them “rabbi,” which means “great one” They constituted a substantial portion of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling body. 

Unlike the scribes, Jesus taught with personal authority. His authority was based neither on his credentials nor his ability to cite precedents, but on the Spirit that descended on him at his baptism. Jesus is the Son of God and his authority comes from God. 

We are told the people were astonished at his teaching. Their response suggests that we should listen more carefully to what Jesus has to say. His teachings have become so familiar that sometimes we are tempted to hear them only at a superficial level. We need to study his teachings more deeply so we can understand their impact on the original disciples—and see how Jesus might be challenging us—jolting us out of our comfort zone.

Mark doesn’t tell us what Jesus said that caused such amazement. However, we can imagine the kinds of things that he might have said based on the controversies which he was soon involved with, such as: – calling a tax collector to be his disciple, defending his disciples when they failed to strictly keep the religious laws, healing on the Sabbath and eating with tax collectors and sinners. In fact Jesus outrages the powers that be by actually healing the man with the evil spirit right there in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. These things, both his teaching and his healing, profoundly affected the people who were there. They were astounded and the news about Jesus spread very quickly throughout the region of Galilee.

We could do well to study scriptures more carefully and to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance so that we too can better understand the will of God. 


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,

and is seated at 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.


Please include your own prayers as well

In our prayers we pray for our church, our communities and our world

Lord God, we pray for our churches, our Turton Team, our Mission Community, our Diocese and the world-wide Church in every land.

Bless the leaders, guard the people, guide us in our future;

May we share the gospel in word and deed

and bring glory to your name;

Lord bless our churches we pray

Lord God we pray for our community

We pray for our schools, the children and staff.

We pray for all who work to make our communities a better place for others

We pray for Councillors and carers;

Lord bless our community we pray

Lord God we pray for our nation

May our leaders lead with integrity and justice

Give them wisdom and direct their decisions.

We pray that ours may be a nation 

where the poor and vulnerable are cared for and helped

and where all may flourish;

Lord bless our nation we pray

Lord God, we pray for our world,

for the war-torn places, we pray for peace.

We pray that all may work together to alleviate need 

and to protect this world for future generations;

Lord bless our world we pray

Lord God, we pray for those who are sick, in body, mind or spirit

We pray for those we know, and those who have no one to pray for them.

We pray for those who are dying and those who grieve;

We ask that you would give healing and peace to the soul

Lord bless the sick we pray

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 forever. Amen.

Keep a moment of quiet as you allow God to speak to you, 

as you let your spirit rest in God’s Spirit.


May the Lord 

bless us and watch over us, 

make his face shine upon us 

and be gracious to us. 

May the Lord look kindly on us 

and give us peace, 

and may the blessing of God Almighty, 

our Creator, our Redeemer, 

the one who gives us Life 

be among us and with us all always. Amen.

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