Good morning everyone and I hope you are well. Today is the 5th Sunday in Lent and the Gospel story is about Mary sister of Martha washing Jesus’ feet. Our reflection today is by Rev Peter and intercessions by Chris Sutcliffe, many thanks to them both.

Last week we had a lovely Mothering Sunday service, with readings from the Mother’s Union and prayers by them and one of our children who read beautifully. Thank you to Brenda Yates for organising the flowers, they were much appreciated.

Next week is Palm Sunday and there are services across the team every day during Holy Week. We will host the Maundy Thursday service and of course our own Easter service. There will be an Easter Egg raffle for church funds and of course our usual Easter Egg Hunt. Donations of Easter Eggs for the raffle will be gratefully received.


We stand before the throne of God with countless crowds from every nation and race, tribe and language.

Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour, power and might be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength”.

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Amen Lord have mercy.

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

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 us to the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.


ISAIAH 43. 16-21

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.

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 12. 1-8

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

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


This is a beautiful story – Well, Mary comes out of it as a person or love and generosity; Judas does not. Mary and Martha are also found in Luke’s gospel where Mary is the one who wants to listen and learn from Jesus, and Martha, as here, is serving the food. At the midpoint of John’s gospel is the raising of Lazarus from the dead (the previous chapter). John wants us to link the two events, the raising of Lazarus, and the anointing by Mary, his sister of Jesus’ feet.

We can presume the family are moderately well-off; they have a home and can entertain others, and Mary has bought this expensive perfume. But this is a costly, extravagant gesture, one of deep love – some men might find the idea of having their feet washed by a woman’s hair quite strange – and it is; it is a personal, loving, generous gesture. In the next chapter Jesus will wash the feet of his disciples, though only with water. Death, raised to life, washing, being washed, all these themes overlap in this part of the gospel.

Jesus’ feet are not there for us to wash; the modern equivalent is probably leaving a legacy to the church or to a Christian charity, not for a memorial plaque, but simply because we want to give something to God in thankfulness for what he has done for us and given to us. Mary did not do this to get a mention in the gospel; she did it from love, from a deep thankful love, not least because her brother was alive again.

And Judas, maybe like some of us, sees it as a waste; it does not fit his economics. John tells us he was a thief, someone who wanted money, though some scholars suggest that the early church began to condemn Judas. It is too easy to turn on someone we do not like and add to the vilification. Did the early church succumb? We don’t know. For us we contrast the generosity of Mary, the spontaneity, with the lack of generosity in Judas and his calculating reasons not to give.

There is, however, one way in which this passage has been misappropriated by some, who suggest that we do not need to help the poor – Jesus says there will always be poor so why help? This is a scandalous misappropriation of Jesus’ teaching. In a sinful greedy world sadly there will be the poor. We must love God with all our heart AND our neighbour; generosity should be both to God AND to the needy. Mary gave out of love, a deep appreciation of Jesus; we should give to God in a similar way, and we should also give generously to those in need out of care and concern for the victims in our world and those who have made bad choices. We would hope someone would do it for us, if we were in that situation.

May the joy and love of our giving create a beautiful aroma that will fill the house.

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.

God is present with us now. Let us bring him our prayers and concerns for the church and for our world. Loving God, breathe your life into the Church, so that we speak your love to the world.                        

 Lord in your mercy  Hear our prayer

Loving God, breathe your peace into the world,

So that we work together co-operatively, sensitive to one another’s needs and differences. Today, we pray for the people of Ukraine, for the laying down of weapons.

We pray for those with power over war and peace for wisdom and compassion to guide their decisions. We pray for refugees in Syria, Yemen and newly displaced Ukraine families. May we use our resources and love to help and welcome families to our communities.

Lord in your mercy   Hear our prayer

Loving God, we pray for all who lead our worship in the Turton Moorland Team. We also pray for those who are being called to ordination, give them courage to offer themselves in your service, knowing they will have the support of those around them.

Lord in your mercy   Hear our prayer

Loving God, breathe your patience and forgiveness into our homes and all our relationships. May we learn to cherish and respect one another and act with generosity, love and kindness, not selfishness, cruelty and abuse.

Lord in your mercy   Hear our prayer

Loving God, breathe your encouragement into all those who are suffering at this time. We pray for everyone who is sick or afraid, bereaved or isolated around the world; and we pray for all who support them. May you grant each of them peace and comfort, courage and perseverance.

Lord in your mercy   Hear our prayer

Loving God, breathe your welcome into the souls of those who have died. Give strength to those who are left to grieve, knowing that death is only the door leading to the joy of eternal life with you, and in the knowledge that one day we will once again be with them.

Lord in your mercy   Hear our prayer

Loving God, as we remember Mary anointing the feet of your son Jesus Christ, in anticipation of his forthcoming passion, inspire us with your love and delight us with the fragrance of true devotion to you.

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.


May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself, the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service, the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us now and for ever more. Amen.

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