St Maxentius Worship at Home – Sunday – 3rd March 2024 – Lent 3

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.

PRAYER OF PREPARATION

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.

CONFESSION

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.

GLORIA

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.

Collect

Eternal God, give us insight

to discern your will for us,

to give up what harms us,

and to seek the perfection

we are promised

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

 Readings

First Reading:  Exodus 20:1-17

The Ten Commandments

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Gospel:  John 2:13-22 – Jesus Cleanses the Temple

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

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?

Reflection

John 2 v 13 in my Bible starts with the heading “Jesus clears the Temple”, if I was writing this I may have written cleans rather than clear because I get a strong feeling of Jesus sanctifying the Temple, getting it back to its original purpose, bringing it back to the heart of worship. As I thought about today’s reflection I was reminded of the Matt Redman song “The Heart of Worship,” the idea I get is removing the barriers that separate us from God, using things that are stumbling blocks as stepping stones to God instead. There is an uncomfortable element in our Gospel reading, a challenge, but if we are honest that is what the Gospel message of Jesus is all about, the Good News should challenge us, it should make us feel uncomfortable. We read that at Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Just try and picture the scene as He on entered the Temple grounds. It must have been like a busy day on Bolton or Bury Market. People shouting, pushing, dealing, animals everywhere. The noise, the smell not great preparation for worship, not appropriate for God’s house. So Jesus as God’s son cleans out His Father’s house, He turned over the tables, turning the tables on them, “My Father’s house is not a marketplace.” Does Jesus behaving like this make you feel uncomfortable? Gentle Jesus meek and mild, chasing out people with a whip made from some ropes. Jesus wants to bring us back to the Heart of worship, bring us back to the founding principles of our belief. Yes it’s about Exodus 20, the law, but it’s also about, Luke 4:17–19, “to bring Good News to the poor, proclaim that captives will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will be set free, a time of the Lord’s favour.” Jesus cleans house, He drives out those who have tuned His Father’s house into a Marketplace. Their response? They drove Jesus out, marched Him up a hill and crucified Him. What took years to build Jesus will destroy and rebuild in 3 days. But what is He talking about, not a building, but Himself, not stone, wood, slate, lead, bricks and mortar, but a way to cut through the marketplace, a way to bring us back to the heart of worship, to reconcile us with the God, to bring us in and welcome us, to offer Salvation. 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, Jesus comes to us today to heal and purify, to become a place where God is worshipped and Glorified, a place where God dwells, bringing us back to the Heart of Worship. 

THE CREED

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.

INTERCESSIONS     

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.

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.

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

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

THE BLESSING

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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