Online Service for Sunday 21st February 2021
Welcome to the Service for the 1st Sunday of Lent: Also available via YouTube
Morning Prayer for Lent 1 from St Andrew’s Church, Burnham on Sea on Sunday 21st February
Welcome to our service this morning as we embark upon the season of Lent. Today we welcome Neil Biddiscombe who will give the reflection. Neil joined us early on in the original lockdown. Neil is now completing his final year at Sarum College and will be ordained in our diocese later in the year. Today we also welcome Mr Wayne Higgins who became Headteacher of St Andrew’s School in September last year. Wayne introduces himself and explains a little about how the school has been working in a time of C19. Do pray for him and his new work. For both Neil and Wayne is has been a BIG year but one full of unexpected surprises among the restriction. Welcome both.
We meet in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
O Lord, open our lips
All: and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Lord Jesus, light of the world,
you are very near.
As Easter grows closer day by day, help us as we travel through Lent
And help us to be ready to welcome you now.
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 for ever.
Turn to us again, O God our saviour,
and let your anger cease from us:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Show us your compassion, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Your salvation is near for those that fear you,
that glory may dwell in our land:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
The Words of God’s forgiveness
God so loved the world that he gave his Son that all that believe in him should not perish but have eternal life. Lord forgive us and heal us. Amen.
Mr Wayne Higgins introduces himself and talks about our school. ( No text available)
The Word of God
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; O my God, in you I trust; ♦ let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies triumph over me.
2 Let none who look to you be put to shame, ♦ but let the treacherous be shamed and frustrated.
3 Make me to know your ways, O Lord, ♦ and teach me your paths.
4 Lead me in your truth and teach me, ♦ for you are the God of my salvation; for you have I hoped all the day long.
5 Remember, Lord, your compassion and love, ♦ for they are from everlasting.
6 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, ♦ but think on me in your goodness, O Lord, according to your steadfast love.
7 Gracious and upright is the Lord; ♦ therefore shall he teach sinners in the way.
8 He will guide the humble in doing right ♦ and teach his way to the lowly.
9 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth ♦ to those who keep his covenant and his testamonies
All Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
A Reading from the Gospel of Mark 1 vv 9 – 15
Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Meditation by Neil Biddiscombe
May I speak in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity. Our reading today, from the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, is the first allusion to the Holy Trinity in the gospels: Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit together. Of course there’s a whole issue of gendered terms here and I’m not going to be able to cover that within this talk.
I know it’s not Trinity Sunday, but I’m going to talk about the Trinity for a few minutes today. Hopefully you’ll get some things to go away and think about, but I’m not going to be giving you a definitive explanation. Augustine of Hippo said back in the 5th Century that “If you can fully grasp it, it’s not God” and I urge you to hold to that as you’re wondering why I’m not giving you lots of answers.
So why God as Trinity? Well, perhaps the way to understand why we have this seemingly baffling doctrine is to see it as the inevitable and legitimate way of thinking about God which comes from our consideration of the words and the works of God. If we look at the scripture and our continued Christian experience, it looks like the only possible answer. That’s not to say that the Trinity is explicitly described in the scriptures, rather that scripture points to a God who can only be understood in this way. God didn’t explain the Trinity in scripture, we worked it out with God’s help.
The three main elements of our vision of God that are part of the doctrine of the Trinity are:
God created the world and gave it form and order
God redeemed the world in Jesus Christ
God is present in the world, sustaining us
From this we can get the ‘creater, sustainer, redeemer’ explanation. Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Creater, Sustainer, Redeemer. But we need to be careful not to reduce God to these functions. God is so much more. We need to keep seeing the oneness, not the threeness.
When we speak of God as Trinity are we speaking literally or are we speaking metaphorically? The way we answer this question will have implications for our approach to other faiths. If the trinity is in some way descriptive of God in Godself, then that fact will present an obstacle to interfaith dialogue. If the trinity is a metaphor which, however central and formative it may be for Christianity, makes no ("objective") claims about God in Godself, then it presents no insurmountable problem for interreligious dialogue and cooperation.
It's hard to say what the Trinity is, but it is a bit easier to say what it isn’t. Much modern theology doesn’t see a hierarchy in the trinity, there is equality. There is one God, not three. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not separate modes of being for the one God to operate in.
This doctrine was essentially complete by the end of the fourth century. At that time through much debate we had the recognition of the full divinity of Jesus, and the full divinity of the Holy Spirit which gave us the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, embedding and clarifying those insights and determining the central relationship. The doctrine won out over Docetism, modalism, tritheism, Arianism and other alternative points of view.
Moving up to today, how we visualise the Trinity can have a subconscious effect on what we think of as ‘normal’ in society. For example if we see it as a triangle with one point at the top and two at the bottom, Father at the top and Son and Holy Spirit at the bottom then we have the beginnings of a hierarchy. With the terms used we have a patriarchal hierarchy. Paul Fiddes talks about this as justifying the power of the one – the one that is declared right by those with power – it may be a king, or the capitalist society, or Brexit, a Bishop even. At its harshest one could say that this hierarchical, subordinate model of God is outdated and is propping up the outmoded hierarchies we see in the world. A non-hierarchical vision of God encourages a view of society that is less hierarchical. Think of a circle rather than a triangle. It would mirror the equality of relationship within the Godself within society. A society that is more equal. This can be described as a Social Trinitarian perspective. Perhaps Covid has highlighted how we don’t always value people the way we should.
But you might want to take something away from this talk that might perhaps help you to better understand the nature of the Trinity, remembering of course that “if you can fully grasp it, it’s not God”. So I offer the rainbow. The rainbow allows us to distinguish and appreciate the different colours of a sunbeam. There is only one beam of light, yet the colours blend seamlessly into one another. There is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
A Hymn is sung
Let us pray for the Church and for the world and let us thank God for his goodness. As we enter into prayer now may we be still; to breathe slowly; to re-centre our scattered senses upon the presence of God.
We pray for the people, nations and churches of God’s world - For Justin and Stephen our Archbishops (pause)
We pray for our local church and for Bishop Peter as he continues to isolate following a Stem Cell transplant. ( Pause)
For Bishop Ruth and Archdeacon Ann as they oversee the diocese and Archdeaconry (pause)
We pray for the work of our local schools, for staff and pupils – Pause
We pray for Neil and Wayne and the work and responsibilities they have ( pause)
Finally, we pray for our families and homes and this community. (pause)
We name before God those friends and family who we love but no longer see (pause)
Lord hear our prayers and use them to open the way to your kingdom for those we have prayed for. Amen
The Collect for the First Sunday of Lent
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.
The Lord’s Prayer is said – please join in
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
All Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil,
and keep us in eternal life.
Let us bless the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
A Hymn is sung
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005 - Filepath/Morning Prayer/Church Opening file/July 2020(REVISED)