If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on Youtube by following the link below:
Welcome and call to worship
Hello, and welcome to this online service from the Oxford Methodist Circuit for the first Sunday of Lent. I’m Ian Leck, a Local Preacher from Woodstock, and I look forward to sharing with you in this service. Whoever you are and wherever you are, you are most welcome, and I call you to worship.
Come together to be God’s people. Come together and be yourselves. Bring to God your joys and your struggles. Bring to God your hopes and your fears. Come together to be God’s people, and let us worship the living God.
Our first song is no. 499 in Singing the Faith – Great God, your love has called us here.
Song: StF 499, vv. 1,2 & 5 (Great God, your love has called us here)
And now our prayers of praise, thanks and confession, in which we shall return to some of the thoughts expressed in that song. Let us pray.
Ever-loving God, we praise and thank you for your unconditional love for us and all our neighbours on this earth – all of us your children, bearing your likeness, made in your image, even though we often deface that image. We can see your love in the beauty and predictability of creation, and in your gift of life; we can see it in the loving example and teaching of Jesus, and in the love and care that we receive from other people; we can see it in our experience of your spirit, your very self, at work within our hearts and minds.
Forgive us, God, that we do mar and dishonour your living likeness within us; that we do not respond to your love by following wholeheartedly the loving example and teaching of Jesus. We thank you that you do offer us forgiveness; we thank you that you do “call our names, and receive us as your own”; we thank you that you can “set us free” to live your life and share your joy; and we ask again that you would “give us your Spirit’s liberty to turn from guilt and dull despair”; that you would breathe into our hearts the love that Jesus showed, and so enable us to really be his body at work in our world today. Amen.
We’ll now listen to the gospel reading appointed for today, and after that we’ll have a song linked to that reading – number 233 in Singing the Faith.
Reading – Mark 1:9-15
The gospel reading appointed for today is from Mark’s gospel. chapter 1 and verses 9-15:
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Song: StF 233 (When Jesus came to Jordan)
We now come to our prayers of intercession. Let us pray.
Prayers of intercession: Loving God, we pray in the name of Jesus; our supreme Lord; your servant whom you upheld and in whom you delighted; your son, born to be one with humankind and to be baptised with us, that we might know new life in him.
We pray in the name of Jesus for all those appointed to positions of power, that they might rule as your faithful servants and seek to establish justice and well-being for all. We pray especially for them to be given wisdom and compassion in responding to the present crises of global heating and the Covid-19 pandemic
We pray in the name of Jesus for your universal Church, that we may follow his teaching and example by loving others and by spreading the good news of your love to all. We remember that this is Church Action on Poverty Sunday, and pray that you would inspire us all to work for a fairer sharing of the wealth of our country and our world.
We pray in the name of Jesus for your worldwide human family with all our needs, that we might have the material things we need for life and be given the spiritual things we need for living. We pray especially for those who are sick, sorrowful, afraid, or poor, including those suffering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We pray in the name of Jesus for ourselves and for one another. We thank you for the new life to which he invites us; and we ask for the strength and comfort of your Holy Spirit, that we might live that life to the full by devotedly loving and serving you and our neighbours.
All this we ask as disciples of Jesus, your son, your servant, and our Lord. Amen
And we join in 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. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Our final song is no. 691 in Singing the Faith – “What shall our greeting be: sign of our unity? ‘Jesus is Lord!’
Song: StF 691 (What shall our greeting be)
Creator God, you made us in your image to be your people, wherever we go. This coming week, whatever we experience and wherever we find ourselves, help us to know that you are with us, revealing, sustaining, and inspiring us to follow Jesus as our Lord. Amen.
Organ voluntary: Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543 (J.S. Bach)
John Scott plays the Taylor and Boody organ of St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York