simple white fading png image
notre dame montreal

Weekly Bible Notes and Worship Resources

Lent 4 (colour purple)


Some say that he could have been one of our best England football mangers, but Glen Hoddle was forced out of his job. His crime was not that he lost too many matches, in fact he was quite good. His offence concerned his spiritual views. Glen said that people who suffered from illnesses and disabilities were being punished for sins committed in a previous life. His opinion is shared by the Hindu tradition in which karma is a word used to signify the cause and effect of our actions.

In the Bible Reading from John's Gospel today, Jesus is asked whose sin had caused a man to be born blind. Was the man sinful in a previous life or was it his parents? What do you think? Does God inflict blindness, pestilence or disaster on people as a punishment for their sin? Jesus is clear, nobody had sinned. The illness was not a punishment from God. But Jesus did take the opportunity to make the man well and show that God cares for us as we suffer. God wants to work with us to take the dreadful things of this world and make them new.

Opening Verse of Scripture  Matthew Chapter 23:37

How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Matthew Chapter 23:37

Collect Prayer for the Day — Before we read we pray

Merciful Lord, absolve your people from their offences, that through your bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins which by our frailty we have committed; grant this, heavenly Father,
for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our aid and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. CW

First Bible Reading    1 Samuel 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the LORD said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.” Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.’ Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the LORD.’ But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the LORD chosen this one.’ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the LORD chosen this one.’ Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The LORD has not chosen any of these.’ Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah. NRSV

Second Reading Ephesians 5: 8-14

Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light - for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ NRSV

Gospel Reading John 9: 1-41

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.”Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains. NRSV

Post Communion Prayer

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and did not hide his face from shame: give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


There are many mysteries in life, one of these is why there is death and suffering and the presence of evil. People have often wondered whether God afflicts us deliberately with these things. Well we could never fully answer why God allows suffering, it would be foolish to pretend that we could, however from the life of Jesus we know where God stands on the issue. For example, we know that Jesus did not like it when people died, he cried when Lazarus died and he raised him to life, to make the point especially clear. We also know that Jesus did not like it when people were ill, he went about making them better. Clearly death and illness are not a part of God’s plan and as this incident shows God would not use them to punish people. The same goes of course for our spiritual health. God wants our eyes of faith to be open to him and never deliberately conceals the truth from us. John Newton wrote the hymn that we will finish our service with today which speaks of blindness and the healing of God which he received. He had gone to sea and at one time had been the captain of a ship in the African slave trade. After his conversion, he became an ordained minister of the Church of England, finally serving as rector of a church in London. He felt that he had been a spiritual wretch, but through the grace of God his eyes were opened and he saw God's will for his life. Whilst we live this trouble filled life we will surely suffer and die. However we can draw comfort from the fact that it is not of God’s doing and he does not approve. Neither does he want us to feel far from him spiritually. As we draw close to God we can trust that he also draws close to us and we can like the blind man know the assurance of his forgiveness and healing touch. Charles Royden



Gather your little ones to you, O God,

as a hen gathers her brood to protect them.

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you;

you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

Often you weep over our sins and our pride,

tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.

You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,

in sickness you nurse us, and with pure milk you feed us.

Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life; 

by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.

Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;

through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.

Your warmth gives life to the dead, 

your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us; 

in your love and tenderness remake us.

In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness, 

for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.

From St Anselm of Canterbury


  1. In Christ there is no East or West

  2. For I’m building a people of power

  3. Praise my soul

  4. Restore, O Lord

  5. Man of sorrows! What a name


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

May God inspire all parents and grandparents, teachers and carers who nurture our children. May we all by our Christian conduct provide good examples which may lead them to follow Christ.

For any for whom this has been a hard day;
For any who have suddenly known fear;
For any suddenly covered  with shame;
For any involved in an accident;
For any faced with a serious medical report;
For any in hospital for the first time;
For any so ill that recovery is in doubt;
For any with a disease that baffles the specialists;
For any who have sinned against society,  and are now before the court.
Hold all such needy ones in your love, O Lord.
In Jesus’ name.           Amen.

Thank you God for the love of our mothers:
thank you God for their care and concern;
thank you God for the joys they have shared with us;
thank you God for the pains they have borne for us;
thank you God for all that they give us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Loving God, you have given us the right to be called children of God.

Help us to show your love in our homes that they may be places of love, security and truth.
Loving God, Jesus, your Son, was born into the family of Mary and Joseph;

bless all parents and all who care for children;

strengthen those families living under stress and may your love be known where no human love is found.
Loving God, we thank you for the family of the Church.

We pray that all may find in her their true home; that the lonely, the marginalized,

the rejected may be welcomed and loved in the name of Jesus.
Loving God, as we see the brokenness of our world we pray for healing among the nations;

for food where there is hunger; for freedom where there is oppression;

for joy where there is pain; that your love may bring peace to all your children.


Additional Material


Now thank we all our God
Give thanks
I watch the sunrise
As the deer pants for the water
Amazing Grace

Lenten Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead.

We pray for the sick, grant them health and raise them up from their sickness and let them have perfect health of body and soul, for you are the Saviour and Benefactor, you are Lord and King of all. Amen. St Serapion d.360ad

Just as a bicycle chain may be too tight, so may one’s carefulness and conscientiousness be so tense as to hinder the running of one’s mind. Lord may I know the freedom that comes from your service. Amen.

O God you are my rock, my rescue, and my refuge. I leave it all quietly to you. George Appleton (1902-93)