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Worship, Prayer and Bible Study Resources

Year C, Purple

Jesus and the fig treeOpening Verse of Scripture    Psalm 51:17

The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart He will not despise.

Collect Prayer for the Day—Before we read we pray

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; 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. CW

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. CW

Our thanks to Alexey Pismenny for allowing us to use this magnificent image of the parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree


First Bible Reading Isaiah 55:1-9

The LORD says this: Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. NRSV

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. NRSV 

Gospel Reading Luke 13 :1-9

There were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them - do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’

Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’ NRSV  

Post Communion Prayer

Merciful Lord, grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. CW

Commentary A Thirst for God

The Old Testament reading is from the book of Isaiah. We’re told in chapter 6 that Isaiah was called to his prophetic ministry around 740 BC in the last years of King Uzziah’s reign. In the first 39 chapters of the book, which covers a period when Judah and Jerusalem are under the monarchy, Isaiah speaks out against the unfaithfulness of Israel and Judah and declares that, as a result of their infidelity, lack of faith, and plain unbelief, their judgement and fall will come at the hands of the Assyrians. In the second section of the book chapters 40 – 55, almost certainly dating from a later period during the exile in Babylon and from where our reading comes from today, Jerusalem has indeed been taken and its people are in captivity. Chapter 40 of Isaiah opens with the familiar words, ‘Console my people, console them’, which is often translated in our more modern versions of the bible as ‘Comfort, comfort my people’. It’s because of the opening words of this section that it’s sometimes known as the Book of Comfort or the Book of the Consolation of Israel. And whilst the first 39 chapters warn of the judgement to come, the next 15 give a message of comfort after judgement has happened. And, however impossible it once seemed, a new exodus is about to bring the people home to the Promised Land from where they are in exile. Cyrus, the king of Babylon, has decreed that the Israelites can return. This middle section of Isaiah covers a watershed time between ‘the things of the past’, and ‘the things of the future’. God the creator and saviour is seen to be dramatically intervening in history as His people are restored to the holy city and are extravagantly invited to participate in the benefits of the new covenant. Chapter 55 of Isaiah from where today’s reading comes is the end of this watershed period. Chapters 56 – 66 which follow then take us forward again, this time to Jerusalem after the exile and the time of the restoration.

Today’s reading from Isaiah reminds us that all are invited to the banquet the Lord offers. There are no preconditions, there is no catch. All are called to seek the Lord and accept His invitation. To depend on Him for His abundant provision rather than on meagre human efforts and offerings. This is the message Paul has for the Corinthians, ‘…So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!...’ Paul is saying that the Corinthians are not to think that baptism and the Eucharist will supernaturally save them without them living lives that are honouring to God. For Paul baptism and the Eucharist are not empty signs and symbols and they certainly do not exempt anyone from their moral and spiritual obligations and responsibilities. The Corinthians, who in some sense seem to be idolising the rites of baptism and the Eucharist and perhaps becoming complacent, should not take baptism and the Eucharist for granted, to think that they are so secure they no longer need to bother with continuing with a life of repentance and turning to God. Taking the law for granted was one of the traps that the Israelites seem to have fallen into. As Isaiah reminds us, God’s ways are not our ways and continuing to turn to God is a lifetime commitment and journey if we are to receive the fullness of His mercy. We can take nothing for granted. Whilst there will always be tempting shortcuts to instant gratification, these are seldom of God. Why would we waste time and effort on these asks Isaiah.

The somewhat strange passage from Luke holds Isaiah and Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians together as it speaks about both the repentance outlined by Paul and the mercy emphasised by Isaiah. We have to repent and return if we are to receive God’s mercy. Even the fig tree is offered mercy and given a second chance! Jesus Himself has come to Israel to look for fruit but has found none. Israel is a nation dancing with disaster. He’s offering one last chance; the example and way of Christ which changes both our individual lives and our common life together, but there is a sense of urgency. People need to change their lives to conform to the will of God, no longer going their own ways of self-satisfaction and gratification. It’s an invitation not just to understand the negative consequences of selfishness and evil but to see the positive outcomes of a life given over to God. We have a responsibility to repent and turn to Christ, but more than this, we are encouraged to grow and bear fruit through our actions. We can’t do one without the other. Indeed, our constant turning to God, through His son Jesus is a pre-requisite to our growth, obedience and discipleship. And Luke highlights that we’re all in the same boat, we are all in need of this constant turning to God. There are no sinners greater or lesser than others. In His words, Jesus points out that victims of disasters or violence are not greater sinners than others. We are all caught up in a fallen world, ‘…the changes and chances of moral life’ as the Book of Common Prayer so succinctly puts it. Ultimately death will come to us all and we should not be tempted to draw the wrong conclusions from natural events or atrocities precipitated and ordered by humans. But, echoing the words of Paul, we can’t live indefinitely in a way which is not pleasing to God without understanding and bearing the consequences.

If the fig tree does not bear fruit after having been given a second chance, it will be cut down. With the coming of Christ the clock had already started ticking to the final day of inevitable judgement, hence the sense of urgency of which Jesus speaks and which Paul underlines to the Corinthians. But we need to avoid thinking that without repentance there will be condemnation, an interpretation some have placed on the parable of the fig tree. Just as Isaiah had before Him, Jesus is calling a nation to repentance so that all could know the forgiveness of God and the abundance of His generosity and mercy. It’s an invitation Jesus still offers to all. Sam Cappleman


In the reading from Corinthians Paul picks up the significance of the exodus and the time the people of Israel spent in the desert. He underlines the relevance and the profound meaning of the Old Testament to the fellowship of all believers. He draws out how the events he describes signify the union of people with God as He hovers over them. Their passage through the sea foreshadows baptism and their future union with Christ. They were supplied with both bread and water from heaven, even though many of them turned their back on this generosity. This is not mere history for Paul, but ‘…these things happened to them as examples…’ of God’s provision for His people and the consequences of sins such as idolatry, and immorality. But even though many turned their back on God and were unfaithful, He did not turn His back on them, He did not abandon His covenant. God understands our human frailty and through it all He remains faithful. Sam Cappleman


  1. All my hope of God is founded
  2. I am a new creation
  3. Immortal, invisible
  4. The Spirit lives to set us free
  5. And can it be that I should gain


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

representation of prayer as seed growing

"Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian. I
f it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die."

Thanks be that we are never fully grown. Each day, each month, each year gives time to be regenerated. God of creation and recreation, you planted in us the seeds of life and growth and challenged us to effort and to energy that they might grow in us. Enabling God, by your continuing challenge may we still grow in vision and in use of our gifts by your love and goodness enrich and deepen our commitment. By your gifts to those around us and the insights that we share, may we be instruments of your blessing to one another. Amen

O Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget thee, do not thou forget me. Amen. Jacob Astley

Draw us, O Christ, by grace irresistible, to the centre of all faith and to the heart of all sacrifice; to the deepest of all wells and to a work that is not our own; even your holy Cross, to which we cling and by which we are held; for your own name's sake. Amen. Dora Greenwell (1821-1882)

Collect for Lent 3 Jesus our brother, you followed the necessary path and were broken on our behalf. May we neither cling to our pain where it is futile, nor refuse to embrace the cosy when it is required of us: that in losing ourselves for your sake, we may be brought to new life. Amen

Knit my soul to your own, O Christ, so that I may never be separated from you. Only in you am I a person fully alive. Only in your light can I see and only in your strength can I pursue my way. To you I come, O wisdom without end. In you I rest, O mercy without limit. To you I give all praise, O crown of all majesty. Amen  Mechtild of Magdeburg, 1210-80


Additional Resources


In the reading from Matthew today there are two clear parts. In the first part Jesus is told about Galilean worshippers who had been killed by Pilate. The blood thirsty scene is described by the words that their blood had been mixed with the blood of their sacrifices. It is a gruesome story and one which would have caused the people to think that in some way God was judging these poor folks and punishing them in this cruel manner of death. That was the way that people thought, and some people still do ! In parts of the Old Testament the message is given that if you behave yourself, and if Israel behaves itself, then all will be well. Good things happen if you are good, and bad things happen if you are naughty. If only it was so simple.

Thankfully Jesus is forthright and explicit in saying that this was not the case, they were no worse than anybody else. Jesus reminds the people of another incident in which 18 people had been killed when a tower in Siloam fell on them. This is the kind of incident which we still read about all the time. A corrupt construction company builds a tower block and uses faulty concrete and the whole building falls down and kills people. The idea that the innocent folks who were in the building were judged by God in absurd, if anybody should be judged it would be the builder !

These are cases of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and Jesus is eager to make that point. Events like this should remind us of the uncertainty and frailty of human life, they should not cause us to jump to judgement on the poor people who suffer. Jesus uses the episode to remind his hearers that life is precarious and as such we must all be ready for a time when life comes to an end and we are faced with judgement. Instead of being self righteous when we witness the unfortunate death of others, we should learn from such things the importance of putting our own house in order, whilst there is still time.

Last week we heard the story of Jesus and his lament over Jerusalem. In the second part of our reading this week, we read another story in which Jesus shows his remorse over Jerusalem. Jesus uses the illustration of a fig tree. Figs and fig trees are used several times in connection with Israel (Hos 9:10, Jer 24:1-10, Mic 7:1) Fig trees and vines were mentioned together (Ps 105:33, Jer 8:13, Joel 1:7). They were associated with peace and prosperity and their absence was a curse and a punishment (2 Kings 18:31, Num 20:5, Deut 8:8). The symbol of sitting under your own vine and fig tree was a symbol of the messianic age. However unproductive plants were frequent symbols of unfaithfulness (Is 5:1-7, Jer 8:13, Hos 9:16) and destruction of figs and vines is a metaphor for judgement (Jer 29:17, Ez 17:9, Amos 4:9).

The fig tree in the parable today is planted in the vineyard and it should be a cause of blessing and joy. However it has been barren for years and the owner tells the gardener to cut it down. The gardener appeals for clemency, a stay of execution for a year during which time it will be given special treatment to make it fertile. There is a reminder here of the words of John the Baptist, who had told that the axe of judgement was ready to fall. However here Jesus speaks of leniency, there will be a suspension of the sentence. It is like Abraham interceding for Sodom, mercy being proclaimed on the edge of judgement.

It is difficult not to see the words of Jesus as a proclamation that Israel was living on borrowed time. Israel should have been a fruitful fig tree, a blessing to all, instead it was found barren. There was to be a judgement, however there would be a delay to ensure that every effort had been made to make her fertile again. Is God meant to be the owner and Jesus the gardener? Or is Jesus the owner, warning Jerusalem of her fate as he approaches? We will never know and we can only guess. The reality was that Jerusalem discovered judgement and destruction very soon afterwards.

However, the words of Jesus are not just a warning to Israel and Jerusalem, they are a warning to us all that we should live productive lives. Our actions are important and have consequences. If we are barren in our good works, devoid of kindness and mercy, self righteous and self absorbed, then we will stand condemned. The chilling nature of the parable is reinforced by the context of those words of Jesus at the start of our reading, ‘unless you repent, you too will all perish’. This is the season of Lent, the season for repentance, now is the perfect time to seek God’s strength to live fruitful lives.

One of the really nice touches in the passage comes from the words of the gardener. When asked to chop the tree down the gardener says ‘Lord, let it alone"--kyrie aphes auten. The Greek word Aphes also means "forgive." It is a word Jesus will subsequently use from the cross--"Father, forgive them (aphes autois, 23:34). So if we use the original words from the Greek the gardener would say, "Lord, forgive the fig tree’. This kind of thing is to be expected in a story told by Jesus and there’s a final point, there is no mention anywhere in the Old Testament of anybody of putting manure on trees, that kind of mercy is pure Jesus. Charles Royden


GUS and TOM. The names stand for Give up Something and Take on More. We might want to do this during the special season of Lent and think what good it might be to ourselves and others. It is now quite standard for someone to give up something they love for the duration of Lent. While I am lost in admiration at anyone who will deprive themselves of chocolate for six weeks, I have to ask who is this benefiting? If you give up chocolate to lose weights then it only helps you. If you give up drink to get healthier and save money, then again it is a very self-centred achievement. If you chose to give the money saved away, then that might be of more use. On the whole I think I like TOM better! Take Up Something this Lent which will make someone else happier – perhaps a charitable activity or giving a few extra minutes to someone who needs you. A good idea is a time audit: looking at our lives to see if we are really spending them the way we should or could. Perhaps this Lenten decision could replace some other, less useful activity?

Speaking of repentance

A king visited a prison in his kingdom and talked with the prisoners. Each one insisted on his innocence except for one man who confessed to a theft. “Throw this rascal out of the prison!” cried the king, “He will corrupt the innocents!” - Hasidic Story



Because God never gives up on us, we need never give up. This is what God accomplished when the Crucifixion became the way to the Resurrection, when Lent became the way of Easter. Judgement and death - the ultimate "give-it-ups" - have been replaced by redemption and everlasting life - the eternal "never-give-ups." Adapted from Homelitics

If I had eight hours to chop a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe

‘If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.’ Abraham Lincoln


When awful things happen, it is a very human desire to think that the victims in some way “ brought it on themselves”! Any disaster can thus be sort of explained away, and the horror becomes lessened and explicable. The people who had been talking to Jesus about this macabre incident of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices were clearly troubled and thinking along those lines. How could such terrible things happen to good Jews ? Had the Galileans brought it on themselves? It is important to notice that Jesus answers with a firm negative. No, the Galileans did not suffer because they were more sinful than average. Jesus was definite that suffering was not the result of God’s anger. He was deeply concerned about sin and spoke of the need for repentance. To Jesus the grim story about the slaughtered Galileans was a reminder of how swiftly the end of life could come, either at the hands of a vicious murderer like Pilate or as a result of a natural disaster like the collapsing of the Tower in Siloam. Jesus always stressed that all men and women were sinful and varied only in their capacity to acknowledge their sins and repent of them. The use of the phrase “you too will perish” suggests that without repentance the sinner will be lost. Lost in what way? Christians over the centuries have taken it to imply that the sinner might be lost in Hell. Jesus doesn’t expand on the idea in this passage, but the frightening idea of being cut off from God’s love is implied. If we read on we get a comforting sense of God’s patience with us sinners. Jesus told a parable about a fig tree . This tree was failing to produce any fruit and the vineyard owner was getting impatient – he gave orders to the vine dresser to cut it down. “Why should it take up the soil?” The vinedresser or worker asked his master for patience with the unproductive vine. “Give it one more year”. It isn’t very clear precisely who the characters in the little story are meant to be, but the thrust of the message is clear – that no matter how unproductive and unrepentant we are, God, through his Son, wants us to change. God gives us time and many opportunities to improve, change our lives, become better people. God isn’t seeking to catch us out, he never wants us to get lost or stray from Him. We make that choice, or series of choices ourselves. Joan Crossley


Third Sunday in Lent 'Our God is a Patient God'

This week’s readings, and many of the readings leading up to Easter, focus on the theme of repentance.

In the gospel reading, the owner of a fruitless fig tree wants it destroyed, but the vinedresser asks for more time to cultivate it so that perhaps it will bear fruit. If it does not then it can be cut down. We never hear what happened. Did the tree bear fruit or not? We don’t know - but it was given time by a gracious owner. What would the believers think every time they looked at the tree? Perhaps each time they walked by they would be reminded of Jesus’ words to repent and to turn back to God. The God to whom we turn and return (the root meaning of the word repentance) is that same God. He is the God of the past, and the God of the future. The God of our past, and the God of our future. When we do repent and turn to Him, it’s not so much a case of our finding God, but more a case of being open to be found by Him. And because He finds us, what may have appeared to be a fruitless past need not produce a barren future.

In today’s world it sometimes seems that turning to God and spending time with Him on a regular basis is at odds with being fruitful. There seems to be little enough time to do all that we want to do anyway, without trying to find time to fit even more things in. And yet, it’s a paradox of the gospel that it’s precisely by taking time out and spending time turning back to God that we are able to be more fruitful. As we open more of ourselves up to God, so He can pour more of Himself into us and we bear fruit, perhaps not in the way the world would see, but then, God’s economy never was the same as that of the world. For some of us, taking the time to stop and wait on God requires a discipline that we find hard. There always seems to be something else to do, even if it’s just watching the TV or reading a book. For others, this discipline may be a question of getting priorities in the right order.

One of the things Lent offers us is a time to reflect on our priorities and the discipline (or lack of it!) we have in our relationships with each other and with God. Are we serious and diligent about developing our relationship with God as we turn and return to Him day by day? Where do our priorities really lie?

This is the theme which is picked up in our readings from Isaiah. An invitation to the hungry and thirsty to come to eat and drink from the richest fare that God has to offer and to labour on the things which really do satisfy. To get our priorities aligned to those of God. To walk in His way and receive His blessings. For if the first paradox of this weeks readings is that by spending more time with God and walking in His ways we become more fruitful, the second is surely that as we become more fruitful so we receive even more of the riches and blessings God has in store for us.

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand what God is doing in the world. The world, it seems, is far from walking in God’s ways, working to His priorities or being fruitful in God’s economy. More often it appears like we are wasting the world’s resources and working to our own agendas, or to those of people in positions of supposed power and authority. The world’s ways are not always God’s ways. But His desire for us remains the same; to be fruitful, now and in the future; whatever may have happened in the past. As Christians, as people who are continually turning to God we open ourselves to His cultivation and encouragement to grow and develop. In so doing we have the sure hope that after the austerity and apparent barrenness of a Lenten time comes the fruitful bounty of Easter.



When something bad happens who is to blame?  If a baby child dies of cancer, or a family drown in a boating accident, is this God punishing them? Jesus is asked just this kind of question in our reading today. Jesus is clear, such disasters are not targeted at individuals. God does not have a heavenly lottery to call your number, neither does he point the fickle finger of fate at us. We are not zapped by God if we do something wrong. However having made that clear Jesus does not waste the opportunity of this question to challenge those who had the cheek to ask it. He tells them to amend their own lives not to point the finger at others.

In AD 70 a terrible thing happened, the Jewish Temple was destroyed and the Jewish people were massacred by the Romans. This was a punishment for their rebellion, those who lived by the sword were, as Jesus forecast, to die by the sword. Throughout his life Jesus encouraged people to adopt a different life of peace. Jesus warns people in the passage today to change their ways or destruction will surely come. Jesus is not referring to some punishment beyond the grave, he is stating the obvious to his his questioners that they should bear fruit now or suffer the consequences of their own decisions. The result of their refusal to follow the way of Jesus brought destruction and the magnificent temple stones were raised to the ground and many lost their lives. 


Pontius Pilate was an unpopular Governor of Judea. Josephus the Jewish historian tells us how he spent the Temple tax to build an aqueduct and brutally crushed the following rebellion. When some pilgrims from Galilee had been offering sacrifices at the Temple Pilate sent troops in and had them massacred. So questions come to mind. Is the death of these pilgrims a sign of the punishment that Jesus is speaking about?  Is Jesus frightened? Will he still take his Galileans on to Jerusalem?

You can just imagine the relish with which some people told Jesus the horrible story about the Galileans who were slaughtered by Pilate. Bad news travels very fast, and I expect they got a ghoulish pleasure from retelling the shocking details, while wringing their hands over the ritual defilement of the Temple. The story tellers were probably expecting Jesus to shake His head and say that it served the Galileans right, that God was punishing them for some transgression of the Law. But Jesus wouldn’t play along. He refused to give a trite explanation of why these poor men had died such particularly gruesome and shocking deaths. (Humans always long to be able to account for a disaster by blaming the person to whom it happens!). Jesus wouldn’t score such an easy point, but instead argued that the real lesson from to be drawn from their deaths is that it is essential to repent before a similar fate befalls His hearers. As always Jesus surprised, disappointed and even shocked His hearers. Instead of gaining a comfortable, complacent feeling that they were safe, that they were saved, Jesus reminded them that they too were vulnerable to the dangers of the world and that the only safety to be gained was through repentance and being “right” with God. Jesus’ insistence that all of us are sinners isn’t always easy to listen to: perhaps we feel that we are doing our best. Repentance is a two speed process: the once-for-all event which marks a change in hearts and a determination to live in the Way of Christ, and a slower, daily determination to correct our course, until it lies with His. The need for repentance has never been more important, is Jesus’ message for them and for us. Joan Crossley

Prayers for Sunday

O most gracious Jesus, our Lord and our God, who bore our sins in your own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness: have mercy upon us we pray, and grant that we may live a Godly and peaceful life in this present world, and through your grace, in the world to come. Amen

Father God, we ask that you would give the nations of the world a thirst for righteousness and justice, that they would not waste the riches you have give to the earth, and that they would strive for peace and harmony with all people. Amen

Soul of Christ, sanctify us; Body of Christ, save us; Blood of Christ, refresh us; Water from the side of Christ, wash us; Passion of Christ, strengthen us; O good Jesus hear us; Within your arms, hide us; From the power of darkness defend us. Bid us come to you that with your saints we may praise you. Amen From the Anima Christi c 1300

Christ give you the grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow Him; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

In the name of God who takes the risk of creation. Of Jesus who journeyed to Calvary and beyond, and the Spirit who kindles our hope and strength, let us go in peace and be witnesses of the Living Faith. Amen

Almighty God, you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves. Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts which may assault the soul. Methodist Worship

Gracious Father, fill your whole Church with truth and peace; where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where anything is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; and where it is divided and torn asunder, heal and bind its wounds; through Christ our Lord. Amen William Laud, 1573-1645

Blessed be God for the grandeur and power of crashing waters and the fearsome downwardfall of the cliffs; for the swoop and swing of white birds riding the waves, exultant; for the wind hurtling over moorland miles to break battering round the house, with clawing hands eager to invade and chill; for the silent blanketed folds after snowfall; for trees etched in silver against pewter skies, for winter sunshine brittle as thin ice. Sister Catherine OHP

Prayers for those suffering

God of all consolation and comfort, bring to us at this time of trial a knowledge of your presence in the face of fear, darkness and death. We ask for your comfort to be with those who grieve, that they might find the courage to bear their pain of their most bitter loss. We pray for all victims still in hospital and for those who care for them.

We bring you our grief and ask for courage to bear it. We bring you our thank for all you give us, in those we love. We bring you our prayers for peace. God our creator and our end, give us the courage to welcome that unimaginable moment awaiting us all; give us trust and confidence; and at the last give us peace.

Hymns for Sunday

  1. I rejoiced to hear them say Tune: St George's Windsor
  2. There’s a sound on the wind
  3. We cannot measure how you heal
  4. Be thou my vision
  5. Come down o love divine
  6. I danced in the morning
  7. For the beauty of the Earth
  8. Now the green blade riseth
  9. God is love his the care