Worship at Home for the Week Beginning 3rd March 2024

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Revd David Speirs has prepared this week's message.

This short act of worship is for use from home. Please use this service whenever you like during the week.

Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.

Third Sunday in Lent
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Opening Prayer:

We praise you loving and eternal God for your love of all people expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We praise you for his commitment to justice,~his zeal for true worship of you and his willingness to replace all other sacrifices
with the sacrifice of his own life. In his name we offer you, our worship.


STF 247 – I danced in the morning

I danced in the morning when the world was begun, and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun, and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth. At Bethlehem I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
but they would not dance, and they would not follow me; I danced for the fishermen, for James and John; they came with me and the Dance went on…

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame,
the holy people said it was a shame;
they whipped and they stripped and they hung me high; and they left me there on a cross to die…

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back;
they buried my body and they thought I’d gone,
but I am the Dance and I still go on…

They cut me down and I leapt up high,
I am the life, that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he…

By Sydney Bertram Carter. Words © 1963 Stainer & Bell
(admin. Hope Publishing Company).
CCLI Song Number: 78529

Bible Reading

Time to reflect:

In our Gospel reading for the third Sunday in Lent we have the story of Jesus cleansing the temple and then speaking about his resurrection. Jesus has been angered by the corruption occurring within the temple. Money changers were charging exorbitant rates for currency exchanges, that enabled people to pay the required temple contribution. Sellers would be charging inflated prices for animals that had to be used in the temple sacrifices. All of this placed inequitable burdens on those who came to the temple to participate in the ritual life; turning what was meant to be a holy place into an exploitative marketplace not centred on God.

After cleansing the temple, Jesus then goes on to talk about himself in terms of being the temple that, after being destroyed, would be raised in three days. Jesus knows that for those who would follow him the system of temple sacrifices would come to cease. Yet those who followed Jesus would come to understand that his ultimate sacrifice, for the sin of all humankind, would become the way by which all people could find forgiveness and reconciliation with God. In turn we would become living sacrifices to God by following the way of Jesus.

At the time of the publication of John’s Gospel the Second Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Roman Empire. The Johannite community needed to explain that the worship of God was for them now centred on Christ who had become the new temple and the lamb of God. For early Jewish followers of Jesus, this was a way of providing hope and solace following the traumatic event of losing the temple whilst gaining that new understanding of who God is in Christ. As Christianity grew amongst the gentile people it helped the early church understand its roots within ancient Judaism whilst also understanding that had it developed a new identity with a distinctive theology and practice.


As the church expanded it became associated with the mixed gatherings that would occur in people’s homes and that crossed social, economic, and ethnic boundaries. The early church was therefore not formed around the bricks and mortar of a temple building (dedicated church buildings did not appear until later) but instead was formed through the ‘living stones’ that consisted of the disciples of Jesus meeting together through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today the life of the Church has become very focussed around buildings that have been constructed and dedicated as being places of worship. We spend a lot of our time, energy, and resources repairing and maintaining these buildings as well as looking at how we can make changes to sites and properties that will enable the mission of the church to be developed, sustained, and flourishing. Whilst work is very important it is also vital that we do not lose focus. We must remember that ultimately our faith is not centred on our buildings but is centred on Christ and around the ‘living stones’; that is the people of God filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The mission is our calling to worship, learn & care, service, and evangelise amongst all people and in so doing help make more disciples of Jesus Christ. The buildings exist to help resource that mission, not the other way around.

In this season of Lent I encourage you to reflect on how the faith we have in Jesus and how our discipleship goes beyond the buildings. How can we ensure that our whole life reflects the calling that we have been given as disciples of Jesus? How can we partner with God in the world so that others might come to know and love Jesus?

Prayers of intercession

You are invited to pray silently for:

The needs of the world…
The Church and its calling…
Loved ones going through difficult times…
For peace, justice, and reconciliation…
In Jesus name.


The Lord's Prayer

Please use the version that you prefer

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.


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.


StF 409 – Let us build a house where love can dwell

Let us build a house
where love can dwell
And all can safely live,
A place where
saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
Rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
And words are strong and true,
Where all God’s children dare to seek
To dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
And a symbol of God’s grace;
Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus…

Let us build a house where love is found
In water, wine and wheat:
A banquet hall on holy ground,
Where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
Is revealed in time and space;
As we share in Christ the feast that frees us…

By Marty Haugen. © 1994, GIA Publications.
One Licence Song Number: 00004

May the holy wisdom of God
Guard your ways and guide your paths
May the living truth of God
Enlighten your hearts and open your minds
And may the living Spirit of God
Give you life, and life to the full!


Service prepared by Revd David Speirs

Webpage: Paul Deakin