4th February 2024 10.30am – 2nd Sunday Before Lent

4th February 2024 2nd Sunday before Lent Eucharist

4th February 2024 2nd Sunday before Lent Eucharist: 

Watch this week's service on YouTube

Download the order of service here: 24 02 04 2nd Sunday before Lent Eucharist

Read this week's Church News Church News 24 02 04


The Readings

Colossians 1.15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.


John 1.1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.



Scripture Quotations are from: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Sermon
By Shan R

Lord, open our eyes to your presence, open our minds to your grace, open our lips to your praises,
open our hearts to your love, open our lives to your healing, and be found among us. Amen.

Our Gospel reading today is one many of us associate with midnight mass at Christmas, a time
when we gather with a sense of anticipation and expectancy, waiting for that moment that the clock
strikes midnight and Christmas truly begins as Jesus’s presence in the world is announced.

Through his incarnation, Jesus was revealed to us, the Word made flesh, the light of the world, the
revealer of the heart and mind of God. In Jesus, we discover a teacher and a saviour who came to
comfort us with love and light before challenging and commissioning us to share that love and light
with others.

Nothing can take away the presence of God in our lives or our communities across the world. It’s
easy for me to say this when I’ve got a roof over my head, a regular income, food, clean water,
physical security, family and friends, health and a sense of purpose.

Some of you may well be asking, where can I find God when I’m sad, sick, anxious or lonely.
Where is God in the ups and downs of life? Where is God in situations like Gaza or Israel, in the
small unstable boats crossing the Channel, in the knife-crime present on our cities streets?

John, one of Jesus’ chosen disciples writes to inform his readers of the truth concerning Jesus
Christ. Near the ending of his gospel, John states that he has written that his audience “may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in his
name” (John 20:31). John is writing in a historical and biographical genre. He is writing, partially
from eye-witness testimony, the history of his teacher while attempting to convince his readers of
what he believes to be the truth, that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah, the person
prophesied in the Hebrew Bible who would deliver the Jewish nation. In the rest of the gospel,
John shows us Jesus in action, interacting with troubled people, performing healings, and teaching
truth. John uses the imagery of light and darkness telling us that in the midst of darkness we have
Light in Jesus, and as a result of that, we have Hope.

When people are suffering in any way, it’s hard to look on the positive side of things, to feel
optimistic, to see the light and look for signs of hope. Rather than watching the news and only
hearing the dark things like the rising death tolls, the desperation of people who are having to
move from place to place, the hunger and asking where is the presence of God shining in this,
might we be able to focus our attention on what is less reported and less seen, the people of light
and hope searching amongst the rubble, the doctors and nurses continuing to care for those who
are sick or injured despite lack of resources, both here in the UK and abroad, the people
campaigning for peace, the Muslim family I saw in Manchester kneeling down to pray at their set
prayer time despite the clamour of a noisy protest resounding around them. Each of these people
offers a glimmer of light into the direst of situations, bringing help, hope, love and comfort to others.
Jesus is present as an every day God, in ordinary people and ordinary acts of kindness,
compassion and love. Our Diocese encourages us to be Lights for Christ, to live out our baptismal
calling by being lights in the world – to live for Jesus in our everyday lives, not just on one
occasion, but as a lifelong commitment. Let us pray and seek God’s will for us as we gather and
participate in the life and worship of the Church, read and reflect on the Scriptures, receive
Communion and most importantly go out into the world with hearts and minds open to our lives to
the Holy Spirit working in us and through us as we go about our daily lives.

Last week, I found a version of the Gospel we have heard today which has been rewritten into the
present tense by Deidre Morris. Rather than making it feel like God was present in the past, it
brings a sense of immediacy and presence to the reading.

In the beginning is the Word, and the Word is with God, and the Word is God, He is with God in the
beginning. Through him all things are being made; without him nothing is being created. In him is
life, and that life is the light of all people. The light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did
not understand it.

Here is a man sent from God, whose name is John. He comes as a witness to testify concerning
that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself is not the light, he comes only as a
witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every person is coming into the world. He is in
the world, and though the world is ever being made through him, the world does not recognise him.
He comes to that which is his own, yet his own people do not receive him. Yet to all who do receive
him, those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God - children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision, or of a husband’s will, but of God.

The Word is becoming flesh and living among us. We can see his glory, the glory of the one and
only, who comes from God, full of grace and truth.

We are called to be like John in the world, witnesses to our knowledge of Jesus, and people who
reflect the light of Christ into the world.  Amen.


The Prayers
God our Father, hear us when we pray to you faith.We give you thanks for this day, for our lives and the amazing world you have given us to live in. May we take the time to see and truly appreciate what we have. Help us to be good stewards and to look after it for this generation and the generations to come.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Father we pray for your church throughout the world and for those of other faiths who worship you. May we find ways to live together peaceably and respectfully in your name.

We pray for all in our mission partnership giving thanks for the time, talents and gifts which our churches and communities benefit from. Especially we pray for all at St Mark’s as they begin their search for a new Vicar. We pray for the team who will continue the ministry of the church in the interim and for Sue as she moves on to a new phase of her own life and ministry.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for our very troubled world and all peoples, especially those suffering because of wars, oppression, natural & human-made disasters, political and economic strife and great need for the basics of life. Father guide us to know what is right and strengthen us to work together for it so that everyone’s needs are met and we can live in peace. Bless all who strive for these things and support us in our efforts.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are ill and those who are nearing the end of their lives. May they receive the care, comfort and compassion they need. We pray also for those who accompany them on their journey who also need to be supported.
By name we pray for Anne & Michael & their family and for Peter & Anne.

In a moment of quiet let us call to mind anyone known to us who is in special need of our prayers at this time and let us also pray for ourselves and our own concerns and needs.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We remember all who have died, some recently and some long ago. We pray that they are at peace and that those who love and miss them will be comforted and cared for in their grief. I remember my sister, Liz.

Again in a short time of quiet let us remember those special to us who are no longer with us.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Merciful Father,accept these prayers,for the sake of your Son, our saviour,  Jesus Christ.



Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is used here is copyright (c) 2010 The Archbishops' Council