The Sunday Service in Hagley

The Parishes of Clent and Hagley

 

Worship for 7th March – Lent 3

 

 

 

We will be using this service together on Zoom at 10.30 am.


 

 A call to worship and an Opening Prayer

 

 

Holy God, as we meet together today,
we ask that you renew our love for you.
Open our eyes to see fresh things,
open our ears to hear with more clarity,
open our minds to recognise new ideas –
that we may be willing to grow and change
and to become more like your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.


Amen.

 

 

 

When we stand in awe of the magnificence of the Temple:
Jesus calls us to look for the kingdom hidden among us.

When we value worldly security over spiritual security:
Jesus reminds us to proclaim the faith.

When we allow corruption and injustice to go unchallenged:
Jesus prompts us to ask the difficult questions.

When we are overwhelmed by the pain and struggles of living:
Jesus teaches us to hope and dream of a new birth.

We draw near hesitant, afraid, searching, hoping,
to worship the one who calls us to one another,
who calls us to a new way of living
for ourselves and the world.
Amen.

 

 

 

Hymn    The church’s one foundation

 

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jotNbcFelX4

         

The church's one Foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is His new creation,
by water and the Word;
from heav'n He came and sought her
to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her,
and for her life He died.

Elect from ev'ry nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with ev'ry grace endued.

'Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with Thee.

 

 

 

 

 

A prayer of thanksgiving                                         

 

God, whose temple is the whole creation,
we praise you for the signs of spring:
crocuses breaking through the cold earth,
early morning sunshine through the clouds,
days slowly lengthening.
We praise you that earth tells us of your presence.

 

God, whose temple is found in community,
we praise you for the people around us:
our families and friends,
the neighbours we’d like to know more,
the strangers who surprise us with kindness.
We praise you that we look at others and glimpse you.

 

God, whose temple is written into our bodies,
we praise you for our human form
with all their curves and shapes,
skin tones and imperfections,
for the things we are differently abled to do.
We praise you that our bodies are a temple                                                       of your Holy Spirit.


Amen.

 

 

 

Asking for God’s forgiveness

 

Jesus speaks of his body as God’s temple,
broken then restored to wholeness.

Forgive us when we abuse our bodies
and do not honour them;
when we feel bad about the way we look
or what we are able to do;
when we push ourselves too hard
or rest too much.

 

Help us to celebrate our lives
created and honoured by God.
Hold us in our brokenness
and restore us to wholeness.
Amen.

 

 

 

A Collect

 

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. Amen

 

A New Testament Reading       1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

 

 

 

Hymn      All my hope on God is founded    

 

                 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohxO6ytsaU

All my hope on God is founded,
all my trust he shall renew;
he, my guide through changing order,
only good and only true:
God unknown, he alone
calls my heart to be his own.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
all that human toil can fashion,
tower and temple, fall to dust.
But God’s power, hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.

Day by day our mighty giver
grants to us his gifts of love;
in his will our souls find pleasure,
leading to our home above:
love shall stand at his hand,
joy shall wait for his command.

Still from Earth to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done;
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ his Son:
hear Christ’s call, one and all –
we who follow shall not fall.

 

 

A Gospel Reading           

John 2: 13-22           Jesus Cleanses the Temple

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

 

 

A Reflection for Lent 3

 

 

“Jesus said, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’  The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this.”

 

The fourth Gospel is clear that the temple is an important place in Jesus’ life.  It’s a place he goes to regularly to teach.  It’s also a place he goes to regularly to pray during the major festivals of the Jewish year.  The Gospel records Jesus observing those important festivals at the temple in Jerusalem – Passover in the spring, Tabernacles (or Booths) in the autumn, and Hanukkah (or Dedication) in the winter.  In fact in Jesus’ short ministry the Gospel mentions Jesus and the Passover on no less than three occasions.

 

The temple is conceived of as a space where heaven touches earth.  Jesus evidently values going there himself – but that he “cleanses the temple”, as we’ve heard in today’s reading, shows that he believes something is fundamentally not right about the way it’s operating.  In the other three Gospels we read of Jesus turning over the tables of the traders and the money-changers because they’ve turned God’s house into a den of robbers.  It sounds as if corruption and extortion is rife in the selling of animals for sacrifices, and in the exchanging of different currencies for purchasing temple goods, and in the collection of temple taxes.

 

There is, though, no hint of this in the fourth Gospel.  It may perhaps still be the reason Jesus gets so angry and does what he does, but it’s not actually mentioned in the way the story is told.  There’s nothing to suggest dishonest practices or any evidence given of economic exploitation.  All Jesus says to those selling the doves is “stop making my Father’s house a market-place!” – and he makes a whip of cords and drives those selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers out of the temple.

 

It feels as if Jesus believes that all this trading and all these sacrificial rituals are getting in the way of people’s worship, and of people encountering God, when they come to the temple at festival time.  People are not having the experience of heaven touching earth that the temple is all about.  The disciples later remember that when Jesus talked about rebuilding the temple he was talking about himself.  It’s as if he’s hinting that the time will come when it will be through Jesus himself that heaven will touch earth. 

 

When we delve into other parts of the fourth Gospel, we find details in what Jesus says and does that relate to elements that are part and parcel of those three important Jewish festivals.

 

In the festival of Tabernacles, there’s ceremonial pouring of water and lighting of lamps.  Remember how Jesus told the woman at the well how he himself was the source of living water gushing up to eternal life, and how he later said “I am the light of the world”.

 

At Hanukkah, the rededication of the temple is celebrated.  In some of the last things Jesus says to his disciples before he’s arrested, he talks about sanctifying himself so that his Father might sanctify his disciples in the truth.  He and they are to be set apart and consecrated, just as the temple is set apart and consecrated at the winter festival.

 

Jesus himself dies on the day of Preparation for Passover, the day when the Passover lambs are slaughtered – fulfilling the description given to Jesus in the first chapter of this Gospel, “the Lamb of God”.

 

     

Jesus tells us that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth.  Fond though he is of the temple and its festivals, there’s clearly much that’s getting in the way and not enabling people to do that.  But after his death and resurrection, Jesus himself is going to become the way through which people can encounter God, and worship in spirit and in truth. 

 

However we conceive of ourselves as a church, that still must be our focus and be real today.  We need to purge ourselves of anything that gets in the way of that.  However we worship – on Zoom or in church buildings – and however we organise ourselves, let us pray that we will always enable and encourage one another to encounter God, and together to worship in spirit and truth. 

 

 

 

 

Hymn           Jesus Christ is Waiting   

 

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CSzEviUc_o

           

 

Jesus Christ is waiting,
Waiting in the streets;
No one is his neighbour,
All alone he eats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am lonely too.
Make me, friend or stranger,
Fit to wait on you

 

 

Jesus Christ is raging,
Raging in the streets,
Where injustice spirals
And real hope retreats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am angry too.
In the Kingdom’s causes
Let me rage with you.

 

Jesus Christ is healing,
Healing in the streets;
Curing those who suffer,
Touching those he greets.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I have pity too.
Let my care be active,
Healing just like you.

 

 

Jesus Christ is dancing,
Dancing in the streets,
Where each sign of hatred
He, with love, defeats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I should triumph too.
On suspicion’s graveyard
Let me dance with you.

 

 

Christ is calling,
Calling in the streets,
”Who will join my journey?
I will guide their feet.”
Listen, Lord Jesus,
Let my fears be few.
Walk one step before me;
I will follow you.

 

 

 

 

Intercessions

 

In the name of the one who came to cleanse the Temple,
we pray for justice, peace and love for all.

 

Where the earth is polluted and plundered;
where God’s creation is driven to extinction;
where habitats are destroyed:
Give us strength to turn the tables.

Where people are hungry or cold;
where children die of treatable diseases;
where people are trafficked and abused:
Give us compassion to turn the tables.

Where war denies the right to life;
where refugees are driven from homelands;
where people are scarred physically and mentally:
Give us mercy to turn the tables.

Where your people are hurting or are in pain;                                 where people are suffering in mind or spirit;                                        where people are dealing with loss:                                                           Give us love to turn the tables.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Hymn        Christ is our cornerstone

 

                 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBiW7qnD-d4

                                               

Christ is our cornerstone,
on him alone we build;
with his true saints alone
the courts of heaven are filled;
on his great love
our hopes we place
of present grace
and joys above.

 

 



O then with hymns of praise
these hallowed courts shall ring;
our voices we will raise
the Three in One to sing;
and thus proclaim
in joyful song,
both loud and long,
that glorious name.

Here, gracious God, do thou
for evermore draw nigh;
accept each faithful vow,
and mark each suppliant sigh;
in copious shower
on all who pray
each holy day
thy blessings pour.

Here may we gain from heaven
the grace which we implore;
and may that grace, once given,
be with us evermore,
until that day
when all the blest
to endless rest
are called away.

 

 

 

 

 

A Closing Prayer and Blessing

 

In the noise of the Temple,
Jesus made a holy place.
In the pushing and the shoving,
Jesus made a holy place.
In the busy times at school or work,
Jesus, make a holy place.
In the bustle of our homes,
Jesus, make a holy place.
In the quiet of our hearts,
Jesus, make a holy place.
Amen

As we leave our time together,
we turn ourselves to you.
As we leave our time of worship,
we turn over to a new beginning.
As we leave our time on Zoom,
may we live as you call us,
holy people, a living temple.

 

 

May God go with us, fill us with His grace and love us always.
 

 

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some material included in this service is copyright:

© The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2000

 

Some material is Copyright

© Roots for Churches Limited

 

Hymns and songs are reproduced under CCLI numbers:

742099 (St John’s)

493867 (St Leonard’s)

154120 (St Saviour’s)