Lent 4 Mothering Sunday 22nd March 2020 & Lent 5 29th March 2020

The West Norfolk Priory Group

Lent 4 Mothering Sunday

22nd March 2020

 

 

Collect

God of Love,

passionate and strong,

tender and careful.

watch over us and hold us

all the days of our life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Our readings

 

A reading from the book of Exodus                                   Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’                                Exodus 2.1-10

A reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians                                                            As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.                         Colossians 3.12-17

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke                                                   And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’         Luke 2. 33-35

 Please include in your prayers: Those in our prayer basket, those who are ill or housebound: Rebecca, Tony Marie, Philippa Jamieson, Mick Collins, Dilys Garland, David Colby, Margaret and Kevin Gardner, Samantha Clark, Lynne Watton, Frederick Ali, Josie, Shaun Caley, Roger, Philip, Carole, , Debra, Christine, Tony Porter, Kath, Sam, Ken Martin, Wendy

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This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Coffee Morning Saturday 28th March 10am-12 noon Wormegay Mission Room

 

The above Coffee Morning is cancelled

 

From the Archbishops of Canterbury ad York

We are good in this country at holding our nerve and steadying one another. But a pandemic is something else; you can’t touch the virus, see it or even know where it is. It may be spread by those who don’t even know they are infected. It is very serious for some, very mild for many. Nevertheless, the effect of the virus could drive us apart. To some extent it must do.                 When someone we care for has it they must be isolated. That is particularly so for older people and the most vulnerable, the ones by whose bed we want to sit, and hold their hand, express our love with touch. As in epidemics throughout history the effects of this fear disturb us very deeply, and dread comes upon us.           The answer to conquering this fear is love that we receive. The tears of the child wakened by a bad dream are stilled by the embrace of someone who loves them. The uncertainty of someone of great age is often quietened with a familiar voice. The words of a friend can enable us to challenge the fears of illness to reduce our sense of threat. The UK has a culture of caring, expressed through the NHS, in Social Care, and in many other ways.

All of us, now, face a common threat, COVID-19. The question is, how do we find hope in these difficult circumstances? Hope comes both from what we can do and who we are.                                                                      We know that everything possible is being done to ensure that we can meet the challenge, in the NHS and across society. The struggle will bring with it many practical difficulties, from the closing of sports grounds to meeting the needs of those in isolation. It may mean some very hard decisions have to be taken about who is treated, as in Italy where they have had to decide not to treat some patients.

We must not be suspicious or indulge in conspiracy theories. Those who are leading our country are seeking the best advice and can be trusted to do all they can. NHS staff and scientists our Government can call upon are amongst the best anywhere in the world. They have no agenda other than the wellbeing of all.

We are capable of bearing the truth. Honesty strengthens our hopes. We need to listen to the science. Through listening we already know how to reduce the risk: washing our hands meticulously; self-isolating even if we are not ill but have come into contact with the virus; resisting the temptation to go to a doctor’s surgery where we might infect others; resisting the temptation, too, to panic buy.

Above all we must look after one another, knowing that in an uncertain world with a new virus we are best protected with honesty, compassion and care. Remember the example of the Good Samaritan, the story in the Bible, which speaks about the need to care for the other and ensure we notice those who are in distress even if they are those who are often invisible to us.

We can find hope and courage in the goodly and wholesome spirit that is in so many ways common to all human beings, whether they are people of Faith or None. We must distinguish between a healthy fear - the beginning of wisdom, which prompts us to follow advice, and to care for those at risk - and unhealthy fear which is driven by pride, leading us to act, selfishly, doing harm to ourselves and others.                          With the gift of truth and hope, we can care for one another lovingly, using words if not touch because of self-isolation. We can accept advice without grumbling, out of concerns for others, even if we do not see ourselves as being at risk.

We can go out of our way to be attentive to neighbours and to those who are vulnerable. We can shop for one another. We can help at a food bank. We can volunteer in community service. We can support those who struggle to feed their children when there are no free school lunches.

Finally, there is one more thing that everyone can do. Something we would expect from two Archbishops. We make no apology for saying “Pray!” Even if you scarcely can imagine how, pray! Pray for yourself, for those you love, for friends and neighbours.

Three thousand years ago a young King, of shepherd background, called David, wrote a song. It was a hit at his time and has remained so ever since. That is quite a success, even the greatest of our stars of today would feel that three thousand years at the top was quite an achievement. It’s the Shepherd song, “The Lord’s my Shepherd”.                                                                            We sing it in our common worship, at weddings and at funerals. It starts with hope but speaks of darkness as well as life. The singer begins with joy: God, the divine Shepherd-King, leads his people to nourishment and safety but in the song the scene quickly darkens.

The path along which he goes becomes a valley of the shadow of death. But the shepherd’s ‘rod’ and ‘staff’, implements that prod and guide the sheep, provides the comfort that comes from divine guidance.

Find Psalm 23 and read it aloud. The Shepherd’s song is about real life, not an idealised picture. It speaks of suffering and facing enemies.

Whether we are confident and brave, or doubt-filled and fearful, God is the source of love and hope. Why not say the Lord’s prayer – “Our Father who art in heaven ….” when you wash your hands. It takes more than the recommended 20 seconds.                                            So, we are inviting you to join us from today, for 7 days, in praying the Lord’s prayer every time you wash your hands. Yes – for seven days! And then pray throughout the day for healing for those who are sick with COVID-19; and that God will heal us from the fear which will prevent us from working together.

May the wisdom of God lead the doctors, nurses and researchers, that they may know God’s protection; and that God will guide the leaders of the nations into the ways of justice and peace. And that the love of Christ will surround us and take away our anxiety and give us His peace. May He hear us and heal us.

With the hope that you will find, then act. Where someone is ill, encourage them. Where someone dies, remember that, as the foundation of our faith for over two thousand years, we have believed that God shared the pains and fears of our lives in Jesus Christ, that He faced death, but overcame it. And He is with the bereaved.                                                                   Where is our hope? It is in the end in the love and faithfulness of a God whom we may have forgotten, but whose action and character is expressed in millions of acts of love by every person in this country. This is the God who we see in Jesus Christ, who called himself the Good Shepherd. Acts of love are the normal reaction to those in need. They are a reflection of the God who is our Shepherd.

So today we, together with our fellow bishops and other church leaders, call for a National Day of Prayer and Action this coming Mothering Sunday (22nd March) - light a candle at 7pm and put it in your window, ring someone who is isolated and vulnerable; buy an extra item and place it in your local food bank, keep your night shelters open.

We have a stronghold and refuge, we do not depend on ourselves alone, for God keeps us so that as the Shepherd song ends: “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life”.

 

 

The West Norfolk Priory Group

Lent 5

29th March 2020

 

 

Collect

Gracious Father,

you gave up your Son

out of love for the world:

lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion, that we may know eternal peace

through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Our readings

A reading from the book of Ezekiel                                 

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.’ Ezekiel 37.1-14

A reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans                           

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.              Romans 8.6-11

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John                                             Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’

When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.                    John 11. 1-45

Bishop Dagmar has posted a reflection on the Gospel on youtube just click on the link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTZQ-XuAgoWhTTeeBbK2l0w

Please include in your prayers: Those in our prayer basket, those who are ill or housebound: Rebecca, Tony Marie, Philippa Jamieson, Mick Collins, Dilys Garland, David Colby, Margaret and Kevin Gardner, Samantha Clark, Lynne Watton, Frederick Ali, Josie, Shaun Caley, Roger, Philip, Carole, , Debra, Christine, Tony Porter, Kath, Sam, Ken Martin, Wendy

 

From Joyce Venni -this is a saying of Corrie Ten Boom

 

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with todays strength, carrying two days at once, it is moving into tomorrow ahead of time.

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.