St Mary’s Sunday Service 17th January 2021

Epiphany 2  17th January 2021

We are very grateful to Revd Canon Alison Peden, our Interim Pastor, who has provided this service for you to follow at home

You can also follow the Episopcal service on line which is broadcat at 11am on Sunday

O God, you search me and you know me’

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:   Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service.  Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reading:   Psalm 139 arranged by Bernadette Farrell – listen at

            O God, you search me and you know me.
            All my thoughts lie open to your gaze.
            When I walk or lie down you are before me
            Ever the make and keeper of my days.

      You know my resting and my rising.
      You discern my purpose from afar,
      and with love everlasting you besiege me:
      in every moment of life or death, you are.

      Before a word is on my tongue, Lord,
      you have known its meaning through and through.
      You are with me beyond my understanding:
      God of my present, my past and future too.

      Although your Spirit is upon me,
      still I search for shelter from your light.
      There is nowhere on earth I can escape you:
      even the darkness is radiant in your sight.

      For you created me and shaped me,
      gave me life within my mother’s womb.
      For the wonder of who I am, I praise you:
      safe in your hands, all creation is made new.

Gospel:   John 1:43-51
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ 
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ 
Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

Reflection:   We cannot ‘Go and see’ anyone much just now.  We may see people at a distance or on a screen, but that doesn’t allow for the intent gaze that lets us know who and how someone is. The danger is that we will revert to a quick, superficial seeing and judging of others. At worst, we might dismiss someone with: ‘I don’t know what you see in them’.

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, and he had been looking at him for a while because he had seen him sitting under a fig tree.  Did he perceive the quizzical, sceptical attitude in Nathanael?  A disappointed, blinkered, jaded man?  What did Jesus ‘see’ in him?

Jesus said ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’  He saw honesty and integrity, a refusal to jump gaily on any bandwagon, a desire for truth and reality.  Jesus looked with the divine gaze that Psalm 139 sings about, a healing and transforming gaze.

The impact of being contemplated, seen and known by God is immense. Being known through-and-through for what we are is scary but liberating – we don’t have to pretend any more, and we can begin to see the wonder of ourselves as God sees us – his work of art.

Let us not lose the divine gift of really looking and seeing the wonder of others, their beauty and their wounds, their gifts and their needs.

Prayers:  God of peace, guide the nations of our world and their leaders, and give wisdom and patience to those involved in the reconciliation and bridge-building.  We hold before you especially the United States at this time. May we too be instruments of your peace wherever and whenever we can in our daily lives.

Holy God, lead your Church in the ways of the Kingdom, and give us grace to use this time of lockdown to grow in faith and vision, so that we may emerge better equipped to see and follow your Son, Jesus. Bless Bishop Ian and all who seek to serve your people in any way.

God of all healing, comfort those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, especially those who are alone and feel that no-one sees them or their needs.  Assure them of your presence and show us how we can alleviate the loneliness of others.

Merciful God, we mourn the dying and hold before you those who now rejoice in the fullness of eternal life. May our sorrow at the current huge loss of life just not fail, and may our compassion for the bereaved not grow weary.

Faithful God, we rejoice in your call to follow you. Lead us into the coming week ready to demonstrate our calling in all that we do and say.   Merciful Father,  accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:
            Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
            for it is right to give him thanks and praise.
            Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
            Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds into being, and still you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Day and night celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your only-begotten Son, you have revealed yourself to the world. By the guiding of a star, you made him known to the nations as the son of David and king of Israel; that in following him, we might be led from darkness and into his marvellous light.
Filled with the Spirit, who descended upon your Son at his Baptism in the Jordan, we who are baptised in his name strive for his heavenly kingdom in whose radiance we are transfigured and the earth transformed.
As children of your redeeming purpose who celebrate the manifestation of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. In the Messiah you have come to us. Our hope is built on him in whom you are well pleased. Having been shown to the world as your beloved Son, he proclaimed the good news of your kingdom. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed,           and the captives set free. At his word, water became wine, the hungry were filled with bread,     and the dead were raised.
Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring to complete the work for which he came into the world, at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   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.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.   

Prayer:   Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new:  transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory, through Jesu Christ our Lord.  Amen

Charles Wesley wrote this splendid hymn in 1747. It prays for
the presence of Christ to dwell in our hearts and transform us
into his likeness.  It is sung at:

Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver, let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never, never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.