Weekly Worship

CIRCUIT SERVICE FOR 21st FEBRUARY (First in Lent) offered by David Hudson


At the beginning of Lent  (D R Hudson – 1992)

Lent is a time of preparation

For the Cross and Easter Day.

Lent is a time of meditation,

As we seek the Master's way.


All kingdoms of the world could he see

As they passed before his sight.

But no way would he bow down to

Satan and his tribes of night.


High on the temple he was taken,

Words of God quoted at him.

Christ would not succumb to evil,

Tests he passed - he did not sin


Out in the desert he was tempted

By the devil and his kind.

Stones to bread the devil offered

Christ replied get thee behind.


All kingdoms of the world could he see

As they passed before his sight.

But no way would he bow down to

Satan and his tribes of night.


Lent is a time for us to think of

Jesus, and his holy way.

Lent is a time for us to pray to

Jesus, let us with him stay. 


Let us join in singing STF Hymn number 238 (James Edmeston 1791 – 1867)

1. Lead us Heavenly Father lead us

O'er the world’s tempestuous sea;

Guard us guide us, keep us, feed us

For we have no help but thee.

Yet possessing every blessing

If our God our Father be.

2. Saviour, breath forgiveness o'er us;

All our weakness thou dost know.

Thou didst tread this earth before us,

Thou didst feel its keenest woe;

Tempted, taunted, yet undaunted,

Through the desert thou didst go.

3 Spirit of our God descending,

Fill our hearts with Heavenly joy,

Love with every passion blending

Pleasure that can never cloy.

Thus provided, pardoned, guided,

Nothing can our peace destroy.  



LESSON: PSALM 25 v 1-10. From the Message:

My head is high, God, held high; I'm looking to you, God, no hand dog skulking for me. 

I've thrown in my lot with you; You won't embarrass me, will you? or let my enemies get the best of me?

Don't embarrass any of us who went out on a limb.  It's the traitors who should be humiliated.

Show me how you work, God; school me in your ways.

Take me by the hand; lead me down the path of truth.

You are my Saviour, aren't you?  Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God;

Rebuild the ancient landmarks!  Forget that I sowed wild oats;

Mark we with your sign of love, plan only the best for me, God!

God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, sends me in the right direction.

He gives the rejects his hand, and leads them step by step.

From now on every road, you travel will take you to God.

Follow the Covenant signs; read the directions. Amen


From Prayers for an Inclusive Church:

Let us pray: God of trackless desert, whose Son walked untamed in league with beasts and spirits, whose

kingdom is not distant but breaking in among us, give us time and space to find a new identity to let go of

control and walk the pilgrim way;

Through Jesus Christ, the good news of salvation. Amen



How are you at being alone?

During the past year, many of us have spent some time on our own. Not being able to go out and see friends or neighbours. Just sitting, having a chance to think, what is our calling in life.

Some of you may know that I am a trustee of the Local Preachers’ Retirement Homes around this country and in common with other homes, we have been closed to visitors. Some residents have not seen their relatives for some months. Not only did the residents miss seeing family and friends, but the visitors did not have a chance see them.

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, with only wild beasts and his God to keep him company. What was it like? Silence except for the sounds of nature and a voice in his head. Could you have coped with such isolation?

I don't think I could.

We hear of hermits who spend years on their own. They find God in the silence.

My family tell me I'm a bit noisy, "don't shout" they tell me. When I was young, we lived with my aunt. She was deaf, so was my grandmother who came for her meals each day. I had to speak up or get told they could not hear me. Neither had a hearing aid and neither said they needed one!

I don't think I shout even though my family tell me I do. I get into the pulpit and find I just speak up so the message that Jesus gives me can be heard.

I always tell Local Preachers in training, not to drop their voice in prayers. Some think this is the right thing to do to show reverence. To me it does not matter if I shout at God, or do it quietly, but to the congregation, if they cannot hear you, they may fall asleep and not wake in time for the next hymn! Then they feel embarrassed. Years ago, I went to a village in the south of Northamptonshire to take an evening service. I started my service by saying 'This is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it' I then saw most of the congregation touching their ears. After the service the steward told me they were pleased with the new speaker system. They heard every word! (It turned out they were turning down their hearing aids once I started). I'm not sure how they got on the next week if they had someone who was a bit quieter than me, perhaps the man on the speaker system had to turn it up! 

Mind you, I did go to another church, in Oxfordshire where they had a notice stuck to the pulpit that said 'To the Preacher - please note, some of us are deaf, speak up when preaching!’

I did and they said they heard it all, so don't ask me to preach if you want a quiet service.


Let us join in singing STF Hymn number 236  (George Smyttan 1822 – 1870)

1   Forty days and forty nights

You were fasting in the wild;

Forty days and forty nights

Tempted and yet undefiled.

2  Burning heat throughout the day,

Bitter cold when light had fled;

Prowling beasts around your way,

Stones your pillow, earth your bed.

3   Shall not we your trials share,

Learn your discipline of will;

And with you by fast and prayer

Wrestle with the powers of hell.

4    So, if Satan, pressing hard,

Soul and body would destroy;

Christ who conquered, be our guard,

Give to us the victor's joy.

5    Watching, praying, struggling thus,

Victory shall be ours too;

Angels minister to us,As they ministered to you.

6    Saviour, may we hear your voice;

Keep us constant at your side;

And with you we shall rejoice

At the eternal Eastertide.


LESSON: MARK 1. V9-15. From the Message:

At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the River Jordan. Themoment he came up out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit voice, a voice said: ‘You are my Son. Chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.’

At once, the Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God. ‘Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.’ Amen


40 days with nothing to do but think on God.

The order of the temptations varies, according to which gospel you read. Mark is even shorter with no details at all. Matthew and Luke give us more details of stone to bread and jumping off temple and mountain top.

So, we move into the Lenten season, we see God and Satan wrestling for the mind of Jesus. Fortunately, God is the winner and Jesus comes out victorious.

Another prayer, from a book I was asked to review some years ago. 'Prayer for an Inclusive Church'

Let us pray: Spirits of the desert, you drove Jesus to the edge of the world to find his truth and calling:

scour our hearts and awaken our hunger so that freed from empty clinging, we might find ourselves inyou; through Jesus Christ, the Lord of the wilds. Amen


What will you do to remind you of the 40 days of Lent?

I know I'm a bit old fashioned, but I do try to give something up. It's no use me saying I will give up ‘beer and fags’ as I neither smoke nor drink so that's a bit pointless. I will give up eating chocolate, which my family say I am addicted to.

Some will tell you that's an easy thing to do, but to me it is very difficult. Each time I think about chocolate during the forty days, I am reminded of Christ in the wilderness. We, as Methodists, don't go in for fasting, however, we stopped on one or two occasions at a hotel on the Isle of Wight. We did not know until we got there that we were staying with a Coptic Christian, he came from Egypt. While we were there on one occasion, he fasted each day from dawn to dust. I can't remember which part of the Coptic Christian year it was, but it shows some Christians do go in for fasting.

When I was still sitting in court, we had one lady magistrate who used to bring in chocolate hob nobs which she would offer to us during the coffee breaks. Now if I was sitting, on a difficult case in Lent, that took a lot of concentration, I would take one with my coffee eat it then realise afterwards what I had done. I would feel guilty for the rest of the day.

Perhaps you have more will power than I do?

All I say, is give something up, or do something different to usual during the next forty days to remind yourself what the Son of God gave up for you.

Let us pray: 

Lord of this crazy mixed-up world, we now concentrate on you. We think of the time you spent

in the wilderness and wonder how you managed it. We are mortals and need your help at this time to see the good in others.

We pray for those suffering in this pandemic, may your spirit be near to all who have lost dear ones or are recovering from Covid-19.

We pray for all who are working for peace - we realise that the present-day problems are bringing nations closer together, may this continue after Covid has been conquered.

We remember all who need your help and we remember today...............

Lord of the wilderness and the city, show us your way. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Traditional Form                                               Modern Form

Our Father, who art in heaven,                           Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;                                      hallowed be your Name,

thy kingdom come;                                           your kingdom come;

thy will be done;                                               your will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.                                on earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.                        Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,                            Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who trespass against us.       as we forgive those who sin against us.

And lead us not into trial                                    Save us from the time of temptation;

but deliver us from evil.                                     and deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,                                   For the kingdom, 

the power and the glory                                    the power and the glory 

for ever and ever                                              are yours, now and for ever.

Amen                                                              Amen.


Let us join in singing STF Hymn number 252  (Anonymous)

1    Jesus the Lord said 'I am the Bread,

The Bread of life for the world am I.

The Bread of life for the world am I.

The Bread of life for the world am I.'

Jesus the Lord said: ' I am the Bread,

The Bread of life for the world am I.'

2    Jesus the Lord said: 'I am the Vine,

The true and fruitful Vine am I.

The true and fruitful Vine am I.

The true and fruitful Vine am I.'

Jesus the Lord said: 'I am the Vine,

The true and fruitful Vine am I.'

3    Jesus the Lord said ' I am the way,

The true and living Way am I.

The true and living Way am I,

The true and living Way am I.'

Jesus the Lord said: ' I am the Way,

The true and living Way am I.'

4    Jesus the Lord said: ' I am the Light,

The one true Light of the world am I

The one true Light of the world am I,

The one true Light of the world am I.'

Jesus the Lord said: 'I am the Light,

The one true Light of the world am I

5    Jesus the Lord said: I am the Life,

The Resurrection and the Life am I.

The Resurrection and the Life am I,.'

The Resurrection and the Life am I.’

Jesus the Lord said: I am the Life,

The Resurrection and the Life am I.'


Let us join together in saying the Benediction......

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

May the love of God sustain you

May the Holy Spirit show you the way.           Amen


Words for the hymns are re-produced from Singing the Faith Music Edition.

CCLI reproduced under licence No. 152382


Please be assured that Rev’d Lesley and Rev’d Kim are available should you need us during this time.  

We can be contacted by calling: 

01933 312778 for Rev’d Lesley Dinham 

01933 622137 for Rev’d Kim Shorley.  

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