First Sunday in Lent
February 26, 2023
GLORY BE TO JESUS CHRIST! GLORY FOREVER!
LIVE AUDIO STREAMING during today’s service is available on the Order of Service page. Recorded audio will be added following worship.
PREVIEW OF SUNDAY’S READINGS.
THE LESSON: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10
The Epistle lesson offers us a fulsome description of just how painful and difficult the Christian life can be, and how we are to deal with them: by commending ourselves to God in the midst of our difficulties, which is as it turns out, is the entry point for the saving grace of God.
Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
THE HOLY GOSPEL: Matthew 4:1-11
In the season of Lent we find ourselves on a spiritual journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, which is a journey towards the perfection of the love of God for us, and our love for God and one another. Our Gospel lesson today alerts us to the dangers we face in the form of demonic temptation, the illusion that we can use the Divine Spirit for worldly ends ( “turn these stones into bread”), that we can subject God to our whims and idle curiosities ( “throw yourself down, for he will command his angels concerning you), and that we can be as absolute as God ( “possess all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour”). Jesus Christ has overcome all, and is therefore uniquely qualified to save us.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’ Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
GUEST PREACHER TODAY is our Lenten Missioner, Revd. Dell Bornowsky, who concludes his series of addresses on The Temptation and Triumph of Jesus Christ.
CARD OF THANKS . Dear Friends at St. Mary’s, Many thanks for your donation and support. God bless you! The mild weather has me thinking about gardening but the return of cold reminds me spring is still far away! Be sure of our prayer for you and all your interims. May the Lord & His Mother protect you, guide you & flood your hearts with their tender compassionate love. With gratitude, Christine, for all at Marian Centre & all we serve.
ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS. Last Sunday 42 parishioners enjoyed a finger food lunch and attended our annual meeting. The budget for 2023 stands at $179,053 with a projected deficit of $8,670. The Churchwardens for the coming year are Dave and Andrew. Vestry members for the coming year are: Alanna, Nathaniel, Derek, John, and Katherine. The meeting included presentations by Mr. Girma Sahlu from the St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Rector on a Post-Covid Renewal and Rebuilding Plan for St. Mary’s.
PRAYER PILGRIMMAGE WITH JESUS. There will be a meeting today following the service in the lounge for all parishioners wanting to participate in this year’s Lenten “Prayer Pilgrimage with Jesus” where we will learn about and practice the Prayer of the Heart. (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner.)
LENTEN LECTIONARY STUDIES begin this week with Men’s Group on Wednesday at 9.30 a.m. and Women’s Group Thursday at 10.00 a.m.
WEDNESDAY EVENING PRAYER AND SUPPER will include a presentation by the Rector of the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian.
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.
BLESSED IS THE MAN. Last Sunday the FaithQuest children completed their study of Psalm 1 and the production of a banner which will be presented in church on Sunday.
FAITHQUEST ROOM CLEAN UP. A big thank you to Andrew, Kate, Lyndon, Katherine, Adam, Sharon, and Terrance, who spent Saturday morning cleaning up and sorting through the FaithQuest Art room in preparation for the wall repairs which will begin this week.
WORSHIP THIS WEEK
- Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at 8:30 am
- Wednesday at 9.00 a.m.
- Wednesday at 5:30 pm. followed by a light supper & discussion in the Upper Hall.
Lenten Study groups
- Men’s Group – Wednesdays at 9.30 following Morning Prayer (fasting breakfast included!)
- Women’s Group – Thursdays at 10.00 a.m.