Third Before Lent

THIRD SUNDAY BEFORE LENT - 5th February 2023

Hymns NEH 377, 433, 282, 235

FIRST READING Isaiah 58.1-9a Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practised righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgements, they delight to draw near to God. ‘Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’ Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day, and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.


Response: The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright.

1. He is a light in the darkness for the upright: he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends; he conducts his affairs with honour. R.

2. The just man will never waver: he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news; with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord. R.

3. With a steadfast heart he will not fear; open-handed, he gives to the poor.

His justice stands firm for ever: his head will be raised in glory. R.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 2.1-12 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom,but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

GOSPEL Matthew 5.13-20 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Could you pass on this sheet to someone else who might like to see it?


A warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. Today we leave behind us the Epiphany season, and look forward to the approach of Lent and Passiontide – a time to ask ourselves how serious we are about our Christian faith, and to seek our Lord's help to “know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly.” A special welcome to Fr Paul, who is kindly celebrating today and will also be celebrating Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us for tea or coffee in the Vestry Hall after Mass, so that we can welcome you properly.

People, look east! Our splendid east window, so wretchedly damaged by vandals last summer, has finally been repaired – as has the window in the north porch, which we can now see for the little gem it is. Easthope Stained Glass of Folkestone did the repairs, adding a new external guard for the east window, and we are deeply thankful for their technology, craftsmanship - and patience. We also much appreciate the prompt, capable and helpful service of John White at White's Upright Scaffolding.

The Garden Working Party really makes a difference! Thank you to all who worked so hard in January. An extra GWP has been scheduled for Saturday,11th February, at 9.30 am – tasks to include finishing work on the hedge. Hopefully the weather will cooperate! Speak to Martyn for further information. There will be a regular GWP on Saturday, 25th February, at 9.30 am, for general clearing and tidying, particularly in view of...

...Bishop Norman's Visit on 26th February – a chance for us all to seek inspiration and encouragement on the first Sunday of Lent. Please sign up on the list at the back of church if you can offer food and/or help with the buffet lunch planned for après-Mass that day – and, most important, come to church on the 26th! The Bishop's encouragement will be especially welcome in view of our...

...Vacancy News: A letter from the Bishop of Dover, received last Monday, informs us that “I will not be taking the application further at this time” and that the Archdeacon of Maidstone “will be speaking to you about the next steps for making a new appointment.”

Our Quiet Day at The Friars on Saturday March 25th promises to be a refreshing and rewarding one. If you have not yet registered an interest, do speak to Eleanor, Paul or Jonathan if you would like to come. If you might be able to offer someone a lift, better still!

The Consecration of the Bishop of Oswestry took place on Candlemas morning in the magnificent surroundings of the Quire of Canterbury Cathedral. Two more bishops were consecrated in the afternoon – but the St Michael's party, numbering 6 in all, adjourned for lunch to the Kent and Canterbury Club, at the invitation of Fr Derek. Warmest thanks to Fr Derek for making it such a happy and convivial expedition.

From our Tower:

Kent County Association: Maidstone, Kent, St Michael and All Angels

Friday, 27 January 2023 in 40m (6–1–24 in C)

1272 Carlisle Surprise Minor

1Janice Byrne

2Jacqueline Barlow

3Philip Jarvis

4Mark Elvers

5Pam Thomas

6Neil Jones (C)

1700th Quarter and final quarter on current hip: 2.

Sunday, 29 January 2023 in 43m (6–1–24 in C)

1280 London Surprise Major

1Terry Barnard

2Phillip Barnes

3Mike Birkbeck

4Mark Elvers

5Elizabeth Barnes

6Paul Barton

7Pam Thomas

8Neil Jones (C)

In memory of Sheila Barton who would have been 91 today.