Second Before Lent

SECOND SUNDAY BEFORE LENT: 12 February 2023 Hymns 378, 351, 305, 302

FIRST READING Genesis 1.1-2.3 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 136

Response: His mercy endures for ever

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures for ever
Give thanks to the God of gods,
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his mercy endures for ever. R
to him who alone does great wonders,
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
to him who made the great lights,
the sun to rule over the day,
the moon and stars to rule over the night,

for his mercy endures for ever. R

Give thanks to the God of heaven,
**for his mercy **endures forever. R

SECOND READING Romans 8.18-25 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

GOSPEL Matthew 6.25-34 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.'

ST MICHAEL'S NEWS

A warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's.

As we move towards Lent, today's readings encourage us to thank God for His generosity in creating and redeeming the world, and to seek to live in a spirit that reflects that generosity. 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.

Garden Working Party plans an extra session on Saturday, February 11th, 9.30 am to 12 noon. The regular session, on February 25^th^, will be devoted to general clearing and tidying before Bishop Norman's visit. There are many jobs connected with a church that get noticed only when they don't get done – so thanks to all cleaners, tidiers, polishers and gardeners, and a particular thank you to Jessica for her work last week in dismantling the Crib and sorting out the flower corner.

A notice from Jessica about Easter flowers will be appearing shortly – watch this space!

Ministry isn't something done just by clergy. Lay ministry takes many forms, some “official” and some less so. A FREE Lay Ministry Celebration Day takes place on May 13^th^ at St Augustine's College, Malling Abbey, 10.30-4.30 – a chance to learn about specialised ministry like Anna Chaplaincy, to take a fresh look at whatever we are already doing in the service of our church, and to learn from visiting speakers and from one another. Eleanor will have space in her car. Information and booking via:  https://staugustinescollege.

Foster Carers do a wonderful job and are always needed. The Diagrama fostering agency is running an information event on Thursday, 23^rd^ February, 11 am – 2 pm, at Maidstone Community Support Centre, 39-48 Marsham Street, for anyone who might be interested in exploring fostering. Or telephone 0800 802 1910 for a brochure.

Don't forget – Wednesday 22^nd^ February is Ash Wednesday. Mass will be at 7.30 pm.

Bishop Norman's Visit, February 26th: Sue Matthias or Alison Ponter will still welcome offers of help and/or food.

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

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