SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT Hymns NEH 72, 68, 313, 74
FIRST READING Genesis 12.1-4a Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM 121 R: Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. R
May he not suffer your foot to slip; may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps, the guardian of Israel. R
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade; he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. R
The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever. R
SECOND READING Romans 4.1-5,13-17 What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
GOSPEL John 3.1-17 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.'
Could you pass on this sheet to someone else who might like to see it?
ST MICHAEL'S NEWS
A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome to Fr Paul, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be celebrating Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us for tea or coffee in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.
Thank you to everyone who gardened, cleaned, cooked, organised, and led the music last Sunday. Of our delicious after-Mass lunch, Bishop Norman remarked, “This is better than a lot of Confirmation lunches I've been to!” - and he was warm in his commendation of our choral music. He, too, has been thanked for his encouragement to St Michael's at this challenging time.
Our Parish Quiet Day, which Fr Derek is kindly accompanying, takes place at The Friars on March 25^th^ , 9.30 am – 3.30 pm. A precious Lenten opportunity to spend time with our Lord, and to seek the prayers and inspiration of our blessed Lady on the Feast of the Annunciation - remembering with thanksgiving her response to the angel's message: “Be it unto me according to thy word.” Likely cost, about £12 per person. Eleanor is at present finalising the list – please check that you are on it! And could you give anyone a lift?
Furniture? Mick, who has recently joined our congregation, specialises in mending and making furniture. Through a woodwork club, he will shortly have the use of power tools that will enable him to tackle more ambitious projects than previously. He also recycles pallets into colourful garden furniture and would be glad to hear from possible customers.
The Mothers' Union Spring/Easter catalogue can be found in the children's corner, together with some order forms – or order through Daphne (01622 686463). Do have a look - MU cards, particularly, are good value, and there are some attractive Coronation and commemorative items. Proceeds from sales go to the work of the MU, “stopping violence, stopping poverty, stopping injustice” in so many places in the world where families face appalling challenges.
Diocesan Synod meets in Canterbury on March 11^th^. The morning session is open to anyone interested, and will focus on the church's mission to children and young people. Details from Eleanor, who can offer a lift to anyone who would like to go.
Contact with local schools is always a privilege and a pleasure. We have had a most appreciative message from West Borough School, whose postponed concert we hosted in January, and we look forward to welcoming Jubilee School and the St Michael's Schools, who hold their pre-Easter services later this month. Oakwood Park Grammar School hopes to send us a team of volunteer gardeners in May.
From Our Tower:
Kent County Association: Maidstone, Kent, St Michael and All Angels
Sunday, 12 February 2023 in 39m (6–1–24 in C)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
6Neil Jones (C)
1st of minor inside: 2.
Remembering Mike Thresh (11/2/2015), R.I.P..
PCC, March 15^th:^ Please speak to a member if you would like something included in the Agenda.
Readers' list for March (Thank you, readers, for your valued contribution to our worship – if unable to read on the day listed, please try to arrange a swap with another reader)
12^th^ March OT and Psalm Catherine Garland, NT Katja Svarts
19^th^ March OT and Psalm Alison Heywood, NT Ralph Baldock
26^th^ March OT and Psalm Eta/Zangi, NT Margaret Gatehouse
Mothering Sunday (March 19^th^) – extra posy-makers needed! Jessica is very kindly making some posies, but as she no longer has a garden, extras will be most welcome. Are there 3 or 4 people who could each produce 6? Nothing expensive or elaborate – just what you can put together from your garden and bring to church on the day? Also, might you (in early April) have greenery or garden flowers that would be helpful for our Easter decorating?