Second Before Lent

SECOND SUNDAY BEFORE LENT Hymns 440, 205, 305, 362

FIRST READING Proverbs 8.1,22-31 Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth— when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.


Response: Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

O Lord, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you have made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures. R

Yonder is the great and wide sea, with its living things too many to number, creatures both small and great.

There move the ships, and there is that Leviathan, which you have made for the sport of it. R

All of them look to you to give them their food in due season.

You give it to them, they gather it; you open your hand and they are filled with good things.

You hide your face and they are terrified; you take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust. R

You send forth your Spirit and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in all his works.

He looks at the earth and it trembles; he touches the mountains and they smoke. R

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being.

May these words of mine please him; I will rejoice in the Lord.

Let sinners be consumed out the earth, and the wicked be no more.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. Alleluia! R

SECOND READING Colossians 1.15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

GOSPEL John 1.1-14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

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A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

We all look forward to welcoming Fr John Ainslie as our new Vicar. On 21st March at 7 pm, Fr John will be licensed to our parish by Bishop Rose and installed by Archdeacon Andrew. Bishop Norman will be the preacher. Don't miss this very important and joyful occasion in the life of St Michael's! Can you think of anything you can do to help, particularly with the refreshments afterwards? Please see Alison P. or Sue, who will welcome ideas and offers of assistance. If anyone missed last week's letter to us from Fr John, there are spare copies at the back of church – do pick one up before you leave! Everyone connected with St Michael's is of course invited to the Licensing Service and the refreshments, but formal invitations to visitors are going out at present, and if you know anyone from outside the congregation who would like to be invited, please give details to Eleanor.

Thank you from Eleanor to all the wonderful people who planned and assembled last Sunday's memorable party. It was an amazing occasion and she hopes everyone else enjoyed it as much as she did. Thank you from us all to Martyn, who has brilliantly adapted the Big Six candles on the high altar to be less messy and more economical. See if you can spot the difference!

Please pray for Lee and for William S., who will be confirmed by the Bishop of Richborough on Sunday, February 11th, at St John's, Higham. As Fr Paul Matthias will be going to Higham to present them, our celebrant that day will be Fr Paul Kish, who has kindly agreed to face a crowded morning in order to come over from Yalding and be with us. Thank you to both Fr Pauls!

Friends of Oaken Wood: this new charity will be launched at a meeting at St Andrew's Church on Tuesday 6th February, 7-9pm. The aim is to protect and promote the wood and, in particular, to prevent its being turned into a quarry. Membership of the charity is free: visit

Help for Ukraine: Simon at 27, Maryland Drive, Barming, ME16 9EN is once more collecting much-needed medical and veterinary supplies (even if partly used) and animal foodstuffs for Ukraine. Walking aids, wheelchairs, clean old towels and duvet covers, and single quilts (not with feathers) are also very welcome.

From Our Tower: Kent County Association Maidstone, Kent - St Michael and All Angels

Friday, 26 January 2024 in 39m (6–1–24 in C)

1296 Lincoln Surprise Minor

  1. Jacqueline Barlow
  2. Janice Byrne
  3. Stephen Coaker
  4. Mark Elvers
  5. Pam Thomas
  6. Neil Jones (C)

Rung on the Saints' Day of Timothy and Titus, companions of Paul.

150th together: 5 & 6.

Sunday, 28 January 2024 in 45m (6–1–24 in C)

1280 Superlative Surprise Major

  1. Pam Thomas
  2. Philip Jarvis
  3. Jacqueline Barlow
  4. Janice Byrne
  5. Jane L Kostelnyk
  6. Mark Elvers
  7. Mike Birkbeck
  8. Neil Jones (C)

Rung on the Saint's Day of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Philosopher and Teacher of the Faith, 1274.

Lent is closer than we think! Ash Wednesday is on February 14th - and on Sunday, February 25th, we are having a Frugal Lunch, for which Alison P. will be happy to receive offers of help.

A chance of a Lent Quiet Afternoon at Capel on Saturday 2nd March with a party from Yalding – tbc at present, but further information from Fr Paul Kish when he joins us on February 11th.

Holy Week 2024 will be special – because it is Holy Week, obviously, but also:- it will be Fr John's first Holy Week with us; Bishop Norman's last Chrism Mass will take place at the Cathedral on the Tuesday; and the Archbishop of Canterbury is planning a Holy Week visit to Maidstone. Let's plan to be around for as much of this special Week as we can.