All Saints’ Church Renhold Bedfordshire, England

Second Sunday in Lent – Year B

Hymn  331 The God of Abraham praise (Verses 1,2,4,5)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son

And of the Holy Spirit


Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

And also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

  Almighty God,

  to whom all hearts are open,

  all desires known,

  and from whom no secrets are hidden:

      cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

      by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

     that we may perfectly love you,

      and worthily magnify your holy name;

      through Christ our Lord.


The Summary of the Law

  Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

  The first commandment is this:

  ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

  with all your soul, with all your mind,

  and with all your strength.'

  The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'

  There is no other commandment greater than these.

   On these two commandments hang

  all the law and the prophets.

   Amen.  Lord, have mercy.


The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart God will not despise. Let us come to the Lord, who is full of compassion,

and acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.  cf Psalm 51.17

          Father eternal, giver of life and grace,

                    We have sinned against you and against our neighbour,

                    In what we have thought, in what we have said and done,

                    Through ignorance, through weakness,

                    Through our own deliberate fault.

                    We have wounded your love, and marred your image in us

                    We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins.

                    For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

                    Who died for us,

                    Forgive us all that is past; and lead us out from darkness

                    To walk as children of light.  Amen.

Kyrie Eleison

                  Lord, have mercy.

                  Lord, have mercy.

                  Christ, have mercy.

                  Christ, have mercy.


                  Lord, have mercy.

                  Lord, have mercy.


The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and forgiveness of all                         our sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Old Testament Reading                                            Genesis 17.1–7, 15–16

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.   And I will make my covenant between me and you and will make you exceedingly numerous. Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.  No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.  I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God

New Testament Reading          Romans 4.13–end

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.  Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, So numerous shall your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarahs womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. Now the words, it was reckoned to him, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our do not exist.

This is the word of the Lord.  

Thanks be to God.

Hymn  302 Soldiers, who are Christ's

Gospel Reading                                                     Mark 8.31–end

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

The Lord is a great God, O that today you would listen to his voice.

Harden not your hearts.                                         cf Psalm 95.3,8

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?  Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you O Christ.




I have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks sitting back comfortably on a plane or ship watching a film (normally action or adventure) or reading a book and I have concluded that “Fiction is fun”. It is fun because you get to do things or go places that are not realistic. Whether it is reading a book that takes you to a world that does not exist, or playing a video game where you can to do things that defy human ability or the laws of nature, or watching a movie where the only limitation is the director’s vision and the special effects budget, these fictional things take you out of the mundane or a difficult reality and give you a break, they give you an escape. 

But the issue with all of them is that at some point, you have to close the book, or turn off the game, or the credits roll on the movie. And then what are you left with? You are back to reality. You still have those tough things to do for school or work, you still have that troubled relationship still needs your attention, or facing those financial difficulties that are still bearing down on you. We can escape reality for a little while, but we cannot ignore it completely. In the end, we always get a wakeup call to be reminded of the difference between what is real and what is imaginary.

As Jesus was coming into the latter days of his ministry, he begins to give his disciples a wake-up-call of sorts. The disciples had been living a relatively easy, near-fictional life. They had the privilege to travel with and learn from Jesus—from God himself!—and they never wanted that to end. They loved Jesus and loved that they got to be near to him. Six days after this conversation in our Gospel reading this morning would be the transfiguration that we saw in our Lectionary just a couple of weeks ago, and we probably remember Peter’s stumbling words recognising that he just wanted to stay in that glory with the radiant Jesus and the honoured Moses and Elijah. 

But the closer we come to the end of Jesus’ ministry, the more blunt he appears to become with his disciples as he knew that his mission with them will not go on forever. Jesus knew his ministry would last about 3 years and then it would come to an end. So, Jesus is clear about this and as we heard Jesus began to teach them that “the Son of Man must suffer many things; be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the experts in the law; be killed; and after three days rise again.”

He was speaking plainly to them. No parables, no metaphors. Jesus is being blunt or as direct as he can be.

But as we saw at the transfiguration, Peter does not want to leave the pleasant and go to the unpleasant. So his response is to refuse to allow Jesus to do this, rebuking his own dearly-loved teacher! But Jesus is quick to see this for what it is—a trap laid by Satan to pull him off course—and so he turns and rebukes Peter in front of the other disciples, “You do not have your mind set on the things of God, but the things of men.” 

How often do we need to be pulled up by Jesus I wonder?  How often are we like Peter, not noticing the things God is doing despite our troubles, the good he is working in difficulties? How often do we long for, and even pray for things to be simple and easy and pleasant rather than the toilsome burden that they often are. And yet, along with that, how often do we not forget the promises God has made to us, that good will come from bad, and eternal blessing will come despite earthly trials. 

Let us for a moment consider the event that Jesus is talking about here. Peter understandably does not want Jesus to suffer all of those things. But those events that Peter and the others would undoubtedly call “very bad” in that moment; are the eternal good from God, and it is through them that he would work the forgiveness of sins and give us eternal life. Peter could not bear to see it as Jesus told him what was going to happen; and it is doubtful he could see it while these events were actually happening. But if Jesus had gone down the “easy” path, the path focused on the things of man rather and the things of God, it may have meant short-term ease but resulted in long-term disaster. If Jesus had not gone to the cross, there would be no forgiveness for Peter, or you, or me, or anyone. We would all be lost to our sins.

But God’s plans are always greater than ours, and if he is doing something in our lives, or allowing something to happen to us that may seem awful or even unbearable, he has a reason for it. He blesses our life through the good things he brings to it, and he works for our eternal good through the challenges he places on us. I suspect that this is not often something we would choose, but these are the things of God, not the things of humankind.

But it is hard to kick our natural human reaction to bad, uncomfortable, and difficult things. It is tempting to try to live in the daydream that God always wants to make our lives better. Plenty of television preachers in the United States have made huge amounts of money peddling that very thing. “God wants you to be healthy! God wants you to be wealthy! God wants you to be happy!” By sheer coincidence, the week before I went on holiday I received an email entitled, “Three Bible passages that prove God wants you to be rich.” Appealing? Yes. But believe me, it’s fiction. 

If that is where our mind and heart go, then we need a wake-up-call from that delusion. God cares about us, yes, and God absolutely provides what we need yes. But never, ever has God said that our lives are going to be easy. As Jesus tells his disciples in this morning’s reading If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. We should see hardship and difficulty in this life not as God failing us or any indication that he does not love us. The difficulties and crosses of this life simply prove that he is faithful to his promises and he was honest with us about what was coming.

But as we look at Jesus’ cross, we find the strength to take up our own crosses. Look at what he did for us! Look how he did not hesitate to give up everything, even his very life, to save us from our sins! Look at how his suffering, the events that Peter forbade, gained our eternal rescue and deliverance. If God was able to work good—the ultimate good—from that most horrible of tragedies, is he not able to work good from yours and mine relatively smaller struggles and problems? The God who worked the death of his own Son for our salvation, is he too weak to work good and blessing through our difficulties? Is he not able to help us bear those crosses as we follow him?

This is hard to prioritise when all the world around us preaches a “gospel” of ease and comfort. Why take the difficult path when the easy one is right there? Why be a Christian when it’s far more in-sync with our culture to jettison faith? Jesus addresses that: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. The ultimate example of this would be someone who becomes a martyr, who dies for their faith in Jesus. But at this time and in this place, this is not the most common way that you and I will run into this. We may not always run into threats on our physical life, but maybe we run in threats to our way of life, to our reputation among unbelievers who are our neighbours, friends, our workmates or family members. And in an effort to preserve that way of life or the quality of those relationships, perhaps we are tempted to set aside or water down our faith or our Christian morals or priorities that come from bearing crosses in this life; and instead take the route of the things of men rather than the path God has placed before us.

But woe to us if we continue to be bewitched by the illusion that an easy life now is of the highest priority! If we discard our faith for the easy life now, we lose eternity. But prioritising Jesus and his good news of salvation through his death on the cross; despite any difficulties that comes from it; means eternal safety with our Saviour. 

Jesus put the guarantee of his suffering right in what he initially taught his disciples about his own path: the Son of Man must suffer many things; be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the experts in the law; be killed; and after three days rise again. There is certain victory after those grim circumstances. He attaches the same promise to you and me in our life of cross-bearing. Continuing to patiently endure trials and difficulty and clinging to God by the faith he provides will end in guaranteed victory: whoever loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

Paul expounded on this in our Second Lesson this morning: We also rejoice confidently in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, and patient endurance produces tested character, and tested character produces hope. And hope will not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us (Romans 5:3-5).

The victory of eternal life that Jesus won by his death on the cross means that you and I can bear our crosses in confidence. Difficulty is not a sign of God’s hate, but something he uses to work for our good, both now and especially toward eternity. Today, face your trials with joy and confidence, knowing God’s promises, knowing his eternal love, knowing that you are his now and forever. This is not fiction; this is the gospel truth! Amen

The Creed

Let us affirm our faith in the words of the Creed

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Our intercessions are led by Rev. Ian

To              Lord in your mercy

Respond    Hear our prayer

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Peace

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us access to his grace.  Romans 5.1,2  


                     The peace of the Lord be always with you

  and also with you.

Hymn  264 We pray Thee, heavenly Father 


God of mercy and compassion,

Your word calls us home to faith and Love,

Accept all we offer you this day:

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:

through your goodness we have this bread to set before you,

which earth has given and human hands have made.

It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:

through your goodness we have this wine to set before you,

fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It will become for us the cup of salvation.

Blessed be God for ever.

Eucharistic Prayer (C)

 The Lord is here.

 His spirit is with us.


     Lift up your hearts.

 We lift them to the Lord.


    Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

  It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy,

at all times and in all places to give you thanks and praise,

holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God,

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

And now we give you thanks

because you give us the spirit of discipline,

that we may triumph over evil and grow in grace,

as we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery

with mind and heart renewed.

Therefore with angels and archangels,

and with all the company of heaven,

we proclaim your great and glorious name,

for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

[Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.]

All glory be to you, our heavenly Father,

who, in your tender mercy,

gave your only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ

to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption;

who made there by his one oblation of himself once offered

a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world;

he instituted, and in his holy gospel commanded us to continue,

a perpetual memory of his precious death until he comes again.

Hear us, merciful Father, we humbly pray,

and grant that, by the power of your Holy Spirit,

we receiving these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine,

according to your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution,

in remembrance of his death and passion,

may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,

took bread and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper

he took the cup and gave you thanks;

he gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

[Jesus Christ is Lord:]

Lord, by your cross and resurrection

you have set us free. You are the Saviour of the world.

Therefore, Lord and heavenly Father,

in remembrance of the precious death and passion,

the mighty resurrection and glorious ascension

of your dear Son Jesus Christ,

we offer you through him this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Grant that by his merits and death,

and through faith in his blood,

we and all your Church may receive forgiveness of our sins

and all other benefits of his passion.

Although we are unworthy, through our manifold sins,

to offer you any sacrifice,

yet we pray that you will accept this the duty

and service that we owe.

Do not weigh our merits, but pardon our offences,

and fill us all who share in this holy communion

with your grace and heavenly blessing;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

by whom, and with whom, and in whom,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,

for ever and ever.


The Lord’s Prayer

 As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

     Our Father, who art in heaven,  

               hallowed be thy name;

               thy kingdom come;

               thy will be done;

               on earth as it is in heaven.

               Give us this day our daily bread.

               and forgive us our trespasses,

               as we forgive those who trespass against us.

               And lead us not into temptation;

               but deliver us from evil.

               For thine is the kingdom,

               the power and the glory,

               for ever and ever.    Amen.

Breaking of Bread

Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup.

We proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

  Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world

  have mercy on us.

        Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

  have mercy on us.

        Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

  grant us peace.

Giving of Communion

Jesus is the Lamb of God

Who takes away the sins of the world.

Blessed are those who are called to his supper

Lord I am not worthy to receive you,

But only say the word, and I shall be healed

                     Most merciful Lord,

                     your love compels us to come in.

                     Our hands were unclean,

                     our hearts were unprepared;

                     we were not fit

                     even to eat the crumbs from under your table.

                     But you, Lord, are the God of our salvation,

                     and share your bread with sinners.

                     So cleanse and feed us

                     with the precious body and blood of your Son,

                     that he may live in us and we in him;

                     and that we, with the whole company of Christ,

                     may sit and eat in your kingdom. Amen.

The congregation receive communion


Let us pray

Almighty God, you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended rom all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer after Communion

Almighty God, we thank you for feeding us with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ. Through him we offer you our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory. Amen.

    Hymn  237 Take up thy cross 



Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith,

a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven;

and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


  Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

  In the name of Christ.  Amen.


 Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright  The Archbishops’ Council 2000; New Patterns of Worship, Church house Publishing,  The Archbishops’ Council 2006;    CCLI number – 804157