Service for Sunday 21st February – First Sunday of Lent

Bible Readings for 1st Sunday of Lent:

Genesis 9:8-17 Genesis 9:8-17 NIVUK – Then God said to Noah and to his sons – Bible Gateway – The story of the great covenant between Noah and God signed and sealed by the rainbow.  Not just that God would not cause another great flood, like the one they had just been through, but that there would be an ongoing and lasting relationship between the Creator God and all His Creation.  Something God still holds fast to, to this day even though many human beings have lost sight of it. 

1Peter 3:18-end – – Peter links the death and resurrection of Jesus with the ‘spiritual’ death and resurrection we each go through in baptism.  And then Peter makes this strange reference to Jesus going and making a proclamation to ‘the spirits in prison’ who were from the time before the flood, in the time of Noah and the Ark.  You will each need to make up your own mind whether that ‘proclamation’ was to set these prisoners free from the judgement they had been through at the time of the flood, or that it was a ‘proclamation’ of judgement and such spiritual ‘prisoners’ were found wanting?   

Sort of depends how you see biblical salvation working out?  What is wonderful to see, is the powerful link between Baptism and Easter front and central in the life and practice of the early Church.

Mark 1:9015 – The majority of this passage we looked at last week in relation it all aspects of love being about God and those marvellous lines – “you are my son/you are my daughter, whom I love, and in you I am well pleased.”

So many people, in Church and beyond, need to hear this, not just with their ears but in their hearts and in their soul.  What is great is that, in verses 14 and 15, Jesus says “the time for that fulfilment is now and it is here.”  In Him.


Songs in the Service:

  1. “The Wilderness:” by The Isaacs. A country and western approach to this topic that many other singer/songwriters pass over: (20) The Isaacs – The Wilderness (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube


  1. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God:”


  1. “How can it be” by Lauren Daigle


  1. “The Power of the Cross” by Keith and Kirstyn Getty:


  1. “Lord, I need you:” popular classic by Matt Maher:


  1. “Pride – In the name of Love:” originally by U2 in memory of Rev Dr Martin Luth King Jr – an embodiment of someone who learnt how to tap into his “wilderness” space:


Readings, Talks, and Prayers:

  1. “Bible Reading – Matthew 4:1-11” by Ian Stocker:


  1. “Prayers” – by Romany Poppett-Price:


Traditional Hymns and Songs:

  1. “Great is Thy faithfulness:” – Songs of Praise version. With Lyrics: (20) Great is thy faithfulness – YouTube


  1. “Forty days and Forty nights:” version by the Chet Valley Choir. With Lyrics: (20) Forty Days and Forty Nights [with lyrics for congregations] – YouTube



  1. “Wilderness” by Gateway. With Lyrics.  You could almost imagine these words being on the mouth of Jesus Himself during His time on the desert.  Great for anyone finding life ‘dry’ at present: (20) Wilderness – by Gateway – YouTube


  1. “You are my all in all” With Lyrics: (20) You are My All in All – YouTube



  1. “The Desert Blossoms” – beautiful video of just how real this phenomenon is. As if you were really there.  Great encouragement: (20) The Desert blossoms – YouTube
  2. “Ein Gedi and the Waterfall of David:” by Sergio and Rhoda. An oasis and waterfall in the middle of the Judean Desert not far from the Dead Sea.  Will bring back many memories to those who have visited it.  Where King David probably write many of the Psalms not least Psalm 42: (20) Ein Gedi and the Waterfall Of David – YouTube 

7.   “Oasis in the Desert:” by Sergio and Rhoda.  Visiting one of the oldest monasteries in the world. St Gerasimos: (20) Oasis in the Judean Desert in Israel – YouTube

Service for Sunday 7th February – Second Sunday before Lent

Bible Readings for 2nd Sunday before Lent:

Click the links that take you straight to the text (CTRL and “Left Click”) if that helps:

Proverbs 8:1, 22-31 Proverbs 8.1,22-31 NIVUK – Wisdom’s call – Does not wisdom call – Bible Gateway – this is a most beautiful passage.  When people say the Old Testament is full of wars and violence and an angry God of Judgment we need to be reminded of passages like this one.  The Wisdom of God, which some would later see to encapsulate the heart and person of Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit, “delights” in Creation and in humanity and is instrumental in both their creation existing, as she does, before the beginning of time.  The playfulness and delight of Wisdom certainly comes through. How much different our faith would be if we had but listened to her over the years.

Colossians 1:15-20Colossians 1:15-20 NIVUK – The supremacy of the Son of God – The – Bible Gateway – This is the ‘Colossians’ equivalent of the ‘big picture’ story we find famously captured in John 1:1-14. Colossians sees Jesus as the common bridge between the old Creation and the new, between heaven and earth, between Old and New Testaments.  Jesus’ death being the absolute pivot point to it all.  

John 1:1-14 – Probably one of the most famous and most loved passages of the Bible.  Read every Christmas.  In the context of our theme today – that of St Brigid of Kildare and the idea of “Soul friendship“– John’s Gospel provides us with a very real and practical example of how “soul friendship” can be put into practice. 

John begins his passage about who Jesus is by referring to abstract ideas , not least from Greek philosophy, that Jesus is “the Word” not only from God but also for all of creation and humanity.  But , by the time he gets to verse 14, that which is, in the beginning abstract, suddenly bursts forth into the real, the here and now and now of life experience, when Jesus so famously says, “Thy Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Suddenly salvation has dawned for the whole earth, whether not the Church or the rest of humanity can see it. 


Songs in the Service:

  1. “My Lighthouse:” by Rend Collective: (10) Rend Collective – My Lighthouse (Official Video) – YouTube


  1. “O, the deep, deep love of Jesus:”


  1. “We will meet” by John Bell (Iona Community): (11) ‘We Will Meet’ – YouTube


  1. “Brother, sister let me serve you:”


  1. “Simplicity” by Rend Collective: (11) Rend Collective – Simplicity – YouTube


Readings, Talks, and Prayers:

  1. “Bible Reading – John 1:1-14” by Romany Poppet-Price: (11) Romaney’s Bible Reading for Sunday 7th February – YouTube


  1. “Prayers” – Part 1 – by Howard: (11) Howard’s Prayer – Part 1 – YouTube
  2. “Prayers” – Part 2 – by Howard: (11) Howard’s Prayers – Part 2 – YouTube


Traditional Hymns and Songs:

  1. “God is love, let heaven adore him:”


  1. “It is well, with my soul:” cover version of this well known Spafford/Sankey hymn. Written originally in the face of huge adversity. Holding out for hope and faith come what may: (11) It Is Well With My Soul | Anthem Lights – YouTube



  1. “Fix You” cover version of the ‘classic’ from Cold Play by Fearless Soul. One can almost imagine the Soul speaking to the Self.  Shows how intentionally, or unintentionally, wider society cries out with the same voice: (11) Try not to cry when you listen to this cover of FIX YOU by Coldplay – YouTube


  1. “What a friend”– Matt Maher – modern take on this traditional hymn: (11) Matt Maher – What a Friend (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube



  1. “Talk by John O’Donohue – Anam Cara (Soul Friendship) – given at Greenbelt: (11) John O’Donohue at Greenbelt – YouTube


6.   “Anam Cara (Soul Friendship)”: reflective video set to Celtic  beautifully inspired music: (11) ANAM CARA ~ Aeone – YouTube

Service for Sunday 10th January – The Baptism of Jesus

Bible Readings for Epiphany 1: The Baptism of Jesus:

Click the links that take you straight to the text (CTRL and “Left Click”) if that helps:

Genesis 1:1-5Genesis 1:1-5 NIVUK – The beginning – In the beginning God – Bible Gateway  – the very beginning of the Bible indicating how Baptism is symbolic not just of individual “new birth” but in Jesus’ case a “new birth” of all Creation.

Acts 19:1-7 –  Acts 19:1-7 NIVUK – Paul in Ephesus – While Apollos was at – Bible Gateway – Paul in this passage clearly makes a distinction between “the baptism of John” and “the baptism of Jesus:” one for repentance and knowledge about God, the other to enter into relationship and to share in His life.

Mark 1:4-11Mark 1:4-11 NIVUK – And so John the Baptist appeared in the – Bible Gateway – this short passage is full of imagery and symbolism linking together so many Old Testament passages of hopes and dreams.  At its hear however, is the idea that because “the one who will come after me” (words John himself uses) was the foretold Messiah – the link is that the word “Messiah” technically means “the Anointed One,” the Priest, the one who stands as a ‘bridge’ between the people and God.  Therefore, because Jesus is received into sonship and has the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Him by God, so too have we.

Remarkable.  And we will be looking into what this means today in our worship.

Traditional Hymns and Songs:

  1. “Spirit of God” (The Skye Boat Song):

–   cover version by Spatz auf dem Dach (simple clean female folk solo) with Lyrics: (137) Spirit of God (The Skye Boat Hymn) – Lyric-Video | Spatz auf dem Dach – YouTube

  1. “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name” (The Summons): by John Bell (Iona Community)

–   Cover version by St Michael’s Church, Verwood in Dorset with lyrics: (137) Will you come and follow me – YouTube

3.    “Guide me O Thou great Jehovah” (Cwm Rhondda – Guide me O Thou great Redeemer):

– cover version by the Morriston Orpheus Welsh Male Voice Choir,  very moving and powerful: (137) Cwm Rhondda (Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah) – Côr OrpheusTreforys/ Morriston Orpheus Choir – YouTube

  1. “Come let us sing of a wonderful love”:
  1. “All over the world the Spirit is moving” – cover by Squirrel 24 – version with lyrics. As Dinah says, “Impossible not to feel cheered up by doing a jig, sing, clap along with – singing accompanied by jaunty brass band, great rhythm.”  Link: (137) All Over The World The Spirit Is Moving – YouTube
  2. “It is well with my soul” – great version of this good old Sankey hymn, speaking of accepting God’s love into my life. Fits very well as a musical accompaniment with making the “Covenant Promise.” With lyrics: (137) It Is Well With My Soul – YouTube


  1. “You Say” by Lauren Daigle – now over 190M views – one of the most successful songs not only of the Christian world but of YouTube itself:
  1. “Who am I” originally by Cast Crowns. Speaks of trusting in God’s promise of His love and our willingness then to submit:
  1. “Fix You” originally by Cold Play. Amazing cover by “Fearless Soul” – as good, if not better than the original: (137) Try not to cry when you listen to this cover of FIX YOU by Coldplay – YouTube
  1. “Baptized” Zach Williams, the earthy Country Gospel singer and worship leader, describes what it was like for him to reflect on his experience of baptism: (137) Zach Williams – “Baptized” Rescue Story Tour Live Session – YouTube
  1. “Something in the water” – by Carrie Underwood singing about the change that she went through by discovering a new life in Christ. Lyrics version: (137) Something in the Water- Carrie Underwood (lyrics) – YouTube



  1. There are two good “Sergio and Rhoda” videos about Baptism from a Jewish perspective:
  • The first is from “Yardenit,” the “official Baptism site” for Israel, and gives an indication of how personal and powerful a person’s Baptism can be. Link: (137) Baptized in the Jordan River – YouTube
  • The second is from “Qasr el Yahud,” the most likely historical site of where Jesus was baptised, only recently re-opened after the clearing of mines. Speaks of the layers of Old Testament meaning of why the Baptism of Jesus needed to take place here:  (137) Baptism of Jesus in Jordan River – YouTube

13.           Tabernacle: A third very good video that helps to explain how these two videos and their meaning go together – see “Sergio and Rhoda Tabernacle of Moses Replica in Timna Park,” way down south where Solomon had his copper mines.  Jesus is the High Priest who not only enters the Holy of Holies (beyond the curtain) but who tears the curtain in two so we all can enter the Holy of Holies with Him and so receive sonship and daughtership from God.  See Link: (137) Tabernacle of Moses Replica in Timna Park – YouTube 

  1. “Melody Joy Cloud – her experience with American Idol” remarkable young lady and witness to her faith: (137) MY AMERICAN IDOL EXPERIENCE (w/pictures) – YouTube
  1. “The Chosen” – Episode “The Shepherds” is the Christmas Special that started this worldwide phenomenon. “The Chosen” can be obtained for free, either via YouTube (simply type in “The Chosen” or via an App, which can be downloaded to your Smartphone or Tablet.

Its all very exciting.  Details of how to find “The Shepherds” on YouTube: (127) The Chosen: The Shepherd (Pilot Episode) – YouTube

Service for Sunday 3rd January 2021

Service for Epiphany. Recorded live at St. Andrew’s, Congresbury on Sunday 3rd January.

Bible Readings for Epiphany:

Click the links that take you straight to the text (CTRL and “Left Click”) if that helps:

Isaiah 60:1-6Isaiah 60:1-6 NIVUK – The glory of Zion – ‘Arise, shine, – Bible Gateway  – a great passage of encouragement and of God’s future glory fulfilled, in part, by the coming of the Magi.

Ephesians 3:1-12 –  Ephesians 3:1-12 NIVUK – God’s marvellous plan for the – Bible Gateway – a New Testament passage also of encouragement.  Paul glimpses that not only non-Jewish people will come to God (Isaiah 60:1-6), but that the message of Jesus was always intended for the whole world, to go out way beyond the Jewish nation – and this message was, and is, life.

Matt 2:1-12Matt 2:1-12 NIVUK – The Magi visit the Messiah – After – Bible Gateway – the great passage of the Bible from which we get the Story of the Magi.

Howard preached on these passages in two short videos from home.  Please see:

Howard Talk (1) by night: (127) Howard’s First Talk – YouTube

Howard Talk (2) by day: (127) Howard’s Second Talk – YouTube

Traditional Carols:

  1. “Hark the Herald, angels sing:”
  1. “God rest, ye merry gentlemen” – Lyrics Version: (127) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Christendom College – YouTube
  2. “Good King Wenceslas:
  1. “See amid the winter’s snow” – cover version by Chet Valley Churches, Norfolk with Lyrics: (127) See, Amid the Winter’s Snow [with lyrics for congregations] – YouTube
  1. “We three Kings” – cover version also by the Chet Valley Churches, Norfolk with Lyrics: (127) We Three Kings of Orient Are [with lyrics for congregations] – YouTube
  • See also the wonderful animated version by Kirk franklin for the film “The Star” for children and young people (details below).
  1. “The first Nowell” – version by Kings College, Cambridge: (127) King’s College Cambridge 2010 #15 The First Nowell – YouTube

Traditional Hymns and Songs:

  1. “As with gladness men of old” – Songs of Praise version with Lyrics: (127) As With Gladness Men Of Old – YouTube
  1. “Brightest and best new sons of the morning” – Songs of Praise version with Lyrics: (127) EPIPHANY-BRIGHTEST AND BEST – YouTube
  1. “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” – Songs of Praise version with Lyrics: (127) CHESTER CATHEDRAL-O WORSHIP THE LORD – YouTube

Contemporary Hymns and Songs:

  1. “Carol of the Epiphany” – by John Bell and the Iona Community (with Lyrics). Challenges where we will find Jesus in our lives: (127) Carol of the Epiphany – YouTube
  1. “Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness” – by Tim Hughes. Lyrics version: (127) Light of the World lyric video – YouTube
  1. “Joy has dawned upon the world” – by Keith and Kirsten Getty. Cover by Boyce Seminary Worship Collective: (127) Joy Has Dawned – Boyce Worship Collective – YouTube

Children and Young People:

  1. “We three Kings” a version by Kirk Franklin as part of the film “The Star” – great animation fun: (127) Lyric Video – “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin | THE STAR – YouTube


  1. “Song of the Magi” by Anais Mitchell – contrasts the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem two thousand years ago and then also if they visited today:
  1. “The Spirit and the Bride say come” by “One for Israel” – an incredible group of young people, Arab and Israeli, who have chosen to live, worship and learn togetehr by forming a new community “Israel College of the Bible:” (127) Jewish & Arab Teen from Israel in Hebrew, Arabic & English Worship – YouTube
  1. “This Train” version by Ruby Turner and Jools Holland (part of the 2010 “New Year’s Eve” celebrations – video visual quality has been massively improved since then). Great gospel song about the energy and drive of taking the Message of Jesus out: (127) Ruby Turner – This train – YouTube


  1. “The Chosen” – Episode “The Shepherds” is the Christmas Special that started this worldwide phenomenon. “The Chosen” can be obtained for free, either via YouTube (simply type in “The Chosen” or via an App, which can be downloaded to your Smartphone or Tablet.

Its all very exciting.  Details of how to find “The Shepherds” on YouTube: (127) The Chosen: The Shepherd (Pilot Episode) – YouTube

Films and DVDs for Children and Young People:

  1. “The Star” – a wonderful; animated film which is like a fusion between the Nativity Story and character and humour of the film “Shrek.” The greatest story told from the point of view of the Donkey.  Great fun.  Available from Amazon (DVD) and to rent from Amazon Prime.