Lent, Holy Week and Easter 


The forty days of Lent are a journey that many followers of Jesus
(and those who would like 
to know more) can travel. Lent 3


Lent can be a time of shaking off habits and stuff in our lives that spoil how we are inside and how we are in our relationships with others.  

Lent can be a time 
of letting go of some of the things we do, in order to make more space for God.
As we travel through Lent, you can find here a weekly resource to help you reflect, pray travel - either on your own or with others.


 

Palm Sunday

Sunday 9 April

THE STORY OF THE FIRST PALM SUNDAY can be found in Matthew 21:1-11
You may like to read this bible passage in your own bible, or you can read it here.
Lent 32

 




QUESTION 1  Jesus firstly sent two disciples (v1) with a task to do (v2-3).  Matthew, the writer of this gospel often links what he describes to the Old Testament writings that look forward to the coming of Christ.  Here he links this simple errand to a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.  Often in our lives obedience to God comes first, and later it can open up the wonderful purposes of God in amazing ways.  Can you think of a time when you have put God first, or acted in obedience to what he has called you to?  How did that work out?

QUESTION 2   Palm Sunday is sometimes called the ‘triumphal entry’ into Jerusalem.  It was the proclamation and praises of Jesus that then led crowds of people to ask questions about who this was.  We too are called to worship and proclaim Christ in both word and action.  What opportunities do you have for your own ‘Palm Sunday’?  What opportunities to we have as God’s people?

Lent 30








A SONG FOR PALM SUNDAY:  'Ride on, ride on in majesty'

SOME PRAYERS FOR PALM SUNDAY:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen

 
True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.  Amen

 
Lord Jesus Christ,
you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,
and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:
give us the mind to follow you
and to proclaim you as Lord and King,
to the glory of God the Father.  Amen


Lent 31











Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sunday 2 April  


THEME FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT: 'Life and Death Matters'   John 11:1-45

BIBLE READING You may like to read this bible passage in your own bible, or you can read it here.

 

















QUESTION 1:  If you look at the first few verses of this passage, you can see that this little family - Martha, Mary and Lazarus - were much loved by Jesus.  Jesus is deeply moved by the death of his friend (v35,36).  And yet there is the mystery of delay.  Our human response is nearly always to do something immediate.  But sometimes, even in hard circumstances, God delays an answer to our prayers.  Sometimes it will not be until eternity that we will understand.  But sometimes when we look back on a journey through a hard time, we can see the greater wisdom of God's timing.  Look for some of the 'delays' that happen in this story?  Can you think of parallel situations in your own experience - either looking back, or perhaps in the present time, that resonate with this?  What is your prayer?

QUESTION 2:  This story in John contains one of the seven 'I AM' sayings of Jesus.  The wider church has a tradition of placing this reading just two weeks before the events of holy week and Easter.  The human and miraculous story of the death and raising from death of Lazarus comes before, and points to the death and resurrection of Jesus himself.  Through this painful episode in the journey of human life, God meets with Martha and Mary and brings wider and deeper truths into a reality in the present.  What do you think Martha and Mary (separately as well as together) learned through this time?

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: It is an interesting study to compare the faith and experience of Martha and Mary, as John tells the story here, with the separate and probably earlier account that Luke gives of Martha and Mary meeting with Jesus in Luke 10:38-42.

A SONG FOR LENT 5:  'Because He lives, I can face tomorrow' 

A PRAYER FOR LENT 5    

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen

 

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent is MOTHERING SUNDAY

Sunday 26 March
You are warmly invited to our Sunday Services for Mother's Day.  
We particularly welcome Bishop Pete Broadbent, who will be speaking at our 10.30am Service.
Lent 24









THEME for the fourth Sunday of Lent = 'A NEW YOU'  COLOSSIANS 3:12-17

BIBLE READING You may like to read this bible passage in your own bible, or you can read it here.

QUESTION 1: This bible passage is all about growing good relationships between God's people.  When we point a finger at someone else, there are always three other fingers pointing back to ourselves!  Read v13 again and ask yourself if there is someone with whom you might have a 'grievance' or need to forgive?  To forgive is to 'let go' and you could do that in a simple prayer?

QUESTION 2:  Read v12 and v14 again and ask God if there are particular qualities here that God might want to form in your life in a new way?  Pray that God will make you more like Jesus in this way.

Lent 18









A SONG FOR LENT 4:  'All to Jesus I surrender'

A PRAYER FOR LENT 4: 
Merciful Lord,
you know our struggle to serve you:
when sin spoils our lives
and overshadows our hearts,
come to our aid
and turn us back to you again;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Third Sunday of Lent

starts Sunday 19 March 2017

THEME = 'WATER OF LIFE'  JOHN 4:5-42
You are invited each week in Lent to visit some of the material here, to reflect and pray through some of the themes of Lent.
You might do this from a distance, visiting here as someone who lives overseas or away from London?Lent 20
You might want to use this material to reflect, think and pray on your own throughout the week?  Could you look at it while commuting?  Perhaps you are able to find a new slot in the week, or each day as you are able, to pray, think, worship, be open to God for the renewal of Lent that he wants to bring into your life this March and April?

You might want to meet with one other person each week?  Or perhaps you are part of a small group and could use this material when you meet?
 

BIBLE READING:  You may like to look at this passage in your own bible?  Or you can read it here, if you are on the move, or it is more convenient.  As you read - recognise how much of a genuine human conversation comes across in what is written.  And if you go to the Holy Land today, you can still visit this exact well!  

 

QUESTION 1:  Read through the passage and note what it says about the woman - who she is, anything about her background.  In her conversation with Jesus we can see that nothing is hidden from him, and yet he goes past her immediate circumstances and touches her at her point of deepest thirst.  She may well have been wronged by others, and marginalised in her community, and yet Jesus reaches out to her where she is.  You may want to turn this into a personal prayer of thanks that you are known, loved and that God wants his best for you.

QUESTION 2:  Out of her encounter with Jesus, she is transformed into someone with a good news story about her personal encounter with Jesus.  Spend some time thinking about those in your life - at work, home, school, wherever - and ask God for opportunities to share your faith with others this Lent. 

Lent 21

















A SONG FOR LENT 3 : 'Bless the Lord O my soul'

 



A PRAYER FOR LENT 3:

Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

 



 

Second Sunday of Lent
starts Sunday 12 March 2017



THEME = 'RENEWAL OF LIFE'  JOHN 3:1-17

You are invited each week in Lent to visit some of the material here, to reflect and pray through some of the themes of Lent.


You might do this from a distance, visiting here as someone who lives overseas or away from London?

You might want to use this material to reflect, think and pray on your own throughout the week?  Could you look at it while commuting?  Perhaps you are able to find a new slot in the week, or each day as you are able, to pray, think, worship, be open to God for the renewal of Lent that he wants to bring into your life this March and April?

You might want to meet with one other person each week?  Or perhaps you are part of a small group and could use this material when you meet?
BIBLE READING:  You may like to look at this passage in your own bible?  Or you can read it here, if you are on the move, or it is more convenient.  



QUESTION 1:  Nicodemus was a 'teacher' (v10) and the gospel of John uses this amazing chapter of the bible to show how any of us can know lots of things in one area of ourife and yet miss out on the renewal of faith that comes from a living and personal encounter with Jesus Christ.  This is a challenge for any of us!  Some may come to consider Christian faith for the first time, and others will visit these words from being familiar with them over many years.  And the rest of us somewhere in between!  You might like to reflect or talk with others about how each of us can be open to new things that God may want to show us or grow in us?

Lent 16


QUESTION 2:  'John 3:16' is a verse set in the middle of this chapter that jumps out!  It is like a precious jewel at the heart of a ring.  It's a good verse to learn off by heart if you have not already done so!  There are so many ways of looking at all the facets of this jewel, but one way may be to break it down into smaller phrases or groups of words and ask yourself, or one another, what these say to you?

Lent 15







Lent 7

A SONG FOR LENT 2 : 'Take my Life'

A PRAYER FOR LENT 2 :  
Almighty God,
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ's sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

 

First Sunday of Lent

starts Sunday 5 March 2017

THEME = 'TESTING TIMES'   MATTHEW 4:1-11
You are invited each week in Lent to visit some of the material here, to reflect and pray through some of the themes of Lent.

You might do this from a distance, visiting here as someone who lives overseas or away from London?

You might want to use this material to reflect, think and pray on your own throughout the week?  Could you look at it while commuting?  Perhaps you are able to find a new slot in the week, or each day as you are able, to pray, think, worship, be open to God for the renewal of Lent that he wants to bring into your life this March and April?

You might want to meet with one other person each week?  Or perhaps you are part of a small group and could use this material when you meet?

BIBLE READING:  You may like to look at this passage in your own bible?  Or you can read it here, if you are on the move, or it is more convenient.

QUESTION 1    Jesus 'FASTED' for forty days in the wilderness.  We should take this firstly as its plain meaning - that he went without food, in order to devote himself to prayer.  Often whenever we set ourselves to obey God in a new way forward, there is 

Lent 12opposition.  Sometimes a 'spiritual battle' that can come in many ways. People have interpreted fasting in other ways that can also be helpful - doing without something can be a good way to break the power of an unhelpful habit.  But in Lent, perhaps the most helpful way to renewal in our lives is to give something up in order to 

MAKE TIME to take up a helpful discipline?  Perhaps you could ask yourself or discuss with others how this might be worked out for each of us as we like our lives today?





QUESTION 2    Jesus was 'TEMPTED' by the devil.  And each temptation had a starting point of 'IF'.  The bible is sometimes called the 'swordLent 13 of the Spirit'.  Here Jesus uses the bible, spoken out, to resist temptation.  How is your personal bible reading?  Regular prayerful and reflective reading of the bible is a great way to build up an armoury that can be drawn on in testing times?  You might want to reflect for yourself, or discuss with others how and when you read the bible, and what you find helpful in resisting temptation?  You are very welcome to visit our church bookstall where you can ask about various resources to help you read the bible.






QUESTION 3    At the 'pinnacle' of these temptations is who we bow down to?  Who do we worship and serve?  This could be seen as one partLent 14 of 'idolatry'?  One of the disciplines in Lent is self-examination.  There are some helpful questions here we can ask ourselves and one another.  Big themes like the temptations of money, sex and power can be things we worship and serve in our lives in place of our worship of God.  Lent is a time to come humbly to God, to turn from sin, and to find ourselves loved, welcomed and forgiven by a heavenly Father who loves us.  But so much more than that - in Christ's new life, we can remind ourselves afresh of Christ's salvation that can break the power of sin and lead us into new life. 


A SONG FOR LENT 1 :  'Only by Grace can we Enter'


A PRAYER FOR LENT 1 :  

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
AMEN






 

Ash Wednesday  

Wednesday 1 March
Lent 11
Come and join with others at St Gabriel's

8pm on Ash Wednesday to mark the start of Lent.

Why 'ash' Wednesday?  

'Dust and Ashes' is a phrase that reminds us of our own mortality - that we are only here for a season.

Ashes have also been a sign of a 'penitent' - someone who is sorry for their sin and who wants to turn away from sin and towards Christ.




Ash Wednesday services often involve an ash cross being applied to your forehead, with the words 

'“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

“Turn away from sin 
and be faithful to Christ.”


You may also want to find some reading or an online resource for Lent.  Do visit our bookstall.  But you may like to look at some of these online resources:

CHURCH URBAN FUND                  https://www.cuf.org.uk/lent-course
 
REFLECTIONS FOR LENT              https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps/reflections-for-lent-2017
 
40ACTS LENT CHALLENGE            https://40acts.org.uk/