Worship for Sunday 27th February 2022, by Matt Smith

Welcome to today’s written worship for Sunday 27th February 2022. As we all gather around the country in churches and homes, in groups, on zoom and on our own, we come together before God as one of his family, equally welcomed into his presence.  Let us begin with a moment of silence to invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us, move us and help us to hear his words to us.

Hymn: How Great is our God StF 15

The splendour of a King,

clothed in majesty
Let all the Earth rejoice
All the Earth rejoice

He wraps himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Songwriters: Chris Tomlin / Ed Cash / Jesse Reeves



God of all creation, we praise you for all the amazing things that you have created in this world and the things that you do every day. We come today to praise you because we believe in your Holy name and the wonders that surpass our understanding.

We come today, very aware how humanity has caused deep hurt to this world and to each other. In doing so it also causes you deep hurt to as we see oppression, injustice, fighting and greed. We recognise in our own way that we too cause the same pain in the lives of others and you God.

So we come today to offer our sincere apologies and ask for your forgiveness  for the things we have done. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, not because we have done anything to deserve it, but because you, in your mercy, made a way for our sinfulness to be taken away and made new again through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In him we find our acceptance and our salvation, in him we trust.

Thank you Lord for making a way for us to come back to you, just as we are, knowing we are not perfect. Thank you for your forgiveness, love and mercy that you show to us every day.

In the name of Jesus we pray


Hymn: Lord, I come to you StF 471

Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I’ve found in You
And Lord I’ve come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love


Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love

Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see You face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As You live in me
Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
By the power of Your love

Songwriter Geoff Bullock (b. 1956)


Reading: Luke 9: 28-43a NIV translation

The Transfiguration

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure,[a] which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.


As I sit writing this, I cannot shake the news that we all woke up to this morning, that Russia had invaded Ukraine. For me in my 30’s this is a scary time. I’m vaguely aware of other conflicts when I was younger that were closer to home than the Iraq and Afghan war, but this is the first that I feel I realise the impacts and the cost of them. It’s difficult to sit in my warm, secure home celebrating my son’s birthday with presents and party food, knowing that people are now engaged in a war that has been thrust upon them. If I were in Ukraine now, would I be able to speak of peace, of laying down weapons, beating them into ploughs and shovels, or would I be taking up arms to fight against military oppression and to protect my neighbours.

In the Old Testament we read of nations being called up to take arms to protect themselves from oppressive forces wanting to invade and inflict their rule over nations. The men of Israel and Judah would often take up arms rather than talking of peace.

The New Testament changes things. Already occupied by Roman rule, the Jews are not encouraged to take up arms, but to lay them down. Jesus’ answer is to let Rome rule their nation, but not their hearts. Should Christians never take up arms then? Surly if this was the case we would all be speaking German having been under their rule since the early 20th Century, surly all Jewish people would have been wiped out. What if Christianity would no longer be allowed to be practised or other ethnic cleansing tactics were introduced? Then what?

Our reading today shows that even in the presence of Jesus the disciples still got things horribly wrong and didn’t know what was best to do. The mountain top moment of the transfiguration finds them aghast and scrambling to keep the moment special. Even at the bottom of the hill, the other disciples fair no better, unable to heal the man’s child.

Maybe be were are never meant to know all the answers, but journey our own individual paths but within the wisdom of the faith and community that surrounds us. Some may wish to never pick up arms against another person regardless of the cost, others may feel that it is on the fount line that they best serve God and Neighbour. However far the battle lines are from us in the UK, whatever our theological stance on fighting is, we can still make a difference. Petrol, gas and electric prices are expected to sour even higher than they were already putting more people in our country at risk of not being able to afford to live. Those who will want to flee the violence from the country will need places of safety while the fighting continues, those who before today went about their normal lives like me and you. Those who do fight and get injured will need medical support, rehabilitation, for them to recover and reintegrate into society including our own soldiers if that happens. Civilians will need clothes, food, medicines and shelter from the cold winter that we are still in.

Florence Nightingale cared for many soldiers in the Crimean war, but most remarkably for the time, she cared for men on both sides of the same conflict. She saw them in their humanness, as in need and discarded the man made labels of enemies. Although I cannot say what Jesus would do with regards to fighting in conflicts, but Nightingales actions of care and compassion were definitely reflective of his teachings.

We may need to come down from our mountain top time of peace in Europe but it doesn’t mean we leave Jesus there. This is where we find the Jesus who would walk the mud and the mire to care for those who need him most.

Hymn: When I needed a neighbour StF 256

When I needed a neighbour,
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

I was hungry and thirsty,
Were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

I was cold, I was naked,
Were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

When I needed a shelter
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

When I needed a healer,
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

Wherever you travel,
I’ll be there, I’ll be there.
Wherever you travel, I’ll be there.
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
I’ll be there.

Songwriter: Sydney Carter (1915-2004)


Prayers of Intercession

Lord God, when our prayers for peace have ended in war, we will not stop praying.

We continue to pray for peace, that in the height of tension and violence a peace can be found.

We pray for those leaders making decisions, those in Ukraine, in Russia, NATO and the rest of the world. That they may make the right choices, not the easy ones. That they make choices to save live and protect others rather than protect their wealth.

We pray for those one the ground caught up in the conflict when they want nothing more than go home and continue with their lives. For those who will and have died already because of the fighting, civilians and soldiers alike on both sides. Lord those are the ones who suffer most, not the leaders who sit in their high seats of power. May they see and know the pain and sadness that their actions and decisions cause.

We pray for those who risk their lives to help others in this, for the moments where love wins through, where anger and violence subside, even for fleeting moments so that even in these places of hell, we find you are still there.

We pray too for the countries that can only sit and watch, but will be impacted too. For those in our country who will suffer more because of rises in gas and fuel prices. Lord will you bring peace soon and help those who have to give to those who have not.

We pray for our own churches, congregations and people that we know in our own hearts now…..

All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


Hymn: Make me a channel of your peace StF707

 Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there is doubt true faith in You

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy


Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life

Songwriter: Sebastian Temple (1928-1997)



May God, in whose image we are all created, empower us.

May Jesus, who knew the pain of rejection, comfort us.

May the Spirit, She who is within us, lead us on to become the change we want to see.