Worship for Sunday 3rd April 2022, by Matt Smith


“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry… He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40


Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son (x2)

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us” (x2)

Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)
Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son (x2)

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich (I am rich)
Because of what the Lord has done for us”   (x2)
Give thanks

Songwriters: Henry Smith

Singing the Faith 78



Let us Pray…


Eternal God,

it was your Spirit, hovering over the waters

at the dawning of that first day.

It was your voice echoing through the darkness,

that brought forth light.

God of all ages

Accept our sacrifice of praise


Eternal God,

it was your love that birthed humankind,

and placed them in a garden.

It was your hand that helped them to their feet,

each time they fell.

God of all ages

Accept our sacrifice of praise


Eternal God,

it was your prophets who spoke forth your word,

to a rebellious generation.

It was your Son who showed the depth of love

that will not let us go.

God of all ages

Accept our sacrifice of praise


God of life,

whose love enfolds us,

and spirit fills us,

we praise your holy name.

God of joy,

whose sunrise wakes us,

and sunset amazes us,

we praise your holy name.

God of hope,

whose promise sustains us,

and power upholds us,

we praise your holy name.

God of love,

whose patience humbles us,

and touch can heal us,

we praise your holy name.

God of peace,

who breaks down barriers,

and walls that divide us,

we praise your holy name.

God of eternity,

who has always loved us,

and by grace has saved us,

we praise your holy name


Spend a moment thinking about all that God is and has done for us, and consider your individual response to his grace.


God of all ages,

who from generation to generation

has heard the cries of your children

humbly seeking forgiveness,

and has welcomed sinners

back into your embrace,

hear the thoughts of our hearts,

examine our motives,

forgive us our faults,

of word and action.

We ask this through your Son,

who died that we might know

the true cost of forgiveness.



Reading: John 12:1-8 NIV

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”



My niece recently turned one and as I was a builder in my previous life, I felt it was my duty as her uncle to instil in her some building knowledge. So I dutifully got her a Duplo train with numbered building blocks.  My sister said that she loves them, which is nice, but more because she spent the whole morning putting them all in a box and then taking them back out again only to place them back in the box. Not quite the building techniques I was hoping for but still a tidy workspace is always a safer workspace, I’ll let her off.

Our journey through lent is coming closer to the end just as in our gospel reading today, Jesus is now on his final journey to Jerusalem. We are 6 days before Pentecost, We have arrived a short journey from Jerusalem, for Jesus the culmination of the 3 year of his ministry. Coming to the end of my 3 years of ministerial training comes with excitement and relief, for Jesus it’s the opposite. So we join Jesus at his final public meal. The first, seams a long time ago now, many miles have been walked, many amazing things seen since that wedding at Cana, full of excitement, anticipation and the expectation. Today the atmosphere is different, one of dark and heavy burdens, this isn’t a celebration of life, but looking pain and death in the eye.

But there is hope still. John specifically mentions that Jesus’ friend Lazarus is there, a symbol and proclamation that Jesus’s ministry is one of divine authority, the man risen from the dead 3 days later is at the meal of the son of man, who will also bring resurrection hope but for all people.

In the midst of this meal, we find Mary entering and anointing Jesus with this very expensive jar of oil like perfume. Different accounts in the Gospels say if it was his heat, his feet or his whole body, we just don’t know or if this was the first time it had happened, but there was something special the Jesus recognised about this act. Just as in the start of his ministry in his baptism God, encourages Jesus through this anointing of oil.

The resulting discussion helps us to understand something deeper about our own giving. What it doesn’t say is to not give to the poor. Neither does it say that we shouldn’t spend on salvation ministry, but it needs to be both rather than either. Supporting those in need is part of our ministry, but that must come alongside telling others of what Jesus did.

However neither of these are right if our motivation is to find favour from God. We find echoes of Paul in that Jesus comes to show the difference between the gratitude of grace and love for others and the legality of having to give. Living by Grace, or by the Law.

What can we learn from Mary’s actions?

  1. A Humble Spirit

Three times we are told that Mary was at Jesus’s feet. The first here, the second in Luke 10:39 where she sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to him. Finally we have the time where she fell at his feet to plead for her brother in Jn 11:32. Now at the time the feet were not exactly the nicest place to be around, but even today the image of being at someone’s feet is a sign of humility. Mary recognised Jesus as LORD and in that was willing to humble herself before God.

  1. A Perceptive Heart

We can’t interview Mary like we would not and ask why she did what she did. Even if the gravity and meaning behind her actions was unknown to her, we can understand from Jesus’s response that she has done the right thing, what she was meant to do. So Mary either with a knowingness or not, perceived and listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

  1. A Timely Act

Not only did Mary listen, she responded and in the right time. If she had hesitated and questioned what she thought she should do she would have missed the opportunity. It is right to question things, but if our hesitation becomes deliberating, we can become inactive.

  1. Sharply Criticised

Not really one to aim for but we can learn from Mary’s situation that the consensus of the room was that what Mary did was wrong and a waste, but to Jesus it was right. When we follow Gods promptings, when we life our life for God, others may not approve of the things we do, they may not understand. This can come from outside or within the church, well-meaning fellow disciples who have their own understanding of their own ministry that are put on us. Don’t let others who don’t understand your ministry tell you its wrong.

  1. Extravagance

Mary’s offering was at a great cost to her, but can our own ministry offerings become too normalised and balanced as we lose our extravagant heart? We must remember though that extra extravagance doesn’t equal extra blessing from God. The parable of the widow’s mite reminds us of this.

  1. Fruitful

We are told that the house was filled with the sweet smell of the fragrance and because of her actions the story would continue to be told for generations to come. Sometimes it’s the sincere and simple act of devotion that has the capacity to touch and bless the lives of others and share the light of Christ’s love more than anything else.

As we move ever closer to Easter this year and as we go beyond it, let us remember this telling of a simple meal, at a humble home, in a small village of Bethany on the outskirts of Jerusalem challenge us as to the fragrance of our faith. God calls each of us to act out our own ministry to him with humble Spirits, Perceptive Hearts, with Timely Acts, that can be Sharply Criticised, but full of Extravagance and Fruitful fragrance.


Hymn: May The Fragrance 

May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place.

May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place.

Rising from the sacrifice

Of lives laid down in adoration.


May the glory of Jesus fill His church. (Men)

May the glory of Jesus fill His church. (Women)

May the glory of Jesus fill His church. (Men)

Radiant glory of Jesus, (Women)

Shining from our faces (All)

As we gaze in adoration.


May the beauty of Jesus fill my life. (Men)

May the beauty of Jesus fill my life. (Women)

May the beauty of Jesus fill my life. (Men)

Perfect beauty of Jesus, (Women)

Fill my thoughts, my words, my deeds, (All)

My all I give in adoration.

Graham Kendrick

Copyright © 1986 Thankyou Music



God of all peoples and nations,

Who created all things alive and breathing,

United and whole,

Show us the way of peace that is your overwhelming presence.

We hold before you the peoples of Ukraine and Russia,

Every child and every adult.

We long for the time

When weapons of war are beaten into ploughshares

When nations no longer lift up sword against nation.

We cry out to you for peace;

Protect those who only desire and deserve to live in security and safety

Comfort those who fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones

Be with those who are bereaved.

Change the hearts of those set on violence and aggression

And fill leaders with the wisdom that leads to peace.

Kindle again in us a love of our neighbour,

And a passion for justice to prevail and a renewed recognition that we all play a part in peace.

Creator of all hear our prayer

And bring us peace.

Make us whole.

Taken from the Methodist Church Website, We Pray for Ukraine


We take this time to lift our own prayers to God, for those in on our hearts that need them.

Every present LORD, will you accept our heartfelt prayers for those in heed to your love, comfort, protection and healing today. Will you through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit alive in us, minister to us today for all of our own needs so that we may continue to glorify your name.

Lord’s Prayer

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.


Have you heard God’s voice; has your heart been stirred?

Are you still prepared to follow?

Have you made a choice to remain and serve,

though the way be rough and narrow?



Will you walk the path that will cost you much

and embrace God’s love and sorrow?

Will you trust in One who entrusts to you

the disciples of tomorrow?


Will you use your voice; will you not sit down

when the multitudes are silent?

Will you make a choice to stand your ground

when the crowds are turning violent?



In your city streets will you be God’s heart?

Will you listen to the voiceless?

Will you stop and eat, and when friendships start,

will you share your faith with the faithless?



Will you watch the news with the eyes of faith

And believe it could be different?

Will you share your views using words of grace?

Will you leave a thoughtful imprint?


We will walk the path that will cost us much

and embrace God’s love and sorrow?

Will you trust in One who entrusts to you

the disciples of tomorrow.


Jacqueline G. Jones

Singing the Faith 662



O God, I lay my life at your feet,

And offer you all that I am.

May my feet follow your leading.

May my mind be renewed with your truth.

May my heart be full of your grace.

May my words be full of your wisdom.

May my mind be full of your truth.

May my dreams be full of your vision,

And my soul fill of your peace.

I lay my life at your feet

And offer you all that I am.