1st Sunday of Lent

You are most welcome to join us in worship this First Sunday of Lent. Today our service is led by Rev Robert Frede. This written service includes the readings for today, prayers, sermon, interecessions and an anthem and hymn.


Let us pray.

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.


The Readings

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 9: 8-17
New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 3: 18-end
The Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 9-15

The Sermon

While thinking about the text from the Scripture for the 1st Sunday of Lent, my eye fell on one specific sentence in today’s gospel. A sentence which I have read before, a sentence I have even read publicly in the service before, a sentence I never found very special before. Mark writes:
Jesus was with the wild animals, but angels took care of him.
Wild animals – I get the idea of danger, fear, of threat, insecurity, the feeling of a great need for extra caution. Wild animals are dangerous, very difficult to tame and not intended to be in the vicinity of you and your beloved.
But the desert is not really a place for wild animals one should think, at least there will not be very big ones as there is not much food for them.
But Mark uses the desert with its wild animals here as an image. He wants to show to his listeners how desperate Jesus felt during those 40 days. Jesus was torn up by fear and doubt, he felt threatened – he lived as if he would stay in a desert.
Jesus had a strong experience of faith shortly before we are at our point in the text of today. While he was baptised in the River Jordan, heaven opened and a voice said: “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”
People are scared by less important or meaningful sentences!
What could it mean that God is pleased with him?
You can become very arrogant – but on the other hand: it was said by the Lord, his was His initiative.
Jesus knew from this moment on that there was not much space anymore for his own plans with his life. He was called by his Father, God, he was recognised by him. Jesus had to follow his will from the day of his baptism on.
He had to be faithful and in a certain way obedient to God’s plans and it was not unrealistic that he had to face persecution – and in those days that very often meant torture and death.
How did Jesus feel about this? We hear the gospel and we listen to the words but do we have any idea about how it felt for Jesus?
Most likely he was overwhelmed by the experience.
What should I do? What does God desire from me?
How can I deal with my own wishes and desires, my expectations in life?
Is there a chance to live another life? Is there a choice for me?
It might be that Jesus was dealing with questions like that. And he wanted brightness in his mind.
And he went for a retreat in the desert, a place of silence and loneliness. To think and reflect, to get an idea about the possible direction of way of life and to fight with what we could call the “wild animals” of his life: his fear, his desire, his choices, his doubts about this vocation for him.
40 days – that means in the words of the Bible that it was a very hard struggle. A period while Satan tested him. But in the end he found brightness of life, his life found its balance again.
There is always a struggle before you get the idea that your life is in balance.
And we fear the struggle.
And 40 days – so long? It is almost time for a psychiatric consultation if you feel such a period not in balance  It is difficult to give ourselves times of struggle and more difficult perhaps to accept that this struggle is necessary to be in balance in the end.
But after 40 days – Mark writes – there was a great peace on and in Jesus. He saw his vocation and accepted it. His belief in God was stronger now. And Mark shows us a view of paradise when he writes about Jesus that “angels took care for him”. A very Biblical metaphor to say that the time of the kingdom of the Messiah was near.
Jesus was ready.
Jesus went to Galilee and told the good news that comes from God.
He told the people that the eternal peace was near. And from his own experiences he knew: real inner peace will not come without doubts, without a hard way of thinking and searching, without fights – sometimes with yourself and sometimes with your neighbours.
Because: If you want to live differently – it is not easy at all. Changes in lifestyle, making space for God in your life – not everybody is pleased if you are doing it. But Jesus knew for sure that repentance and reflection was necessary to find your real inner peace.
For that reason he went to Galilee to call the people to repent, to turn their face and life towards God. God would wait for them in his great kindness and mercy. Israel knew that the most important aspect of God is that he is merciful god.
God saved mankind in Noah and his children, he had freed his children Israel from slavery in Egypt, he saved them from the water of the Red Sea and took them during 40 years through the desert into the promised land.
God was faithful during Israel’s history.
Jesus wanted to tell this message to his people – and he tells it to us today.
We are in the first days of Lent:
What about our, about my, wild animals?
Do we want to tame them? Can we tame them?
A first step could be: Facing my own wild animals, trying to see them. And believe me – it is sometimes not as easy as it sounds. They are hiding in the bushes of our soul.
We have 40 days to find them.
And so we could prepare ourselves to enter the Joy of Easter as new people, true human beings – created in the image of our Lord and in a way God would be pleased with us.
I wish us as a community a good preparation time, a Lent with many new a good ideas.

Robert Frede


As we enter Lent, Heavenly Father we come before you once more with our expressions of thanksgiving and praise. We give you heartfelt thanks for the earthly life of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to be a sacrifice for our sins, and to provide a pathway of faith to restore our relationship with you. Especially in these testing times, help us to examine our lives in the light of his suffering for us and his resistance to temptation. Throughout this season of Lent, grant us the motivation and willingness to reflect anew, acting on his Word as a model to follow, with respect to our life-values and personal behaviour.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

We pray for relief from the current pandemic and the ravages resulting from the disease Covid-19. Lord, we ask that the levels of infection may abate and that the disruption of personal, family, community, and economic life may progressively decrease. Bring comfort, healing, and deliverance to the victims. Grant that all involved in every aspect of caring for them may feel the ongoing waves of gratitude swelling from grateful populations. May these outpourings of thanks help provide a vehicle for them to carry on through exhaustion and despondency until more normal situations return.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord look upon the multitudes who have been physically, or mentally damaged, or displaced, by armed conflict across our turbulent world. Hear our cries for peace. Help us to turn from conflict, uniting in a common struggle to address environmental challenges, and to generate the global actions to produce the necessary stewardship of our planet.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

We pray for the welfare of our Heads of State, Willem Alexander and Elizabeth, and their families. Help them to bring calm and comfort to their citizens by their good example. Grant wisdom to their governments as they grapple with the substance and timing of the decisions necessary to ensure social and economic recovery from these restricted times.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Bless the work of our Bishops, Robert, and David. We ask for your guidance as they promote the Living in Love and Fellowship discussion process through the appointment of Jack Mc Donald as Advocate to lead the project.
Look upon the work of our Chancellor, Mark, our Registrar, Aiden, and our Communications Director, Damian, in their support for the diocese.
Today we also ask for blessing on The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, their Archbishop, Bernd, and our host Bishop Dirck – and for the life and work of the Evangelical Lutheran churches of Iceland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Once again, we give you thanks for the attentiveness and support given by the visiting clergy during our interregnum. As we advertise for a new chaplain, we ask that we may attract suitable candidates and that in due process the most appropriate of these may be selected.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father we lift up before you for healing and relief the members of our own communities who are ill or in distress. Calm their anxieties, we pray, and grant to those who care for them clinical skill, sympathy, and patience. May a sense of your unfailing presence inspire hope and trust.
Grant everlasting rest to all who have died in the faith and give comfort to their bereaved families and friends.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

As we close our intercessions, once again we humbly return to our initial request. Grant us a new sense of commitment. Especially during this Lenten period of self-examination may the inspiration of the Holy Spirit guide and direct us towards a deeper understanding of your purposes for us. Help us to listen and to develop inner strength, with a greater self-discipline to pursue the resulting pathways.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers which we offer in the name of your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Anthem and Hymn

The Anthem: View me, Lord – Richard Lloyd


The hymn: NEH 67 Forty days and Forty nights

Closing Prayer

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.

Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us;
in your love and tenderness remake us.

In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.


May God bless us and show us compassion and mercy.