Morning Service for Lent 5 2023 


It is General Election time!! Exaggerations and half truths abound. Political parties promise a better world, as well as criticising their opponents.

Morning Service for Lent 5 2023 


HYMN – It is a thing most wonderful NEH 84 – Herongate 

1 It is a thing most wonderful,

Almost too wonderful to be,

That God’s own Son should come from heaven,

And die to save a child like me.

2 And yet I know that it is true:

He chose a poor and humble lot,

And wept, and toiled, and mourned, and died

For love of those who loved him not.

3 But even could I see him die,

I could but see a little part

Of that great love, which, like a fire,

Is always burning in his heart.

4 It is most wonderful to know

His love for me so free and sure;

But ’tis more wonderful to see

My love for him so faint and poor.

5 And yet I want to love thee, Lord;

O light the flame within my heart,

And I will love thee more and more,

Until I see thee as thou art.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,
in what we have thought, in what we have said and done,
through ignorance, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past and lead us out from darkness
to walk as children of light. Amen

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen


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.  Amen

FIRST READING – Jeremiah 31.31-34

The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

HYMN – Drop, drop slow tears NEH 82 – Song 46

1 Drop, drop, slow tears,

And bathe those beauteous feet,

Which brought from heaven

The news and Prince of peace.

2 Cease not, wet eyes,

His mercies to entreat;

To cry for vengeance

Sin doth never cease.

3 In your deep floods

Drown all my faults and fears;

Nor let his eye

See sin, but through my tears.

GOSPEL – John 12.20-33

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

SERMON – Keith Atton

It is General Election time!! Exaggerations and half truths abound. Political parties promise a better world, as well as criticising their opponents. In some sections of the press, the opinion is expressed that the young people of today are ill prepared for things not to go right for them all the time and are unable to cope with disappointment because of the information that they read or see, especially on the internet; everyone else is having a great time, what’s wrong with me, I am a failure, I should only experience happiness. With this belief, life is bound to produce very severe disappointments.

In our Old Testament reading too, Jeremiah promised a better world, although in his case it was not through tax cuts but through a new, better direct relationship with God for everyone of the people of the Covenant. Our gospel reading makes clear that everything will not always be fantastic or incredible. But there is hope – the good days are coming, but they are only partially coming – the new world will be both here now and yet not fully realised until the end of time. There will be forgiveness. There will be a direct link with God through Jesus, not through the temple hierarchy. We will now have not rules to direct us but the example of Jesus to inspire us to follow. In school teaching today, there is a standard method which goes like this: first I do it whatever it is (think perhaps of a science experiment) then we do it together, then you do it on your own; first, Jesus gave an example of love and forgiveness, then his disciples tried to do it with him there, finally after the ascension they had to do it on their own but guided by the Holy Spirit and the memory of Jesus.

Our gospel reading is about Jesus preparing his disciples for his death – for the worst that they could conceive – and then his resurrection and his ascension. Without death there can be no resurrection; without the acceptance of the difficulties, even suffering, the success of the victory does not work properly. Without the earthly Jesus’ final departure, the apostles could not grow to lead the beginning of the spread of the gospel, the gospel of the possible creation of a bit heaven on earth for all people. ( “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”) Without Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, there would be no church, and therefore, there would be life without all the help, the guidance that we and all Christians have received and without the joy in believing for the 2.4 billion Christians world wide; surely this is Jeremiah’s vision in action but for all not just for those of the Jewish faith.

Of course, there is much to be done in our generation as in every one in developing the discipleship for which Jesus was preparing his followers in our gospel reading. This has been true, too, of every generation right from the beginning. I ask myself what Judas Iscariot thought he was doing when he betrayed Jesus. My best shot at an answer is this: Judas, like the other disciples, had misunderstood what Jesus was working towards – he thought Jesus’ kingdom was a political one of this world. He wondered whatever Jesus was dilly-dallying about, and decided he needed to give Jesus a very big push indeed, hence his distress when his betrayal did not bring about a battle against the Romans. Of course, there have been examples of disciples getting it wrong ever since the first Good Friday. 

But when disciples get it right, they give us the chance to live lives of which we can be proud. When I was a young teacher I was sold a dud car. (We had very little money, so it was cheap). I had to sell it again, in fact, at Rochdale Car Auction where it had come from. Among other faults it had an over active servo unit and on the way to the Auction it came to a halt with the brakes ceased on. I saw a woman cleaning the windows of her house and asked for help; she gave me buckets of water which I threw over the wheels. With that the car moved again – in first gear only – to the Auction. I like the idea of our faith being like those buckets of water, as something that enables us to move in the right direction so that we can be our best selves, not perfect but at least getting on the way again.

Once when my wife’s life was very unhappy, a very good friend sent her a card on which was the famous prediction by Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”. Perhaps this is the message of Passiontide and Easter.


Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles: this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.
1 Corinthians 15.3-7

HYMN – Glory be to Jesus NEH 83 – Caswell (Wem in Leidenstagen)

1 Glory be to Jesus,

Who, in bitter pains,

Poured for me the life-blood

From his sacred veins.

2 Grace and life eternal

In that Blood I find;

Blest be his compassion,

Infinitely kind.

3 Blest through endless ages

Be the precious stream,

Which from endless torment

Doth the world redeem.

4 Abel’s blood for vengeance

Pleaded to the skies;

But the Blood of Jesus

For our pardon cries.

5 Oft as it is sprinkled

On our guilty hearts,

Satan in confusion

Terror-struck departs.

6 Oft as earth exulting

Wafts its praise on high,

Hell with terror trembles,

Heaven is filled with joy.

7 Lift ye then your voices;

Swell the mighty flood;

Louder still and louder

Praise the precious Blood.

INTERCESSIONS – Kristin Tridimas

Dear God, As the season of Lent gets closer to its end, we look forward to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, as he looked ahead to his own end and rising.  Help us to follow him, to serve him and to celebrate his glorification.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for peace; for the coming together of communities; for love to rule the world.  We live in troubled times, where war tears apart communities and nature gets its revenge on us by more and more extreme events.  We pray for all those caught up in wars and natural disasters and think especially of those in Ukraine and the Gaza-Israel conflict.  We pray that the political leaders of these regions will put aside their ambitions, work for peace and conciliation and listen to the voices across the world want an end to violence.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all those suffering as a result of these wars, whether it is a physical injury, mental trauma, or through bereavement, loss of property or starvation.  Bring their suffering to an end and give them the hope of a better future.  We think of anyone known to us personally who is suffering in body, mind or spirit and pray that their pain will be eased.  We pray today for Geoff Small, David Knight and Marie Bawcutt.  We remember all those who care for others; family members, nurses, doctors and carers.  We also remember anyone who has lost a family member or loved one at this time and pray that they will have peace of mind.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Thank you, Lord, for the benefice of Compton, Hursley and Otterbourne and for William, Warwick, Keith and everyone who helps in the three churches.  We pray for new people to help out (a secretary in Compton) and that we will march positively into the future.  Help us to forge links with our village communities, to be warm, welcoming and inclusive and to reach out to those who cannot attend in person.  In Hursley’s case, we pray that our warmth will be more than just our welcome and that we will get our new boiler soon.  We look forward to the warmer days of Spring and summer and the community events that are planned.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

As it says in Psalm 51, ‘You desire faithfulness in the inmost being, so teach me wisdom in my heart.  Sprinkle me with hyssop, so that I may be cleansed; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear the sound of joy and gladness.’  We pray that the week ahead will be full of joy and gladness and that peace will triumph.

Merciful Father, 

accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
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. Amen.


Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among and remain with you always. Amen

HYMN – There is a green hill far away NEH 92 – Horsley

1 There is a green hill far away,

Without a city wall,

Where the dear Lord was crucified

Who died to save us all.

2 We may not know, we cannot tell

What pains he had to bear,

But we believe it was for us

He hung and suffered there.

3 He died that we might be forgiven,

He died to make us good;

That we might go at last to heaven,

Saved by his precious blood.

4 There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin;

He only could unlock the gate

Of heaven, and let us in.

5 O dearly, dearly has he loved,

And we must love him too,

And trust in his redeeming blood,

And try his works to do.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen

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