Let us come to hear the Good News, to love one another as we share our lives with others.
You may like to light a candle at this time.
God’s truth is revealed in Jesus Christ the light of the world. May the light shine for the hope of the world.
As we begin, it is appropriate to recognise that this great land has been home to our first nations peoples for many thousands of years. Let us also acknowledge those Aboriginal peoples who are the first inhabitants of the regions in which we dwell, and honour them for their care of the land.
The opening song is, “I will trust you in the darkness”, courtesy of Emu Music. It is from their new album ‘Joy In Sorrow’ album, which is a collection of songs for God’s people to call to him in sorrow and cry out to him in praise.If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
God, we come with hesitant steps and uncertain motives to sweep out the corners where muck has accumulated, and uncover the ways we have strayed from Your truth.
Expose the empty and barren places where we don’t allow you to enter. Reveal our half-hearted struggles where we have been indifferent to the suffering of others.
Nurture the faint stirrings of new life, where your spirit has begun to grow. Let your healing light transform us into the image of Your Son. For You alone can bring new life and make us hole.
From the Bible
The Bible reading for today is from the Gospel of Matthew. The words of the reading are below. There is also a video of a dramatic re-enactment of the Gospel reading underneath.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.
The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Here is the dramatic re-enactment of the Gospel reading by Saddleback Kids. If you have trouble connecting you can go directly to YouTube at:
The message is brought to you by Mark Faulkner from the Saltbush Community. We come to the first Sunday in Lent – those 40 days before Easter. Lent is a season of reflection as we remind ourselves of Jesus’ journey to the cross, alongside both our own mortality and faith. We ponder together the place of wilderness in the life of Jesus and also remind ourselves of the wilderness times of our own lives and others.
I wonder what you have heard and thought from the Word today for yourself? What do you see as the significance of this time of wilderness for Jesus? How have any wilderness times in your own life been important for your faith?
Before a time of prayer you may like to spend some time in silence sitting still. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Simply be still and open to God. You may prefer to do this while listening to the ‘Optional reflective music’ below.
Optional reflective music
The reflective music is, ‘Hear me, Lord’, compliments of Emu Music. If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
Sit comfortably, be still and gently pray:
‘I place myself in your presence O Lord, my God.”
When you are ready…slowly trace the labyrinth below with a finger, use a finger on the hand that you do not write with, just let your thoughts come to the surface and let them flow… Jesus is with you every step of the way, you are never alone. You are always loved by God.
When you reach the centre…consider your thoughts…
…stay in the centre for a while and spend some time in prayer and reflection receiving God’s love and blessing.
When you are ready…return along the same path… return gratefully, prayerfully … you might like to sing or say aloud.
As you exit the labyrinth give thanks and praise to God:
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
Go out into the world, to love and serve the Lord. Bless us and the people we meet along the way. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The closing song is the welsh hymn, “Guide me, O thou great Redeemer”. It is sung by the ‘St. Michaels’ singers’ with trumpets blazing. If you have problems connecting, try this direct link to YouTube:
Poem by Mother Theresa
“We cannot find God in noise and agitation.
Nature: trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence.
The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence.
What is essential is not what we say
but what God tells us and what He tells others through us.
In silence He listens to us;
in silence He speaks to our souls.
In silence we are granted
the privilege of listening to His voice.
Silence of our eyes.
Silence of our ears.
Silence of our mouths.
Silence of our minds.
…in the silence of the heart
God will speak.”
The ‘message’ is from the Saltbush service for this week, which can be found at:
The opening prayer is based on a prayer posted on Godspace.