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This week's readings & prayers

Sunday 16th February

Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 (selected verses)

This poetic account of creation, probably composed by priests during the Exile in the 6th century BCE, contrasts strongly with the popular Babylonian creation stories about fights between gods. The God of the Jews brings order out of chaos and pronounces his creating activity, ‘Good’.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth.’ And it was so. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights - the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night - and the stars. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in his image; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. See, I have given you every plant yielding seed, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.

Matthew 6:25-34   

Jesus taught the disciples, saying ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’

Next week's readings (23rd February)

Exodus 24:12-18

Matthew 17:1-9

Collect

Almighty God, give us reverence for all creation

and respect for every person, that we may mirror your likeness

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Prayer after Communion:

God our creator, by your gift the tree of life

was set at the heart of the earthly paradise,

and the bread of life at the heart of your Church:

may we who have been nourished at your table on earth

be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross

and enjoy the delights of eternity;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.   

Please remember in your prayers this week:

Members of our congregations unable to attend today.

Those who are sick or suffering, especially Margaret Marsden, Judy Atterbury, Rachel Gardner and Beckie Cooper.

The recently bereaved, especially the friends and relatives of Brian Allen, Ruth Wilson-Brindley, Philip Lynn, Rutha Titterton, Irene Reed, Tessa Howgate (Amanda’s mum), Elizabeth Mudford, John Peregrine, Graham Irvine, Desmond Brownlee, Arthur Bloxham and Kenneth Titterton.