On the fifth Sunday in Lent and Passion Sunday we were privileged to have Mr Mark Savill lead our morning’s worship. Mark was given a warm welcome and the service started  with some words from Isaiah 53, relating to the suffering of Jesus, captured, and whipped by the Romans, “because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did”, said Isaiah.

With Neil Barnett on our new organ we sang “Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy…your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day” following which we were led in prayers of praise, adoration, and confession. The first of the two bible readings this morning came from John 12, telling the story of Jesus eating dinner at the home of Lazarus in Bethany, and his sister Mary pouring expensive perfume over his feet and wiping them with her hair; and the second from Philippians, chapter three, in which Paul writes about true righteousness as opposed to mere obeyance of the Law.

“A price worth paying and a prize worth winning” was the theme of Mark’s sermon and he began by recounting the story of the Welsh 15-year-old, Mary Jones, and her bible from around the year 1800. Mary saved for six years to buy her bible and walked through the Welsh hills 26 miles to buy it as the memorial says. A prize worth winning. Mark pondered on the act of love and worship which Mary showed as she anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive oil and which Jesus accepted in grace and humility foretelling his death at the same time. Paul similarly tells the Philippians, that whilst he was a Jew of high rank, all his obeyance of the law was of nothing compared with the true faith he now had in Jesus Christ, saying forget the past and look to the future for what lies ahead is a prize worth winning.

Mark led our prayers for others particularly those suffering in acts of war before our service concluded as we sang the great Victorian hymn “O Jesus, I have promised to serve thee to the end” followed by the Benediction.