“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take  up their cross and follow me.”  What are my selfish wants, desires and will? Will I accept the call of Holy Love to put them to death for life?

Welcome to the gathering of St. Mark’s Church (Sunday worship under one roof) Sunday, Feb 28, 2021.

 Mark 8:31-35

31 Then Jesus began to teach his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.


We carry on our Lenten journey, journey towards forgiveness and being forgiven so that by Grace we are born anew, a new creation. Jesus teaches his disciples, therefore you and I, about what it means of God in Jesus to save us, to forgive us, in a world where my wants and desires, my will must be done above all else, even if it means to justify my wrongs. Today, Jesus calls to us to follow him, rather than the path of our wants. For in Jesus is found love pure and relentless, where brokenness finds wholeness, where peace finds its fulfillment. As we worship our God of Jesus Christ this morning, lay before Jesus our selfish wants, desires and will on the foot of the cross, the altar of holy love. In his love be forgiven and therefore receive the courage to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others so that we shall be risen from the dust in Christ and with Christ and made a new creation by the Holy Spirit. Please take a moment to prayerfully reflect. Here is a picture to guide you.

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  What are my selfish wants, desires and will? Will I accept the call of Holy Love to put them to death for life?


Welcome and Notices:


Song: Aaronic Blessing

Praying the Psalm:

In this part of the service we pray a psalm together. We listen in on the story from which the psalm arises in order to pray these words for us and for the world. We will pray the concluding section of Psalm 22 together. Before we do, I will provide some background.

This psalm concludes in a frenzy of praise. The psalm imagines a great choir made of all sorts of people. The vision is one where all the peoples of all generations coming into harmonious relationship with God. God-fearers, God-seekers, people in the most outer part of the world whether geographically or socially, every nation, and even the generation that is yet living are invited to praise. Why? Because the God the poet lives for, is a god who does not turn away from people’s troubles and suffering.  Rather, this God comes and faces it together with them in the thick of it. The praise is even lived out in the poet satisfying the hunger of the poor in socio-economic terms, and perhaps the poor in spirit too.

People of God, the church of Jesus Christ, have you experienced God who is close to us in our troubles? Have you experienced the joy of God’s presence and deliverance? Let us praise. Let us open doors for all peoples to experience the love of God. Let us invite all to the God who is praiseworthy.

Let us pray the psalm together. Please respond with the words in bold.

Psalm 22:23-31 (abridged for worship)

You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him!
For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.

My vows I will pay before those who fear him.
   The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord,
he rules over the nations.

and I shall live for him.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn.

Prayer for others: by Jill White

We respond by singing the Lord’s Prayer together [offering to be brought up during the chorus “Amen”]:

Offering and Dedication Prayer



Genesis 17:1-7 (New International Version)

17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’

3 Abram fell face down, and God said to him, 4 ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.


Romans 4:13-17 and 20-25 (New International Version)

13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

20 Yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ 23 The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

This is the Word of the Lord         Thanks be to God

Sermon Reflection by Jill White

Song: I the Lord of Sea and Sky

Sharing the Peace of Christ: Peace of Christ be with you.

Song of Sending:


The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

The Love of God

The Communion of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all now and forever. Amen