Palm Sunday


2nd April

9.30am                  Duddington  Church                                                    Holy communion (SG)

6pm                       South Luffenham Church                                   Evensong  AR/SS


Readings : Isaiah 50.4-9a
Psalm 31.9-16*
Philippians 2.5-11
Matthew 26.14 – 27.66 or
Matthew 27.11-54


Zoom Morning Prayer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30am. Zoom Compline every Thursday at 6pm
Please email if you would like a zoom link



Palm Sunday
2nd April

9.30am                  Tixover Church                                                    Holy communion (SG)

6pm                       South Luffenham Church                                   Evensong  AR/SS


6 th April
Maundy Thursday                                              South Luffenham

7pm Benefice  Holy Communion Service for Maundy Thursday (SG)



7th April                                                          Barrowden

Good Friday

2pm  Benefice Service or the Word for Good Friday


Easter Sunday
9 th April

11am                   Barrowden Church                                              Family Holy communion (SG)

9.30am               South Luffenham Church                                   Holy communion  (JS)

9.30am               Duddington   Church                                            Family Holy Communion  (SG)                  Morcott Church                                                       Holy Communion  (JS)


16 th April

11am                   Barrowden Church                                                Holy Communion  (Elastic Band) (SG)

9.30                    South Luffenham Church                                   Morning Worship (AR)

9.30am              Tixover Church                                                       Holy communion (SG)

23 rd April

11am                    Barrowden Church                                                  Morning Worship   (AR/SS)

11.00am                 Morcott Church                                                      Family Communion  (SA)

9.30am                South Luffenham Church                                       Holy communion  (SA)

Sunday  30th April

Benefice Holy Communion Service


Zoom Morning Prayer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30am. Zoom Compline



Mothering Sunday 2023: God the Father?

Colossians 3: 12 – 17
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him
John 19; 25b – 27
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
Jesus taught his disciples to speak of God as their Father. This is familiar to us, but it was a step for the disciples who had been taught by Old Testament writers to speak of God as a King, or as Lord, or as a warrior.
Jesus even encouraged the disciples to speak of God as Abba Father. This is not prophetic of the famous Swedish pop quartet, but rather of the close relationship that Jesus wants us to have with God. ‘Abba’ is an Aramaic word, Aramaic is the language Jesus spoke, Abba means Daddy – or at least that is the perhaps closest an English translation can get.
Jesus is inviting us to name the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, as Dad – not to stand on ceremony but to run into the throne room of God and climb up on His knee.
This level of informal familiarity with God was challenging for his contemporaries. Faithful Jews would not even say the name of God as it was deemed too holy to be spoken by human lips. Is it perhaps still a little challenging even for us today? Do you feel you could address God as Daddy in your prayers?
The biblical idea of God as Father may be familiar, even if we may miss the radicalism of the way Jesus encouraged his disciples to think, but the bible also contains passages that use the language of mothering to describe God.
Hosea 11:3-4 describes God as one who mothers, saying of the nation of Israel, “…it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”
It seems God was feeling, as many parents do occasionally, that the care given to children is not always appreciated. If you have parented a stroppy and ungrateful teen then you know something of what it is like to be God.
The book of Hosea goes on to compare God with a fiercely protective mother bear, saying, ‘Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…’ And in Deuteronomy 32:11-12 God is described as a mother eagle,
“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”
Deuteronomy 32:18 even refers to God giving birth, saying, ‘you have forgotten the God who gave you birth.’
Isaiah 66:13 describes God as a mother comforting her child, saying, ‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.’
And in Matthew 23:37 Jesus compares himself to a Mother Hen, saying, ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!’
This language of the mothering nature of God reveals an often unrecognised aspect of the character of God, it tells us that people in the bible have experienced God’s loving care like a child receives care from a mother.
For those who do not find the idea of God as a Father particularly helpful it opens up another way to identify with God, a more feminine way. If the only father you have known was a wrong ‘un, or if your experience of men has been damaging, then having another way to think of God other than as Father can be helpful.
Of course God is not a mother, He is like a mother. Just as sometimes the bible describes God as a rock, but He is not a rock. He is not made of stone. The Psalmist calls God a mighty fortress, but He does not have turrets.
God is infinite. All human language falls short of describing His Glory.
Christians believe that the most complete picture of God is not written in words but in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ – Colossians 1:15 tells us, ‘The Son is the image of the invisible God.’
Jesus was a man, but to say that this means God must be male is to miss the point. Jesus was also a certain height, we do not know what, but he necessarily would have had a height, and a hair colour, an eye colour, maybe a beard, but these physical attributes do not give us the image of the invisible God, it is the character of Jesus that reveals the nature of God.
Genesis 1;27 says,  ‘…God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ So together we are made in the image of God, and in men and women you can see the image of God, even if  imperfectly because of our wrong doing.
Though we correctly refer to God as Him, God is neither male nor female. The language of fatherhood and motherhood used to describe God in the bible is there to help us draw closer to God, it should not be used to drive people away from God.
The Church of England has recently produced some gender neutral liturgy to refer to God. The Church is not saying God is gender neutral, or that you have to use this liturgy, it is offering people who find gender positive language difficult a way to speak of God that can help them to draw near.
Some people find the language of the Book of Common Prayer helpful, some find contemporary language helpful, some apparently find gender neutral language helpful. Jesus didn’t say ‘by their form of words they shall be known, but rather, ‘by their fruits they shall be known.’
The trouble is all this gets terribly political.
When Tim Stevens was appointed Bishop of Leicester he thought it might be good if some of the verses that describe God as a mother were used in the Consecration service, so he asked if they could be included in the liturgy.
Apparently the national press got hold of this and reported that the new Bishop of Leicester believed God was a woman, which of course he had never said.
However, slander is half way across town before truth has got her boots on, and what he actually said was of no consequence to the papers who just wanted a good story. It was also of no consequence to those who wanted to loudly denounce him as a heretic.
All of which was not a very promising start to his time as Bishop.
As part of the ceremony of being made a Bishop the candidate is shut out of the Cathedral and has to gain entry by knocking. As Tim Stevens stood there, alone fully robed outside Leicester Cathedral, he tells how he began to wonder if he wanted to be Bishop of Leicester, given all the trouble he had already found himself in, and the reputation he had  been lumbered with, when just then an elderly women pulling a shopping basket came around the corner.
She looked him up and down and said, ‘good luck ma’ duck.’ Then went on her way.
It was just the encouragement he needed.
What I am saying is, speaking of God as mother can get you into trouble, but then the voice of God can be heard spoken through an old lady with a shopping trolley.
Never use your understanding of God to drive people away from Him. Instead, offer your understanding of God to everyone as a way they may draw nearer to Him.
Jesus offered humanity himself as the perfect understanding of God, and was crucified for it. However, the resurrection shows truth does not stay entombed for long. He did not come to us with all the dread armies of heaven to demand we acknowledge the truth, he came to us in vulnerable humility. If Jesus, who was the truth, walked in such humility, we who have such a poor grasp of the truth should be even gentler.


Sermon for Lent 3: The Woman at the Well

5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
John 4
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptising more disciples than John –  2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptised, but his disciples.  3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria.  5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’  8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’
11 ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’
13 Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’
15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’
16 He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’
17 ‘I have no husband,’ she replied.
Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband.  18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’
19 ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.  20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’
21 ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.  24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’
25 The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’
26 Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you – I am he.’
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  29 ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could this be the Messiah?’  30 They came out of the town and made their way towards him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’
32 But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’
33 Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’
34 ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.  35 Don’t you have a saying, “It’s still four months until harvest”? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.  36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.  37 Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps” is true.  38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.’
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I’ve ever done.’  40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.’
Who is the Samaritan woman?
Or rather what do people make of her?
We are not given her name, but then in John’s gospel people often appear anonymously, even including ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ who is not named but that we learn in the last chapter of the book is actually the author – John.
Some see the Samaritan woman primarily as a penitent sinner. A women given over to sensuality and promiscuity having got through five husbands, and not married to the man she is presently with. A woman so notorious she comes to the well alone, having been scorned by the good women of her town.
In this reading of the story her encounter with Jesus lays bare her sinfulness, and ashamed she repents.
There follows from this an idea of evangelism that involves condemning other people’s iniquities in order to try and shame them into turning to Christ. This does require the knack of being able to point the finger at others while not inviting close examination of one’s own life. As the Apostle Paul writes, “… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
In contrast others see the Samaritan woman as a kind of proto Feminist. The five husbands plus one man are understood in the context of a society where women were regarded as entirely disposable, and the marriage contract next in kind to slavery.
This Samaritan woman had probably been carelessly cast off by men who had exploited her, and now she was left to get by as best she could knowing full well that the main options available to an abandoned woman in first century Palestine were beggary or prostitution.
Remarkably she is unafraid to debate with a man in a society that forbade women speaking in public, and bid them only to go out wearing a veil. She is clearly an articulate woman. Even if she doesn’t quite understand what Jesus is saying at first, she does get it, and she gets it in a way that not even the disciples do, and then off she goes to tell the whole town!
Men of his time and culture didn’t speak in public to women, but in this account it is to be noticed that Jesus does not follow the conventions of his time, rather he speaks to this woman as an equal. There follows from this reading an understanding of evangelism as being about liberating women, and other oppressed peoples, from the structures that oppress them into the freedom and equality found in Christ.
Throughout the bible God chooses people forced by prejudice to the margins of their society to bring a message of justice and restoration, think of Joseph in Egypt, and Moses before Pharaoh, think of God working His purposes through Ruth the Moabitess, or Daniel exiled in Babylon, or Jesus  himself rejected and pushed to the margins by those with power and influence.
So who is the Samaritan woman? Is she a reformed harlot? Is she a feisty woman, not bowed by the injustices of her times, or is she perhaps the outsider who from her distant vantage point with a little help from Jesus can see things as they really are?
She is certainly a good evangelist; we read that many believed because of her, and that she brought many to Jesus in order for them to hear for themselves the good news. The Church needs people like her today.
Most Anglicans throw their hands up in alarm when asked to be evangelists. I don’t know why as actually it is very simple. You just have to able to tell your story – just as the Samaritan woman did. She didn’t go to her town with complicated theology, or demands that people change their ways, she went and told people what Jesus had done for her and recommended they go and find out more for themselves. Evangelism is about telling your story, a story about which you are the world’s expert. What has the Christian faith done for you? How has it helped you? What do you get from coming to Church? How did you end up sitting in this church?
So who is the Samaritan woman?
The Samaritan woman is you and me.
If you have met with Jesus  and determined to follow his way then you are this  woman, and if you haven’t met with Jesus and turned to his way you need to be her. People always imagine the bible is about someone else, about a penitent harlot, about an exploited woman, about a heroic outsider, or a powerful evangelist, but the point of the bible is that it is about you.
If you read the bible and cannot see yourself in the story then look again.
A story about a woman fetching water, how beautifully everyday and human is that? Yet Jesus was there. He is present in your everyday story too. Listen to him, and don’t be afraid to share with others what you learn about yourself, and about God.
To end we are going to hear a poem that imaginatively retells the story of The Woman at the Well, it was written by Chris Kinsley and Drew Francis of Studentlife, a Christian resources group, and I think it helps us to understand who the Samaritan woman could have been. I won’t read it myself as it is a first person narrative and I am not a woman!
I am a woman of no distinction
I am a woman of no distinction, of little importance,
I am a woman of no reputation save that which is bad
You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances
Though you don’t really take the time to look at me
Or even get to know me for to be known is to be loved
And to be loved is to be known and
Otherwise what’s the point of doing either one of them in the first place?
I want to be known, I want someone to look at my face
And not just see two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears
But to see all that I am and could be
All my hopes, loves and fears
That’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for
So I don’t, not anymore, now I keep to myself
And by that I mean the pain that keeps me in my own private jail
The pain that’s brought me here at midday to this well.
To ask for a drink is no big request but to ask it of me
A woman unclean, ashamed, used and abused,
An outcast, a failure, a disappointment, a sinner
No drink passing from these hands to your lips could ever be refreshing
Only condemning as I am sure you condemn me now but – you don’t.
You’re a man of no distinction though of the upmost importance
A man of little reputation, at least so far
You whisper and tell me to my face what all those glances have been about
And you take the time to really look at me
But don’t need to get to know me for to be known is to be loved
And to be loved is to be known and you know me
You actually know me, all of me and everything about me
Every thought inside and hair on top of my head
Every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread
My past and my future all I am and could be
You tell me everything, you tell me about me
And that which is spoken by another would bring hate and condemnation
Coming from you brings love, grace, mercy, hope and salvation
I have heard of one to come who would save a wretch like me
And here in my presence you say ‘I am he’
To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known
And I just met you but I love you
I don’t know you but I want to get to
Let me run back to town this is way too much for just me
There are others, brothers, sisters, lovers, haters,
The good and the bad, sinners and saints
Who should hear what you’ve told me, who should see what you’ve shown me
Who should taste what you gave me, who should feel how you forgave me
For to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known
And they all need this too, we all do, need it for our own.



Sunday services for the 3rd Sunday of Lent


9.30 am South Luffenham Church                                                    Holy communion (SG)

11.00 am   Morcott                                                                                 Morning Worship  (SC)(VC)

11.00am Barrowden Church                  Plough Sunday Service      Family Service  (SG)


Readings :

Exodus 24.12-18
Psalm 2
or Psalm 99
2 Peter 1.16-21
Matthew 17.1-9



Web site alteration for this month. the sermon will be published in the main posts section not on the sermon page .

this is due to some website coding alterations.

Zoom Morning Prayer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30am

Zoom Compline every Thursday at 6pm
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2nd Sunday of Lent: Have you been born Again?

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and for evermore.

John 3. 1- 17

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2  He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

4  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5  Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9  “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10  “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11  Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12  I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13  No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.14  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15  that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Have you been born again?

In the church I served my Curacy members of the congregation sometimes found themselves being asked that question by an enthusiastic member of another church. He would ambush them as they walked up the path to church, ‘have you been born again?’

It was not just the congregation that he asked, he also asked the Rector and I

I must admit the first time he asked me I just assured him I wasn’t born yesterday. However, a member of the congregation told me she had been asked and was not quite sure how to answer. On inquiring it turned out that many in the congregation did not know what to say in answer to the question, ‘have you been born again?’

It is a question that Christians need to be able to answer, even if they shouldn’t be harassed on the way into church.

The question refers to Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John chapter 3 where Jesus tells Nicodemus that he ‘must be born again’.

It is unfortunate that the idea of being born again has been claimed by the more evangelical parts of the Church to the exclusion of the wider Church. If someone asks, ‘have you been born again?’, it may well reflect a particular understanding of this passage of scripture, the idea that one must have converted decisively at a particular time and place to be a Christian. In such an account it is not enough to have been brought up as a Christian or to attend Church, one must have had a conversion experience. This is what was confusing the members of my previous congregation; the passage of scripture was not being used in a way familiar to their tradition.

Poor Nicodemus was similarly puzzled by Christ’s use of the phrase, the only context he had for it was literal and gynaecological, and that understandably did not seem a realistic option.

The character who kept asking members of my previous church if they had been ‘born again’ had experienced a dramatic conversion. He told of how he had been driving along in his car and having had no interest in Christianity suddenly become overwhelmingly aware of the love of God.

I have no doubt that his account was sincere. I have heard many such accounts of God intervening in people’s lives and they are marvellous and moving, but that is not how God deals with everyone. It is a mistake to think that your walk with God is the only possible walk with God, and all should follow in your footsteps. The only footsteps Christians should be following are those of Jesus.

The ‘dramatic conversion’ understanding of Christianity causes difficulty for those who, like myself, have had no defining moment of change in their lives.

I grew up in a Christian household and attended varied nonconformist Evangelical and Charismatic churches, full of born again enthusiasts. I will be forever grateful to the faithful Christians of those churches who by their example and teaching helped me along the way, but they did such a good job that I had no need of a dramatic conversion. I have self identified as a Christian as long as I have been conscious of my being. I remember as a seven year old saying the little prayer that I had been taught you had to say to be a Christian, but knowing I already was.

I once heard a preacher describe his conversion experience, he said it was like travelling on a train across a border, at some point he clearly had crossed that border, but he was not aware at the time of doing so.

The liturgy of the Anglican Confirmation service allows room for this understanding of conversion, when the Bishop asks, ‘do you turn to Christ’, the Bishop is not asking for an on the spot decision, the Bishop is asking for a public declaration of a decision that has already been taken.

So, have you been born again?

You do need to be able to answer this question, not just in case some keen Evangelical corners you, but because Jesus commands that we be born again.

This may help – the word ‘again’ in ‘you must be born again’ in the original Greek of the New Testament is ‘anóthen’. If you take the word ‘above’ and compact it in to the phrase ‘from the beginning’ then you begin to get an idea of ‘anóthen’ – a word which has no easy English equivalent.

You must be born anóthen – ‘from the beginning, from above.’

So let us turn to the beginning, to Genesis where we read that we are created in the image of God. The story is we are created good, but we go bad. The wrong we do in our life disfigures our divine created image, so Jesus came from above, the perfect image of the invisible God, to show us how the image of God may be restored in us.

A restoration symbolised in the waters of baptism. Jesus tells Nicodemus ‘no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’

In chapter 2 of Acts Peter explains further,

“Repent, and be baptised…in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls.”

‘All who are far away’ – that is you and me.

Baptism and repentance bring new birth; continued repentance brings maturity. Good Christians should always be a work in progress. To repent means to think again, to stop going your own way and start going God’s way. It is about our direction of travel, remember Jesus said that he was ‘the way, the truth and the life’, and early Christians were known as the ‘Followers of the Way.’

I don’t know about you, but I have to continually repent, to continually reset my direction as I wander off the path, but baptism gives me the reassurance that God’s forgiveness is infinite.

Actually when I say ‘I don’t know about you’ that’s disingenuous, I do know about you. I know that each one of us needs to lead lives of repentance, to be constantly checking our moral compass so we continue on the way. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans chapter 3,’ … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’

This is why it is so useful to know you are born again, because the evidence of your life will not support the notion that you are holy. When you wonder off the path again and again you may well begin to wonder, ‘am I beyond salvation?’ Have I been too bad?

Thanks be to God, it is not our holiness that saves but Christ’s. We receive Christ’s holiness when we accept that our own is woefully insufficient and turn to him. Being born again means that you have grasped this, that you know you have exchanged your own poor rags for the glorious garment given by Christ, a garment you may well get dirty along the way but Jesus is there to clean you up and set you straight again.

Jesus tells Nicodemus, ‘…God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’

In Jesus God does not seek to condemn you, He seeks to save you. Do not then condemn yourself. If your Christianity causes you to condemn others, or yourself, then you are doing it wrong. If God did not send His Son into the world to condemn, I doubt he sent you. Trust that you have been born again; know that the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus can save not just you but the whole world, and all of creation.

Those who have turned to walk in the way of Jesus have entered into eternal life, they have been saved, and are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. So thank God that you are born again, and keep focused on Him so that the Spirit may continue the work of restoring in you the image of God.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

From the beginning, from above.




Benefice Services for the  second  Sunday of Lent


9.30am  Duddington  Church                   Holy communion (SG)

6.00 pm   South Luffenham Church         Evensong  (AR/SS)

Readings :

Genesis 12.1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4.1-5,13-17
John 3.1-17



Web site alteration for this month. The sermon will be published in the main posts section not on the sermon page .

this is due to some website coding alterations.


Weekday Services.

  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.,
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom





Date                     Barrowden                   South Luffenham                  Morcott            Duddington                      Tixover
5th Mar                                                         6.oopm                                                                9.30am

Evensong AR/SS                                          Holy communion  (SG)

12 th Mar                11.00am                          9.30 am                                    11.00pm

Family Service                  Holy Communion                         Morning worship  (SC/VC)

(SG)                            (SG)                                           (SC/VC)

19 th Mar          11.00am                         9.30am                                                                                                     9.30am

Mothering     Holy Communion    Morning worship (AR)                                                                       Holy communion
Sunday                 (SG)                                                                                                                                                (SG)


Sun                      11.00am                         9.30am                                      11.00am
26 th Mar      Morning Worship      Family Holy communion            Holy communion

(AR/SS)                         (SG)                                             (SG)



Web site alteration for this month. the sermon will be published in the main posts section not on the sermon page .

this is due to some website coding alterations.

Zoom Morning Prayer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30am

Zoom Compline every Thursday at 6pm
Please email if you would like a zoom link





Sunday Services for the second Sunday before Lent


9.30 am  South Luffenham Church         Holy communion  (SG)


Readings : Genesis 1.1 – 2.3
Psalm 136 or
Psalm 136.1-9,23-26
Romans 8.18-25
Matthew 6.25-34


Weekday Services.

  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.,
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom