22 March 2020 Lent 3

Sentence: ‘I am the light of the world,’ says the Lord; ‘those who follow me will have the light of life.’              John 8:12

Collect: Gracious God, in order that we children of earth might discern good from evil you sent your Son to be the light of the world: as the light of Christ shines upon us, may we learn what pleases you, and live in truth and goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A reading from the first book of Samuel 16:1-13

1The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’ 2But Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.’ The Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.’ 4Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, ‘Do you come in peace?’ 5Samuel replied, ‘Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.’ Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’ 7But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ 8Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, ‘The Lord has not chosen this one either.’ 9Jesse then made Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, ‘Nor has the Lord chosen this one.’ 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ 11So he asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ ‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse answered. ‘He is tending the sheep.’ Samuel said, ‘Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.’ 12So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; this is the one.’ 13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

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A reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 5:8-14

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’

The Gospel according to St John, Chapter  9: 1-41.

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6After saying this, he spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 8His neighbours and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, ‘Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?’ 9Some claimed that he was. Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ But he himself insisted, ‘I am the man.’ 10‘How then were your eyes opened?’ they asked. 11He replied, ‘The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.’ 12‘Where is this man?’ they asked him. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. 13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. ‘He put mud on my eyes,’ the man replied, ‘and I washed, and now I see.’ 16Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.’ But others asked, ‘How can a sinner perform such signs?’ So they were divided. 17Then they turned again to the blind man, ‘What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ The man replied, ‘He is a prophet.’ 18They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19‘Is this your son?’ they asked. ‘Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?’ 20‘We know he is our son,’ the parents answered, ‘and we know he was born blind. 21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.’ 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’ 24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. ‘Give glory to God by telling the truth,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner.’ 25He replied, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!’ 26Then they asked him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27He answered, ‘I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’ 28Then they hurled insults at him and said, ‘You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.’ 30The man answered, ‘Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34To this they replied, ‘You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!’ And they threw him out. 35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ 36‘Who is he, sir?’ the man asked. ‘Tell me so that I may believe in him.’ 37Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ 38Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshipped him. 39Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’ 40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, ‘What? Are we blind too?’ 41Jesus said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains