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Epiphany 3 - Church at Home


Worship & news from Benwell & Scotswood

David Jones, Flora in Calix Light, 1950

Graphite and watercolour on paper; Kettle's Yard, Cambridge


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This week's service:

The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge the presence of God.

Farsi / خطبه

در هنگام خطبه روز یکشنبه هدفون های خود را بگذارید و به این ترجمه گوش دهید.

یا در خانه گوش دهید.

Translation of the sermon and readings for our Farsi speakers.

متن خطبه / read the translation >


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Every Sunday 10.30am Venerable Bede, West Road, NE4 8AP

We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team.


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Communal worship continues

The Venerable Bede on Sundays at 10.30am.

Read the full message here >

Communal worship is still permitted, but we will continue to assess the situation very carefully and meet for public worship only if we feel it is safe and if we can comply with guidance.

If you are particularly vulnerable or anxious then please do stay at home. Let us know if you are struggling in any way and we will do all we can to help.

If you do come to church please be extra vigilant and do not approach people from other households at all, especially before and after the service. And remember the social distancing guidelines.


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Epiphany 3

Reflection by The Revd Anne Marr

Service led by The Revd Dominic Coad

Intro music

Puppet's Complaint by César Franck

Opening prayer

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


The grace of God has dawned upon the world through our Saviour Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.

Let us confess our sins.

God be gracious to us and bless us,

and make your face shine upon us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May your ways be known on the earth,

your saving power among the nations:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You, Lord, have made known your salvation,

and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May the Father of all mercies

cleanse us from our sins,

and restore us in his image

to the praise and glory of his name,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Almighty God,

whose son revealed in signs and miracles

the wonder of your saving presence:

renew your people with your heavenly grace,

and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power;

through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.



A reading from the Book of Revelation

I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude,

like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’

Revelation 19.6-9

This is the word of the Lord.

(Thanks be to God)


Alleluia, Alleluia.

Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations

and believed in throughout the world.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

(Glory to you O Lord)

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

John 2.1-11

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)


By The Revd Anne Marr

‘The Wine Danced’ - Heaven in Ordinary

In 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stood on the surface of the moon. Buzz took out some communion bread and wine from his home church. As many at ground control watched, keeping a moment of thankful silence, Buzz read from John’s gospel: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Anyone who dwells in me, as I dwell in them, will bear much fruit.’

As he poured the wine into the chalice, the low gravity on the moon caused the wine to swirl and curl gracefully up the sides of the cup. As they looked at our planet earth, suspended in space like a jewel, the wine danced!

The wine danced to the universal plan of God, outpoured in the life of Jesus Christ.

Today’s gospel, in the 2nd chapter of John, we hear his account of Jesus’ first miracle. It marks the beginning of Jesus’ whole ministry and purpose… and it involved wine! John ends his account of Jesus ministry in chapter 15 with Jesus own words ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Anyone who dwells in me as I dwell in them will bear much fruit.’

Vines and wine were to become a sign and symbol of God’s purpose through Christ. This miracle is so much more than a clever trick of fast-track wine production! This miracle is a sign of things to come, a sign of who Jesus is, a sign of his purpose and how his ministry will unfold and be fulfilled.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Cana in Galilee in 2009 with a group of pilgrims from Newcastle Diocese. It is a pretty town and needless to say is the focus of a thriving tourist trade in wine! In a recent period of drought and water shortage the locals expressed the hope that Jesus would pop round again and turn the wine back into water! While we were there a couple in the group affirmed their marriage vows on their 50th wedding anniversary – so we were all able to celebrate with a glass of local wedding wine!

Back to Jesus: who unobtrusively turns water into wine at a wedding when the wine supply runs out. Why?

He is a guest at the wedding and saves the day when they run out of wine, he saves the family from disgrace and shame, and he calms the steward’s anxiety. His purpose is to save us from shame and from the consequences of inadequate preparation; and he comes to calm our anxious and troubled minds.

He is a guest at the wedding and he does not make himself the focus of attention but rather he acts through the service of others: he values their roles, as he values ours. He gives us an example of how he hopes we will behave – not for our own glory, but for God’s.

He is a guest at a wedding: we too are invited to a wedding feast – the wedding feast of heaven, as we heard about in St John’s Revelation account. His purpose is to save God’s beloved people and to call us as the Church to be the bride of Christ in heaven. Jesus later tells a story about a wedding feast which warns his listeners to be alert and ready to respond to God’s invitation. This first miracle alerts the disciples, and also us, to ‘keep alert’ to what is about to unfold.

He is a guest at a wedding and he turns 150 gallons of water into wine – that’s extravagance by anyone’s standard: Jesus ministry was to show the extravagance of God’s love to his people. He takes ordinary water and turns it into exceptional wine. The Steward proclaimed to the Bridegroom, ‘You have saved the Best till last!’: Jesus is God in the ordinary events of life and brings exceptional quality where it is least expected. He is the bridge between earth and heaven.

He made heaven within the ordinary and the wine danced: He is Heaven in Ordinary.

His ‘ordinary’ body and blood will become for us the ‘divine’ bread and wine of salvation.

When we celebrate the Eucharist, when we offer thanks and share in the blessed wine, we not only remember Jesus death and resurrection, we also remember his life, his miracles, his teachings, his grace, his mercy, his purpose in the eternal story and his living presence in our lives.

We remember his extravagant outpouring of wine at the wedding,

that he brings of the very best into our lives,

that we are invited to his wedding feast in heaven,

and we remember that he is the vine and we are the branches,

that in him we can bear much fruit.

We are people of the Eucharist – people of thanksgiving. We are people who live with Christ in our daily lives.

We are people who can LIVE the eucharist in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves; people who, in Christ, can make the wine dance.

Christ is in our midst – calming our anxieties.

Christ is bringing heaven into our ordinary everyday experiences.

Christ is pouring extravagant quantities of love into our celebrations.

Christ is our heaven in ordinary – our mainstay, our loyal friend, our brother and our companion on our journey. With our minds and hearts on Jesus we cannot fail to bear the fruit which will make the best of wine for the wedding celebration of earth and heaven.

Together with Christ, let us make the wine dance, and make heaven in our ordinary!

Prayers of intercession

We pray for the coming of God’s kingdom.

You sent your Son to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind,

freedom to the captives

and salvation to your people:

anoint us with your Spirit;

rouse us to work in his name.

Father, by your Spirit

bring in your kingdom.

Send us to bring help to the poor

and freedom to the oppressed.

Father, by your Spirit

bring in your kingdom.

Send us to tell the world

the good news of your healing love.

We pray for all suffering with Covid 19 and those caring for them and for all who are sick in any way, amongst them:

  • Joyce Phillips

  • George Snowden

  • the Riches family

  • Dee Humphrey

  • Claire Mozaffari

  • Eric Harling

  • Herbert Agbeko

Father, by your Spirit

bring in your kingdom.

Send us to those who mourn,

to bring joy and gladness instead of grief.

We pray for the souls of:

  • Dorothy Northey

  • Erica Howell

Father, by your Spirit

bring in your kingdom.

Send us to proclaim that the time is here

for you to save your people.

Father, by your Spirit

bring in your kingdom.

Father, use us, unworthy as we are,

to bring in your kingdom of mercy, justice, love and peace.

Empower us by your Spirit and unite us in your Son,

that all our joy and delight may be to serve you,

now and for ever.


Lord's Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us:

Our Father,

who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.


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Lord of our life and God of our salvation, Star of our night and Hope of ev'ry nation: Hear and receive Your Church's supplication, Lord God Almighty.

See round Your ark the hungry billows curling; See how Your foes their banners are unfurling And with great spite their fiery darts are hurling, O Lord, preserve us.

Lord, be our light when worldly darkness veils us; Lord, be our shield when earthly armor fails us; And in the day when hell itself assails us, Grant us Your peace, Lord:

Peace in our hearts, where sinful thoughts are raging, Peace in Your Church, our troubled souls assuaging, Peace when the world its endless war is waging, Peace in Your heaven.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore. Amen.

Outro music

La Charolaise by François Couperin

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