The First Sunday In Lent  – The Great Litany 

Holy Eucharist, Rite II

February 21, 2021

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There is no procession. Maintaining physical distance, the Celebrant and LEM chant the Litany, responsively.

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon us.

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God,
Have mercy upon us.

Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, nor the offenses of our forebears;
neither reward us according to our sins.

Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and by thy mercy preserve us, for ever.
Spare us, good Lord.

From all evil and wickedness; from sin; from the crafts
and assaults of the devil; and from everlasting damnation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the
deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness
of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood;
from plague, pestilence, and famine,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle,
and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and submission to the Law; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; thy precious Death and Burial, thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension; and in the Coming of the Holy Ghost,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in
the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that it may please thee
to rule and to govern well thy holy Church,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thy harvest, and to draw all humankind into thy kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give to all people increase of grace to hear and receive thy Word, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth all such
as have erred, and are deceived,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give us a heart to love and fear thee
and to live after thy commandments,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to make wars to cease; to bring us to unity, peace, and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives,
the homeless and the hungry, and all who are desolate and oppressed,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the great bounty of the earth,
so that in due time all may enjoy them,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings, to do the work
which thou givest us to do as thy servants, and for the common good,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to preserve all who are in danger by their labor or their travel,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all women in childbirth, young children and orphans, the widowed, and all whose homes are broken or torn by strife,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with thy presence those who are failing and infirm,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to aid, sustain, and comfort all in danger, need, or tribulation,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to have mercy upon all humankind,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins,
negligences, and ignorances; and to endue us with thy Spirit to amend our lives,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors,
and slanderers, and to turn their hearts,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; to comfort and help the weak-hearted; to raise up those who fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to grant to all the faithful departed eternal life and peace,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to grant us to be among the saints in thy heavenly kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant us thy peace.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.

The Lessons

The Old Testament Lesson                            Genesis 9:8-17


8Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

LEM:               The Word of the Lord.

Celebrant:       Thanks be to God.



The New Testament Lesson                           1 Peter 3:18-22


18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

LEM:               The Word of the Lord.

Celebrant:       Thanks be to God.


Gradual Hymn: Eternal Lord                        The Hymnal 1982 #149


Eternal Lord of Love, behold your church

walking once more the pilgrim way of Lent,

led by your cloud by day, by night your fire,

moved by your love and toward your presence bent;

far off yet here – the goal of all desire.


So daily dying to the way of self,

so daily living to your way of love,

we walk the road, Lord Jesus that you trod,

knowing ourselves baptized into your death;

so we are dead and live with you in God.


The Gospel
                         Mark 1:9-15                          

Then, all standing, the Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying


Celebrant:       The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

LEM:               Glory to you, Lord Christ.


9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.”


Priest:      The Gospel of the Lord.

LEM:       Praise to you, Lord Christ.


The Sermon: Forty Days & Forty Nights[2]

(The printed sermon text may differ from the spoken sermon) 

Seventy, sixty, fifty…and, yes, forty. Days and nights. In the Latin, Quadragesima – how they love these big, old words – the 1st Sunday in Lent, which is forty days long, minus the Sundays, which are in Lent but not of it, and therefore free of its particular disciplines. Which I did not know, as a child, or even as a young adult. The chocolates and doughnuts I gave up, the ports and sherries and other sweet wines from which I abstained, were to have been available to me on any Feast of the Resurrection, which is what each Sunday is, and prayers and fastings put, for that day, away. Monday’ll be here soon enough, and all the disciplines and challenges it brings. Blessed be.

Forty days, forty nights. Forty lines to the Great Litany, too, if you’re counting. (I think it’s forty; one of them might repeat.) We didn’t sing or say this, either, when I was young, or if we did I don’t remember, since children were sent out of Big Church for the Boring Part back then, especially the sermon, ugh, and let back in at the peace to sit with our families for the offertory or go up and sing at it with the choir while the priest got the Holy Stuff ready at the altar, and we could then eat that fast, get out of church quick, and home to brunch, yum. We even got the skip the “Alleluia” bits and the long, winding Gloria, which made the sausage, egg, and bacon my father cooked so well all the closer on Lenten Sundays. I suspect – no, I know – that I quite enjoyed them.

This time of year also had its blessings: no outside chores. No leaves to rake in late winter / early spring, no grass to mow, no fields to harrow in suburbia, and no seedlings to plant yes, etc., etc. The only risk of a miserable task was if my father has chosen that year to rebuild one of the retaining walls that held up the hill beside our house and, with it, our neighbor’s driveway and Buicks – man, I thought he was so rich, having two – which meant Stone Hauling after brunch, and a fair amount of Earth Digging. I hated it then, but what I wouldn’t give for a chance to do it now, just a little, help my father do something difficult and necessary, having finally realized as an adult how hard hard work can be, and how easy it would’ve been for him just to let it go, sit down in his favorite chair and let the day go by, leave the stones and earth to look after themselves.

Tempting, we might say, which is the theme of this Sunday: Temptation. Forty days and forty nights, fasting in the wild. What did he drink? He must’ve had water or something, and I don’t even know if a human body can go forty days without eating – or even, in my case, forty hours. My mother and I tried that, one Good Friday: fast a night and a day, taking only water and tea. That was not easy. I did not see visions, though I did get light-headed and saw, as they say, stars, but forty days of this, and the nights, too? Imagine waking up every morning to the desert sun and think, “Yep. Nothing for breakfast again. I wonder what’s on the agenda for today?” You guessed it, Jesus: Satan again. What will he tempt us with today? Turning stones into bread, or maybe turning bread into stones – the food of my enemies, perhaps. How about Seizing Power and Fixing Everything? That’s one of his best ones, tempting me to Do the Right Thing for the Wrong Reason. It could be one of those they don’t bring up much in the Bible, such as the temptation to take it easy or rest quietly under my own vine and fig tree, marry a nice girl from down the road, run my dad’s carpentry business, take care of my mom when she gets old, raise a family, enjoy as good as life as I can here in Galilee. God is distant and difficult anyway, as the poet says. Why accept that I’m His Son and have His Work to do. It won’t make a difference anyway, I mean, not really. Just look at them, the people. His people, made in God’s own image. What a mess they’ve made of that image, just look at them. Why not just drown them all again as he did in Noah’s time, speaking of forty days and forty nights, the wretches, sinners not even worth the price of their redeeming. Not by water, the fire next time? Well, fine, Dad. Whatever; light ‘em up and watch ‘em burn, teach ‘em what they need to learn. I’m down for it; just get on with it. I’m dying out here with nothing to eat and it’s hot. Turn stones into bread? How about turn scorpions into roast lamb, get a decent meal at least, for all my troubles? Would that be too much to ask?

You think he comes out here tempting me with wealth and riches, the power to move mountains and alter the casts of minds, or with silken girls bringing sherbet? Oh, no. That would be too easy. Maseratis and supermodels get old once you’ve spun them around a few times, or feel too weak to really enjoy them, which is literally how I’m feeling now in this wilderness too barren even for my cousin John to find his locusts or wild honey. Where did he find them, by the way? I meant to ask him at baptism, before that Dove came down and Dad let me know once again of his High Standards and Great Expectations, gag me. It’s the simple things that tempt you the most, really: eat your fill, take it easy, don’t think too hard, give into the easeful death you’re already half in love with anyway, despair. Big word, that: despair. It’s really not hard to do: just stop believing anything makes a difference, stop thinking that anything we do, that I do, matters. You can’t change the world, and you can’t save the world; who do you think you are? Heck, you don’t even much like the world, and why should you? It’s ugly and mostly cruel, human beings born free but everywhere in chains and nature red in tooth and claw, people worst of all: man is wolf to man, no? Worse, much worse. What other creature sets out intentionally to enslave, abuse, mistreat, rape, deceive, exploit, and then eliminate its own kind? These people, these humans, made in Thine Image, Dad, whom I’m supposed to live to serve and then die to save. Save it? No way. They don’t deserve it, and would only ruin heaven or the next world if you gave them one. If humanity really is made in the image of God, given what they do, I think we Gods better take a look in the mirror to see if maybe we’re the actual problem here. No way. I’m not saving the world; it’s just not worth it.

Forty night and forty days of this. That’s what he went through, Jesus of Nazareth, before he’d so much as opened one deaf ear or one blind eye, read one scripture out loud to the people or forgiven even one sinner who repented. That’s also what Noah went through without even having had the blessing of baptism and the dove to get him ready to meet his challenge. The last, most lasting temptations? There are two: We Can’t Do It and It’s Not Worth Doing.

It? Saving the world and the people in it.

From what? From whatever hurts them, corrupts them, or besets them.

From all of it.

So that they can do it, too, the righteous and the unrighteous, as 1st Peter says, giving to each a conscience set free from malice and a consciousness set free from despair. That’s what salvation means: hope, in its guise of faith, or faith in its cloak of hope, setting to rights that which only we can set to rights, in this world, now and as best we can, in any which way we can, while we can, and because we can. In order to give that to us he had to resist the Great Temptation to not give it to himself. He, Jesus, like Noah, had to believe that what he did could save all the people he was given to save and meant to save. Each had to believe that he could bring them safely to the shore, to start again when that was what that meant, and in all things to be free. Each had to believe not only that he could do it, but that it was worth doing.

May the hope that was in them be also in us, through the grace of God and by the power of the Spirit, who forty days and nights from now, give or take, will bring Him back, the faith that never dims, the hope that never dies, the love that made the world and makes it still. May we also prove, by our hope and in our faith and with our love, that it was worth doing, after all. Amen.


The Deacon or Priest prepares the altar and sanctuary for the Eucharist.

The People make ready their gifts of bread and wine.

Offertory Hymn: Forty days and forty nights            The Hymnal 1982 #150

Forty days and forty nights

thou wast fasting in the wild;

forty days and forty nights

tempted, and yet undefiled.


Should not we thy sorrow share

and from worldly joys abstain,

fasting with unceasing prayer,

strong with thee to suffer pain?


The Peace

The People stand.

Celebrant:  The peace of the Lord be always with you,

LEM:          And also with you.

The Ministers and People greet one another in silence while keeping physical distance.


The Holy Eucharist: The Great Thanksgiving

Celebrant:    The Lord be with you,

LEM:           And also with you.

Celebrant:    Lift up your hearts.

LEM:           We lift them to the Lord.

Celebrant:    Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

LEM:           It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, because in the mystery of the Word made flesh, you have caused a new light to shine in our hearts, to give the knowledge of your glory in the face of your son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the host of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to the glory of your Name:

The LEM says

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

The Celebrant and People hold the elements in their various vessels. The Celebrant continues

On the night he was betrayed, he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his friends, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.”

After supper, he took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.”

Remembering his work of redemption, and offering this sacrifice of thanksgiving,
We celebrate his death and resurrection as we await the day of his coming.

And now, Father, we who have been redeemed by him and made a new people by water and the Spirit, bring before you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord God of our Fathers and Mothers: God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; God of Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel; God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.

Accept these prayers and praises, O Lord, through Jesus Christ our great High Priest, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, your Church gives honor, glory, and worship,
from generation to generation. AMEN.


Now, as Christ taught us, we are bold to say,

The LEM prays

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, and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

The Celebrant breaks the consecrated Bread, and then keeps a period of silence. The Celebrant continues

Celebrant:       [Alleluia.] Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

LEM:                Therefore, let us keep the feast. [Alleluia.]
Celebrant:      The Gifts of God for the People of God.

The People come forward to retrieve the hosts, maintaining physical distance. They consume the hosts upon returning to their seats. They consume their gifts. After Communion, the Celebrant says

Let us pray.  The Celebrant prays

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Blessing and Dismissal

The Celebrant says

           The Lord bless you and keep you.

           The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

           The Lord be with you, this day and always, and give you peace.


The LEM says

            Let us go forth, in peace, to love and serve the Lord.


Withdrawal Hymn: Lord who throughout these forty days     The Hymnal 1982 #142

Lord, who throughout these forty days

for us didst fast and pray,

teach us with thee to mourn our sins,

and close by thee to stay.


As thou with Satan didst contend,

and didst the victory win,

O give us strength in thee to fight,

in thee to conquer sin.


Abide with us, that so, this life

of suffering overpast,

an Easter of unending joy

we may attain at last!


The Celebrant, the LEM, and the People depart, maintaining physical distance.


We hope that today’s service has been a blessing to you.
We are here to serve you, and hope to see you again.
Please feel free to call us, email us, or visit us online.


St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Fairland, MD

12621 Old Columbia Pike

Silver Spring, MD  20904 * 301-622-5860 ext. 1002

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilkins, Priest-in-Charge * 301-622-5860 ext. 1001

Linda Lee, Parish Administrator  * 301-622-5860 ext. 1003

Beresford Coker, Musical Director

Joyce Walker, Administrative Assistant

Lee Mericle, Senior Warden

Rosanne Tingley, Junior Warden


For information about St. Mark’s, please visit our website:


[1] The readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary. See:

The table for readings in Year B (Epiphany) may be found here:

[2] Sermon text © 2021 Christopher Wilkins. All rights reserved.

Resources (available for free online)

These resources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online biblical texts.

Links to church websites – National, Diocesan and our church’s website.