2020 ‘LOCKDOWN’ WORSHIP ARCHIVE

YOUR SUNDAY WORSHIP FOR

United Benefice of St Michael and St Mary
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
SUNDAY 17th  MAY 2020

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE, CLICK HERE.

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Collect

God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us
to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Reading: Acts 17, 22-31 – Paul speaks in front of the Areopagus

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said,

“For we too are his offspring.”

Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

 
Hymn – O Jesus, I have promised

Click here to listen
O Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end;
be thou forever near me,
my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
if thou art by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if thou wilt be my guide.

O let me hear thee speaking
in accents clear and still
above the storms of passion,
the murmurs of self-will.
O speak to reassure me,
to hasten or control;
O speak and make me listen,
thou guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, thou hast promised
to all who follow thee,
that where thou art in glory
there shall thy servant be;
and, Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
my Master and my Friend.

Psalm 66, 7 to end  – Praise for God’s goodness to Israel

Bless our God, O you peoples;
make the voice of his praise to be heard;

Who holds our souls in life,
and will not allow our feet to slip.

For you, O God, have proved us;
you have tried us just as silver is tried.

You brought us into the snare;
you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.

You let enemies ride over our heads; we went through fire and water;
but you brought us out into a place of refreshment.

I will enter your house with burnt-offerings and will pay you my vows,
which I promised with my lips and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble.

I will offer you sacrifices of fat beasts with the smoke of rams;
I will give you oxen and goats.

Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he has done for me.

I called out to him with my mouth,
and his praise was on my tongue.

If I had found evil in my heart,
the Lord would not have heard me,

But in truth God has heard me;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer,
nor withheld his love from me.

Anthem: I give to you a new commandment – Peter Nardone (Contemporary)

Click here to listen

I give unto you a new commandment
that you love one another as I have loved you.

Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est,
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.

Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero. Amen

[Where charity truly is, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in him.

Let us fear, and let us love the living God.

And may we love each other with a sincere heart. Amen.]

Gospel:  John 14 15-21 – ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Sermon by  Revd Neil Vigers

Prayers

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord

Lord in your mercy … hear our prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love

Lord in your mercy … hear our prayer

We pray for those in most need in our own families and neighborhood, thinking of the elderly, the housebound and those in hospital or hospice. We pray for all carers and visitors whether family members, volunteers or health care professionals and especially for those who minister to people near the end of life’s journey through the hospice movement – for they do your work and so we ask for them your gifts of patience, compassion and understanding.

We pray for those that we know who are sick, lonely or in some special need at this time as we share a brief moment of silence together as we name them in our hearts…..

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember before God those we love but no longer see, in the silence we lift them before you…  may the light of Christ which eternally shines bring hope for you turn our darkness into light; in your light shall we see light.

Merciful Father accept these prayers
for the sake of your son
our saviour Jesus Christ
Amen

 
Blessing
The Lord bless us and watch over us;
The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us;
The Lord look kindly upon us and give us peace. Amen

Our worship has now ended, and our service now begins…
Go in the light and peace of Christ
Thanks be to God.

Melvin’s chosen Voluntary
Postlude in D minor – C V Stanford (1852-1924)
[Daniel Hyde playing the chapel organ of King’s College, Cambridge)
Click here to listen


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United Benefice of St Michael and St Mary
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
SUNDAY 10 MAY 2020

To download and save this service, click here.

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Collect           

Almighty God,
who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Reading: Acts 7, 55-60 – The stoning of Stephen

But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’  But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him.  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.  While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’  Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.

 Hymn – To God be the glory
To listen click here

To God be the glory, great things he hath done!
So loved he the world that he gave us His Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
 and give him the glory; great things he hath done.

Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood!
To every believer the promise of God!
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus forgiveness receives.

Praise the Lord! praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory; great things he hath done.

Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer and higher and greater will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord! praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory; great things he hath done.

Psalm: Psalm 31, 1-5 and 15-16 –

The word of the Lord is faithful, and his works are to be trusted

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

Incline your ear to me;
make haste to deliver me

Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold
For the sake of your name, lead me and guide me.

Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me,
for you are my tower of strength.

Into your hand I commend my spirit,
For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.

Anthem: A Clare Benediction – John Rutter (Contemporary)
May the Lord show his mercy upon you

To listen click here

Gospel:  John 14 1-14 – Jesus the Way to the Father

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’

Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Homily:

Prayers

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord

Lord in your mercy … hear our prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love

Lord in your mercy … hear our prayer

We pray for those in most need in our own families and neighborhood, thinking of the elderly, the housebound and those in hospital or hospice. We pray for all carers and visitors whether family members, volunteers or health care professionals and especially for those who minister to people near the end of life’s journey through the hospice movement – for they do your work and so we ask for them your gifts of patience, compassion and understanding.

We pray for those that we know who are sick, lonely or in some special need at this time as we share a brief moment of silence together as we name them in our hearts…. Praying especially for Jack and the family.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer

We also remember those we have loved but see no more and pray for those left behind to grieve. Let them know that nothing is more dependable in times of sorrow than your encircling love

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember before God those we love but no longer see, in the silence we lift them before you…  today we remember Brenda Philpot may the light of Christ which eternally shines bring hope for you turn our darkness into light; in your light shall we see light.

Merciful Father accept these prayers
for the sake of your son
our saviour Jesus Christ
Amen

Blessing

The Lord bless us and watch over us;
The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us;
The Lord look kindly upon us and give us peace. Amen

Our worship has now ended, and our service now begins…
Go in the light and peace of Christ
Thanks be to God.

Melvin’s chosen Voluntary
[Reitze Smits playing the organ of the Lutheran Church, The Hague]

To listen click here

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FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER –
 Family Service
SUNDAY 3 MAY 2020

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE, CLICK HERE

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

  All: and also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
  All: Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 We have come together as the Family of God to celebrate his love and goodness in the world. .
Lord, direct our thoughts, and teach us to pray. Lift up our hearts to worship you in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen

Collect   

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

First Reading: Acts 2 42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

For the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Hymn – The Lord’s My Shepherd – Stuart Townsend

Our Family choir would have sung this today including the descant!

To listen, click here.

Gospel: John 10 1-10 – Jesus is the good shepherd and the sheep gate

‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again, Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you O Christ

Sermon

Children’s Resources: John 10 1-10 children

Prayers

In our prayers today,
we put all thoughts and worries and hopes
into the hands of God.
You may like to hold your own hands
in front of you as you pray.

We place into the hands of God
the life of this church,
the people around us,

We pray for our church buildings which are closed just as people need your stillness and peace, may the community still know your presence through the kindness and love shared to our neighbors. We remember we are your flock and we listen for your call to direct and guide us.

We place into the hands of God
our difficulties and frustrations and our hopes and our worries about the future. We pray for those who are worried about finances, or are unable to be with loved ones. We pray for all who are suffering from the virus and those who love them. We pray today especially for Jack, and all his family in their anxiety for him. Comfort all those who are isolating and scared at this time – may they know your presence and feel your love surround them.

We place into the hands of God,
all people in the world who bring God’s love to others, we pray especially for the medical and support staff of the NHS, for all the keyworkers that are keeping the country running and outing themselves at risk to save others.

We pray for our scared world as the Corona viruses continues to spread. We thank you for our skilled scientists to are working hard to find a cure. We pray that they are given wisdom at this difficult time.

We pray for those who we have loved but no longer see, in the silence we lift them before you and remember those whose anniversaries fall at this time. May they be at peace in your loving kingdom.

Loving God, as you have blessed us,
make us a blessing to your world.   Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,  
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us. 
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Hymn: Christ Be Our Light  – a hymn sung regularly by the children in school and church.
To listen click here

Conclusion

Lord, you run with us in our energy and carry us in our weariness; help us to recognise your companionship in our journey through life. Give us grace and sensitivity so to walk with others on the way that they too will find themselves walking with you, Jesus our Saviour and Friend. Amen.

Blessing  
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.  Amen.

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We hope you are enjoying the online services which aim to bring the church community together and keep the momentum of faith alive for all generations.   As a rural parish church, we rely heavily on donations to help maintain our beautiful buildings. With our churches closed we are not able to receive donations via the collection plate, however if you would still like to support the church, please use the QR code :

St Michael’s Church
St Mary’s Church

or alternatively you can pay direct to
St Michael’s Church; Sort Code 601727   A/c 27611272
St Mary’s Church; Sort Code 601728   A/c 03428508

We are incredibly grateful for any donations -thank you for your kind support and generosity

God Bless

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26th April – 3rd Sunday of Easter

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE, CLICK HERE

Collect           
Almighty Father,
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Hymn – We have a gospel to proclaim

To listen click here

We have a gospel to proclaim
Good news for men in all the earth;
The gospel of a Saviour’s name:
We sing His glory, tell His worth.

Tell of His birth at Bethlehem,
Not in a royal house or hall
But in a stable dark and dim:
The Word made flesh, a light for all.

Tell of His death at Calvary,
Hated by those He came to save;
In lonely suffering on the cross
For all He loved, His life He gave.

Tell of that glorious Easter morn:
Empty the tomb, for He was free.
He broke the power of death and hell
That we might share His victory.

Now we rejoice to name Him King:
Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
This gospel message we proclaim:
We sing His glory, tell His worth.

 Epistle: Acts 2 14a, 36-41 22-32

 Peter addresses the crowd; 3,000 are baptised

But Peter, standing with the eleven. raised his voice and addressed them:

Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

For the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

 Anthem- O for a closer walk with God – C V Stanford (1852-1924)

To listen click here

O for a closer walk with God,
a calm and heav’nly frame,
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb!

Return, O holy Dove, return,
sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
and drove Thee from my breast.

So shall my walk be close with God,
calm and serene my frame;
so purer light shall mark the road
that leads me to the Lamb.

Gospel:  Luke 24 13-35

Jesus meets Cleopas and his friend on the way to Emmaus

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Sermon by Revd Neil Vigers

Prayers

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord

Lord in your mercy … hear our prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love

Lord in your mercy … hear our prayer

We pray for those in most need in our own families and neighbourhood, thinking of the elderly, the housebound and those in hospital or hospice. We pray for all carers and visitors whether family members, volunteers or health care professionals and especially for those who minister to people near the end of life’s journey through the hospice movement – for they do your work and so we ask for them your gifts of patience, compassion and understanding.

We pray for those that we know who are sick, lonely or in some special need at this time as we share a brief moment of silence together as we name them in our hearts.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer

We also remember those we have loved but see no more and pray for those left behind to grieve. Let them know that nothing is more dependable in times of sorrow than your encircling love

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember before God those we love but no longer see, in the silence we lift them before you…  today we remember Ronald Grassly, Brian Wickens and Elizabeth Dumar may the light of Christ which eternally shines bring hope for you turn our darkness into light; in your light shall we see light.

Merciful Father
accept these prayers
for the sake of your son
our saviour Jesus Christ
Amen

We say in confidence the prayer that Jesus 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

 
Organ Voluntary – Sechs Fugen über den Namen BACH No I – Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

To listen click here

The Lord bless us and watch over us;
The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us;
The Lord look kindly upon us and give us peace.

Amen

Our worship has now ended, and our service now begins…
Go in the light and peace of Christ

Thanks be to God.

(Please Note: next Sunday service will be uploaded on Saturday evening.)

 

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19th April – 2nd Sunday of Easter

 

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE, CLICK HERE.

The Lord be with you

Collect:

Risen Christ,

for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:

open the doors of our hearts,

that we may seek the good of others

and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,

to the praise of God the Father.

1st Reading : Acts 2 14, 22-32

Peter Addresses the Crowd

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.

Fellow Israelites listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.  But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.

Gospel Reading: John 20 19-end

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

 Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So, the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Hymn: In Christ alone – Stuart Townsend

To listen click here

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

 Homily

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Risen Christ, our eternal Savior,

Like the disciples, we are virtually gathered the week after Easter: wondering whether it is true, marveling at the possibility, and daring to hope.

Like the disciples, we too are sometimes afraid, sometimes full of doubt.

But in your extravagant generosity, your boundless love, you appear to us in our fear and love us in our doubts and grant us the oceans of your peace. Thank you for loving us.

Teach us not to hide from our doubt, but to recognize it as a door to mystery and to deeper faith. After all, the disciples’ fear became a visitation as they saw you among them, risen and triumphant. Thomas’ doubt became a moment of revelation as he saw and finally believed.

This morning we pray for the many people in our society who understandably in the midst of fear from losing loved ones from Covid 19 are struggling with their faith, Grant us the courage to live as witnesses to your resurrection. Risen Christ be light in our world.

We pray for those in our community this morning who find it difficult to believe. Lord knows that they are not alone, but in the best of company: even Christ’s own disciples struggled to believe all that they had seen and heard. Loving Christ, it is your presence that removes all fear and erases all doubts: so come, and grant the doubting Thomas or rather ‘honest’ Thomas’s in our midst your presence & peace.

And grant to all of us, living Lord Christ, renewed faith, great courage, and your boundless peace.

Loving God, we pray for those who are on our hearts this morning and lift them to you.

Merciful Father, Accept these prayers for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Melvin’s chosen Voluntary:  Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy – Sonata in D minor No. 6, Op. 65 (Ernst-Erich Stender)
To listen click here

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SUNDAY 5TH APRIL 2020 – PALM SUNDAY

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The United Benefice of St Michael Betchworth & St Mary Buckland

Palm Sunday

Introduction

Welcome to St Michaels & St Marys on this Palm Sunday.

Today we are on the first day of Holy Week.  Today would have been our family service and the procession with palms would have taken place today alongside our donkey (from Kilmarnock Horse Rescue) The service is accompanied by the dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative, in which the whole story of the week is anticipated. It therefore includes times of great celebration, but also of utter desolation and sorrow.  To appreciate fully these themes, we need to journey with the Church on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Day and we will do our best to help this journey in a new virtual way.

Let us together keep this week Holy, set apart for God, and different from every other week in the year, as we embark on the ‘Way of the Cross’.

Our service would begin at the Lychgate where we bless the palms and process alongside our Donkey recollecting Christ’s triumphant journey into Jerusalem.  If you are passing by these palms that have been blessed can still be collected from the church porches. I pray that they bring you comfort at this time.

“Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest”

Our choirs would have sung together, this processional hymn can hopefully be sung next year together so with music and word accompaniment please feel to join in.

To listen click here
The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

All       Amen.

 Prayers of Penitence (‘Sorry Lord’)

 God our Father we come to you to say sorry

For turning away from you, and ignoring your will for our lives;

Father forgive us

Save us and help us

 For behaving just as we wish, without thinking of you

Father forgive us

Save us and help us

 For failing you by what we do and think and say

Father forgive us

Save us and help us

 For letting ourselves be drawn away from you by temptations in the world around us

Father forgive us

Save us and help us

 For living as if we were ashamed to belong to your Son

Father forgive us

Save us and help us

 May the God of love bring us back to himself forgive us our sins and assure us of his eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen                                 

The Passion Reading

The dramatic reading would have been read out in church by adults and children in the family service.

 Due to the current circumstances this has been recorded and performed by The Moore family at The Rectory

  

  1. = Narrator; X. = Christus, speaking the words of Christ;

Other characters: Judas, Peter, Witness, Priest, Maid, Pilate, Pilate’s wife, Centurion

Congregation speak the words of the crowd and other groups

N.    Hear the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

NO RESPONSE

N.   One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,

Judas What will you give me if I betray him to you?

N.   They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.  On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus.

All       Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?

N.   Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’

X.   So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said,

N.   Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

X.   And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another,

All       Surely not I, Lord?

X.   The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It would have been better for that one not to have been born.

N.   Judas, who betrayed him, said,

Judas   Surely not I, Rabbi?

X.   You have said so.

N.   While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said,

X.   Take, eat; this is my body.

N.   Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying,

X.   Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

N.   When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them,

X.   You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.

N.   Peter said to him,

Peter  Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.

X.   Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.

Peter  Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.

N.   And so said all the disciples. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples,

X.   Sit here while I go over there and pray.

N.   He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them,

X.   I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.

N.   And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed,

X.   My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.

N.   Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter,

X.   So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

N.   Again he went away for the second time and prayed,

X.   My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.

N.   Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.  Then he came to the disciples and said to them,

X.   Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going.  See, my betrayer is at hand.

N.   While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign:

Judas The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.

N.   At once he came up to Jesus and said,

Judas Greetings, Rabbi!

N.   and kissed him.

X.   Friend, do what you are here to do.

N.   Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.  Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

X.   Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?

N.   At that hour Jesus said to the crowds,

X.   Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.

N.   Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.  But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.  Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.  At last two came forward.

Witness         This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’

N.   The high priest stood up and said,

Priest Have you no answer?  What is it that they testify against you?

N.   But Jesus was silent.

Priest I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.

X.   You have said so.  But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.

N.  Then the high priest tore his clothes and said,

Priest He has blasphemed!  Why do we still need witnesses?  You have now heard his blasphemy.  What is your verdict?

All       He deserves death.

N.   Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him.

All       Prophesy to us, you Messiah!  Who is it that struck you?

N.   Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said,

Maid   You also were with Jesus the Galilean.

N.   But he denied it before all of them,

Peter  I do not know what you are talking about.

N.   When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the

Maid   This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.

N.   Again he denied it with an oath,

Peter  I do not know the man.

N.   After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter,

All       Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.

N.   Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath,

Peter  I do not know the man!

N.   At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: ‘Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’  And he went out and wept bitterly.  When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.  They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.  When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.

Judas I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.

All       What is that to us? See to it yourself.

N.   Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said,

All       It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.

N.   After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.  Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’

            Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him,

Pilate Are you the King of the Jews?

X.   You say so.

N.   But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him,

Pilate Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?

N.   But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted.  At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas.  So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them,

Pilate Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?

N.   For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgement seat, his wife sent word to him,

Wife   Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.

N.   Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.  The governor again said to them,

Pilate Which of the two do you want me to release for you?

All       Barabbas.

Pilate Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?

All       Let him be crucified!

Pilate Why, what evil has he done?

All       Let him be crucified!

N.   So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd.

Pilate I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.

All       His blood be on us and on our children!

N.   So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head.  They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him.

All       Hail, King of the Jews!

N.   They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him.  Then they led him away to crucify him.  As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.  And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.  And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him.  Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’  Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.  Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads.

All       You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!  If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.

N.   In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him.

All       He saved others; he cannot save himself.  He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’

N.   The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice,

X.   Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

N.   That is,

X.   My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

N.   When some of the bystanders heard it, they said,

All       This man is calling for Elijah.

N.   At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said,

All       Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.

N.   Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.  [PAUSE]  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  The earth shook, and the rocks were split.  The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.  After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.  Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said,

Cent.  Truly this man was God’s Son!

N.   Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.  When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.  So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.  He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.  The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said,

Priest Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’  Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead’, and the last deception would be worse than the first.

N.   Pilate said to them:

Pilate You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.

N.   So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

Matthew 26.14 – 27.66

N.   This is the Passion of the Lord.

NO RESPONSE

 A time of silence follows the reading of the Passion

 Prayers of Intercession

 

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In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love.

 God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light

we entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.


Heavenly Father through you we are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us.

 The Lord’s Prayer

 Lord Jesus, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray.

 All      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.

             CONCLUSION

 Lord, you run with us in our energy and carry us in our weariness; help us to recognise your companionship in our journey through life. Give us grace and sensitivity so to walk with others on the way that they too will find themselves walking with you, Jesus our Saviour and Friend. Amen.

 Blessing  – sung by the family choir

 This is a previous recording of our wonderful children who had only been together 2 months at this point


May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.  Amen.

 Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England,
material from which is included in this service
is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000, 2002

 

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Sunday 29th March 2020.  Lent 5 – Passiontide begins

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Collect:

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

1st Reading : Ezekiel 37 1-14

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.  He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord

Gospel Reading; John 11 1-45

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 1Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus

 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.  Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

 Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Hymn: Lord thy church on earth is seeking

To listen click here

Lord, Thy Church on Earth is seeking
Thy renewal from above;
Teach us all the art of speaking
With the accent of Thy love.
We would heed Thy great commission;
“Go ye into every place;
Preach, baptize, fulfill My mission,
Serve with love and share My grace.”

Freedom give to those in bondage,
Lift the burdens caused by sin;
Give new hope, new strength and courage,
Grant release from fears within.
Light for darkness, joy for sorrow;
Love for hatred, peace for strife.
These and countless blessings follow
As the Spirit gives new life.

In the streets of every city
Where the bruised and lonely dwell,
We shall show the Savior’s pity,
We shall of His mercy tell.
In all lands and with all races
We shall serve and seek to bring
All the world to render praises,
Christ, to Thee, Redeemer, King.

Homily

Jesus is always calling us out of the darkness and that’s exactly what he is doing for Lazarus in today’s gospel. Lazarus has been dead for four days…“Lazarus come out” Jesus calls him out of the tomb, out of the darkness, out of death.

The miracle of this story is not in Jesus calling Lazarus but rather Lazarus’s response – his first step towards Jesus voice. There are many reasons that could keep in in the tomb for example I can hear Lazarus cry back, “I’m all bound up, it’s too dark. I can’t see my way forward, I’m too exhausted, leave me alone.”

These reasons maybe familiar to all of us for not taking that first step to God calling us to be more. The first step is always the hardest one when we attempt to move out of our comfort zone of all that’s familiar. The first steps are difficult, scary, and often overwhelming. They leave us stumbling in the dark unsure of where we are treading.

We can often feel like retreating into our caves, our tombs when life overwhelms us, and as we hear on the news about the death toll rising on a daily basis, we find ourselves retreating more and more into the darkness – negativity surrounds us and we stop us hearing God’s instruction to us. To come out does not mean to physically come out of our tombs/houses as the government advises the opposite!  But rather amid all the uncertainty the call to ‘come out’ means we learn to walk again, love again, live again. We are being forced to stop and by doing so, our world is beginning to heal – less planes and cars mean the air is less polluted, in Venice the waters are clearer due to less boat activity.  Through the turmoil we see our communities joining forces to help the vulnerable, to name but a few there have been the offers to help with food and prescriptions, a new book swap scheme in the churches set up and run by the community, which although is temporarily suspended whilst the church is closed, is a new way of using the buildings going forward.   In our hymn we would have sung together the words

Lord, Thy Church on Earth is seeking
Thy renewal from above;
Teach us all the art of speaking
With the accent of Thy love.

All these ways to come together and care for our world are that first step which free us from the circumstances that bind and allow us to walk towards the light and life which Christ calls us to.

The choice we need to make is to stop and breathe… to hear God’s call and take the steps to reflect on what it really means to love thy neighbour, because the opposite is to think only of ourselves (as many are by stockpiling and not adhering to social distancing) waiting for the storm to pass? The choice is ours……..  will we stay in the tomb or listen to the one voice that matters and come out?

Prayer

Heavenly father

Thy Church on Earth is indeed seeking Thy renewal from above; in our fractured world where so many are dying from the Corona virus we pray for new hope, new strength and courage. We pray especially for those isolated and the NHS staff who are working tirelessly to save lives we ask you Lord to Lighten the darkness.

In all lands and with all races, we thank you for the unity shown throughout the world to overcome the deadly virus, we thank you for the scientists and the key workers who keep our lives functioning.  We thank you that people who were often overlooked are now being recognized for their wonderful contribution in our communities e.g keyworkers such as supermarket workers, carers, cleaners and teachers, mechanics, our local shop workers the list goes on.  As we continue to serve one another help us to breathe and to listen to your voice to bring comfort and peace.

Amen

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22ND MARCH 2020 – MOTHERING SUNDAY

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE FOR MOTHERING SUNDAY, CLICK HERE.

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Mothering Sunday

Collect:

God of love passionate and strong, tender and careful,

Watch over us and hold us all the days of our life through Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen

 

1st Reading : Exodus 2 1-10

The Birth of Moses

Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman,  and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.  His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

 “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him.  When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses,] saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

 

Gospel Reading: Luke 2 33-35

 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,  so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.

Hymn:

For the Beauty of the Earth sung by Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) choir

To listen click here

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light
Sun and moon and stars of light

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild
For all gentle thoughts and mild

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For each perfect gift of thine
To our race so freely given
Graces human and divine
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn, our joyful hymn of praise
This our joyful hymn of praise

 Homily

Today is an opportunity for thanksgiving, to say thank you to those who have nurtured, encouraged and enabled us to be whom we are today. The term Mothering Sunday that the church uses transforms the commercial and social pressures around “Mother’s Day”.  We embrace a richer more dynamic and inclusive vision around “mothering” by focusing on using our gifts in nurturing one another.  the emphasis this morning therefore  is not for Mother’s Day in the biological sense mother, but for those who have played a Mothering role in our lives, who care for, encourage and enable others to be what God wants us to be.

Our biblical texts this morning paint an honest and complex picture of the joy and cost of love, both old and New Testament readings reflect the gift of new life and the challenge of letting go. We know little about the mother of Moses except for her tremendous act of faith as she placed her child in the river, in danger, not knowing of his future. But she trusted God to watch over him.

We are also confronted by a moving moment in Luke’s gospel, where Mary is cryptically foretold her son’s death by Simeon, and her involvement by the words ‘and a sword will pierce your own soul too’.  These few lines are the source and inspiration of the pieta – the grieving mother cradling her child, which not only resonates painfully with our experience of loving and letting go, but it also reflects the depth of God’s love for us; God who shares in our joys and sorrows, our pain and our laughter.

 

Today is an opportunity to recognize and give thanks to those around us who love us and faithfully stand by us, with the understanding that we need them as others may need us in our community. So as you look at the picture I invite you to think about Who’s arms are cradling us, and who are we cradling.

This is a particularly difficult and frightening time for many in our community and it is through our love and cradling of others as well as being cradled that God’s love light and hope will dispel the darkness and fear.

Happy Mothering Sunday

God Bless

Revd Anna

 

Prayer

Heavenly father

We ask you to be with all those who need cradling at this time of certainty, for those isolated, those struggling financially, for families and friends who have been separated. In this time of fear we ask you to give us the wisdom to act and be your calming presence in the world. We ask you to bless those working around the clock for our benefit, medical staff, scientists, supermarket workers, pharmacists, farmers the list is endless.  Protect them Lord so they feel your loving presence surrounding them. We ask this in Jesus name

Amen