YOUR CHURCH ONLINE 2020

SUNDAY 5TH APRIL 2020 – PALM SUNDAY

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE, CLICK HERE.

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.


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

 

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

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday 29th March 2020.  Lent 5 – Passiontide begins

TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THIS SERVICE FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF LENT, CLICK HERE.

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

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

~~~~

22ND MARCH 2020 – MOTHERING SUNDAY

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

~~~~

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

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