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Morning Worship for 11th April 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing online. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting:

Christ is Risen, he is Risen indeed Alleluia.

We remember Jesus in the garden appearing to Mary and calling her by name. Come, risen Christ!
Help us to remember that you know us each intimately and that you call us by name.

We remember Jesus appearing to the disciples and saying 
‘peace be with you.’ Come, risen Christ!
We remember Jesus appearing to Thomas and saying
‘do not doubt, but believe.’ Come risen Christ!
Help us to rise above our doubts and fears and to trust completely 
in your name.

We remember Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus, talking with his followers. Come, risen Christ!
Open to us the Scripture and help us to know your truth.
We remember Jesus sharing breakfast on the beach with his companions.
Come, risen Christ! Be to us the bread of life.

We remember Jesus commanding his disciples to tell the good news to all people and to baptize in his name. Come, risen Christ!
Help us to be your witnesses in the world. Hear us as we praise your name together:

Collect of the day:

Almighty Father,
You have given your only Son to die for our sins
And to rise again for our justification:
Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
That we may always serve you
In pureness of living and truth;
Through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

The preaching of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.
To those who are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the folly of God is wiser than human wisdom,
And the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your holy cross,
You have redeemed the world.

Hymn: Jesus Stand among us.

Readings: Acts 4: 32-35, 1 John 1: 1 – 2:2.

Hymn: Christ is the world’s true light.

Gospel Reading: John 20: 19-end.

Reflection:

I have really learnt to value the message given in today’s gospel reading as it seems to encapsulate so much about the response of people to the church in our society.

The first message is all about confidence, we see the early disciples having just lost their master and now they are left floundering. They have given up everything to follow Jesus and now what is left for them to do, how can they carry on without him?

How often do we find ourselves in similar circumstances?

I can recall talking to my Dad about his life down the pit, despite its hardships, the dirt and toil, and the dreadful effect it had on his health, my dad spoke of his time in the mines with great affection. It was a job for life, he started young and worked hard all of his working life, he earned good money and brought up 6 children and he loved the camaraderie, he loved having to think on his feet, and he loved the sense of challenge everyday brought. Then all of a sudden mining went out of fashion cheaper imports led to the closure of the mines and in desperation that which seemed unending eventually meant him having to go and work on the factory floor of a steel investment company.

He never spoke of this time with any affection at all, there was good health and safety a clean working environment but there was no life there was no sense of camaraderie and very little personal challenge.

He had lost the very thing that actually gave him meaning in relation to his working and relational life.

I look at this and sense so much of it around in the world today, there are so many people doing jobs which have no sense of drive, no real sense of purpose and which fail to provide a medium for the effective building up of relationships.

This is what those early disciples must have been feeling for the man who had promised so much was now dead, the life of following the master which had brought them so much personal challenge commitment and excitement was now all over.

Here they were hiding in an upper room for fear of the authorities, such was their fear that the door was securely locked. They were lost just as my dad was lost when the pit closed and as so many are lost through their engagement with what is offered to them by our secular world.

Then something amazing happens Jesus comes to them, no locked doors can prevent him from being with them and he comes to them bearing the gift of eternal peace. They are over joyed, at last their lives have meaning again, it had not all been for nothing, Jesus was alive and that sense of challenge once again enabled their hearts to swell, and their sense of purpose to be restored.

This it seems to me is the second piece of learning, no matter how hard things get no matter how desolate the world may look at times, with trust in the Lord Jesus our lives can be restored and our work can once again be the fulfilling, and satisfying thing it is meant to be. With a sense of purpose and the drive to move forward following or being encouraged by another and being given an inner strength of which previously we had not been aware, there is nothing that cannot be achieved. And yet even on the momentous occasion of the Lord Jesus revealing himself to his disciples, desolation, rejection and dis-belief were still clearly evident at least for one of them.

Thomas doubted and this it seems to me to be the third piece of teaching in the Gospel! Doubt often raises its head within the Christian world and especially in our secular society, what do we, and who do we, ultimately place our trust and confidence in?

Politicians and world leaders let us down constantly, and in the eyes of many so too do Church Leaders, People look at all the failures of the church rather than the positives as it is only failure and negativity which is so often portrayed to others and as a result people have no confidence in the churches leadership. As a result respect and confidence in the church as an institution has been seriously eroded. There is insufficient evidence to believe and so people have stopped believing. Thomas right back at the very beginning of the churches life had not been present when Jesus had come, and to him it all sounded so implausible, he would not believe until he was personally satisfied. So Jesus returns and Thomas believes, not because he touched the Lord’s hands not because he reached out and touched the lords side, he did not need to, for such was the depth of personal relationship between Jesus and his disciples that Thomas just knew instinctively that the man who stood before him was Jesus.

Peace be with you is the response of the Lord once again which of course has become a key phrase of our communion service sharing together in that which the good Lord brought upon us, for it is through the gift of his peace that our lives are for-ever transformed.

But how is this peace given and how do we share in it?

The final piece of teaching is once again dependent on the forming of relationships. What is truly amazing is the way in which Jesus shares his peace with us his disciples, Jesus breathes upon us and we are filled with his Spirit. There is a sharing of that very essence of Jesus, that which spoke to others about a sense of purpose, a sense of commitment, of a camaraderie which was second to none. Following Jesus is not easy nor for that matter was working down the mines, but there was something which was shared which made it all worthwhile, something shared which brought the possibility of belief into reality.

Jesus by sharing his very self, Jesus by breathing upon us and sending forth his Spirit upon us restores us to a life lived out and within the love of God. It is through Jesus that we are brought fully into relationship with the Almighty and in Jesus that belief becomes more than just plausible but completely trustworthy and true. Jesus said to Thomas have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

Seeing Jesus in the flesh is not required for us to believe, because we know that through the gift of his Spirit to us we are so bound up in him that we need no external proof, for we possess an inner truth which is beyond words, an inner truth beyond question. That is where the world falls so sadly short for it looks to those things in life which cannot offer any sense of purpose any sense of relationship or any sense of commitment. Through the resurrection of Jesus all doubt falls away and we know that we can trust God with our whole heart. At times we may still have doubts something will not ring true or a personal experience may be so shattering to our faith that we never recover from it, that is why I believe the message of the Gospel is so relevant to people today, for Jesus does not disappoint us, Jesus never fails us, Jesus is always with us and we with him, when that relationship is right nothing else matters.

This is what people are called to recognize today, there is no need to look for Jesus, no need to prove his existence, all we need to do is open up our hearts to the power of his Spirit and through the depth of the relationship which will then ensue will we find ourselves able to rest eternally within the words of the Risen Lord.

May the peace of the Risen Lord be with you always, Amen.

Hymn: At the name of Jesus.

Prayers for others:

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

O Lord our God,

We thank you for the many people throughout the ages who have followed your way of life joyfully; for the many saints and martyrs, men and women, who have offered up their very lives, so that your life abundant may become manifest. For all those who have been witnesses of your love in our own lives we give you thanks and for all whose contribution to humanity is currently being made manifest in our midst.

For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you.

O Lord, we thank you for those who chose the way of Jesus Christ. In the midst of trial, they held out hope; in the midst of hatred, they kindled love; in the midst of persecutions, they witnessed to your power; in the midst of despair, they clung to your promise. As we continue to struggle through the impact upon us and our freedoms as we continue through this pandemic, we pray for all those who do not have the depth of faith in your Son Jesus Christ to strengthen through their current difficulties.

For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you.

O Lord, we thank you for the truth those of faith have passed on to us; that it is by giving that we shall receive; it is by becoming weak that we shall be strong; it is by loving others that we shall be loved; it is by offering ourselves that the kingdom will unfold; it is by dying that we shall inherit life everlasting.

Hear us as we pray for the weak, the generous of heart, the vulnerable and self –sacrificing; may these personal offerings of so many bring strength, love, hope and joy to your faithful people.

For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you.

Finally we pray for all whom have entered into your rest, for those they leave behind to mourn their loss, for all who find loneliness and isolation from those they have loved so difficult to endure. May your love wash over them and bring them comfort in their distress.

For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you.

National Council of Churches of the Philippines, 14th Biennial Convention Worship Resource Book (1989) adapted.

And 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: We have a Gospel to proclaim.

A Memorial of the Resurrection:

At dawn on the first day of the week, the women came to the tomb.
The angel asked them, whom do you seek?
We seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.
Why seek the living among the dead?
If you have taken my Lord away, tell me where you have laid him.
He is not here, he is risen as he promised; 
We are witnesses of these things.
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary Magdalen met you in the garden on the morning of your resurrection, so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her; reveal yourself as the living Lord;
Renew our hope and kindle our joy; and send us to share the good news with others; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.
Behold, I am with you always, to the end of time.
And will come to reign among you in glory. Alleluia!

Blessing:

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Morning Worship for Easter Day 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting:

We remember Jesus in the garden appearing to Mary and calling her by name. Come, risen Christ!
Help us to remember that you know us each intimately and that you call us by name.

We remember Jesus appearing to the disciples and saying 
‘peace be with you.’ Come, risen Christ!
We remember Jesus appearing to Thomas and saying
‘do not doubt, but believe.’ Come risen Christ!

Help us to rise above our doubts and fears and to trust completely 
in your name.
We remember Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus, talking with his followers. Come, risen Christ!

Open to us the Scripture and help us to know your truth.
We remember Jesus sharing breakfast on the beach with his companions.
Come, risen Christ! Be to us the bread of life.

We remember Jesus commanding his disciples to tell the good news to all people and to baptize in his name. Come, risen Christ!
Help us to be your witnesses in the world. Hear us as we praise your name together:

Collect of the day:

Lord of all life and power,
Who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
Overcame the old order of sin and death
To make all things new in him:
Grant that we, being dead to sin
And alive to you in Jesus Christ,
May reign with him in glory;
To whom with you and the Holy Spirit
Be praise and honour, glory and might,
Now and in all eternity.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

The preaching of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.
To those who are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the folly of God is wiser than human wisdom,
And the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your holy cross,
You have redeemed the world.

Hymn: Jesus Christ is risen today.

Readings: Acts 10: 34-43, 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11.

Hymn: This is the day.

Gospel Reading: Mark 16: 1-8.

Reflection:

As we gather together on this momentous day we give thanks to God for the blessings brought upon humanity by the gift of the promise of life beyond the confines of our deaths. For in Christ’s resurrection, death has been destroyed and we live within the gift of God’s Grace.

This gift of life given to us in and through the resurrection of Jesus is truly significant for us today as we move forward in faith with some uncertainty and insecurity.

However as we begin a period of uncertainty we are in good company as Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome approached our Lords tomb with uncertainty unsure of what would lie before them and wondering who would roll the stone away from the tomb so that they could lay there spices. What they found however was an open tomb with the stone already rolled clear and as they entered they were confronted by an angelic vision. The angel instructed them to go and tell the disciples and Peter that they would see the resurrected Lord in Galilee, but they were so overcome by the vision and the empty tomb that they said nothing to anyone!

Now we all seek to follow Jesus as best as we are able and the gift of resurrection enables us to do this with conviction, yet running the race of faith is meaningless unless as we do so we learn more and more about God and his interaction with the world around us.

Easter is therefore a time of exploration, a time given to us in which we are filled with joyful hope that God loves us despite all the things which we allow to happen which are contrary to his will and purpose. Sin is not a natural consequence of life, it is that which drives us away from the reality of our life lived in Christ Jesus.

As we ponder on the world and all its complexities we know how difficult it is to make the right decisions in order to promote the lives of others, in order to promote justice and equality, to find ways of maintaining our own needs and aspirations alongside enabling others wherever they may be to do likewise. This is why Jesus came to us, to help us see that it is costly to help God’s children but the rewards of a faithful response are truly amazing.

So amazing that even death itself, cannot prevent the faithful from continuing in the journey of a faith filled life.

As we reflect on events in our world, the complexities of the pandemic and all of its impact on our lives is ever present with us at this time. The world has changed and even when we are enabled to return to the social engagement we are missing so much, there will be no simple return to what we had before.

We may no longer have to live in isolation, and we may well be able to relax the barriers and boundaries currently in place for our own protection, but the consequences of the pandemic will be with us for a very long time. This Easter what truly lies before us is however an eternal promise of release from the darkness, for as followers of Jesus living in his resurrection we have already been freed by the gift of the Lord’s resurrection. The shadows of death, uncertainty and anxiety have through the joy of the Easter message been lifted from all those who have faith in the risen Jesus. For we as Easter people do not live in the shadows, we have no enemies, we are no longer afraid of others for by living in the strength of Jesus we are free from uncertainty and insecurity for with trust in God being central to our being, we know that nothing can destroy or hurt us anymore.

This is the real Easter message, we are Easter people, we live in hope not fear, we live in trust not insecurity, we trouble ourselves not about boundaries and walls but we break them down with the hammer of faith, our justice is not national it is global, our response is not just for ourselves but for all humanity.

We are no longer like those women who were close to Jesus who on arriving at his tomb were reluctant to share their experience.

This Easter we must open our hearts to Jesus, and so let the reality of a life filling faith, shine forth from us as beacons in a troubled world. Do not let the fears and anxieties of others drag you down, but stand firm in the faith of Christ Jesus. Proudly affirm him, through self-offering love. Jesus showed us that faith is easy but responding to it in a sinful world is hugely demanding and costly. But he is with us in every positive step we take to grow in faith, to promote faith in others and to enable the love of God to prosper and be seen and felt by every one of his children.

So this Easter let the joy and the hope within the resurrection of Jesus fill us with God’s love, let us not have any insecurities or uncertainties about the future, let us place all that in to God’s hands and God’s care. We cannot create God’s kingdom on earth, we already live within it, Jesus showed us that, so don’t try to create your own kingdoms but rest and be secure in the one God brought into being in and through the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ our risen Lord, for through faith in Jesus the world will indeed be changed, and the promise of the kingdom will become clearer, a promise which will be filled with resurrection joy.

Alleluia Christ is risen! He is risen indeed alleluia.

Hymn: I will enter his gates.

Prayers for others:

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.
Jesus, light of the world, bring the light and peace of your gospel to the nations.

Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, bread of life, give food to the hungry and nourish us all with your word.

Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, our way, our truth, our life, be with us and all who follow you in the way. Deepen our appreciation of your truth and fill us with your life.

Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, Good Shepherd who gave your life for the sheep, recover the straggler, bind up the injured, strengthen the sick and lead the healthy and strong to new pastures.

Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us. 

Jesus, the resurrection and the life, we give you thanks for all who have lived and believed in you. Raise us with them to eternal life.

Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us, accept our prayers, and be with us always.
Amen. 

And so we prey

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: The day of resurrection.

A Memorial of the Resurrection:

At dawn on the first day of the week, the women came to the tomb.
The angel asked them, whom do you seek?
We seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.
Why seek the living among the dead?
If you have taken my Lord away, tell me where you have laid him.
He is not here, he is risen as he promised; 
We are witnesses of these things.
Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary Magdalen met you in the garden on the morning of your resurrection, so may we meet you today and every day.
Speak to us as you spoke to her; reveal yourself as the living Lord;
Renew our hope and kindle our joy; and send us to share the good news with others; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.
Behold, I am with you always, to the end of time.
And will come to reign among you in glory. Alleluia!

Blessing:

The God of peace,
Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, 
that great shepherd of the sheep, 
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. 
Amen.

Maundy Thursday Devotion.

The Watch:

Heavenly Father as we prepare to watch with your disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, may our hearts and minds be opened to the sharing of your love made manifest to us in Jesus. We pray that as we watch this night that we may be fully prepared to face the day of desolation and as our Lord dies that we may give thanks that through his death we are given life.

The Anointing:

(Please place a little Olive Oil in a basin to anoint your hands.)

We give you thanks, Creator of the universe,
That you loved us enough to come in human flesh and live among us.
Thank you for the lives you touched and healed throughout the ages,
For the teachings you gave to your followers.
Come to us now, in this time of remembrance and of hope,
That we might learn from you and be touched by you.
Bless us as we seek to carry your love into the world.
May this oil mark us as your children and strengthen us to do your will,
Following the example of Christ.
We ask this in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

(Please anoint your hands with a little oil then follow with a period of silence)

Reading from Matthew 26:17-25

(Followed by a period of silence)

The Litany for Maundy Thursday:

Were you there when the lure of silver turned the heart of Judas from the love of his Saviour? 

No, but our own loyalty to Christ has often fallen victim to our love of money.

Were you there when Peter rebuked Jesus for stooping to wash the disciples’ feet?

No, but our own understanding of Christ has often suffered from our concern for position.

Were you there when Jesus told Peter that the apostle would deny him three times in one day?

No, but our own commitment to Christ has often been second to our commitment to ourselves.

Were you there when Jesus told his disciples that all people would know them by their love for one another?

No, but our own love for one another has often been compromised by our lack of humility.

O merciful Lord grant that as we who have been fed by the Sacrament of your love that we may walk in newness of life and grow into the likeness of Christ.

Meditation: The Lamb slain in sacrifice rescued us from death to life:

The lamb that was slain has delivered us from death and given us life.

There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.

He was led forth like a lamb, he was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the land of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood.

He is the one who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the one who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring. He is the one who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own forever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the one who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

(From an Easter homily by Saint Melito of Sardis, bishop.) 

(Followed by a period of silence)

Reading from Matthew 26: 31-36

(Followed by a period of silence)

Psalm 43:

Give judgement for me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people
Deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.
For you are the God of my refuge; why have you cast me from you
And why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresses me?
O send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
And bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling,
That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness;
And on the lyre I will give thanks to you, O God my God.  

Reading from Matthew 26: 36-46

Prayer of Confession and Pardon.

In light of your commandment to love one another as you have loved us,
We see our failures to love, Holy Jesus. We have not remembered or even grasped how much you love us. We have not given that love away, that you might fill us anew. We have neglected each other and argued so much that the world does not see that we are your disciples. Holy God, forgive us, we pray. Free us to know that we are loved, and to love one another. Grant us your Spirit of forgiveness.
By the power and work of the Holy Trinity, we are loved and forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
Amen.

Celtic Evening Prayer in Holy Week

A Celtic Evening Prayer for use daily throughout Holy Week

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. 
Amen. 
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning
more than those who watch for the morning.
Out of the depths I have cried to you
O Lord hear my voice.
With my whole heart, I want to praise you.
O Lord, hear my voice.
If you, Lord, should mark iniquities:
Who could stand? Who could stand?

I will wait for the Lord.
My soul waits, and in his word do I hope.   

Hymn:

You are the King of Glory
You are the Prince of Peace
You are the Lord of heav’n and earth
You’re the Son of righteousness
Angels bow down before you
Worship and adore for
You have the words of eternal life
You are Jesus Christ the Lord.
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Hosanna to the King of kings!
Glory in the highest heaven
For Jesus the Messiah reigns.

 Copyright 1978 Springtide/WordMusic (UK) Ltd./CoyCare Ltd.  

Affirmation of faith:

Lord, you have always given bread for the coming day; 
and though I am poor today I believe.

Lord, you have always given strength for the coming day:
And though I am weak, today I believe

Lord, you have always given peace for the coming day;
And though of anxious heart, today I believe.

Lord, you have always kept me safe in trials;
And now, tried as I am, today I believe.

Lord, you have always marked the road for the coming day; 
And though it may be hidden, today I believe.

Lord, you have always lightened this darkness of mine;
And though the night is here, today I believe.

Lord, you have always spoken when time was ripe;
And though you be silent now, today I believe.

Psalm 25

Reading from the Old Testament Lamentations 2: 8-19

Canticle:

In the shadow of your wings I will sing your praises, O Lord
The Lord is my light, my salvation whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the refuge of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
In the shadow of your wings I will sing your praises, O Lord.
One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek; 
to dwell in the presence of my God, to gaze on your holy place.
In the shadow of your wings I will sing your praises, O Lord.
I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
O wait for the Lord! Have courage and wait, wait for the Lord.
In the shadow of your wings I will sing your praises, O Lord. 

Reading from the New Testament Colossians1: 18-23

Intercessions:

We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.

Jesus, light of the world,
Bring the light and peace of your gospel to the nations.
Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, bread of life,
Give food to the hungry,
And nourish us all with your word.
Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, our way, our truth, our life,
Be with us and all who follow you in the way.
Deepen our appreciation of your truth
And fill us with your life.
Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, Good Shepherd who gave your life for the sheep,
Recover the straggler,
Bind up the injured,
Strengthen the sick
And lead the healthy and strong to new pastures.
Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.
 
Jesus, the resurrection and the life,
We give you thanks for all who have lived and believed in you.
Raise us with them to eternal life. 
Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us,
Accept our prayers, and be with us always.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that 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.

Hymn:

Abba Father, let me be
Yours and yours alone.
May my will forever be
Evermore your own
Never let my heart grow cold
Never let me go,
Abba Father, let me be
Yours and yours alone.

Copyright 1977 Thankyou Music, P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne BN23 6NW, UK.

‘Gods Graceful Moment’ The Iona Community Worship Book. (Amended.)

Evening opens wide before us
Like a door into the night.
Just beyond, the day lies waiting
Ready to throw off the night,
And we stand upon its threshold
Poised to turn and take its flight.

When we awake, the earth in all its glory
Springs to meet the rising sun,
Warms to all who walk upon it,
Cradling all that will be done,
All our labour, all our loving
Mingle and become as one.

We receive God’s graceful moment,
While the day is fresh and still,
Ours to choose how we will greet it,
Ours to make it what we will.
Here is given perfect freedom,
Every hope in love to fulfil.

As we take the first step together,
From the night into the day,
May the love of Christ the Creator
Give us peace in all that we say,
Heart for all that lies before us,
Grace to guide us through this night
Into the glory of another New Day.

A time of quiet reflection followed by the Hymn: Such Love.

Hymn:

Such love, pure as the whitest snow,
Such love, weeps for the shame I know.
Such love, paying the debt I owe.
O Jesus, such love.

Such love, stilling my restlessness,
Such love, filling my emptiness
Such love, showing my holiness;
O Jesus, such love.

Such love, springs from eternity,
Such love, streaming through history;
Such love, fountain of life to me;
O Jesus, such love.

Copyright 1988 Make Way Music P.O. Box683, Hailsham, East Sussex. BN27 4ZB, UK.

Blessing:

See that ye be at peace among yourselves, my children, and love one another.
Follow the example of good men of old and God will comfort you and help you,
both in this world and in the world to come. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  

Morning Worship for 28th March 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting:

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.

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

Collect of the day:

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.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

The preaching of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.
To those who are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the folly of God is wiser than human wisdom,
And the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your holy cross,
You have redeemed the world.

Hymn: All glory laud and honour.

Readings: Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29, Philippians 2: 5-11.

Hymn: Ride on ride on in majesty.

Gospel Reading: Mark 11: 1-11.

Reflection:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord

The cry which arises as Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a cry filled with expectation a cry filled with excitement. Jesus approaches fulfilling the words of prophecy, Zechariah when speaking of the coming of the ruler of God’s people proclaims “rejoice greatly o daughter Zion, shout aloud o daughter Jerusalem, lo your king comes to you triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Triumphant and victorious but with humility.

Here we see the complexity of Christ’s entry into the Holy City. The scene is carefully set and prepared, earlier arrangements made for the colt to be available were crucial, this symbolism could not be left to chance or mere convenience, a statement was being made which was so ingrained into the messianic awareness and expectation of the people that it would immediately be recognized by them with an immediate response.

Jesus arrives and the response is made how many were there how many provided the traditional offering of laying down their coats and the palm branches from the fields we do not know but enough clearly to create a disturbance sufficiently strong to attract attention.

This is a key element of the story the attracting of attention, who is this that is approaching, a teacher of the law clearly, a man who knows his scriptures and a man who recognizes the messianic expectation and hopes of the prophets of Israel through the centuries, is this the one of whom they have spoken, is this the one on whom our own hopes for restoration and hope rest, it could be,

He comes as expected, with an entourage, with followers yet he does so not with the pomp and majesty of a king, but in the simple and very moving expression of a peasant on a donkey’s foal.

Here we see greatness and humility expressed clearly together, at times this is very difficult to achieve many have tried but only a few have really managed to hold these two contradictory expressions of humanity together at the same time throughout their lives. Being great whilst being humble is a great gift, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was one Mahatma Ghandi another and there have been others throughout the centuries who have managed to hold together greatness and humility, but none like Jesus. His humility was deep and profound and we see the Son of God who emptied himself taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness and being found in human form humbling himself and becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

So Palm Sunday is a day of rejoicing, Jesus arrives and does so by taking the initiative himself, he sets the scene for all that is to come. He makes himself be noticed, so that as he engages in his Fathers work in driving out corruption, and greed and cleansing the people of God he does so with scriptural power and authority.

As Jesus entered into the city have you ever wondered why the people shouted Hosanna, Hosanna translated simply means Save now!

It is a word which speaks of acceptance, of recognition of spontaneous hope and excitement reaching a climax in which caution is thrown to the wind. Throughout the ministry of Jesus he has been faced over and over again with questions, who are you, on whose authority do you do these things, can you be he or are we to look for another. Always uncertainty always doubt no certainty expressed only caution and yet now the questions have gone, albeit just for a day.

On this holy day people were caught up in the sheer excitement and the unexpected nature of the arrival of Jesus.

This is where the message of Jesus’ triumphal entry really tests us today. Do we still ask questions are we still uncertain? Do we shout Hosanna out of tradition and in and through our set liturgy or do we shout hosanna because we mean it. Are we encouraged to rejoice today only to begin questioning again tomorrow, or are our hosanna’s greater than that.

In knowing Jesus and the power of his resurrection we live our lives in him and through him. As followers of Jesus we should be rejoicing today, we should wave our palms and lay down our personal possessions for others to walk on without any regret or care or concern, for in shouting hosanna we proclaim not save now but rather we use the word as a word of praise and thanksgiving knowing that Jesus has saved us and that we live and move within the power of his saving love for us.

Palm Sunday within the life of the resurrection is a golden opportunity for us to celebrate and give thanks, but we must shout our hosannas with confidence. We should wave our palms and lay down our coats willingly without regard. Today is an opportunity for us to follow the holy week which lies ahead of us not with questions but in the acknowledgement that Jesus was and is the Holy Son of God who willingly rides into our lives and changes them forever. So as we celebrate today let us shout our hosannas with confidence and pride, whilst seeking to be like Jesus, triumphant and victorious and yet with humility.

Amen.

Hymn: Make way, make way.

Prayers for others:

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

Today as we pray with thanksgiving for the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, we pray for that Holy City and for all Christian pilgrims who gather together to begin their celebration and remembrance of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We pray for all Christian people; that through the suffering of disunity, there may grow a rich union in Christ.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

For those who make laws, interpret them, and administer them, that our common life may be ordered in justice and mercy,

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

For those who still make Jerusalem a battleground, and for those who have the courage and honesty to work openly for justice and peace.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

For those in the darkness and agony of isolation, that they may find support and encouragement. For those, who weighed down with hardship, failure, or sorrow, feel that God is far from them.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

For those who are tempted to give up the way of the cross, for those struggling through this current pandemic, for those who have died that they may find mercy in the day of Christ.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.

And 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: You are the King of glory.

A Song of the Wilderness:

The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

The wilderness and the dry land shall rejoice, the desert shall blossom and burst into song. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weary hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to the anxious, ‘be strong, fear not, your God is coming with judgement to save you;’ Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; Then shall the lame leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads. Joy and gladness shall be theirs, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Blessing:

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, 
and keep us in eternal life.
May Christ, the Son of God, gladden our hearts 
with the good news of his kingdom.
May God, our Redeemer show us compassion and love. 
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. 
Amen.