Sunday 19th April, 2020
Notices and a service for worship at home
Caravaggio, The incredulity of St Thomas, 1602
Do you need some help?
You may have to self-isolate but you don’t have to feel alone! Contact the clergy or our volunteers and we will find the best way to support you and those not currently isolating can bring you supplies. Everyone, please keep social-distancing - stay 2 metres apart, and only go outside to exercise, and go to the shop for essentials.
Huge thank you!
We owe a huge thank you to all who worked so hard to create this year's Holy Week services at home. Especially we want to thank Claire and James Lewis who edited all the sound together, which is no small job! Well done on keeping us all praying together as a community!
We will include resources each week from Roots to help you reflect on Bible readings with children at home. You can download and print the resources here:
Low Sunday, 19th April 2020 Reflection by Abigail Harris
Listen to the service here:
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.
Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil
and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.
Lord Jesus, you raise us to new life.
Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy).
Lord Jesus, you forgive us our sins.
Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy).
Lord Jesus, you feed us with the living bread.
Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy).
May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.
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.
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him, “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my flesh will live in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, “He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.” This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.
This is the word of the Lord.
I am the first and the last, says the Lord, and the living one;
I was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
by Abigail Harris, Pastoral Assistant.
So, may I speak and may we all hear in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
We are just approaching the end of the Easter Octave into what’s also known as ‘Low Sunday.’ This is a traditional name given particularly in the Anglican Church because of the contrast between last week’s Easter Sunday celebration…. anything after that peak seems like a downfall.
1 week since we first proclaimed those words He is Risen, Indeed, Alleluia! Almost 4 weeks of the entire country’s mandatory lockdown. 5 weeks since we last worshiped together as a family.
How are you coping? How are you feeling? I don’t know about you but I’m finding myself sometimes clouded with doubts…. when will this lockdown end? What does this mean for the future? Will our jobs be secure? How long will it take to return to a new sense of normality? When will we be able to embrace each other? When will we be able to sing together the Glory of the Risen Lord? When will the Easter Alleluias be able to rise up from the dead?
And I’m almost certain I’m not alone in saying that the contrast between the beautiful weather and yet the present situation in which we find ourselves and the world is conflicting and maybe even has us doubting the reality of the Resurrection and its power. After all, if it’s 1 week since He rose and if it’s such a big deal this rising from the dead to new life when why are we still stuck in the same place? Why have we returned to that upper room? Why are we still hiding away in fear? Why have our lives not been changed? What difference has that empty tomb with the stone rolled away and the folded grave clothes made in our lives? Especially when looking back over the last couple of weeks everything seems the same, the world looks the same as it did last week, the week before that and the week preceding that.
And yet, everything has changed.
The joy of the Resurrection is such that it isn’t a one-time event; it’s a way of life. It’s something that we can choose to enter into each waking day. We can choose to enter into it, we can choose to live it, we choose to walk in that way and proclaim the Alleluia! by our lives. Through prayer and service, through our relationships, through our love for Christ and also through our doubts and fears.
The spiritual classic ‘The Cloud of unknowing’ says ‘The nature of love is that it shares everything. Love Jesus, and everything he has is yours.’ The same could be said about the nature of the Resurrection. To get to the joy of Easter we have to journey through Good Friday and the wilderness of the desert; for the joy of the empty tomb we have no way to bypass the cross. As Christ gives us everything, so we share with Him everything that we are. In our joy and love, in our heartbreak, in our sorrow and in our doubts.
When I was researching for this sermon, I came across a translation someone had used that I thought is entirely appropriate for us, not only before but in our present reality. A Biblical scholar had translated the phrase ‘if you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven’ for “The sins of whoever you forgive, they are forgiven; whoever you embrace, they are embraced.’ …..Whoever you embrace; they are embraced…….
The very same way for us during this Coronavirus outbreak. We may not be able to embrace each other physically but we are all being held in the loving embrace of the wounded hands of Christ. In the same way that he embraced Thomas, holding onto him in his pain, we can embrace each other in prayer, clothe ourselves with kind thoughts for our neighbours and loved ones. What we see is that ‘doors are being locked in fear.’ suggesting that not only Thomas needed reassuring about Jesus’ Resurrection…. Despite this, and the doubts and grief, Jesus is able to break down those barriers, He comes through everything that keeps us hidden away, he acknowledges us in our doubts and shows us that He is risen!
No matter the wandering, no matter how much we question and doubt, no matter how many tears we cry, how vulnerable and small we are,….no matter those parts of ourselves that we try to hide away, those imperfections we don’t want to acknowledge or see exposed, no matter if we need to rest in the upper room… how we need to see to believe, no matter how lost our souls feel. We are embraced in Christ forever. He’s here, He’s present and He’s risen! Alleluia!
In joy and hope let us pray to the Father.
Lord hear us. (Lord graciously hear us).
The victims of the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka at Easter in 2019.
All who feel cut off for the sacramental life of the church particularly, all who could not celebrate the resurrection together but are joined in the risen body of Christ.
Medical staff and health professionals, those in government, and those faced by difficult decisions.
Places whose health services are most vulnerable and undeveloped.
A Spirit of cooperation and solidarity.
The Sick & Suffering
All affected by Covid19
All victims of Covid19
Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
as our Saviour taught us, so we pray
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.
Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son:
endless is the vict'ry thou o’er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave-clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son;
endless is the vict'ry thou o’er death hast won.
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing,
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting. [Refrain]
No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee: aid us in our strife;
make us more than conqu'rors, thro' thy deathless love:
bring us safe thro' Jordan to thy home above. [Refrain]
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, evermore. Amen.
He is not here. He is risen.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia.
In the name of Christ. Amen. Alleluia, Alleluia.