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               St Clement Church Community Easter Season Service

 

Good morning to you all as we commemorate the 6th Sunday of Easter, sometimes known as Rogation Sunday.

Rogation Sunday is the day when the Church has traditionally offered prayer for God’s blessings on the fruits of the earth and the labours of those who produce our food. The word “rogation” is from the Latin rogare, “to ask.” Historically, the Rogation Days (the three days before Ascension Day) were a period of fasting and abstinence, asking for God’s blessing on the crops for a bountiful harvest.

Less of us today directly derive our livelihood from the production of food, yet it’s good to be reminded of our dependence upon those who do and our responsibility for the environment.  Traditionally, a common feature of Rogation days was the ceremony of beating the bounds, in which a procession of parishioners, led by the minister and churchwardens would proceed around the boundary of their parish and pray for its protection in the forthcoming year.  Such processions don’t often happen nowadays, but I’m sure many services held today will mention Rogationtide in their prayers.

Much love and prayers and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Rev Di and family xx

 

Alleluia! Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

 

Let us pray these traditional words for Rogationtide;

Remember, Lord, your mercy and loving-kindness towards us.

Bless this good earth, and make it fruitful.

Bless our labour, and give us all things needed for our daily lives.

Bless the homes of our parish and all who live within them.

Bless our common life and our care for our neighbour.

Hear us, good Lord. Amen.

Hymn; We Plough the Fields and Scatter.’ 

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

On this 6th Sunday of Easter, secure in the knowledge that God, who created us, loves us dearly, let us now confess before him those sins of which we are ashamed and which fill our lives with darkness and despair.

 

When we try to present a good image rather than to purify our hearts…. Lord, have mercy.

 

When we seek to please others rather than to speak the truth…….

Christ, have mercy.

 

When we are slow to admit that others may be right, or to say sorry if we are in the wrong……

Lord, have mercy.

 

When we honour God with our lips but keep him far from our hearts……

Christ, have mercy.

 

May the High King in heaven, with Jesus Christ his Son,                                                have mercy on us.  May all that dismays us and fills us with fear                                                                                                                                                                       be cleansed and forgiven, and by the power of the Holy Spirit                                                                                                                                                                           may we never be separated from the love of God                                                             in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   

 

 

 Let us pray our Collect for the sixth Sunday of Easter

Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples: help your Church to obey your command and draw the nations to the fire of your love, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

Readings:

Acts 16. 9 - 15

Revelation 21.10, 22 – 22.5

 

Hymn; I Heard the voice of Jesus say.’ 

 

The Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. (14. 23-29)

Glory to you, O Lord.

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

 

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

 

Reflection

I think I’ve told you this story before, but as it’s one of my favourites, I’ll tell it again:

A plane landed to refuel during a long flight and the flight attendant explained that there was enough time for everyone to get off the aircraft, as long as they were ready to re-board in an hour.

So, everybody got off the plane except for one gentleman sitting by the front entrance door, and the pilot, as he walked by, noticed that the man was blind because his guide dog lay quietly underneath the seat next to him.

 "Sir", the pilot said to the blind man, "we’ll be here for about an hour, would you like to get off the plane and stretch your legs?"

 The blind man replied; "No thank you, but my dog could do with a short walk.’

Picture this: all the people in the departure gate area came to a complete stand still when they looked out and saw the pilot, complete with dark aviator sunglasses walk off the plane with a guide dog!

But, believe it or not, instead of checking out what was actually occurring, fear took control, and everyone scattered and queued at the airline desk trying to change planes!   It’s a true story, honest!

Fear is a normal human response. It is a part of every person’s life – perhaps more so in some people than others – but everyone has to deal with fear at some time. There are many things that can cause unexpected fear to grip our hearts.

We can only imagine the fear the people of the Ukraine are experiencing, as they struggle to survive in their war-torn country.

Closer to home, we often fear for the safety of our families and our homes, in many areas of our country people are afraid to walk outside in the dark at night. Many people I know fear failure, so they scramble to meet their tight schedules, duties and obligations.

And where there is any kind of fear there is no peace. Fear brings with it anxiety, worry, panic and tension – none of which lead us to feel calm, peaceful, relaxed and stress-free.

I think one of the best newspaper cartoons is Calvin and Hobbes. In one cartoon Calvin comes marching into the living room early one morning. His mother is seated there in her favourite chair and is sipping her morning coffee. She looks up at young Calvin and is amused at how he is dressed. His head is encased in a large space helmet, a cape is draped around his neck and is dragging on the floor. One hand is holding a flashlight and the other a baseball bat.

"What's up today?" asks his mum.

"Nothing, so far," answers Calvin.

"So far?" she questions.

"Well, you never know," Calvin says, "Something could happen today." Then he marches off saying; "And if anything does, by golly, I'm going to be ready for it!" Calvin's mum then looks out at the reading audience and she says; "I need a suit like that!"

Well, I don't have a suit like Calvin's to give you, but I do have some important words from Jesus this morning to enable us to say, "Whatever may come our way, we’re going to be ready for it! Bring it on!"
Today’s farewell discourse from John tells of the Last Supper where Jesus has just spoken of his impending death, and knowing that what will happen next, his trial and tortuous death the next day - will upset the disciples, he offers his comfort of his peace.

The peace Jesus gives is an unconditional, eternal gift to his followers in every time and place.

That’s why he doesn’t give peace to us as the world does - because for the world, peace is often very conditional and fragile, and is frequently reduced to mean only the absence of war, we only have to look towards Russia and Ukraine for that example….

Worldly peace always has some kind of strings attached, some kind of conditions, and worldly peace lasts only as long as those conditions are kept.

However, with Christ’s peace there are no strings attached; there is the wonderful promise that it will last forever. Peace, in the New Testament sense means: salvation, forgiveness and reconciliation between God and humanity.  By his death Jesus reconciles us with God – he restores the friendship between God and us, you might say.

And peace is also the Holy Spirit in our lives as friend, comforter, counsellor, teacher and healer.
Peace is knowing that no matter what troubles may come our way, our heavenly Father has promised to never forget us and to always be our helper and strength. His Son died for us so God could reclaim us as his own, and he won’t give up on us now. We are his special and most loved children.

Peace is the flow of God's peace into the rest of our lives as we live and work with the people in our day to day relationships and activities.

And knowing God’s peace has a positive effect on our health and well-being, after all, it’s well known that stress, tension, and fear have negative effects on our bodies.

 So what can we do when fear grips our hearts?

 Firstly, we need to know what kind of God we have. He is gracious, loving and faithful. We don’t deserve it, but he loves us and will always stand by us. We see just how powerful his love for us is when we look at the cross.

We need to know God as King. There is nothing so great or too difficult for him to handle, after all, parting the sea to save the Israelites, saving Daniel from the lions, getting Peter out of jail, or saving Paul from a shipwreck were all a piece of cake for him. Helping us when we are afraid is just as easy.

Secondly, we need to know God’s promises and trust that he will stick by what he says, trusting in words like these from Psalm 27;

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The Lord protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.’

Be assured that God keeps his promises; that he is with us, even in the worst possible situations in our lives.

Thirdly, we need to realise that here will be times when even the words of promise that we have learnt off by heart will do little to ease our anxiety.

We may even feel that God has deserted us, and it’s then we need the Holy Spirit to help us – to forgive us for our weakness of faith, to enable us to trust that God has not forsaken us, to support us while we tremble in fear and to help us get through. The Holy Spirit reminds us - when fear is near, God is even nearer.

When fears and worries create tension and upset our lives, Jesus promises; ‘Peace I leave with you; my own peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.’

 

We close this reflection with our words of hope:

Because he lives we can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone.

Because we know he holds the future, and life is worth the living,

just because he lives.  Amen.

 

Hymn; We have a Gospel to Proclaim.’ 

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day and afterwards he appeared to his followers and to all the apostles: this we have received, and this we believe. This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Our intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies

Everlasting God, you made the world and everything in it. We pray with one voice, proclaiming your presence to all the earth. Let the people praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you and give thanks for all the wonders of your marvellous creation this Rogation tide.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

 

We pray for our Bishops Philip and Hugh and for our own vicar, Reverend Di, that they will be guided in their ministry by the influence of the Holy Spirit. We pray for the Church both here in St Clement, in our Diocese and worldwide that we may go forward together in unity and strength. Help us to respect the beliefs of others even if we don’t share them, to celebrate what we have in common and to accept our differences. Guide us all in our ministries as we live each day.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

Creator God, we pray for governments and world leaders, for captains of industry and workers, for inventors and technicians, for entertainers and audiences, for those who set the targets at work, in education and training and in the pews, for all who are powerful that they may be guided by the Spirit of Truth that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations. We continue to pray for an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Lord, hear us: graciously hear us

 

We pray for the Queen as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee and give thanks for her lifetime of service. May she be an example to other members of the royal family as they continue to work for the good of the people.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

 

Father God, we pray for our families, colleagues and friends, for our neighbours and strangers; for those with whom we break bread at home, at work, in the community and in our church; for all who grow, harvest and prepare the food we eat and for those who cook and serve it; for all who share with the less fortunate through foodbanks and charities.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

 

Merciful God, we pray for those who have been ill so long that it has become part of their life. Help them and those who care for them to see all the possibilities that life still holds despite their situation and to make the most of what is available to help people lead enjoyable and fulfilled lives. We especially remember at this time Ken and Diane, Terry and Dot, Daphne and Dave, Rupert and Linda, Sandra and Barrie, Pam and David, Victoria, Ollie, Gill and family, Margaret, Sally, Maureen, Brian, Gavin, Paul and Jan, Jenny and all those who have no one to pray for them.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

 

Merciful God, we pray for those whose hearts have been saddened by the death of someone close and dear to them, for members of our families who have died and whose anniversary we recall.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

 

Gracious God, as we go out into the world help us to work to make your way become known upon earth and your saving power among all nations.

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,

let us pray with confidence as our risen Lord taught us;

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom,

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

 

Hymn; For the Beauty of the Earth.’ 

 

The Peace

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then they were glad when they saw the risen Lord.

Alleluia!  May the peace of the risen Lord be always with us.

 

Blessing

May the light of Christ surround us, may the Love of God enfold us,

may the presence of God watch over us, may the power of God protect us and those whom we love,  and may we never forget that wherever we are, God is also.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 19th May 2022 7:08 AM