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               St Clement Church Community Easter Season Service

 

Good morning to you all as we celebrate the second Sunday of Easter either in our church building with a Eucharist service, or this Service of the Word for those at home.   

As we hear God’s word and reflect on the gospel message, may we find the love of God sustaining us, His Son Jesus Christ walking with us, and may the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen us this day and always.  With love and may God Bless you all,

Rev Di and family xx

 

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

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

 

Let us pray: Lord Jesus Christ, risen from death to life in the father’s love,

raise us to share in new life, that we may know your presence among us, and serve you in the power of the Spirit. Amen.

 

Hymn; O praise ye the Lord.

 

Our prayers of Penitence

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.”   

 

This Easter season we bring our fears and failings to the risen Christ:

When, like Mary at the empty tomb, we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence.  Lord, have mercy.

 

When, like the disciples behind locked doors, we are afraid to be seen as your followers.  Christ, have mercy.

 

When, like Thomas in the upper room, we are slow to believe. 

Lord, have mercy

 

When we face these difficult times, but fail to trust in your loving purposes.  Christ, have mercy. 

 

When we are agents of gloom rather than messengers of hope.

Lord, have mercy. 

 

May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins and failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Let us pray our Collect for the second Sunday of Easter

Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred: open our hearts, that we may seek the good of others and honour you with joyful lives of sacrifice and peace, to the praise of God the Father. Amen.

 

Readings

Acts 5. 27-32

Rev. 1. 4-8

 

Hymn; We have a gospel to proclaim.

 

 

Gospel John 20. 19-end

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)

 

The Gospel According to

John

The Word Became Flesh

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.

 

Reflection

Poor Thomas, I bet he’s having a hard time this Sunday in Christian worship all over the world, so today we’re going to give him a break today at St Clement…

It's strange when you think about it though, that the disciples spend the evening of Easter Day behind locked doors.  After all, Peter and another disciple have seen the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene has spoken with the risen Christ, and she’s told the disciples about it, so you'd think they would be off celebrating somewhere, announcing to anyone who would listen that Jesus is alive again. 

Instead, they hide out and act like disciples whose leader is dead.

On the other hand, protecting themselves makes perfect sense, it was after all only a couple days before that they were traumatised by the death of their leader on a cross. They know that as Jesus was apprehended and executed, they may be as well, so they wait behind locked doors, as quiet as they can be, fearing every footstep in the street below.  And a number of them will die sooner or later, for their connection with Jesus, we should acknowledge that this room contains many of the first Christian martyrs.  So it’s to his fearful disciples that the risen Christ chooses to appear, but why?

 It might have been out of anger, disappointment, or a desire for revenge, we know these disciples deserted Jesus as he hung for hours on the cross, most of them were nowhere to be found and he might have wanted to fix them with a steely gaze and berate them about it.

 But nothing of the sort happens, Jesus comes back, not concerned for himself, but for them, he senses their profound fear and speaks his peace to them. 

He shows them the wounds still apparent on his glorified body, their fear dissolves, and they rejoice to see him alive again. Then Jesus gives them his peace and their mission, he breathes the Holy Spirit on them, and tells them to go out and forgive sins with his authority. 

This action is an early Pentecost, a commissioning of them for their ministry of forgiveness, the reconciliation of humanity with God and each other, and the prototype for their work is to be the forgiveness Jesus has given them. 

And from this upstairs room, forgiveness is to spread like wildfire, set free from fear themselves, they are enabled to help set others free.

Henceforth the disciples were set free from their fear, but we might say in this day and age, that’s all well and good, so what’s in it for us? 

Many of us know folk whose lives are dominated by fear, and we might be struggling with such fear ourselves.  We experience fears that are announced in the headlines: a pandemic for which no cure is known, the terrible war and destruction Russia has inflicted on Ukraine, with the loss of so many innocent lives. 

Other fears are more personal and private: the diagnosis of an untreatable illness, the approaching death of a family member, a relative’s broken marriage, a child in the family having trouble at school, the rising cost of food and fuel, the list can be endless. And when fears flare up in our hearts, it's easy to forget God, but surely it's time when we should remember God the most.

The disciples forgot for a time, there in that upstairs room, and we may forget also, but thankfully Christ does not forget us.  He comes to us with vivid reminders on his feet, hands and side that death, the source of so much fear, has been conquered. 

So what's in it for us we asked?  For a start the greatest promise of all, our own resurrection at the end of time, the reality of our reconciliation with God our heavenly Father, and the promise that Jesus walks beside us every step of our lives, not only freeing us from fear of the death that will come at life's end, but freeing us from all the other deathly fears that blight our lives today.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord, and we also can rejoice, when in the midst of fears we recognise Christ is with us. 

It isn’t that fear is swept away; but that it no longer dominates our lives because there is one who has shown himself more powerful than fear, him whom we acknowledge as our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Jesus returns to promise us our resurrection, he comes back to reconcile us with God, to make us instruments for reconciliation in the world and to break the chains of fear.

But how do we recognise him in our lives? By living a life of faith, that’s how.  We can meet Jesus in our worship and prayers, in the scriptures and sacraments, we can meet him in the love and care we show to others, reflecting to them his love for us, and we can also meet him at times we least expect it, like those disciples that first Easter, even in the dark night of our fearful souls.

My friends, this Easter Season Christ comes to set us free, so extend to him the chains of fear that hold us, and rejoice as he breaks them one by one.   Alleluia! Christ is risen! 

He is risen indeed, Alleluia!  Amen.

 

Hymn; At the name of Jesus.

 

 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 are written by Liz Davies

Everlasting God, as Jesus appeared in the locked  room to show his disciples the beginning of a new world, draw us closer so that we, like Thomas, can examine the wounded hands and feet of Jesus in order to know and understand the depth of His love for us. Let us therefore approach the throne of God in confidence as we pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                               Lord, graciously hear us

Gracious God, look down with love upon the Church as day by day it struggles to be a body worthy of Jesus’ name, an Easter People whose song is Alleluia. Be with its clergy as they focus on spreading the Good News as we give thanks for the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                 Lord, graciously hear us

 

Creator God, we bring before you our world, especially praying for peace in Ukraine, reconciliation and healing in all places of war, hatred and terrorism.  We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons. We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow, that your Spirit of comfort will enfold them. We pray that those with power over war and peace may have wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.                                                   We pray that the nations of this world may be united and subject to the rule of the Risen Christ, through whom and for whom all things were created. We pray for Elizabeth our Queen, may she continue to be guided and influenced by the example set by your Son who lives and reigns as King of Kings.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                           Lord, graciously hear us

 

Loving God, your Son remained with His disciples after His resurrection, teaching them to love their neighbours as themselves. As His disciples here at St Clement, we offer our prayers on behalf of this community and the communities where we live and our friends and neighbours with whom we interact day by day.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                              Lord, graciously hear us

 

Almighty God, we pray for all who are sick and those who are troubled in body, mind or spirit. We especially remember Margaret, Ollie, Ken and Diane, Brian, Maureen, Gavin, Paul and Jan, Terry and Dot, Daphne and Dave, June, Sally, Gill and family and Jenny.                             

We pray that they, and all who face difficulties at this time, may feel your presence and love and know that they are never alone.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                              Lord, graciously hear us

 

Loving God, surround all who mourn with your continuing compassion. Do not let grief overwhelm those who are bereaved, or let them turn against you. When grief seems never-ending, take them one step at a time along the journey of death and resurrection.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                Lord, graciously hear us

 

Father God, you have called us to follow you. As you hear our prayers make us faithful in responding to your call.

Merciful Father: accept our 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 Saviour 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; Ye holy angels bright.

 

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.

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

Alleluia.

 

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: 21st April 2022 7:28 AM