St Clement Church Community 2nd Sunday of Easter

                                MC900155368[1]

Upon the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

 

As you will be aware, Buckingham Palace announced on Friday 9th April 2021 the death of HRH Philip the Duke of Edinburgh.

We gather here following his death to give thanks for the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for his faithfulness to his family, his steadfastness in public duty and for his deep Christian faith.

We offer our thoughts and prayers for Her Majesty the Queen who now mourns the loss of her husband, and for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We remember all who feel bereaved at Prince Philip’s death, for his extended family, friends and staff.

We also hold before God our Nation on this day of its history and for all who will be involved with the funeral preparations for the Prince.

 

In recognition of Prince Philip’s distinguished career in the Royal Navy we listen to the Hymn; ‘Eternal Father’

 

 

Opening Prayer

God our Father, in loving care your hand has created us,

and as the potter fashions the clay you have formed us in your image.

Through the Holy Spirit you have breathed into us the gift of life.

In the sharing of love you have enriched our knowledge of you and of one another.  We claim your love today, as we pray for the soul of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.  

 

Let us offer our prayers in thanksgiving, confidence and hope.

For Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh:

for his life-long love of the countryside;

his patronage of many charities and awards;

for the life he shared with Queen Elizabeth,

and for the encouragement and support he gave to her wider family.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our Prayer

 

For his example in war and peace of courage, fortitude and faithfulness; for his delight in all things connected with the sea, and his devotion to Her Majesty the Queen.

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our Prayer

 

For his warmth and welcome to those of every nation;

for the faith that sustained him and for his sense of humour that so many shared,  for his unfailing service to the people of this realm in days of hardship and in times of prosperity;

for the wisdom of his counsel

and for his words of comfort to those in distress,

For the repose of his soul, that he may rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our Prayer

For Elizabeth our Queen, Charles, Prince of Wales

and all the Royal Family,

that all who mourn may know the consoling love of God.

For this nation and Commonwealth;

for the Church throughout the world;

for our families and local communities,

that all people may share the peace of the risen Christ,

For those whom we love but see no longer,

that we may come with them to a joyful resurrection.

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our Prayer

 

Heavenly Father, into whose hands Jesus Christ

commended his spirit at the last hour:

into those same hands we now commend your servant Philip Duke of Edinburgh, that death may be for him the gate to life and to eternal fellowship with you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Support us, O Lord,

all the daylong of this troublous life,

until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,

the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over

and our work is done.

Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging,

a holy rest, and peace at the last;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The National Anthem is played.

 

                                   

               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.  Much love and grateful thanks for all your support and prayers, as you will see at the bottom of this service, the most important person in the vicarage was very pleased to see Ken arrive home!

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.

 

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 4. 32-35

1 John 1. 1-22

 

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

 I think at some point in our lives we’ve all been like doubting Thomas.

Most of us would admit of harbouring doubts in our faith, especially when certain days in our lives have seemed dark and hopeless. 

But we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about such doubts, because the reality is we’re not alone in having those thoughts.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples are bereft and face an unknown future without their leader and guide. For the last three years or so, Jesus had been with them, providing strength and courage, they’d felt safe and secure, they’d experienced his peace. But now Jesus has died, and it seems that all their courage and faith died along with him.

So now, they’d given up their dreams, and most of them were getting ready to pack up and head back to Galilee.
The scene is three days after the death of Jesus - the disciples are in hiding behind locked doors because they know that if the authorities find them they’ll be killed too.  Then John says that somehow Jesus enters into that room, stands among them and says the words: “Peace be with you”  We’re told Thomas missed seeing Jesus that first night, perhaps he was trying to rebuild his life in another way, and didn’t bother meeting up with his friends.

But we shouldn’t be too hard on him, because I bet poor old doubting Thomas is getting a pretty rough time in sermons all around the world today.

And perhaps in those same sermons people are being told that they shouldn’t have doubts like Thomas did, and that if they do have doubts then there’s something wrong with their faith.

And if that is said, what are those people going to do? They’re going repress those doubts and keep them hidden from the supposed saints sitting in the next pew, (socially distanced of course….) or sit and stew about such thoughts at home.  And then those doubts will grow and grow, and cause isolation from the fear of being thought badly of.

But one of the many blessings of being part of our church family is that hopefully, we’re honest, there’s no shame in admitting we’re not saints, we can gather together with our fears and doubts, acknowledging and sharing them in conversation.

I’ve had doubts, believe you me, 15 years ago when I first experienced the call to ministry, I had plenty of them. I can remember asking; ‘Why me?’ and receiving the answer ‘Why not?’ When Ken was diagnosed recently with another cancer, bless him, that caused yet again huge doubts in our faith, – But then we remembered Thomas had doubt too, and took comfort from it, because his story makes doubt ok. 

Perhaps that’s why the story of Thomas is repeated every year after Easter, to remind us that in one way or another, at some time, we all have doubt. After all, it’s difficult to live our lives on the basis of faith – let’s be honest, we’d much rather know for sure! But the only way for us to know for sure – is to take that leap of faith, trusting in the Lord. 

Thomas isn’t quite ready to trust and to risk taking that plunge, but there’s something important we might notice here – and that’s Jesus doesn’t blame Thomas for his not believing.

Jesus isn’t into blame – he never was and he isn’t now – But instead sees that Thomas doubts and so is offered the proof of the wounds from the cross. When our faith is weak, we need to stop thinking, and questioning, and doubting, and beating ourselves up.  We need to remember that Faith is a gift – and all we can do is receive that gift. We can’t think or reason our way to faith, but we can trust in it.

The next time our faith is weakened or even seems non-existent, when we are doubting like Thomas, we should remember once again the words of Jesus; ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’  That’s us, and by those words we can trust that Jesus is with us, to guide us in our blind faith by his wounds from the cross.  And such faith is truly needed in these times, especially as we begin to come out from behind the ‘locked doors’ of Covid.  Trusting that Jesus will be with us every step of the way in our fear and doubt.  Amen

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.

 

 

Intercessions

Faithful God, we praise you for the Resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ from the dead. Shed his glorious light on all Christian people that we may live as those who believe in the triumph of the cross.

Almighty God we ask you to be a real and living presence in your Church throughout the world. Wherever we are lacking in faith and courage strengthen us with your Spirit.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                 Lord, graciously hear us

 

Merciful God, we pray for peace in our troubled world. Wherever nations are at war and people are suffering we pray for true reconciliation. Protect all Christian people in the nations of the world, and help them to influence their country for the good of all and we pray for a fair and equitable distribution of the Coronavirus vaccine.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                            Lord, graciously hear us

 

Lord God, we pray for all the families whose homes are disrupted by anger and bitterness and where relationships are breaking up, exacerbated by the stress of the Pandemic.  

We thank you for the gift of your Son, our Saviour, who walks with us on our life’s journey and, as he gladdened the hearts of his friends when they saw him raised from the dead, may he travel alongside all who are struggling with their family life.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                              Lord, graciously hear us

 

Loving God, comfort the sick and suffering with your living presence. Heal and strengthen weak bodies, calm confused minds and reassure the lonely with your company. We remember before you those we know with particular needs – Susan, Ken and Diane, Sue, Kate and Martin, and those who have no one to pray for them.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                Lord, graciously hear us

 

Merciful God, we remember before you those who have died in the hope of the Resurrection. Unite us with them in your undying love. Help us to remember that death could not hold your Son Jesus Christ and that new life for him means new life for all who believe in him.

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                   Lord, graciously hear us

 

Gracious God, your Son Jesus Christ, stands among us, and we have seen the marks of your saving love. Breathe on us with the power of your Holy Spirit and send us out to share the peace of Christ with all who may cross our paths in the weeks ahead.

 

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 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.

 

 

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: 10th April 2021 3:15 PM