St Clement Church Community Easter Season Service
Good morning everyone, on this the seventh and final Sunday in the Easter season.
We have much to be thankful for, that this year we have been able to worship in our church throughout the Easter season.
We remember and send our love and prayers to those of you who are still not able to join us and we look forward to when we can all be together again.
With love to you all
Alleluia! Christ is risen
He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Hymn: At the name of Jesus
Our prayer of Penitence
Loving Father, all the fancy words in the world, expressed in eloquent prose, decorated with emotion, spoken with conviction, cannot compete with a heartfelt ‘sorry’ when all other words fail. There are times when we are all too aware of our limitations, conscious of sin and the distance it creates between us. Sometimes ‘sorry’ is all the heart can bear to say out loud. It is only You who can read and understand the language of our hearts. Only You who can translate our ‘sorry’ into the prayer we would have prayed if we had the words within us. Then you forgive, and having forgiven, surround us in an embrace of love, drawing us close to your heart as it was always meant to be. Thank you, Loving Father, that you listen to our hearts as well as our voices.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy
Slow to anger and of great kindness.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins
Nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth
So great is his mercy upon those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west
So far has he set our sins from us.
As a father has compassion on his children
So is the Lord merciful towards those who fear him.
Bless the Lord, O my soul
And all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul
And forget not his benefits.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Your Son who was with us only for a short time. Thank You for being the living water that quenches the thirst of all those who long for You. We give You praise for being Your resurrection power, it is because of You that we too can have everlasting life with You in heaven. Father, we pray that we do not ever take for granted the wonder of each day. Amen.
We say together St Augustine of Hippo’s Prayer
Lord, I commit my failures as well as my successes into your hands and I bring for your healing, the people and the situations, the wrongs and the hurts of the past.
Give me courage, strength and generosity to let go and move on leaving the past behind me, and living the present to the full.
Lead me always to be positive as I entrust the past to your mercy, the present to your love, and the future to your providence.
Let us pray our Collect for the seventh Sunday of Easter
O God the king of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Acts of the Apostles 1. 15 – 17, 21 – 26
1 John 5. 9 – 13
Hymn: Ye servants of God, your master proclaim.
The Gospel Reading
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. (17. 6-19)
Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed: ‘Father I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Our Gospel reading today takes place at the Last Supper, in the upper room, the last time Jesus and the disciples are gathered together before He is arrested. Jesus is praying but it is also called ‘Jesus’ Farewell Discourse.’ In the ancient world it was fairly common practice to give a parting speech or ‘Farewell Discourse.’ When someone knew that their end was approaching, they might share with those close to them, some thoughts, possibly some words of comfort and sometimes a prayer. So what Jesus is doing, or what John tells us He is doing, is not that uncommon and would certainly make sense to a reader at the time.
Very few of Jesus’ prayers are actually recorded. We know that He prayed alone, at night, often by Himself, away from others, but what exactly He prayed – we don’t know. We have the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ of course, but this chapter of John is the one place where we see the words Jesus prayed, recorded at length. Jesus’ prayer has three strands to it – first he prays for Himself, then He prays for His disciples, and then for all believers. The part we have read today is an intercessory prayer – it is Jesus interceding for the disciples. He is the go between, the connector or wifi router between them and God, the Father.
Jesus prays, ‘Protect them from the evil one.’
Let’s be honest – we all know that we live in a dangerous world. We read in the newspaper, hear on the radio and see on television or the Internet all about the dangers of this world, every day.
Danger – the human instinct is fight or flight. Neither one, however, really changes the situation. One adds to violence and increases the danger. The other creates and opens a space for the danger to exist. The events and circumstances that we perceive as dangerous are real but, they really just point to deeper issues. They are symptoms of what is going on within the human heart. They reveal wounds and brokenness that often stand in opposition to the life, love, and ways of God.
Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said, ‘I’ll pray for them later?’ Or has anyone ever called and said, ‘I need you to pray for me, I have this need?’ Prayer – just how powerful is it? Perhaps the following story may change the way that you think about prayer and also the way you pray – it has me! On home leave, a missionary, visiting his home church was asked to preach and he told the following true story. ‘Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord Jesus Christ. I then travelled two days, camping overnight and arrived home without incident. Two weeks later I repeated this journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. The young man told me that he had known that I carried money and medicines. He said, ‘Some of my friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing that you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But, as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.’ At this, I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in the jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, however, and said, ‘No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them and we counted all of them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.’ At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day that this had happened. The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who had interrupted told him this story. ‘On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go and play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong that I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all those men who met me on that day, stand up?’ The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. The missionary wasn’t concerned with who they were – he was too busy counting how many men he saw. There were 26.
Jesus is the one who stands before the Father on behalf of, not only the disciples, but also on behalf of us, He stands in the gap between us and the Father and brings the two together. He mediates on our behalf.
Prayer – is it time for each of us to think about when and how we pray? Do we need to be much more open to responding to an urgent need to pray for someone or some situation?
Dear God, we thank you for your goodness, your mercy and your grace. Help us to carry these wonderful gifts in our own hearts and lives. May we minister these to all the world.
Lord, hear our prayer.
A New Commandment – sung by Martin Davies
Affirmation of our faith
We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we all exist.
We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again.
We believe and trust in the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world.
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 Helen Dunbar
Let us pray to the God of goodness and grace, who is worthy of a love greater than we can give or understand. Fill our hearts with love towards thee, that nothing may seem impossible for us to do and help us reach out in love and kindness to one another, as we start to live a less locked down existence and see more of family and friends after the difficulties of the past year living with Covid restrictions.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We pray for churches across the world and for all practising Christians living in countries where they are threatened and under attack because of their belief. We pray for all clergy, for Archbishop Justin, Bishop Philip, Suffragan Bishop Hugh and our own, much loved Revd Di, her husband Ken, and family.
Dear Lord we pray for those in positions of authority and leadership that they do not misuse their powers, but respect and care for all their peoples and for the natural resources of their countries. Help us to learn from one another’s cultures and respect one another’s differences.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We pray for those in danger, some living in countries where there is a breakdown of law and order and innocent people who are caught up in unrest and violence feel frightened and powerless. We pray that the unrest and violence that has erupted between Israel and Palestine will not turn into a full-scale war.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
Dear Lord, we pray for all those who are afflicted by physical, emotional or mental illness and last week was Mental Awareness Week for 2021. Give some comfort to all those who care for the mentally ill. Be with all those suffering, we pray, through the lonely watches of the night and the narrow tunnel of their pain and grief. Help them to keep their eyes fixed on you, and give them courage to face the trials and temptations that may come.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen, who this week resumed her royal duties and carried out her first major public engagement since the death of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, by attending the State Opening of Parliament.
We pray for our community; we pray for all who care for the sick, for our doctors and nurses working tirelessly in stressful conditions in very busy hospitals. We also remember those who care for their loved ones at home and for those who struggle to cope with the many tasks they have to undertake. We pray that they may be aware of your comforting presence and know that in your hands they are safe and loved and we remember all those known to us, for Derrek, Susan, Ken and Diane, Kate, Sue, Lyn, Jeff, Martin and Liz, Rupert and Linda.
Dear Lord, we pray for those who have died and now see you as you really are. We ask for mercy and forgiveness, and commend them to your keeping for ever.
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.
The Mystery of Prayer
Whether we speak from our lips
or from the depth of our heart our thoughts and words go out as we reach upward to God.
But far beyond the spoken word
He knows and understands it all
Far beyond and even far ahead
God can hear what is not said.
We seek to get God’s attention
With words that reach far.
But before we state our needs
God knows just what they are.
Yet prayer serves a purpose.
It awakes us to God’s power.
Every need is within his reach
And He is with us every hour.
Prayer reminds us of God’s love
And how He gave His very best.
So, we can come to God in prayer
Whene’er we face life’s tests.
Prayer draws us to the Father
And connects us to Him by faith.
We experience God’s holy presence
And a touch of His sweet grace.
Hymn: We have a Gospel to proclaim
If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbours.
If there is to be peace between neighbours,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart. Lao Tse
The peace of the Lord be with us all.
The Lord bless us and keep us;
the Lord make His face to shine on us,
and be gracious to us;
the Lord turn His face towards us
and give us peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.