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St Clement Church Community Fifth Sunday of Easter Service

 

Good morning,

As we gather at St Clement Church or at home to worship, may we think of Jesus’ final commandment to His disciples ‘to love one another just as I have loved you.’

Jesus lived a life of service to all, regardless of who they were or the type of life they lived. He treated His betrayer exactly the same way He treated the other disciples.

It’s a ‘hard ask’ isn’t it? But that’s what we are told to do.

God Bless

With my love

Liz

  

Let us pray:

 

Dear God, we thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives.

Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us.

Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for your purposes.

Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your mercy and grace.

Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us.

Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we may have freedom and life.

Forgive us when we don’t thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you’ve given.

Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh.

Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy.

We give you our love and we need you, this day and every day.

We give you praise and thanks for you alone are worthy.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

 

Hymn: 285 For the beauty of the earth

 

Our prayers of Penitence

 

Lord God, we have sinned against you.

We have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Was away our wrongdoing, and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us and restore us to the joy of your salvation.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for today.

 

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen

 

New Testament reading:     Acts 11. 1 - 18

New Testament reading:     Revelations 21. 1 - 6

 

Hymn: 205 Christ is made the sure foundation

 

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John (13. 31 – 35)

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord

 

During the supper, when Judas had gone out, Jesus said,

 ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified

If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

Little children, I am with you only a little longer.

You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you,

 “Where I am going, you cannot come.”

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another.’

 

  (This is the Gospel of the Lord.)

Response: Praise to you, O Christ.

 

Reflection

 

We seem to be hitting the rewind button during this season of Eastertide – we keep going back over events that led up to the crucifixion. Today’s passage takes us back to that final meal Jesus shares with the disciples. Interestingly, John doesn’t describe this as a Passover meal like the other Gospel writers – rather, this takes place the night before Passover begins. But, John gives us something the other Gospel authors don’t: he tells us in detail what Jesus says to His disciples during this final night that they have together.

 

In these few verses we find three major themes: Christ’s glorification, preparation for His upcoming departure and the new commandment to love each other.

 

Christ’s glory is only revealed because of betrayal.  There is no crucifixion unless Judas betrays Jesus. Judas is the instrument God uses to glorify Christ ‘at once.’ This glory is revealed immediately, as Jesus dies on the cross. For God to be glorified in Christ, Jesus has to be lifted up in death, and this can only happen if Judas turns Him over to the authorities.

 

Before Jesus leaves them, the disciples need a new way to identify themselves and to be identified by the world. This new way is love.

But, surely this is just like the ‘greatest commandment’ – ‘to love one’s neighbour as oneself.’ No, what is new is that this command tells us to love our neighbour as Christ loves us.

The command to love isn’t a command to feel something rather it’s a command to do something. It’s a command to serve each other, to take care of one another. How we do that shows the rest of the world what it means to follow Jesus and what it means to be loved by God.

Just as Jesus washes Judas’ feet and feeds him the bread and the cup in the same way as he shares his last meal with all the disciples, He expects us to offer grace and hospitality to all, even the ones who insult us, who don’t like us very much, who are rude or unkind to us. Jesus ‘loves them to the end’ so that we may love one another in just the same way.

                                                       

‘You are my disciples if you have love for one another’ – I don’t know about you, but I don’t always find that very easy to do – have love for everyone else. Do you?

 

One only has to switch on the television – ‘Nightmare Neighbours,’

The News, reports of court cases, - can I really love all of these people?

How is one expected to love Putin, the Russian generals and the Russian

soldiers committing such atrocities in Ukraine?

Sadly, Jesus’ commandment is rather easier said than done.

To love without judgement. To love without fear. To love without bias or qualification or exception. To love as Christ loves us.

 

We are to love the people we want to love and the people we can’t stand.

We are to love the people who are just like us and the people who are so different from us that we can’t see how we have anything at all in common.

We are to love as Jesus loved - including all people in our lives walking beside them, eating with them, caring for them, listening to them, including ‘them’ as an integral part of ‘us.’

 

Because, that’s what Jesus says. Love – each – other.

 

Each other – each and every other…until there is no longer any division.

Love each other until the kingdom of God is completely filled with people God has chosen in his infinite mercy.

 

 This story makes me think – does it you?

 

A Jew named Yankel lived in the East End of London. He owned a bakery there and, he had survived the Nazi concentration camps.

He tells his story.

‘You know why it is that I am alive today? I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on a train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz.

Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold in the boxcar.

The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight,

sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm.

Sitting next to me was an older Jew – a beloved elderly man whom

 

recognized from my home town. Although I recognized him, I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So, I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face and his neck. I begged him to hang on.

All night long, I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself and my fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing the heat onto this man’s body. Hours and hours went by this way. Finally, night passed, morning came and the sun began to shine. There was warmth in the cabin and then I looked round the car to see some of the other Jews in there. To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies and all I could hear was a deathly silence.

Nobody else in that cabin made it through the night – they died from the frost. Only two people survived: the old man and me. The old man survived because somebody kept him warm; I survived because I was warming him.

 

‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’

 

The first law of Christ’s Kingdom is selfless love and the greatest manifestation of this is through service. Just like the boxcar, this world can be a dark and cold place. We live by serving others There is no other way. By serving others we share life with others  and enjoy the truest life ourselves.

Amen

 

Affirmation of our faith

 

Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God

 

We believe in one God 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

He is the true and living God,

Worthy to receive glory and honour and power.

He created all things,

By his will they existed and were created.

We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ;

All things came into being through him.

He is the image of the invisible God

The first born of creation.

In him all things in heaven and on earth were created.

He himself is before all things,

And in him all things hold together.

Being in the form of God, he emptied himself,

he took the form of a slave, and was born in human likeness.

Being found in human form, he humbled himself

he became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;

he was buried; he was raised on the third day,

according to the Scriptures.

God also highly exalted Jesus:

He gave him the name that is above every name.

God has put all things under his feet:

he made him the head over all things for the church,

which is his body.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again;

through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.

As all die in Adam,

So, all will be made alive in Christ.

Thanks be to God

Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

Amen

 

Hymn: 338 At the name of Jesus

 

Intercessions

 

Dear Lord, we come before you on this fifth Sunday of Easter with thanksgiving for all your mercy and grace and we give thanks for the beauty and wonder of the world around us as we bring to you our prayers of intercession. Help us to work together in our Church for the good of all with love and fellowship.

 

We pray for churches across the world and for all practicing Christians living in countries where they are threatened and under attack because of their belief. We pray for all clergy, for Archbishop Justin, Bishops Phillip and Hugh and our own, much-loved Revd Diane, her husband Ken, and family.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

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 the homeless and hungry, bless all who work to bring them relief; inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts.  We ask you to take from us all hatred and prejudice. Give us your spirit of love for all people whatever their race or creed and show us what we can do to look after your world.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

We pray for all those in danger, some living in countries where there is breakdown of law and order and innocent people, who are caught up in unrest and violence feel frightened and powerless. We especially think of Ukraine, for all who have lost loved ones, those who have been forced to leave their homes and people who continue to live in fear of the atrocities of war. We ask you Lord, to give strength and courage to all nations involved, so that they continue in their efforts to find a peaceful end to this and other conflicts around the world.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

We Pray for Elizabeth our beloved Queen, please God give her the strength to cope as she prepares to celebrate her platinum jubilee celebrations. May she have support from all her family.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

We pray for our community; we pray for all who care for the sick, for our doctors and nurses working in stressful conditions in 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 Barrie and Sandra, Victoria, Ollie, Gill and family, Ken and Diane, Liz, Rupert and Linda, Daphne and David, Terry and Dot, Margaret, Sally, Maureen, Brian, Gavin, Paul and Jan, and Jenny.

 

Dear Lord, your love reaches beyond the grave. At the end of our days on earth be with us and with those we love. May those who have gone before us rest in your eternal peace. We remember those who have died and we pray for all whose life is saddened by the death of a love one – be with them in their loneliness.

 

Merciful father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

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 Jesus 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.

 

Love your neighbour by John Raymond

 

What is God calling me to do?

As I sit by the window and wonder.

What does the Bible say I should do?

As I sit by the window watching a woman drop her briefcase.

Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead – I never did that!

As I watch someone walk their dog outside the window.

Jesus said, ‘I have come so you can have life more abundantly.’

How do I live life more abundantly?

Watching an old man pick up his bags!

 

As I wonder - about Jesus died for my sins!

As a servant making my life clean!

What do I do with that?

As I watch a dog run away!

What can I give Christ in faith?

The greatest of us was a perfect servant!

How do I love others like Jesus?

A neighbour knocks I open the door!

He says, ‘We need to help find the neighbour’s dog!’

Thank you, God, you answered my prayer.

 

The Peace

 

God will speak peace to his people,

To those who turn to him in their hearts.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

 

Hymn: 263 All creatures of our God and King

 

Blessing

 

Let us go forth into the world in peace and dedicated to your service,

O Lord.

Let us hold fast to that which is good, render to no person evil for evil,

Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak,

help the needy and the afflicted, and honour all people.

Let us love and serve the Lord,

rejoicing in the power of His Spirit.

And may God’s blessing be upon us and remain with us always.

Amen

 

 


Page last updated: 14th May 2022 6:46 AM