Services whilst we are closed due to Corona virus

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               St Clement Church Community Easter Season Service

 

Good morning to you all.

As we commemorate the 4th Sunday of Easter, I do hope that in all the unprecedented strangeness and fear of the current covid 19 crisis, we can continue to find hope in the Easter message, hope that is so needed at this time.

Thank you for keeping in touch with me and each other, as we look forward to the day when we will once again worship together at St Clement Church.  What a celebration that will be, but until then promise me you will stay in and stay safe!  

Much love and prayers and may Christ’s love sustain you not only during these times but always.  Rev Di and family xx

 

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

 

Let us pray: Merciful Father, you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd, and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again: keep us always under his protection, and give us grace to follow in his footsteps; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

On this 4th Sunday of Easter, in a moment of quiet reflection let us honestly examine our lives, remembering where our attitudes have been wrong, where love has grown cold, where hurts have not been forgiven, or where cries for help have not been answered…

 

When we are faced with something that challenges us, but fail to step out in faith and instead regress into old attitudes,

Lord, have mercy. 

When we face these difficult times, but fail to recognise that through it all you are holding us in your loving arms,

Christ, have mercy. 

 

When we fail to forgive past hurts to the detriment of restoring relationships,

Lord, have mercy.  

 

When we look inwards to our own concerns rather than seeking to help those in need,

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 our mistakes and failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Let us pray our Collect for the fourth Sunday of Easter

Risen Christ, faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep: teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

The Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. (10.1-10)

Glory to you, O Lord.

 ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 

They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 

Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.

I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

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

 

Reflection

When Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press he began to print Bibles, and this action enabled everybody to have access to scripture. Until then, only Church officials had such a privilege, and everyone else had to rely on their interpretation.

And this development caused a paradigm shift. No longer would the world have to depend on church leaders to read the Bible to them, they could now read it for themselves.

A paradigm shift is a popular, or sometimes, not so popular, transformation of the model of the way we humans perceive events, people, the environment, or life altogether.

The covid19 pandemic and the devastating effect it has had on our world certainly shown us that life is a constantly changing paradigm.

In our Gospel reading, when Jesus introduced the concept of the good shepherd, he was attempting to shift or transform the religious paradigm of his day.

In those times, people looked to the Pharisees as their spiritual leaders, but unfortunately, some of the Pharisees weren’t willing to accept any change when it came to matters of faith, and they resisted anything that would undermine their authority or cause them to lose power.

Jesus, on the other hand, wanted folk to understand that a true spiritual leader is one who is like a shepherd, who acts as a gatekeeper to guide his flock in and protect them.

A shepherd knows his flock personally, each member counts in their own right, no one is better than another.

The shepherd’s voice is a familiar one, he cares for his sheep by day and night, and has their best interest in mind, rather than his own. 

Sheep hear his voice and follow him because they trust him.

Jesus was the new paradigm, the new model, he was “the way, the truth, and the life.”

We know the story of the healing of the blind man, in which Jesus was trying to enable society to “see.” Well, this time he is trying to get them to “hear.” And he attempts to teach them by using this lesson on the role of a shepherd, as they would have been familiar with such a role in their everyday lives.

Jesus hoped that if they heard he is the “gate” for the sheep, they’ll understand, but if we read ahead in verses 19-21, we see that as usual, some got it and others didn’t.

Jesus was trying to get people to listen to him but not everyone was tuned in. Those who weren’t, were resistant to change, they wanted life to stand still, they weren’t willing to accept the simple fact that Jesus was the good shepherd who would take care of them.

But what about us? Are we able to acknowledge this new paradigm for our life? Can we accept the fact that Jesus is the doorway we need to choose in order to “have life, and have it abundantly?”

To live abundantly is to be aware that God knows us personally, like a shepherd who knows his sheep. It means we can have confidence that we are cared for.

It also means we are tuned in to God’s will for our lives, like the sheep who listen to the familiar voice of the shepherd.

But we humans like to control the doorways to our lives, instead of giving God the opportunity to open and close them for us.  

Sometimes in life it seems as though doors open and close at all the wrong times and places, and consequently, it’s difficult to go with the flow, we have trouble adjusting to what life throws at us.

In these troubled times we need to accept to be more like a sheep who depends on the shepherd. 

Accepting Jesus is the “doorway” to life means we must be willing to listen to his voice, enter when the door is open, and stay put when the door is closed.  ‘’Lock down’’ as it were…..

The shepherd gives his life to the sheep.  To follow Jesus, as sheep follow a shepherd, means to be people who give their lives to him.

It’s an old paradigm to trust in, which when followed, results in a new kind of world, a new world that will be waiting for us to step out into with faith when we meet again. Amen.

 

We close this reflection with our words of hope:

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

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

just because he lives.  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.

 

Our intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies

Dear Lord, at this difficult time of ‘Lockdown’ when we all find ourselves like lost sheep, unsure of what is happening and what the future holds, we stretch out our hands to you, the Good Shepherd, and ask you to keep watch over us and guide us towards green pastures where we can be nourished by your word and lead us to pure still waters where we can be refreshed by your love.

 

Let us pray;

Lord, you are our Shepherd and we pray for our church leaders that they too may care for and lead us by following the example of love and service you demonstrated in your earthly mission.  We especially pray today for all our clergy who through the Internet and Social Media are keeping us in touch and sharing words of encouragement.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

 

Lord, you are our Shepherd and we pray for the world that was given to us as an inheritance on the understanding that we would care for it as shepherds care for their flocks. Teach us to look after our beautiful planet and care for it wisely whilst sharing its gifts more fairly and working together with all its inhabitants to ease its suffering.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

 

Lord, you are our Shepherd and we pray for our families and friends who need to hear the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd who knows every one of them by name; who offers rest to the weary and life eternal to all who accept Him into their lives.                          

Lord, graciously hear us.

Lord, you are our Shepherd who seeks out the lost and the sick. We pray for those we know who are lost in illness and ask you to reassure them with the knowledge that you are watching over them in their suffering and that many are praying for their recovery.    

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

 

Lord, you are our Shepherd, and we offer prayers now for all people and their situations; for lives that are going through upheaval or distress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, or in circumstances which only you can change.  

We pray for Your blessing and protection on all those who are working on the frontline during these difficult times; those who daily put their own lives at risk to help and save others; those who are working to ensure that we are all fed and kept safe.

We also ask that you put your guiding hand on those who are deliberately ignoring safety instructions and those who are deliberately attacking frontline workers so that they understand that we all need to work together for our own and everybody else’s sake.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

 

Lord, you are our Shepherd who seeks out the lost and the sick. We pray for those we know who are lost in illness and ask you to reassure them with the knowledge that you are watching over them in their suffering and that many are praying for their recovery.    

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

 

Lord, you are our Shepherd, so we pray for those who have died and those who ache with sorrow at the loss of a loved one. May they find rest in the Holy Spirit’s embrace as you welcome them into the great sheepfold, safe in your keeping for ever.    

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

 

Lord, you are the Good Shepherd and watch over us every day.

Hold our hand and keep us safe as you guide us on our way.  

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 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: 1st May 2020 8:27 AM