Services whilst we are closed due to Corona virus

                                MC900155368[1]

                                   

               St Clement Church Community Easter Season Service

 

Good morning to you all on this last Sunday of Easter.

Thursday 21st was Ascension Day and next Sunday is the day of Pentecost, sometimes called Whit Sunday, or Whitsun.  Traditionally observed as a bank holiday, though in the secular world sadly most folk wouldn’t know why…..

Our Church year is moving on, after Pentecost we’ll be into the season of ‘Ordinary Time,’ yet for a lot of us, it feels as if we aren’t moving, but instead are standing still, waiting.

We wait for permission to open our church buildings, we wait for longed for contact with our families and friends, we wait for a Covid19 vaccine, all the things that might enable us to return to some semblance of ‘normal’ life.

So might I suggest that whilst we wait, we give thought to how we will pick up the pieces of our St Clement community’s ‘normal life.’ 

We face a future of needing to be a sustainable and viable community which has a valid ministry in this Diocese. To enable this we’ll need more support financially and physically that’s for sure. 

Due to the lock down our major fund raising events were cancelled, but our Diocese MMF payment of some £19,800 hasn’t. 

The lock down has also shown some of us just how much we were undertaking in our lives, and how draining such ‘busyness’ had become on our physical and mental well-being.  

I for one, have realised that even though we moved into the vicarage four years ago, these last couple of months are the first time I have ‘lived’ here, and I certainly intend to pursue a better balance of life in the future.

It must be faced that time is passing for all of us, we are an older community, few in numbers, and physically can’t do what we would have undertook without batting an eyelid 10 years ago!  

So, in recognising the need to be sustainable and viable, how do we enable folk on the outskirts of our community to take the step to ‘come in’ and support us.

Give it some thought, who can you encourage to see what they’re missing by not joining our lovable, humorous, (crazy) family?

In the meantime, we look forward to when we will be allowed to worship in our beautiful church building.  The service will be truly joyous, we’ll have an ‘Easter’ celebration, even if still needing to be 2 metres apart!  We’ll bring in our new paschal candle and thank God for his goodness.  (Is there such a thing as a social distance shared lunch, I wonder…..)   

Much love and prayers and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Rev Di and family xx

 

It is still the season to say; Alleluia! Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

 

Let us pray;

Heavenly Father, we are not people of fear: we are people of courage.  We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.  We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, wherever you call us.

Amen.

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Jesus Christ, our triumphant risen Lord, as this Easter season comes to a close, we confess to you our weakness and unbelief.

 

When we have lived by our own strength, and not by the power of your resurrection.   In your mercy, forgive us and help us.

 

When we have lived by the light of our own eyes, as faithless and not believing.         In your mercy, forgive us and help us.

 

When we have lived for this earthly life alone, and doubted our home in heaven.            In your mercy, forgive us and help us.

 

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 seventh Sunday of Easter

Risen ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged from us might find your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.  

                                                                                            

The Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. (24.44-end)

Glory to you, O Lord.

Then Jesus said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 

And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

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

 

Our Reflection and Intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies

Thursday was Ascension Day – a day that doesn’t get a lot of ‘emphasis.’ Tucked between Easter and Pentecost it’s a day that is often forgotten by many because it’s always on a Thursday and not a Sunday when we traditionally go to church. Yet we wouldn’t have Pentecost – or Easter – without it.

Jesus wasn’t resurrected to die again. Jesus was resurrected to be lifted into heaven and live forever with God, so that we can know that there IS life beyond this life.

Jesus had to ascend so we could experience the Holy Spirit and get on with spreading his message throughout all the world.

A year ago, the Vicar and I were invited to go to Archbishop Benson Primary School for its Ascension Day Eucharist. Wonderful! However, there was a catch – explain the Ascension to the children aged 4 to 11 years old … and the Vicar gave me the job!

I wonder how you feel when you read the Ascension Day Gospel reading that we are using today …what sort of picture do you have in your mind when you read ‘he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven?’ What do you see or imagine? None of us were there; we don’t know exactly what happened.

Through the centuries different artists have interpreted the story in different ways. The majority have Jesus as an ethereal figure in white, lifting off, his gaze directed towards the heavens, angels all around, whilst the disciples observe this spectacle.

However, Albrecht Durer, a German artist, took a totally different approach and painted just Jesus’ feet. His focus wasn’t on heaven but rather on what happens on earth. The disciples, both male and female, are looking up at these feet; some are enraptured, accepting the events. Some seem shocked even panicking. In the background, there is a raised hand that could be praising the Lord but also, could be trying to pull Jesus back to earth. Some seem ready for Jesus to leave them behind – but some obviously are not.

I don’t know about you, but I am very much a ‘picture’ person. As I read, I visualise the story. As I told the children the Ascension story, I very slowly let go a very, very long string and gradually a balloon began to appear behind me and it slowly rose until it eventually touched the ceiling in the school hall.

Had there been no roof on the building, I told them, it would have risen until it could no longer be seen and just maybe, that’s how it MIGHT have been with Jesus when he left his disciples and disappeared into heaven.

We are not children, are we? How do we see the Ascension story?

The disciples have had the risen Christ with them for 40 days – 40 being a sacred number in Judaism that symbolises fulfilment…Think how often the number 40 appears in Bible stories… In each story the number 40 symbolises a necessary journey and preparation, before the time is fulfilled and a new thing can happen.

The disciples have had 40 days of preparation – time when Jesus has been readying them for the next stage. What have they been prepared for? To continue where Christ left off. To live Christ’s legacy. Jesus Christ, after all, has left a strong mark on their lives.

If you think about it – haven’t we been influenced, inspired and prepared by certain people in our lives? Often, they are probably totally unaware of the impact that they have had on us.

These people somehow leave a mark and make a difference. Isn’t this something most of us hope for - that WE are able to leave a mark and make a difference? Just as we carry a little bit of them in us and carry on with their legacy – Jesus Christ leaves a mark, an imprint on the disciples’ lives. The disciples carry Christ with them, as they continue his legacy on earth.

Christ being seated at the right hand of the Father is an important statement of our faith and stresses Christ’s glory – but just as important is what happens on earth, as we, the followers of Christ today, live as the body of Christ and continue in his legacy.

Christ’s presence today is mainly to be felt and experienced through what WE do in his name. He leaves his mark on us just as he did on those first disciples and he leaves us to continue God’s will.

Christ may not be physically with present with us today, but he is still in us and with us and through us as we journey through our lives.

May Christ bless us all and keep us safe in these difficult times.

Amen.

 

We close this reflection with our words of hope:

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

Because we 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.

 

 

Intercessions

Let us pray:

Almighty God, may our prayers ascend to you as Jesus Christ, your Son, was taken up to heaven. As we celebrate the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ let it inspire in us feelings of joy and hope rather than fear and separation as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Creator God, we pray for our troubled world, its peoples and their leaders. We pray for those caught up in war, violence and hatred; especially the innocent victims of these evils and those who are abused because of their faith in Christ. May we all work for peace across the world and may respect and tolerance be our abiding aim.

 

Father God, we pray for all the people that we encounter in our daily lives especially through the internet and social media in these difficult times. Help us to recognise Christ in one another however stressed and tired we may be. We ask that you help us to recognise the risen Christ in the face of someone we meet, the voice of someone we speak to on the telephone, or the words that are sent to us by email, letter or card and may we brighten their day with a smile or a word.

 

Loving God, we pray for all those in need, for those who are filled with guilt; those who are broken hearted; those who are confused and afraid; those who are saddened because a relationship has broken down. We pray for all suffering from illness and we ask your blessing on all those caring for them in this country and across the world. May the Covid pandemic that has caused such tragedy around the world soon be brought to an end.

 

Merciful God, we pray for all who have died; especially those who encouraged us in our faith by their example. As we pray for them, may they in turn continue to pray for us that we may stay true to our faith and give the same kind of example ourselves to others.

 

Faithful God, as we go out into the coming week make us mindful that we should constantly pray for your world and your people just as Jesus, your Son, prayed for his disciples before returning to you.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord. 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

God has made us one in Christ.  He has set his seal upon us and, as a pledge of what is to come, has given the Spirit to dwell in our hearts

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: 22nd May 2020 12:35 PM