Sunday Worship 24th May 2020

As usual, you should be able to hit play on the first video and then hear the whole service, which will switch between recorded liturgy and videos of hymns. A huge thank you to all the people involved in planning and preparing for this service.

If you would rather read on screen, then you can do that instead. Just scroll further down and everything is there.

Don’t forget that we have Zoom coffee at 11.30am. See the notice sheet for how to access it, or phone me beforehand.

YouTube Playlist for the whole service

There is one video that should go in front of the prayers, but can’t be added to a playlist. Here it is:

Service written out with separate videos

Greeting

Welcome in the name of Christ
Alleluia Christ is risen
He is risen indeed.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Hymn

Prayer

Amazing God, by raising Jesus to life you have changed everything; make us a people of hope and joy, for this is the start of a new life for us and all the world, through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Reading: A dramatic reading based on Acts 1:6-14

Confession

Jesus is risen and all that is wrong can be made right. Let us be quiet for a moment and ask God to come close to us with his love and forgiveness.

Lord God, sometimes we are greedy and want to keep everything to ourselves.
Forgive us for our selfishness.
Lord have mercy.

Lord God, sometimes we spoil things that are precious, the world and its people.
Forgive us our hatred.
Lord have mercy.

Lord God, sometimes we ignore and ridicule those who seem unimportant to us.
Forgive us our prejudice.
Lord have mercy.

Absolution

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image to the praise and glory of his name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Reading: 1 Peter 4: 12-14 5:6-11

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+4%3A12-14%2C+5%3A6-11&version=NIVUK

Hymn

This one won’t embed in this page so you will have to follow the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA

Reading: John 17:1-11

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2017:1-11&version=NIVUK

Reflection – Liz Crawshaw

“Are we nearly there yet?” was what our children, and I guess most of yours said about five minutes into any car journey.

The disciples have had a roller coaster of a journey with Jesus:

Three years of spending each day with him as he taught and healed and performed miracles.

One terrible day when he was arrested and then crucified.

One day beyond joy, when he rose from the dead.

Forty days when he appeared to them many times, the same and yet different.

Perhaps now things were getting back to how they had been. When they were with him on the Mount of Olives, they asked this question;

“Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

They want an end to the mystery. They want life to get back to normal. This was their “Are we nearly there yet” moment!

They still hadn’t quite got it. They thought of the Kingdom in political terms, but for Jesus the Kingdom was not a territorial one, it was a society where God’s will would be perfectly done, a kingdom founded on love, not power.

Jesus answers their question elusively, and says that it is not for them to know when the Kingdom will come. They might feel dismissed, a bit embarrassed for asking the question. Then Jesus with a “but” changes everything. Far from being dismissed, they are told that they are all utterly necessary for the future. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”

And then, Whooosh! as Fiona said in the reading, and he is gone. They are alone. Nothing.

Imagine yourselves standing there on the hillside, trying to make sense of what they have just seen. Alone.

They leave the mountain top experience and go down into the valley of normal life. They meet up with the women who had supported Jesus through his life and death, and with Jesus’ brothers and his mother. Some frightened fishermen, a doctor, a tax collector, a few women and some family members, to launch a new church into a hostile world. They were the proof that the growth of the church was not the product of a human plan, but the activity of the risen Jesus through his Holy Spirit. This group of ordinary people were to change the world. It’s so reassuring isn’t it that God can use ordinary people like the disciples, and like us. Their key principles for success? They were together, and they prayed. They stayed together, they joined constantly in prayer, and they waited for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus called them to be witnesses. There work was to tell their friends and family about Jesus, but not limit it to that, to tell Jerusalem first, then Judaea, which was the surrounding countryside, then Samaria, the hated foreigners living right next door, and to the ends of the earth; even as far as North Yorkshire! It was the power of the Holy Spirit living within them that would make them Christ’s witnesses. In court, a witness gives evidence of his own experience, otherwise it would just be hearsay. Christians are to be witnesses to what they have personally experienced in Jesus.

The disciples asked when Jesus was going to establish the kingdom. In one sense it was already established, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus has been exulted and has returned to the Father, but we are still awaiting a time when the whole world will live under God’s rule. We are living between the “now” and the “not yet”. God’s plan is for a new heaven and a new earth, when everything will be renewed and joined together. Jesus’ death and resurrection were the beginning of the joining up of Heaven and earth. God’s kingdom will come by transforming things within the world. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, his work was not over. Jesus was handing over his ministry to those who would follow him; not expecting them to rely on their own resources, but promising the Holy Spirit, the power that they needed.

Let’s think about the three key aspects of the disciples’ way forward. They stayed together, they prayed, and they relied on the power of the Holy Spirit.

In lockdown some of us have the luxury of time to look at things afresh, to assess our priorities and to pray. Some of us are continuing to work but in a way that bears virtually no resemblance to the job before. Some will reach rock bottom, feel completely powerless, and find God waiting there for them. Like the disciples our whole world has changed, and in all this Jesus calls us each one of us to be his witnesses. We have an opportunity to find out who we are, to understand our communities and to witness in the seemingly small but immensely powerful acts of ministry to others; offering help, ‘phoning, getting shopping, being there for those facing the death of a loved one alone, or being that person caring for someone they love at the end of their life. Being witnesses to who we follow, as we wait, as we stay together emotionally, if not physically, as we pray and as we are energised by Jesus’ Holy Spirit. We will gather strength and find new resources. In the anxiety, depression and fear we will grow. God’s grace will support and strengthen us.

We will stay together, we will pray and continue to join together in worship, and we will wait for a time when all this is over and we can start again; not going back to the old ways; the inequality, the injustice and the division that existed in our society, but as new, different people, who have suffered, and who have grown, and who are ready to “be” in a new way.

We don’t want to go back to normal. We need to find that much hackneyed phrase, “a new normal”, a normal inspired by the Holy Spirit, a normal where our lives are a witness to who we follow. “Are we nearly there yet?” – something for us all to think about. AMEN

Affirmation of faith

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Hymn

Intercessions

Let us pray

Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.

Father God, we are called to be witnesses to the joy and discipline of life with Jesus your Son. Let us follow the example of the first disciples and bring to the daily lives of those around us the certain knowledge that there is love and hope for everyone. In this difficult time of social distancing and isolation, give us the confidence to approach others by whatever means we can.

Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.

Father God, you gave us your Son to bring us to you. We pray that we can use the time we have gained through the Coronavirus pandemic to be true witnesses of the light we have been shown and to the great gift of love to all people throughout the world.

Jesus, Lord of life,
In your mercy, hear us.

Father God, we pray for those who are worried about friends and family who they are unable to be with, or even see. We ask that your gentle hand be on those who mourn the loss of a loved one and keep the souls of all who have died in everlasting grace.

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

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

Thanksgiving for offerings of money

Gracious God, accept our gifts and,
with them, our lives
to be used in your service,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn

Prayer

When we stand gazing upwards, bring us down to earth: with the love of a friend, through the songs of the sorrowing, in the faces of the hungry.
When we look to you for action, demand some work from us: by your touch of fire, your glance of reproof, your fearful longing.
As ruler over all: love us into action, fire us with your grace, to make us willing subjects of your rule. Amen

Blessing

May God’s Holy Spirit be in our life;
may God’s Holy Spirit be in our world;
may God’s Holy Spirit be in the love between us and may God;
Father, Son & Holy Spirit, be with us all always. Amen

Dismissal

Go in the light and peace of Christ.
Let us shine with the light of his love.
Thanks be to God.

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

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