Holy Week

Holy Week is so different this year. One of the things that I am finding really inspiring is the sheer amount of Christian stuff out there being offered for anyone who wants to see it.

One of the places I love most is the Taizé community in France. Their holy week reflections this week have been short oases of calm in the day. Here’s the first three and there will be more along later in the week. Go to their YouTube channel to find them.

Palm Sunday with Brother Paulo

Monday of Holy Week with Brother Émile

Tuesday of Holy Week with Brother Jasper

Something very different that I am looking forward to next week is Spring Harvest at Home. I have never been to Spring Harvest, which happens every year around Easter time, but I have heard lots about it over the years. I’ve never been confident that I would fit in there – I need a lot of quiet alone time to get through the week and it sounds quite energetic (I may well be wrong about that – it’s funny the excuses we make for ourselves, isn’t it). Still, there is safety in being at home on the other end of an internet connection, so I will dip my toe in the water and see what happens.

Helping children with Holy Week

Do you have children or grandchildren that you are in touch with?

Some friends of mine in another diocese have put together a list of resources that are available for children to help them experience Holy Week this week.

Have a look at this page and see whether there is anything that might suit them. Please don’t put any additional burdens on yourself or any other family members. This is a lovely opportunity to talk about your faith and share it with the children in your life, but don’t feel pressurised.

Sunday Worship for 5th April 2020

On Palm Sunday, we usually have two services. The first with a donkey (where possible) and a procession through the streets, singing hymns. The second service is usually Holy Communion and has, in place of a sermon, an extended dramatised Gospel. Making the dramatised bit work when we are all in our own homes was quite the technological challenge!

So, today, we are joining these together and we begin with the Palm Sunday Gospel, moving on to the Passion Gospel later in the service. I can’t bring you all blessed Palm Crosses, but there is a video here with instructions on how to make your own. I suggest trying with a very long strip of paper!

As usual, if you click the heading, above, you will find the comments section at the end of the service. It is so lovely to know who is joining us for worship each week.

Welcome to worship

Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Hymn – Give me joy in my heart

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising.
Give me joy in my heart, I pray.
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
Keep me praising ’til the end of day.

Give me love in my heart, keep me serving.
Give me love in my heart, I pray.
Give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
Keep me serving ’til the end of day.

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, during Lent we have been preparing by works of love and self-sacrifice for the celebration of our Lord’s death and resurrection. Today we begin this solemn celebration in union with the Church throughout the world. Christ enters his own city to complete his work as our Saviour, to suffer, to die, and to rise again. Let us go with him in faith and love, so that, united with him in his sufferings, we may share his risen life.

If you have made a palm cross, hold it now. Otherwise hold any other cross you have available.

God our Saviour,
whose Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem
as Messiah to suffer and to die;
let these crosses be for us signs of his victory
and grant that we who bear them in his name
may ever hail him as our King,
and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The Palm Gospel – Matthew 21:1-11

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

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

Let us pray for a closer union with Christ
in his suffering and in his glory.

Silence is kept.

Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Hymn – You are the King of Glory

The lyrics to this hymn are still in copyright so I’m not reproducing them. So just listen and watch if you don’t know the words. Remember that we are part of the whole worldwide Church, all praising the same Jesus.

The Passion Gospel – Matthew 26:14 to end of Chapter 27

Prayers of Intercession

We stand with Christ in his suffering.
For forgiveness for the many times we have denied Jesus,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For grace to seek out those habits of sin which mean
spiritual death, and by prayer and self-discipline to overcome them,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For Christian people,
that through the suffering of disunity
there may grow a rich union in Christ,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For those who make laws, interpret them, and administer them,
that our common life may be ordered in justice and mercy,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For those who still make Jerusalem a battleground,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For those who have the courage and honesty to work openly for
justice and peace,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For those in the darkness and agony of isolation,
that they may find support and encouragement,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For those who, weighed down with hardship, failure, or sorrow,
feel that God is far from them,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For those who are tempted to give up the way of the cross,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

That we, with those who have died in faith,
may find mercy in the day of Christ,
let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

We keep silence and pray particularly for all affected by the Coronavirus.

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has 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

Once we were far off, but now in union with Christ Jesus we have been brought near through the shedding of Christ’s Blood, for he is our peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

The Blessing

May the Father,
who so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
bring us by faith to his eternal life.
Amen.
May Christ,
who accepted the cup of sacrifice
in obedience to the Father’s will,
keep us steadfast as we walk with him the way of his cross.
Amen.

May the Spirit,
who strengthens us to suffer with Christ
that we may share his glory,
set our minds on life and peace.
Amen.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.

Coffee time!

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.

If you can’t see the comments section under here (and you want to), click here and scroll to the bottom.

Communion – from Revd Liz

One of the cornerstones of our expression of worship week by week is the sharing of the Eucharist or Holy Communion. Now, none of our churches hold a Eucharist every week but, under normal circumstances, there is always one that people can go to somewhere in the group. It has been nearly three weeks since we celebrated communion. Are you missing it yet?

On the 15th March, when we met at Crayke for our joint service as part of the Come and See Mission, I had a fair inkling that it would be the last service for a while. The sense of true communion in the building was profound and the restrictions in place even then seemed to make us more aware of what was happening and feel closer even as we began to distance ourselves physically.

What do we do now?

The rules for presiding at a service of Holy Communion in the Church of England are strict – and with good reason for so fundamental expression of our shared faith.

  • Only ordained priests may preside.
  • Holy Communion should normally be celebrated in a consecrated building.
  • A priest may not celebrate without another person there

In these unusual times, when we have been told to shut the buildings and isolate from each other, normal practice can’t happen. The Church has relaxed the rules on needing more than one communicant present, so clergy are permitted to celebrate the Eucharist in our homes, particularly if livestreaming.

There are a variety of ways to understand what happens when we take Communion. Personally, I believe that in eating the bread and drinking the wine, Jesus is truly present. There is more to it than that though – for me it is the people we gather with who make communion real. That sense of living a shared life in community, bringing the joys and sorrows together in prayer and worship, is true communion. Without that, at the moment, I am a little lost. I know Jesus is close, and I do not feel separated from God, but I am missing you all. The sense of loss in not sharing the bread and wine seems an appropriate symbol for what we are all going through.

It seems to me though that if the congregation cannot receive, why should I? I would rather join you all in your fasting from the sacrament of Communion so that, when we can all join together again, our joy will be shared.

Until that day, we can pray and meditate on the receiving of bread and wine. Here is a link to a way of praying called Spiritual Communion, which can be used when you are unable to attend a service of the Eucharist. It includes this prayer:

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer,
friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen

A poem to reflect on

Ann C from Crayke writes:

Here is a poem written by an Irish poet, Kathleen o’Meara in 1869- after a plague devastated Ireland in the late 1860s. How appropriate for today.

Something Lovely

And people stayed home
And read books and listened
And rested and exercised
And made art and played
And learned a new way of being
And were still
And listened more deeply
Someone meditated
Someone prayed
Someone danced
Some met their own shadow
And people started thinking differently……
And people healed
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, mindless and heartless….
The earth began to heal
And when the danger ended
And people found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And they made choices
And dreamed visions
And created a new way to live
And heal the earth fully
Just as they had been healed

Kathleen O’Meara
(1869)

Using our Anglican spiritual heritage

Who loves the sound of Anglican chant? It is one of those bizarre things that, unless you know how it works, sounds utterly perplexing.

You might think that the book of Psalms covers most eventualities, but here is a more specific psalm for our times.

Thanks to Chris Stratton for sharing.

Spirituality in a time of self-isolation

I spoke to someone last week who was upset because they weren’t able to attend the funeral of a friend. Normally, in our villages, funerals are great gatherings of friends and neighbours, with a proper celebration and food and drink shared. Now, funerals have become much more private, with only a handful of close family permitted to attend.

If you are at home and unable to go to a funeral, here is a short prayer card which you can pray through at home at the same time as the funeral.

Funeral at home prayer card

There is also a new resource with reflections to support mental health.

Mental health reflections

Each day includes a short piece to read and some suggestions for putting it into practice. It ties together mental health and prayer and shows how prayer practices can contribute to supporting your mental health.

Sunday Worship for 29th March 2020

Welcome to Sunday worship online. It has been a very strange week for most of us. I hope this helps you to take some time to be with God and to reflect on your week. I will try and post something to read, watch or listen to each day on this website. The newest material will be at the top of the page. If you want to leave a comment, click on the heading just above this paragraph – then the comments box will appear at the end of the service.
Revd Liz

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Lord, direct our thoughts, and teach us to pray.
Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

Your love gives us life.
We fail to live as your children.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

You call us to do good.
We seek our own good.

Christ, have mercy. Christ have mercy.

You hear us when we cry for help.
We ignore the cries of others.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy

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

The Collect

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading – Psalm 130

Read in your own bible or click below to hear it read.
https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/suchet/nivuk/Ps.130

Song – Lord of the dance

Gospel reading

John 11: 1-45
Play the video below to hear the Gospel reading, or read in your own bible.

Sermon – Revd Liz Hassall

Two options for the sermon this week: you can either read or listen.

Listen here.

It is one of the quirks of human nature that we don’t recognise what we have until it is gone. A couple of weeks ago, I didn’t think anything of popping out to see someone, or heading into town to pick something up from the shops, or gathering together for a coffee and a chat. Until now, when it isn’t possible.

This week, of course, we have been shut out of our church buildings as well. I know it is for the best, in order to stop the spread of the virus, but it feels so wrong not to have that place of sanctuary in each village open to all. How often in the past have I wished to be able to stay in the warm rather than heading across the road to morning prayer? Suddenly that option is removed and I realise that it is a privilege rather than a duty.

On the other hand, I know that I can pray just as well at home. I am no further separated from God in my study (the chairs are more comfortable too). When out on daily exercise, pounding up and down the hill, I can be suddenly surrounded by the certainty that God is with us just as much as when praying at the altar.

I’ve been saying for a long time that Church is made up of the people and doesn’t depend on the building. Here we have the clearest indication that this is true. In this time when we can’t go to Church, the challenge is to keep remembering that we can still be the Church. We are the Church when we call and speak to someone who might be lonely. We are the Church when we drop off a prescription or some milk with a neighbour. We are the Church when we pray, whether together or alone.

So, we find ourselves in a time of waiting, dealing with a wholly new situation and unsure when it will end. Or, as someone on Facebook put it this week, the Lentiest Lent I have ever Lented. Usually, when we fast from something, we know when the fast will end: 40 days, plus Sundays, and then resurrection joy and chocolate eggs for everyone. This time, we know that Easter will not bring the end to this time of deprivation and the waiting takes on a more uncertain flavour.

Psalm 130, which is one of our readings today, speaks into our situation. We are waiting in the depths of our souls, waiting for uncertainty to pass, waiting and hoping for the future.

For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.

We need the reassurance the psalmist gives that we are loved by God, that he is with us and he will save us.

The gospel passage for today is the story of the raising of Lazarus. It is a story of people who think they have been let down by Jesus trying to have enough faith to get through.

It is a story where most of the characters have no real idea what is going on. Their faith wavers, they misunderstand, they get angry. They experience all the emotions of any human going through a time of upheaval and grief.

It is a story that raises questions. Why did the sisters of Lazarus have to suffer their grief? Why did Jesus wait so long to return? Why was only Lazarus raised from the dead?

It is a story that reminds us of Jesus’ essential humanity. Which of us hasn’t wept at the death of a friend or relative? We know that overwhelming feeling of grief and in this story we know that Jesus knows it too.

Yet it is a story that shows us that Jesus is also divine. As the Son of God he has the power over life and death and uses the situation to give everyone there an insight into the greater work of resurrection he will do in the coming season of Easter.

What message do I take away from this passage? That we have something to hope for. That whatever the darkness and uncertainty that we are living through now, Jesus is with us and there is still the resurrection in which to hope.

God is not locked away and inaccessible. He is right with us in our isolation, in our uncertainty, in our fear. He surrounds us with his steadfast love and he calls us to remember that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in him, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in him will never die.

As we continue in this time of lock-down and social distancing, I pray that you may know the presence of God, and be surrounded by his peace whether you are at home or at work. I pray that you will be inspired to live out your faith in new ways and that you will find the strength to wait until we can again gather together as the Church, the people of God here in these villages.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Intercessions

Contributed by Liz Crawshaw

Out of the depths we cry to you. O Lord hear our voice.

Help us we pray to put aside our fears and concerns, to focus on your love, and on those you have called us to love.

Breath into our dryness Lord and bring us to life and to hope.

We acknowledge our utter dependence on you, and that with you all things are possible.

Come Lord like the wind, move us and direct us.

Come in your Spirit, to fill us and refresh us.

Open our hearts to your living word, to guide us and sustain us.

We pray for your world, struggling to cope with the coronavirus, praying especially for the impoverished places in the world, where there are so few resources. Send your people we pray Lord to bring help to all who are struggling, bring wisdom to all in positions of power, all who are making decisions which will affect the lives of so many.

Father, we lift to you our homes and our villages. We pray for those who live alone, those who are fearful, those with financial concerns, those whose lives have been turned upside down. And we bring to you our grateful thanks for all those whose kindness is bringing light into our darkness.

Free us Lord from all that imprisons us, from the things that limit us and prevent us from truly living and growing. Deepen our trust in you Lord, and help us to grow. We ask for your protection for doctors, nurses, health care workers and volunteers, who are risking their own lives in the service of others. We pray for all who are sick and suffering, all those fearful of what the future may bring. Those fearful of isolation, and all those with mental health problems, all those who walk in darkness and the shadow of death. We name those in need of your healing Lord, and hand them with confidence into your arms of love.

Living Lord Jesus, you have experienced, and you understand the grief of those who mourn the death of a loved one. You, Lord, are the resurrection and the life; in you is life in all its fullness. We pray for all those who have died and now rest with you in life everlasting.

Heavenly Father, bring us your peace, your strength and your love we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

A prayer from our Lent course: The Mystery of Everything by Hilary Brand

Lord, we ask for your help as we negotiate the
difficulties and complexities of life:
for times when we feel overwhelmed,
for times when we face difficult decisions,
for times when we are tempted to judge others
in complex situations we don’t fully understand.
Help us to accept our own frailties and to reach out for your strength.
Help us to see the possibilities in seemingly impossibly situations.
Help us to be people of compassion for the frailties of others,
and to help them towards the power of your love. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has 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.

Blessing and Sending Out

Christ crucified draw you to himself,
to find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope,
and the assurance of sins forgiven;
and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with us all, now and for ever. Amen.

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ, Amen.

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.

Compline on Friday 27th March 2020

Compline is the final prayer time of the day, often said right before going to sleep. It’s a lovely way to end the day and commit yourself into the hands of God for the night.

You can find the text of the service here on the Church of England website. To listen as well, click here for the audio.

The Lord Almighty grant you a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen