April 17, 2020

A Service for The First Sunday after Easter

A Service for The First Sunday after Easter

Hymn, to be said or sung

Now the green blade riseth
from the buried grain,
wheat that in the dark earth
many days has lain;
Love lives again,
that with the dead has been
Love is come again,
like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him,
Love by hatred slain,
thinking that never
he would wake again,
laid in the earth
like grain that sleeps unseen;
Love is come again,
like wheat that springeth green.

Forth he came at Easter,
like the risen grain,
he that for three days
in the grave had lain;
quick from the dead,
my risen Lord is seen;
Love is come again,
like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry,
grieving or in pain,
thy touch can call us
back to life again;
fields of our hearts,
that dead and bare have been;
Love is come again,
like wheat that springeth green.

PSALM 16: 1, 4-10

Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge;

I have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, all my good depends on you.”

The Lord himself is my portion and my cup, in your hands alone is my fortune.

My share has fallen in a fair land, indeed I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, and in the night watches he instructs my heart.

I have set the Lord always before me; he is at my right hand; I shall not fall.

Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my flesh also shall rest secure

For you will not abandon my soul to Death, nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit.

You will show me the path of life; in your presence is the fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Amen

 

The Holy Gospel is taken from St John chapter 20 verses 19 – end

Glory to you O Lord 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you”. After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord”. But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails, and my hand in his side, I will not believe.

A week later His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe”. Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in His Name.

This is the Gospel of the Lord,

Praise to you O Christ.

  

Address

 We have shared together the darkness of Good Friday and it may feel for most if not many, that we are still sharing that dark time of death and mourning. But what has changed today is that we can share the light of Easter Day. For God is not locked up somewhere in our churches, any more than He was sealed up in the tomb. He is risen and is going before us in the world. He is as much at work as the spring blossoms which are coming out among the leaves. The Risen Christ who we are used to welcoming at the altar in church, used to receiving in the wafer and wine from the hands of the priest, is now strength in the hands of the nurse and a blessing in the hands of the carer. He goes with them to comfort and to heal.

St John’s account of the resurrection is persuasive because it sides with the doubters and allows for our hesitancy.

As the story unfolds we begin to gain a sense of how ‘peace be with you’ might be more than a mere greeting. Easter is about finding that encounter with the risen Jesus in the present day and in all of our troubled lives. “Peace be with you”, is not just a state of mind; it is the very place where our church stands. For today we are shown that what in Good Friday was a terrible absence, is today an intense presence. The reality of Jesus is bigger than the reality we see around us. Jesus is no longer a figure of the past. We cannot touch Him and we cannot hold Him. But be very assured, He will hold us.

AMEN

Prayers

Christ our Lord, risen from the dead, come and enter into the darkness of our doubt and despair, with the brightness of your presence, that we may put our trust in you and in the power of your resurrection, that we may rejoice in you the risen Lord, our Saviour, who lives with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen

Lord our God, we pray that we may see you through faith.

We pray that in the midst of our world crisis, we will know you, and in knowing you, will have your presence with us for ever. We pray that all those at work today, healing and watching over the suffering people in our hospitals and care homes and families, may glimpse your presence alongside them.

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

We pray today for all leaders of nations and governments. We pray for our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth and those in her family. We give thanks for the return home of our Prime Minister. We pray for all those who are trying to protect the nations of the world from the corona virus and trying to protect the economy of the nations on which so much depends.

Lord we pray for those seeking to protect the poorest and to support those most in danger. We pray for the emergency services and all those risking their lives for others.

Jesus we thank you that you come among us in ways that we cannot know.

We thank you for your Peace.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for our homes that we may come to know your presence at the heart of our lives together. We pray for homes where there are terrible gaps, left by those who have been loved and lost to disease and death. Help us to believe that the gate to eternal life is open that you stand at the threshold with arms to receive us.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

Lord grant peace to the departed and to those who mourn, that they will know you at the hour of death

and in fullness of life with you.

We pray particularly today for the family of Marion Cooper who died peacefully in hospital on Easter Day. Lord, bring Marion home to the place you have prepared for her and come close to those who mourn her.

AMEN

 

The Lord’s Prayer

The Blessing

To all those in our Brackley deanery, clergy and people together, may the power and peace of the risen Lord be with you and the grace and goodness of the Lord of life go with you, this day and always, and the blessing of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and in whatever the future brings.

AMEN

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