What a wonderful service we had last week on Easter Sunday, the church looked beautiful, windows dressed, flowers so colourful with spring tulips and roses, an Easter egg hunt and the biggest congregation we have had since Remembrance Sunday. The weather was kind and the everyone seemed to enjoy the service. Today we continue the good news of the resurrection by hearing about Jesus appearing to his disciples, of course Thomas who was missing is not convinced by their story.
The prayers are by myself today and Rev Hannah has provided the reflection from “Roots”
God bless – Jan B.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has given us new life and hope by raising Jesus from the dead.
God has claimed us as his own. He has made us a light to the world.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Jesus Christ, risen master and triumphant Lord, we come to you in sorrow for our sins, and confess to you our weaknesses and unbelief.
We have lived by our own strength, and not by the power of your resurrection. In your mercy, forgive us. Lord, hear us and help us.
We lived by the light of your own eyes, as faithless and not believing. In your mercy forgive us. Lord, help us and hear us.
We have lived for this world alone and doubted our home in heaven. In your mercy, forgive us. Lord, Help us and hear us, Amen.
May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us. You are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
1 PETER 1. 3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith – being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. Glory to you O Lord.
JOHN 20. 19-31
When it was evening on 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.
Most of us are probably familiar with the phrase ‘Fake news’. How do we decide what is true and what has been manipulated and presented as the truth – but isn’t?
The truth of the Easter story comes by way of testimony, starting with Mary Magdalene who finds the tomb empty and speaks to Jesus in the garden. Would she, a woman, be believed? In the time of Jesus, that was unlikely – women were generally of little status; but Jesus called her name and showed her he had indeed risen.
Then there was the testimony of the disciples locked in a room, afraid and disheartened. Jesus appeared to them, letting them see his hands and side, offering Peace and breathing the Holy Spirit on them. Their joy at being in his physical presence encouraged them and dispelled their fear.
Thomas perhaps represents many who find it difficult to believe unless they see it for themselves. His scepticism contrasts with the faith of the others, but is a common trait that many of us will share. Yet, Thomas too came to understand and believe.
Out into the wider community, as the weeks and months move on, there is the testimony of Peter and the apostles talking to the people of Jerusalem. They testified because they were there. Their eyewitness account of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and of his appearing to them after his death, was real and personal; it could be recounted with enthusiasm and confidence.
There is evidence in the behaviour of the disciples who changed from being fearful followers locked away, to talking and telling anyone they meet. They had been encouraged. They had received the blessing of Jesus and the Spirit had been breathed on them.
There is evidence of the longevity of the story as it has been preached in churches down the centuries and is still real to people today. Surely ‘fake news’ would have been found out by now.
Then there is the effect of the story on some who hear it and just know that they know. An inner realisation of truth, a faith that cannot be explained – but is real. As Jesus says to Thomas, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ For hundreds of years Jesus has not been seen physically, but people trust and believe, recognising the values he taught and accept them for themselves.
So how do we measure truth? How do we decide fake news or living reality? On what is our faith built? Maybe on a story – but more than a story. A living, life-giving relationship with Jesus who offers us his Peace and his Spirit.
Reflection from Roots
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Here we pray for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.
Lord we ask you to bless our church and our community within our parish, may we show your presence in our lives and interaction with others. We ask your blessing on our Turton team and mission community may we learn to work together and support each other and help grow our churches in love and faith. We ask your blessing on our clergy and lay ministry teams and all who spread the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and our chance of eternal life.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord we ask your blessing on our world, may we encourage others to help preserve and protect it from excess removable of resources and damage to eco systems. Help us to educate and persuade leaders to do their best to reverse global warming and pollution.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord bless our homes and families with the joy of your presence. We especially think of those who are living in fear and insecurity in Ukraine, Syria, Turkey and those affected by persecution and poverty. We remember all who are homeless or are lonely, those living in fear or strife and all who are unable to be happy in their lives. May they find comfort and strength in your faith and help from others.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord we ask your blessing on all who are ill at home or in hospital especially Rev Peter Reiss. We thank you for those working in research for illnesses and diseases, those developing drugs and vaccines to help us, all doctors nurses, carers and emergency service workers who help us every day. May they gain strength, hope and comfort from your presence in their lives.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord of life and life eternal, bless our loved ones departed that they may share a fellowship with all your saints in your eternal kingdom and from our book of remembrance we think of Thomas Tony Carruthers, Joyce Ramsbottom, Kenneth Joseph Fay and Ethel Berry. May they rejoice in the fullness of your presence and glory.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE 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.
God the Father by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead. Strengthen us to walk with him in his risen life and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us today and for ever more Amen.