Good morning everyone and I hope you are well. Today’s Gospel is about Jesus appearing to his disciples on the beach and asking Peter to pledge his love to him. The first reading is the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus.
As APCM’s are coming up soon we are looking for people to join our PCC’s it is not an onerous task but it is interesting learning about how the church works and also about the diocese, so see the church wardens if you are interested.
St. Maxentius are getting back to coffee mornings, I know that many of you have missed them and the first one is on Saturday 21st May in church, it will be great to see you all there and we will be raffling off a hamper to mark the occasion, all welcome.
Our reflection is by Rev Peter and Intercession prayers by myself.
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. He has raised Jesus from the dead.
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed Alleluia.
Almighty God, your Son opened for us a new and living way into your presence. Give us new hearts and constant wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
God shows his love for us in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Let us then show our love for him by confessing our sins in penitence and faith.
Lord God, we have sinned against you; we have done evil in your sight. We are sorry and repent. Have mercy on us according to your love. Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin. Renew a right spirit within us and restore us to the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; 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.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
ACTS 9. 1-20
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’
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 21. 1-19
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
This is a rather strange ending to John’s Gospel – a group of seven disciples, including two who are not named but one who is the author. There is Peter, who will be asked three times if he loves Jesus, not because Jesus is uncertain but so he can “undo” his triple denial. There is Nathaniel who we met in Chapter 1, and Thomas who was doubting in the previous chapter, and the sons of Zebedee (James and John) who have not really featured in this gospel.
It is the third resurrection appearance, which links it to the previous chapter, as does the prominence of “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Peter will be commissioned to feed the sheep, which picks up the Good Shepherd theme from John 10, and the feeding with bread and fish picks up the feeding of the 5000 from John 6. The command to “Follow me” also picks up the initial call from chapter 1.
So there is a lot going on here which links us back, and there is also the brazier, where the breakfast is cooking which echoes the brazier around which people were warming themselves when Peter denied Jesus, and the timescale, from night to early morning is also the same as the denial period. ‘Feed my sheep’, also reminds us that Peter was the “hired hand” who ran away” not the true shepherd. Now he will become a true shepherd even at cost of his own life.
Like the first Resurrection appearance, it is early morning and Jesus is not clearly recognisable; we have to work at seeing what it means.
For all these links, the focus in the chapter is on Peter, who goes fishing, unsuccessfully, who puts on his clothes and jumps in, who is asked about his love, who is (re)commissioned, whose death is “forecast”. In each stage he is linked to Jesus.
It seems Peter, despite the Easter resurrection is despondent – is this why he has left Jerusalem and gone (back) to fishing, though even that is not working. Or maybe he needs some time, a fuller, longer period to process his (renewed) relationship with Jesus.We are told a lot but not everything.
The attempt to be busy fishing is a failure, until the mysterious stranger tells them where to fish. It is the other disciple who first recognises this is Jesus, and it is Peter who reacts.
Jesus gently provides a miraculous catch, he feeds them, then gently asks Peter about his allegiance, with no hint of condemnation for past failings. And then Jesus will also share the hard news of the future. In the provision of the meal, and in the threefold question Jesus gives Peter the chance to redeem himself, because he is made welcome.
This Easter do we find a sense of deep forgiveness for past failings? Do we find a gentle and warm welcome from God, in his invitation to us, in the Eucharist which we are offered? Do we respond with gratitude and commitment? Do we hear the renewed instruction “Follow me”? Can we do that in the way we are called to follow, even if others have a different path for themselves? What is our response, not just our reaction to the Resurrection? Rev Peter.
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.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme.
Lord we thank you for calling us to follow you and to share in your outreach to all peoples. We ask your blessing on all who preach the word, specially our clergy and lay ministers in our Turton Moorland Team. Give us all wisdom to follow in your steps and to bring others to know and love you. We pray for all who are involved in mission and in spreading the good news through teaching and example.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We give thanks that you give us strength and courage through your presence. We pray for all whose work appears to be meaningless and fruitless. We remember those who are virtually slaves and work for a very low income. We ask your blessing upon all who have been made redundant and all who are unemployed.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We praise you, O God, for the love and protection of our homes. We ask your blessing upon each of our loved ones, our families and friends. We pray for homes where there is little love or joy, those who have lost their homes and those who have had to flee from them especially in the Ukraine, Syria and Yemen.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We ask your blessing upon all who are discouraged or despondent at this time, upon all who feel that life is not worthwhile. May they know of your love and your presence. We pray for all who are ill at home or in hospital, all who are fearful of the future and anxious about their loved ones.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We give thanks for the risen Lord, ever-present and welcoming us to the fullness of eternal life. We pray for loved ones departed from us and from our book of remembrance, Joseph Greenhalgh, Julia Preistley, Mary E Gradwell, Reginald Isherwood and George Standish. May they share with your saints in the joy of your kingdom.
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 all now and forever more. Amen.