ST. MAXENTIUS WORSHIP AT HOME – Sunday 22nd May – Easter 6


Good morning everyone and I hope you are well, we are still in Eastertime, but we have Ascension day on Thursday of this week and there will be a joint service at Christ Church HARWOOD at 7.30pm, this is a joint service for all of the mission community and we hope it will a start of our new journey together.

Christian Aid week is drawing to a close but we will continue to collect the money during the next week but you can donate online or via the envelopes. If you are very clever you can use the QR code.

Don’t forget afternoon tea in the garden on Saturday 18th June, anyone welcome tickets from Chris Sutcliffe £10 each, all proceeds to St. Maxentius 150th anniversary building fund.

The reflection today is by Rev Hannah and the intercessions by Sue Usher, many thanks to them both.

Jan B.


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.


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.


God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy; 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.


ACTS 16. 9-15

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John


After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

Now that day was a sabbath.

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


Our Gospel passage today tells us of a man which Jesus healed on the Sabbath. There are various interpretations to this story and if I am honest with you all, I have found it hard in my research to find one which I am totally at ease with.

One commentator that I initially read suggests that the man healed in this story is perhaps the least willing and the least grateful of all the people Jesus heals in John’s Gospel. In exploring past the end of our reading, they say that when challenged the man tries to deflect away from what he is seen to be doing ‘wrong’ by telling the religious authorities he was acting on Jesus’ instructions. In this interpretation, as far as the healed man is concerned, the religious authorities were the ones by whose rules he should be abiding.

The commentator uses the piece to examine to whose authority we default in today’s world; an interesting question but by no means the only interpretation available.

Approaching from another angle, a second writer comments that in our own world, the Bethesda story reminds us of the fact that social and economic systems meant to assist the needy often keep them in poverty. Archaeology tells us that Bethesda was a mass of humanity at its lowest point of hopelessness. As Jesus entered this place, there were voices of despair crying out for one last chance, one moment of hope. Instead of acting within the system, Jesus bypasses it entirely by telling the paralytic to get up, pick up his mat and walk. The conclusion for this commentator is that the tale offers us impetus to challenge the system in a radical way such as the way Jesus does.

Finally, I found a third source who picked up on a key phrase in the passage and explores the fact that this event takes place on the Sabbath. The writer here suggests that we should take a different look at the concept of work, particularly the concept of work for Jesus. Instead the offering from this writer is that perhaps Jesus healing on the Sabbath wasn’t really ‘work’ for him, it was so much a part of who he was. To heal this man was to bring about wholeness and restoration, which is what the Sabbath is designed for. Another interesting interpretation and one that is equally valid as the others.

For me, the conclusion is this: The bible offers us a wealth of literature that we can use and explore in many ways. There is caution to be exercised, sometimes interpretations can cause harm. On the other hand, if we take the words and open our hearts to the Spirit, there is much to gain. Within such a short passage as we have today there are numerous aspects that we can focus on. What I will take away from writing this reflection is that we can’t just rely on one voice to tell us what it means. Reading the bible and exploring its meaning is a community activity.

Rev Hannah


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 Holy Spirit, born of 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; ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come 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.

You are our great and glorious God and nothing in life matters more than praising you.

Lord, we have a vision that you are calling us into your service. We see that you have a purpose for us if only we would seek your will and not be afraid of what you might ask of us. Enable us, we pray, to do whatever you call us to do.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

Lord, we have a vision of the hungry being fed. We see their outstretched hands. Help us, we pray, to hear their cry and show us how to move those with power but not the will to feed them.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

Lord, we have a vision of the world’s refugees. We see those who are lost, afraid, rejected. Give us courage, we pray, to speak out on their behalf in the hope that the countries of the world will reach out and offer them the love and care they need.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

Lord, we have a vision of those who are lonely, afraid, ill. We see those who long for someone to talk to, those who need your comfort and your healing touch. Teach us, we pray, how we can care for them as we seek to demonstrate your love.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

Lord, we have a vision of those who have lost someone they loved. We see them broken, dazed, weeping deep inside, and with a feeling that it all doesn’t seem real. Help us, we pray, to be there for them as we listen to their pain. May you be a source of hope in the midst of their sorrow. Let us bring to mind those we know who have recently died. And from our Book of Remembrance:- Mary Armstrong, Marion Yates, Valerie Hamer, David Sutcliffe, Adeline Jones, Harold Walton, John J Garland and James John Carr.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

May you bless us with your grace that our lives will be a reflection of your mercy.
May you bless us with your peace that our days will echo the song of heaven.
May you bless us with your love that all we say and do and are, speak of your presence.
 Merciful Father, Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


 Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day 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 forever. Amen.


God the Father, who has given to his Son the name above every name, strengthen you to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord. Amen.

God the Son, who is our great high priest passed into the heavens, plead for you at the right hand of the Father. Amen.

God the Holy Spirit, who pours out his abundant gifts upon the church, make you faithful servants of Christ our King. Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all and forever more . Amen.

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