St Maxentius Worship at Home – Sunday – 5th May 2024 – Easter 6

This service can be used at home if you are unable to get to church. As you pray and reflect, we trust you will feel part of the wider church community.


As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,

so may the light of your presence,

O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; 

now and forever. Amen.


Almighty God our heavenly Father

we have sinned against you

and against our neighbour

in thought word and deed,

through negligence, through weakness, 

through our own deliberate fault.

We are truly sorry

and repent of all our sins.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ who died for us,

forgive us all that is past

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name. 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 sins of the world: 

have mercy upon 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.


Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call

to your disciples: help your Church to obey your command

and draw the nations to the fire of your love,

to the glory of God the Father.



First Reading:  Acts 10:44-48

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Gospel:  John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Three questions you might ask about the readings.

What strikes you from the readings?

What puzzles you from the readings?

What excites you from the readings?


Welcome generously

What does it mean to be a diligent disciple? For those hosting Peter, their diligence required circumcision to physically mark out the depth and extent of their commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Imagine their shock, then, when the Holy Spirit shows up for everyone, including those who are definitely uncircumcised. The text does not linger on their responses as the silence moves us quickly to Peter’s words: an abundant welcome through baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. That welcome enables the faithful disciples to move beyond division, discrimination or prejudice that can create a culture of us and them. No longer does the text distinguish between the circumcised and uncircumcised believers when they invite Peter to stay. 

I wonder how we feel when those we might see as ‘different’ are welcomed into our community? Do we welcome them alongside others, or do we shrink away, feeling undermined and threatened by the change, the unknown, the concept of ‘new’? Across our team we take bookings for, and carry out, large numbers of baptisms. We welcome children and their families into our worshipping community by this same act as described above, but do we really make any further effort to truly welcome them?

This last week the clergy in the Diocese of Manchester were all invited to and took part in a training day. There were presentations from the national church and from parishes in our own diocese. These focussed on the priority of priorities for the church at this moment in time: To grow a church that is younger and more diverse. The aim is to accomplish this by doubling the number of children and young people that we engage with and that, in turn, attend church on a weekly basis.

Whether we like it or not, this requires a culture shift, a change of mindset, just as in the same way as those hosting Peter in our reading from Acts. In succumbing to this change, the generosity of welcome transforms this emerging community and builds a shared recognition that honouring the love of God is the most important thing: they demonstrate the practice of loving one another, as well as loving Peter, the stranger amongst them. This powerful account of the arrival of the Holy Spirit challenges our preconceptions about how and with whom God can, and does, work.

So, you might ask, what about us? How can we do this? Well we’re asked to PRAY. Pray for growth, that more children and young people and their families might join our churches. Prioritise them and meet them where they are, ensure that this is part of our ongoing strategic agenda. Resource the work of youth groups, Sunday schools, Christian toddler groups. Adapt to meet their needs. Finally, it involves YOU. We all have a part to play, your part might be to pray, or it might be to take up the mantle of a voluntary role, or it might be just to ensure that the welcome is offered. As we think about this, may we be encouraged to open ourselves up to welcome anew God’s abundant, generosity and fellowship.


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;

he ascended into heaven,

and is seated at 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.


Please include your own prayers as well

In our prayers we pray for our church, our communities and our world

Lord God, we pray for our churches, our Turton Team, our Mission Community, our Diocese and the world-wide Church in every land.

Bless the leaders, guard the people, guide us in our future;

May we share the gospel in word and deed

and bring glory to your name;

Lord bless our churches we pray

Lord God we pray for our community

We pray for our schools, the children and staff.

We pray for all who work to make our communities a better place for others

We pray for Councillors and carers;

Lord bless our community we pray

Lord God we pray for our nation

May our leaders lead with integrity and justice

Give them wisdom and direct their decisions.

We pray that ours may be a nation 

where the poor and vulnerable are cared for and helped

and where all may flourish;

Lord bless our nation we pray

Lord God, we pray for our world,

for the war-torn places, we pray for peace.

We pray that all may work together to alleviate need 

and to protect this world for future generations;

Lord bless our world we pray

Lord God, we pray for those who are sick, in body, mind or spirit

We pray for those we know, and those who have no one to pray for them.

We pray for those who are dying and those who grieve;

We ask that you would give healing and peace to the soul

Lord bless the sick we pray

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, 

our Saviour 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 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 forever. Amen.

Keep a moment of quiet as you allow God to speak to you, 

as you let your spirit rest in God’s Spirit.


May the Lord 

bless us and watch over us, 

make his face shine upon us 

and be gracious to us. 

May the Lord look kindly on us 

and give us peace, 

and may the blessing of God Almighty, 

our Creator, our Redeemer, 

the one who gives us Life 

be among us and with us all always. Amen

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