St Maxentius Worship at Home – Sunday – 7th April 2024 – Easter 2

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.

PRAYER OF PREPARATION

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.

CONFESSION

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.

GLORIA

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.

COLLECT

Risen Christ,

for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:

open the doors of our hearts,

that we may seek the good of others

and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,

to the praise of God the Father.

Amen

Readings

First Reading:  Acts 4:32-35

The Believers Share Their Possessions

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Gospel:  John 20:19-end

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

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.’

Jesus and Thomas

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.

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?

Reflection:

Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.  All the Gospels have been leading up to Easter. Today we have Mark’s account of the resurrection. What characterises the first part of our Gospel reading?  Surprise perhaps, I don’t think so. I believe the women walked through the garden, and approached the tomb with anticipation, fearful yes, but I believe these 3 had faith that they wouldn’t find Jesus in the tomb. Jesus, for the past weeks, months and years had been telling, warning, preparing His follows, for the events of the past few days, so I don’t think they were surprised. Perhaps surprise represents the modern, worldly attribute when considering the resurrection. The women here in our story, just wanted to be near Jesus, I think. Their faith overcame the fear, the cost and the danger from the authorities. There is a connection that all of us can understand when we visit a loved one’s last resting place. In Jesus case we will often read, see or even pray as though we are at the foot of the cross, which is fine but standing outside the empty tomb, with all the implications of that picture is difficult, frightening, surprising but there lies our hope and salvation. Jesus is no longer in the tomb; He has gone to Galilee. There is I think the end of the beginning, but from this ending comes a new beginning, and that beginning starts in Galilee. 

Why Galilee? Galilee is out there, out amongst the Gentiles, we immediately see the Gospel message being carried outside of Jerusalem, outside the promised land. The sheep fold Jesus speaks about in John chapter 10 is expanding so that all can be welcomed in to that fold, His fold. Jesus is moving His mission back north of Jerusalem, away from the capital, the Temple, the home of those who see themselves as the elite, those power-hungry individuals. Jesus moves away from there, to the radical people of the north. Mark’s Gospel ends…, well possibly it doesn’t. Marks Gospel has 2 endings, or perhaps in reality, here in Galilee we have a 3rd option, an end of the beginning, and with this end we have a new beginning. The Gospel message is unending, the Gospel is unfinished it is being added to day by day by those people of faith who continue the work of Jesus and His disciples. Who stand at the foot of the cross knowing their sins are forgiven and who race and look at the empty tomb in hope, and with faith in the resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life” says the Lord.

THE CREED

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.

INTERCESSIONS     

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.

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 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.

THE BLESSING

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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