Good morning everyone during this Eastertide. I hope you had a lovely Easter and last week saw a maximum attendance at church. It gave us a bit of a headache because we could not accommodate our usual numbers but most people were very understanding and some even gave their attendance up for others so a great big thank you for that. We now have decided to continue with our booking scheme, so if you would like to attend please email on email@example.com or text or leave a voice message on 07872993104. We hope to juggle things around so that we can get everyone in safely even if it’s not every week, so please bear with us.
We had a lovely Easter service last week conducted by Rev Canon Peter and the children and family service is going well on Wednesdays and we resume this coming week after a week off, we are continuing our theme of meals with Jesus, so if any families want to join us please contact Jo on the above phone number or email.
Our reflection and intercessions today are by myself.
Alleluia Christ is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Almighty God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYERS OF PENITENCE
We delight to call you King but we have not always accepted your rule. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy
We confess we have too often been silent, when we should have spoken of your Kingdom. Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.
We ask your mercy on us and on the world; May we honour your name and uphold your ways, lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
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.
God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING – ACTS 4 32-35 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. This is the word of the Lord – thanks be to God.
THE GOSPEL – JOHN 20, 19-31 Alleluia, Alleluia I am the first and the last says the Lord and the living one; I was dead and behold I am alive for evermore. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Hear the Gospel of our lord Jesus Christ, according to John- Glory to you O, Lord 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.” 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
What a time it must have been for the disciples, they had been with Jesus for about three years travelling, meeting people, learning about God and how Jesus wanted them to live their lives. They were now left scared, disorientated and they were grieving for their master after his crucifixion.
While they were with Jesus, they made mistakes, but Jesus would guide them and now he wasn’t there they had a responsibility to do things correctly and now lead others. It seemed an impossible task and maybe they thought that they were lying to themselves that they could take on this task.
Jesus appeared to them and straightaway said “peace be with you” and he repeats it with conviction, they were surely elated at this and it must have given them confidence and joy to hear it. He has given them an awesome task but now with him there in front of them, all must have seemed well. Of course, Thomas was not present and when they related the experience, his frame of mind was very different and he refuses to believe them, so where was his faith? He then meets Jesus later and is ashamed and doesn’t want to admit to him that he needs proof, but at least he is shown the truth.
Jesus wanted them to go out and spread the good news of the resurrection and of eternal life just as we are asked to do today, to show our faith, our love for one another and to spread the word. We are not all very good at that and we have been discussing this in the Lent group sessions before Easter and looked at ways we could encourage more people to come to church. Jesus showed patience with Thomas if not a little teasing but it also shows us that he is forgiving.
He asks them to go out and form a new fellowship of truth and love and here we are 2000 years later still worshipping and hearing the good news, so they did their job and it’s up to all our churches to carry on the good work. “Peace be with you”
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.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
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 give you thanks for the light of your Gospel and that it shines in our hearts. We rejoice in the resurrection and in your saving power. We remember all who are struggling with their faith, those in doubt any who sit in darkness or live in fear. We pray for our churches here at St. Maxentius and throughout our Turton Moorland team, we ask you for your blessing on our Clergy and lay teams working hard to keep our congregations together and getting services and support out to all.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.
We remember people and nations who feel strained and lack of energy. We ask your blessing upon all who suffer from poverty and oppression and we especially think of the people is Syria, Myanmar and the plight of the children in Yemen. We pray for any who are separated from their loved ones and their homes.
Lord in you mercy- Hear our prayer.
We give thanks that you appeared in an ordinary home, O Christ. We ask that your presence and your peace may be known in our homes and among our loved ones. We bring before you homes where faith is mocked or persecuted and we pray for all who are struggling to remain faithful.
Lord in your mercy- Hear our prayer.
We think of all who are struggling in life; homes where there is tension or lack of peace; people who are ill and afraid of the future; all who are lonely and facing a time of crisis. May we know your presence and peace. We pray today especially for Craig Mochrie and wish them a speedy recovery.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer
Father we give you thanks for the new life that you offer to us in your Son, for you offer us eternal life. We come to you in confidence, pray for friends, and loved ones departed. May they know the fullness of joy in your presence and in eternal life. We pray today for Sylvia Bidder and from our book of remembrance, Thomas Albert Humphreys, Alison Davis and Philip Clift.
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake or 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 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.
The God of hope fill us all with joy and peace in believing and the blessing of God Almighty, the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.