This Weeks Services ,Readings and Prayers

May 24th 2020    –Seventh Sunday of Easter

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Sunday of Easter

A Simple Order of Morning Prayer in Eastertide

O Lord open our lips,

And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Most glorious Lord of life, whose Son Jesus Christ conquered death and rose victorious from the grave: may we walk in his company, hear the mystery of the Scriptures unfold to us, and, with burning hearts, know his presence in the breaking of the bread, for our Saviour is risen indeed – Alleluia!

Blessed be God for ever.

The Easter Anthems

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who sleep.

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us so let us celebrate the feast, Not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Christ once raised from the dead dies no more death has no more dominion over him. In dying he died to sin once for all in living he lives to God. See yourselves therefore as dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. For as by man came death by man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

Bible Readings

FIRST READING Acts 1.6–14

When the apostles had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

PSALM 68.1–10, 32–35

R Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord.

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him.   Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; as the wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. R

But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; let them also be merry and joyful.   Sing to God, sing praises to his name; exalt him who rides upon the heavens; Yahweh is his name, rejoice before him! R

Father of orphans, defender of widows, God in his holy habitation! God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom, but the rebels shall live in dry places. R

O God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, The earth shook and the skies poured down rain, at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel. R

You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; you refreshed the land when it was weary.   Your people found their home in it; in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor. R

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord.   He rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice. R

Ascribe power to God; his majesty is over Israel; his strength is in the skies. How wonderful is God in his holy places!the God of Israel giving strength and power to his people!    Blessed be God!  R

SECOND READING 1 Peter 4.12–14; 5.6–11

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time.   Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert.   Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.   Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.   And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel of Christ according to John (17. 1-11)

Glory to you, O Lord.

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Reflection Contributed by Ann Wright, Secretary of the Churches Together in England Churches Rural Group

Sadness turned to joy

Bible Reading: John 16:16-24

Jesus said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then in a little while you will see me. ’Some of the disciples asked among themselves, ‘What does this mean? He tells us that in a little while we will not see him, and then after a little while we will see him; and he also says, “It is because I am going to the Father.” What does this “little while” mean? We don’t know what he is talking about!’  Jesus saw that they wanted to question him about this, so he said to them, ‘I said, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then in a little while you will see me.” Is this what you are asking bout among yourselves? I am telling you the truth: you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will be sad, but your grief will turn to joy. When a woman is about to give birth to a child, she has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. That is how it is with you. Now you are sad, but I will see you again and your hearts will be filled with joy – the kind of joy that no one can take away from you. When that day comes, you will no longer ask me anything. I am telling you the truth – the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.’

Reflection

Many of the things that Jesus said are not easy to understand. Each word may be simple enough but put them together in sentences and it makes us stop and think. We are not alone in this. Even the first disciples – who had spent three years with Jesus and had the benefit of living in the same country and culture – did not always know what he was talking about!   This conversation with Jesus is a good example. ‘A little while’ appears seven times in a few sentences as he tries to prepare his friends for what lies ahead, when their world falls apart as they go through a time of desperate grief and loss but with joy round the corner when they see him alive again. As the pain of childbirth gives way to a joy that surpasses the memory of the pain endured, so they will experience a sudden joy arising from catastrophe that will upend their lives and lead to a new intimacy in relationship with the Father. Jesus tells them that they will no longer need to ‘ask’ him anything (in the sense of asking questions) as they will have a new understanding of Jesus, clarity about the meaning of his death and resurrection, and the help and indwelling of the promised Holy Spirit. They will now ‘ask’ (or petition) the Father in the name of Jesus as they take the revelation of God’s love out into the world in word and deed. Seeing, or not seeing, family and friends for what may be ‘a little while’ or a whole lot longer has resonances for today. Government guidance and advice on who we should see, where and when, for how long, and at what distance can leave us feeling bewildered and distressed. We can recognise the confusion of the disciples in today’s reading as we too look forward to a time when ‘We’ll meet again’ even if we ‘don’t know where, don’t know when….’        We do know that our relationship with God is secure, that there is hope of new life (and we can see God’s world bursting into life all around us in the countryside, fields and gardens), and grief will turn to joy. Meanwhile we have the task of sharing God’s love and praying in Jesus’ name ‘Thy kingdom come’.

Prayer – an Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back. may the sunshine warm upon your face, the rain falls soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.  Amen.

Response

  • As we gradually ease out of ‘lockdown’ there will be some people who need to remain shielded and may feel even more isolated and lonely. Identify two or three people you know in this situation and contact them today.
  • Look out for local stories of hope, where God’s love is being shown in words and actions. Share these as widely as you can.
  • Read Psalm 93 (set for today) and rejoice that the Lord is King!

The Benedictus

God has raised Christ Jesus from the dead, so that we have a sure hope in him. Alleluia!

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel for he has come to his people and set them free.

The Lord has raised up for us a mighty Saviour born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets God promised of old to save us from our enemies from the hands of all who hate us.

To show mercy to our forebears and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

Free to worship him without fear holy and righteous before him all the days of our life.

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, To give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

God has raised Christ Jesus from the dead, so that we have a sure hope in him. Alleluia!

Prayers

Almighty God may our prayers ascend to you just as Jesus Christ, your son, was taken up to heaven.  As we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus, inspire in us feelings of joy and hope, rather than fear and separation. (Short Silence)                                                          Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer             Everlasting God, we pray for our Bishop, Cherry, and all Church Leaders. We pray for our clergy, and we pray too for all laity called to lead your church, and so direct their skills and talents toward your praise and worship. Lord, bless our Benefice teams, and guide them in their work as we move forward together in living in your Word, and in this part of Monmouth Diocese.     (Short Silence)                                                          

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Creator God, we pray for our troubled world: its peoples and their leaders. We pray for those caught up in war, violence, and hatred; especially the innocent victims of these evils and those who are abused because of Christ. Merciful Father, we pray for all those refugees currently stuck in transit camps because national borders are closed. We pray for their safety and health. May peace abound and righteousness flourish, that we may vanquish injustice and wrong, and that the suffering won’t last forever. (Short Silence)                                     

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Father God, today at the end of Mental Health week, and at a time when Mental Health illness is increasing in our nation: we pray for those who are confronted by the sadness and confusion of this sickness. We pray too for those upon whom Mental Health sufferers depend for attention and compassionate care. Look with mercy, O Lord, on all whose afflictions bring them weakness, distress, confusion, or isolation. Provide for them homes of dignity and peace; give to them understanding helpers and the willingness to accept help. (Short Silence) 

 Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Loving God, we pray for all those in need; for those who are broken-hearted; those who are confused and afraid; and those who are troubled by a broken relationship, especially the children.We pray too for those who have lost their income and don’t know where their future is! Those affected by natural disaster as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. We pray for all suffering from illness or injury, particularly those with life-threatening conditions. We give joyful thanks for those on the road to recovery. Among our friends, neighbours, colleagues, and family we pray for (add names of those we know )                 (Short Silence)                                        

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Merciful God, we pray for all who have died; especially those who have encouraged us in our faith and by their example. As we pray for them, may they in turn continue to pray for us, that we may stay true to our faith and give the same kind of example to others. (add names of the recently departed or on Anniversary list)              (Short Silence)                                                               

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Faithful God, as we go out into the coming week make us mindful that we should constantly pray. Help us to follow Jesus’ example: and just as Jesus, your son, prayed for his disciples before returning to you, may we too constantly pray for your world, and for your people.              

Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Lord’s Prayer is said.

The Collect for the Day

Collect for 24th May

O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ  with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

The second collect, for peace.

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life, to serve you is perfect freedom, defend us in all assaults of our enemies, that we, surely trusting in your protection, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The third collect, for grace.

Eternal God and Father, by your power we are created and by your love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to you in love and service of one another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.