Barham Downs Churches

  • The Rectory
  • The Street, Barham
  • Canterbury
  • Kent
  • CT4 6PA

01227 668190
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                         Barham Downs with Adisham Churches Logo

         The Barham Downs Group of Church

 Adisham • Barham • Bishopsbourne • Kingston • Wymynswold

Also for Podcasts, Youtube Services and Spiritual Reflection go to the WORD-19 Tab

 https://www.barhamdownschurches.org.uk/word-19.htm


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Notices for Pentecost (Whitsun) 24th May 2020

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 
Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit...


 

The Collect of the day

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,

Ignite in us your holy fire:

Strengthen your children with the gift of faith,

revive your Church with the breath of love,

and renew the face of the earth,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Acts 2:1-21  

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
   and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;

     and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
   and signs on the earth below,
     blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood,
     before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


John 7:37-39    Rivers of Living Water

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out,
 ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ 
Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

                                                OR

John 20:19-23  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.

Intercessions

Intercessions are offered

¶    for the day and its tasks  ¶    for the world and its needs ¶    for the Church and her life

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;  
Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, Mary Ambrose, Pamela Allinson, Stephen, Barbara Gill, Jade Lawless, Sheila Ingram, Bill

We remember those who have died and for those who mourn their passing;    
Ray Bovis, Alan Shearer, June Falcke, Lucy, Alan Duke (Priest)

And whose anniversary falls at this time:
Betty Dennis, Jeanette Seldon


                               ---ooOoo---



Notices for Sunday after
Ascension Day 
24th May 2020
____________________________________________________________

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth."


Collect (prayer for the day)
Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Acts 1:6-14 - The Ascension of Jesus

So when they 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.

Ephesians 1:15-23 - Paul's Prayer

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.



GOSPEL: Luke 24:44-53  Jesus' Ascension & Promise

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.


PRAYERS



Intercessions

Intercessions are offered

¶    for the day and its tasks

¶    for the world and its needs

¶    for the Church and her life

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;            

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, Alan Duke, Mary Ambrose, Pamela Allinson, Stephen, Barbara Gill, Jade Lawless, Sheila Ingram

We remember those who have died and for those who mourn their passing;    

Stuart Charlesworth, Dorothy Mann, Gillian Harvey, Ray Bovis, 
Alan Shearer, June Falcke, Becky Judge

And whose anniversary falls at this time:

Christine Marie Bradshaw, John Goulden, Margaret Sajfet, Janice Coade, June Bishop

Post Communion Prayer
Eternal God,
giver of love and power,
your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world
to preach the gospel of his kingdom:
confirm us in this mission,
and help us to live the good news we proclaim;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

                              ---ooOoo---



Notices for Sunday 17th May 2020 Easter 6 (Rogationtide)

The Rogation Days (from the Latin rogare, ‘to ask’) are the three weekdays before Ascension Day. However, in practice, many churches have observed Rogation on the preceding Sunday... The Prayer Book Gospel includes the words of Jesus, ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask for in my Name, he will give it you’ – words associated with the heavenly intercession of the ascended Christ.
The poet George Herbert interpreted the ritual blessing procession as a means of asking for God’s blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbours with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor. The tradition of ‘beating the bounds’ has been preserved in some communities, while others maintain the traditional use of the Litany within worship. In more recent times, the scope of Rogation has been widened to include petition for the world of work and for accountable stewardship, and prayer for local communities, whether rural or urban.




Collect (Prayer for of the day)

Almighty God,
whose will it is that the earth and the sea should bear fruit in due season:
bless the labours of those who work on land and sea,
grant us a good harvest and the grace always to rejoice in your fatherly care;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen


Readings:


Psalm 23 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me;    your rod and your staff—  they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

 

John 7:37-39

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 

Mark 4:26-29

He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’

 

Psalm 50:1-2,10-11

A Psalm of Asaph.
The mighty one, God the Lord,  speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,  God shines forth.


For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,  and all that moves in the field is mine.

 


John 15:1-9

 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.


Prayers

Intercessions are offered

¶    for the day and its tasks

¶    for the world and its needs

¶    for the Church and her life

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;            

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, Alan Duke, Mary Ambrose, Pamela Allinson, Stephen, Barbara Gill, Jade Lawless

We remember those who have died and for those who mourn their passing;    

Stuart Charlesworth, Dorothy Mann, Gillian Harvey, Ray Bovis,
Alan Shearer, June Falcke, Becky Judge

And whose anniversary falls at this time:

Christine Marie Bradshaw, John Goulden, Margaret Sajfet, Janice Coade, June Bishop


 Notices for Sunday 10th May 2020 Easter 5
____________________________________________________________

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also...
‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
 


Collect (Prayer for of the day)
Risen Christ,
your wounds declare your love for the world
and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve,
to the glory of God the Father.
Amen

Collect for Peace (for VE Day 75)

Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed: kindle in the hearts of all people the true love of peace; and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Acts 7:55-60 42-47 Stephen sees the Son of Man  

But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.



John 14:1-14    Jesus the Way to the Father

 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.


Homily

That Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life becomes more and more apparent as his life-flourishing and life-giving nature offers us such hope and more so in  the gospel readings for the Easter Season. It is as almost as if we are slowly picking up our chins from the ground after the astonishment of the resurrection, and then in the weeks that follow, we are still pinching ourselves as we find with each reading, a little more of the Divine and yet still Human Jesus Christ gradually being revealed so that we are soon beyond the initial Road to Emmaus encounter.

Last Sunday we begin to visualise Jesus as ‘our’ Shepherd, he who cares for us, we his sheep; and by listening to his voice, we have come to know him; and by knowing him, we trust him. He is also the gatekeeper who ensures that when we enter the ‘narrow gate’ rather than the ‘wide gate’ we will be provided for.

So in today’s gospel we find the Gatekeeper has now become our Host or to use a more modern term , a guest manager to ensure that we are welcomed in to the many dwelling places of God’s mansion. It is not as if we’ve been checked-in and left to our own devices (with awe and wonder I dare say) and pondering what to do next. Jesus did reassure Thomas (yes the same disciple who needed that physical proof of the Resurrected Christ) that all has been prepared and when the time comes, and this will be in God’s time, he will come and take us to this new home. It is not difficult to see why the imagery of this passage offers both comfort and hope at many a funeral service.

If we take the imagery of infinite dwelling places in God’s house, or a mansion with so many rooms to spare and more then it becomes difficult for us to take this in or to imagine it. As a young boy I very much enjoyed hiding behind the sofa on Saturday evenings when watching Dr Who (and Tom Baker was my Dr Who, and of course I would be biased in saying he was the best of them) but I remember one episode in particular where the Doctor was being pursued by an enemy (alas, I can’t remember which one).

The Doctor was forced to retreat further and further into his Tardis which seemed a paradox because on the outside it was just a Police Box for telephone calls, but the acronym for the Tardis gives us a clue: Time And Relative Dimension In Space. In other words each area of his Tardis opened up into another room and rooms that would seem endless!

The other imagery I am fond of is found in the Narnian Chronicles written by CS Lewis, a children’s author and theologian, and in particular the last book of the series The Last Battle. During the final history of Narnia the forces of the free Narnians have been overwhelmed by the seemingly cruel Calormen Empire and the heroes fighting alongside the last King of Narnia find themselves thrown as captives into a barn on top of the hill where it is believed that the Calormen god, Tash, resides.

But unknown to the enemy the heroes of the story come to find that they are no longer inside a dingy barn but a glorious, brighter and more vibrant Narnia beyond and even dear England alongside it. They are welcomed by Aslan, the Christ figure, and urged to go further in and further up as if there is no end to the adventure.
It’s that simple, isn’t it?

When Thomas asks Jesus “How can we know the way?” We all need to take stock of what he is asking. After all ‘the way’ is not a road-map or a Sat-Nav destination because Jesus affirms that in him he becomes our destination and the truth.
Jesus tells us that he is the only truth possible – a statement which Pontius Pilate during the Jesus’ trial could not comprehend for his notion of truth and personal goals was bound to the contingency of this world. Jesus tells us to think beyond the confines of this world.

 Jesus is saying that there are no other truths to share because he is the embodiment of truth. Coming to Christ takes us beyond physical description or understanding and what he offers us is actually much more than brick and mortar or the luxury of more than one dwelling space. Instead, Jesus offers us a relational state rather than a physical place. This relationship is like a household, or a community of God’s people. 

So Heaven must be thought of as relationship with the divine and we are never alone among the Saints who have gone before us. Perhaps it is in the tragic reading of the Acts of the Apostles that Stephen professes a fundamental truth when he has a vision (perhaps what we might term as a beatific vision) not of a palace or grandiose city in a heavenly realm but of the Son of Man at the right hand side of God Almighty. He saw the relationship of the Father and the Son in which we are bound to in the fellowship of The Holy Spirit. We also have become far more relational as a church and community, and take hope for Jesus promises, “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these!”
In his name we are already in those many rooms together. Amen.


Post Communion Prayer
Eternal God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life:
grant us to walk in his truth,
and to share his risen life;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
Amen.


Prayers

Intercessions are offered

¶    for the day and its tasks

¶    for the world and its needs

¶    for the Church and her life

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;            

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, 

Especially for those having to make difficult decisions in the relaxing of some social and commercial activities to get the country up and running.
Also for those forgotten during the crisis need medical assistance for debilitating and terminal illnesses.

We remember those who have died and for those who mourn their passing;    
Stuart Charlesworth, Dorothy Mann, Gillian Harvey, Ray Bovis, 

And whose anniversary falls at this time:
Greta Allen, Colin Ball, Robert Heap, Marjory Parry, Rayden Chadwick, 



 Notices for Sunday 3rd May 2020 Easter 4.

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them...
he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him
because they know his voice.

Sheep hear My Voice




Collect (Prayer for of the day)
Risen Christ,
faithful shepherd of your Father's sheep:
teach us to hear your voice
and to follow your command,
that all your people may be gathered into one flock,
to the glory of God the Father.
Amen

Acts 2:42-47 Life among the believers  

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.


John 10:1-10             Jesus the Good Shepherd

 ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.



Homily extract

...Our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, instructs us that we can no longer be tribal or partisan, so we need to shake-off the paradigms that we live with, or have been brought up with....

I can imagine that is exactly that shepherds called by God have found in their understanding of the Gospel whether it was Martin Luther King or Desmond Tutu, to name a few. In the period that led to the 1950’s Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama where Whites were afforded the front of the bus and the Black community only the rear, a tired and exhausted Rosa Parkes challenged the status quo. Also in the years following it was Martin Luther’s exhortation of his ‘black children one day playing with white children’ that re-envisioned  humanity as one.
We are, after all, homo sapiens, of the same stock or fold!

In the late 1970’s an unassuming Archbishop was thrown into the political injustices of El Salvador when his priest-friend was murdered by the ruling elite. To my mind Oscar Romero personified the gospel reading in his regular radio broadcasts in offering pastoral hope as the voice and shepherd of the poor and dispossessed even visiting those in outer villages, at times by foot, even when being threatened and abused by the militia along the way. Like Christ, he laid down his life for his people when assassinated in a chapel while presiding over the Mass.

When Jesus begins his teaching with “Very truly” it is a statement of great importance, ‘wake-up’, ‘listen,’ ‘take note’ and ‘learn from me.’ The warning about bandits and thieves was an urgent recognition that the Early Church communities were being infiltrated with so called ‘sheep in wolves clothing’ who would espouse wrong teaching and ideology and thereby scatter the flock and reduce the safety of the pen fold. We are still called to listen to the voice of the true Shepherd, the one who offers himself unconditionally to his sheep and once we hear him then we truly follow him. 

On our website I have attached a small video of a young shepherd boy calling his flock when an adult beside him could not, as they did not recognise his voice. Jesus must have spent many a moment in the heart of the Galilean landscape listening, observing and talking to shepherds, where few would do so. He himself would hear and obey the voice more than once throughout his mission.

Christ came to give us life abundantly is what we must not lose sight off and in this Eastertide we just need to remind ourselves that ‘Very truly’ Christ has conquered the evils of this world. He is the gatekeeper that once we have entered we are safe in the communion with God while the Shepherd continues to seek out the lost and the abandoned.
Living in the wonderful Downs and valleys where we take grazing sheep on the hillside as the normal backdrop let us be encouraged that in this time of medical crisis that all of us no matter our status or position are having to listen much more carefully to the voices that help to shepherd us through our everyday.
Is it not amazing that we are getting to know our neighbours in pastures new!
Is it not gospel-like that new gates are being opened?
Is it not amazing that like the disciples of the Early Church in the Acts reading we are coming together to share – let this be Church. Amen.


Post Communion Prayer
Merciful Father,
you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again:
keep us always under his protection,
and give us grace to follow in his steps;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A thought from Archbishop John Sentamu
We can pray, at any time, in any place.
Each time we cry out to God,
he is already down to it:
closer to us than our breath.
If you don’t know where to start,
pray the Lord’s Prayer. 

Prayers

Intercessions are offered

¶    for the day and its tasks

¶    for the world and its needs

¶    for the Church and her life

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;            

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, 

Especially for those suffering the effects of COVID-19 both carers and patients and in thankfulness for our NHS and Care Homes. We bring to mind the sacrifices made by those on the medical frontline and for those who mourn.

We remember those who have died and those who mourn their Passing;    
Stuart Charlesworth, Dorothy Mann, Ray Bovis, Peter Holmes (Priest)

And whose anniversary falls at this time:
George Robson, Alan Nelson, Michael Buscall



 Notices for 26th April 2020 Easter 3.

  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him...

Emmaus 2

Collect (Prayer for of the day)
Risen Christ,
you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:
strengthen us to proclaim your risen life
and fill us with your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.
Amen. 



Acts 2:14a,36-41 Peter addresses the crowd  

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.


Psalm 116:1-7 Thanksgiving for Recovery from Illness

I love the Lord, because he has heard

   my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
   therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
   the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
   I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
   ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life!’


Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
   our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
   when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
   for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.


Luke 24:13-35 The Road to Emmaus

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.


Homily - memories on the road...

The other day I received an indirect email from an old friend with a photo attached. I have a feeling that this period of lock-down is allowing many of us time to revisit memory lane by sorting out photo albums and other jobs left to one side. If only I had the enthusiasm to revisit my Study with a view to a good tidy-up, and then, what memories might I uncover?
The photo I had received made me chuckle and it was an image of my team, two occupations ago, and evidence proving that I have not always been priest. Photos of the past make us look almost detective-like at what has been captured and at the same time we are also trying to remember all about the colleagues I worked with, starting with their names, and then their job roles, character traits and funny memories. Photos have the ability to reawaken forgotten moments but then again as we age there are somethings or certain happenings that we can’t quite recollect – then the thought that we might be starting to lose it a bit starts to creep in. For those of us who have known and loved family members and friends who have a diagnosis of a dementia-related illness the confusion and angst that appears upon their faces is all too apparent. We all fear amnesia.

Now what if we were placed under a stressful position where we try to recall an event, so recent, so seemingly impossible?  Would we also in the heat of that moment not quite remember everything and unfortunately we know that this happens when people suffer due to excessive workloads, emotional overload, and combat stress. Only a fortnight ago the minds of the disciples were having to process and accept something that defies the laws of nature and also at the same time in the light of their dramatic discovery attempt to recall what Jesus said about himself, those mini prophecies which because they were all on a high going into Jerusalem they had not given them much thought. After all, the Son of David claims his place in the heart of the Promised Land and in the Great Temple – what surely can go wrong?

The two disciples treading the forlorn dusty road are asking the same sort of question when they are joined along the way by a stranger with seemingly no knowledge of Passion Week or maybe  the disciples thought he had Amnesia! “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place” [Luke 24:21].

But the journey takes on a dramatic turn for this stranger is certainly not amnesic and without realising it he allows their memories to unfold and to open up and so to remember not just all Jesus said and did but to also evoke the prophecies predicting the coming of the Messiah. The disciples are quiet, grieving and in a surreal state – what is this man trying to tell them!

It is only in the invitation to stay the night, a strong Middle East tradition, but more so in the blessing and the breaking of the bread that their memories are fully restored. For now they are disciples of anamnesis and only then can the Risen Christ be truly recognised.  

They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” [Luke 24:32].
Can you imagine their emotions as the disciples dash to Jerusalem late that evening before the gates shut in order to relay their amazing experience to Peter and the rest of the followers! They would have been filled with both utter joy and inexplicable fear; a bit like the women in Mark’s gospel when an angel informed them that Jesus had risen.  
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. [Mark 16:8]
In blurting out everything that had happened and at the same time Peter trying to get his story across new memories are interwoven into anamnesis – memories to endure for all time and in our Gospels, even to the end of the age so that we as his disciples are still hearing afresh the commandments of Christ every day and here and now as we come together to celebrate his new promise to us.
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. [Luke 22:19-20]

I and many of my colleagues have found on several occasions when we are visiting some parishioners who are in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s or similar dementia-related illnesses that although they may not sadly recognise anyone around them nor have access to their more recent memories they will instead and quite surprisingly ‘come alive’ and ‘responsive’ on reciting the liturgy for Holy Communion and in receiving the chalice. Their eyes seem to brighten and in reliving that memory of participation they remember what it means to be in the presence of the sacramental Christ – a momentary snapshot of a coherent mind of this world is being drawn further into the eternal hope of the resurrection kingdom, where God remembers us, now and always.  Amen.  


Post Communion Prayer
Living God,
your Son made himself known to his disciples
in the breaking of bread:
open the eyes of faith,
that we may see him in all his redeeming work:
who is alive and reigns forever.
Amen.

A Prayer from Archbishop Justin Welby

Across the Church, let us keep praying
for those who are bereaved,
those who have been unable to say goodbye,
and those who cannot attend funerals of loved ones:
blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Amen.


For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;            

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, 

Especially for those suffering the effects of COVID-19 both carers and patients and in thankfulness for our NHS and Care Homes. We bring to mind the sacrifices made by those on the medical frontline and for those who mourn.

We remember those who have died and those who mourn their Passing;          

Stuart Charlesworth, Dorothy Mann

And whose anniversary falls at this time:

Tess Tanner



 Notices for 19th April 2020 Easter 2.

Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

Doubting Thomas

Collect (Prayer for of the day)
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.


Acts 2:14a,22-32 Peter Addresses the Crowd

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,
   for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
   moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
   or let your Holy One experience corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”

‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
“He was not abandoned to Hades,
   nor did his flesh experience corruption.”
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.

Psalm 16 Song of Trust and Security in God


Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.’

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
   in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
   their drink-offerings of blood I will not pour out
   or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
   in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
   because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
   my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
   or let your faithful one see the Pit.

You show me the path of life.
   In your presence there is fullness of joy;
   in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.


John 20:19-31  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.’

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.


Doubt in Faith Homily – John 20:19-31

“Doubt is useful; it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested” – Pi, The Life of Pi

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.” – Thomas, John 20:25

The Easter Week allows us to revisit the resurrection narrative recurrently in the lectionary for evening prayers. It is almost as if all four gospel readers are telling us ‘yes, you’ve read it and visualised the Risen Lord, but now read it again, and again, because your faith will be still be challenged at times unknown to you.’
God’s time certainly moves different to ours as if Thomas is deliberately kept on tenterhooks for a whole week before the Lord appears to him bearing scars and all.

One reason why we may be urged to go back to reading the gospels is to find ourselves somewhere in the mission of Jesus. Thomas is not necessarily the main disciple in the headlines but still appears at crucial moments of the story, like we might in our own.

Thomas is not just a ‘doubter’ but also a disciple of forethought and passion. When he saw that Jesus was determined to risk his life in unwelcome territory by visiting the grave of Lazarus in Bethany it is Thomas alone who affirms that they should go so “that we may die with Him.” Was he sure of what he was saying? Probably not, but his loyalty was apparent and enough for his fellow disciples to follow.

At the last supper when Jesus explains pictorially that his Father’s House has many rooms and that the disciples know the way – the disciples seemingly nod their heads accepting a teaching that they could not really comprehend (I expect we all remember such moments in our school days). Only Thomas has the nous to ask for further clarification.

Thomas is not mentioned (alongside all but one of the disciples) at the time of crucifixion and one can only imagine that in his grief he had perhaps hidden himself away from the rest of them and thereby missing that inexplicable moment of Jesus appearing in the upper room on the evening of that first Easter Day. Do we not also hide away or extract ourselves from public life when having to overcome and process personal tragedies? More so at this current time when families also grieve for those lost to coronavirus and other terminal illnesses.

When Thomas finally meets his risen master there are two notable moments that we should observe closely. Jesus seemingly seems to anticipate Thomas’ empirical demands as he reveals his crucified wounds, and, we will never know whether Thomas actually placed his fingers into them. Secondly, in such a short and powerful statement – “My Lord and my God” Thomas is the only disciple to fully recognise the divine-human Christ before him;  not in the same way as a contingent Roman Emperor may have been addressed as ‘Lord and god,’ but instead as the One who is ‘alive for ever and ever and holds the keys of Death and Hell’, who is the ‘Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’ (Revelation 1).

Wow! Just imagine standing before the Majesty and Source of All?
I think I would quake a tad and be on my knees utterly speechless!
This Easter mystery is not an intellectual exercise but one borne of experience – a deep encounter with our Lord and God. In the Acts of the Apostles Paul relates his Damascene encounter with Jesus which transformed him unequivocally as it did Thomas.  When we encounter God in the everyday of things it may not be such a dramatic encounter but in the experience of our faith journey we will know when our lives have been touched by Christ in those whom we meet and also in recognising the signs of the kingdom of heaven around us.

Thomas is truly personified in all of us by having the courage to ask and to challenge; but it is Jesus who challenges us further ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ Amen.

Christ yesterday and today,

the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega,
all time belongs to you,
and all ages;
to you be glory and power
through every age and for ever.
Amen.


Post Communion Prayer
Lord God our Father,
through our Saviour Jesus Christ
you have assured your children of eternal life
and in baptism have made us one with him:
deliver us from the death of sin
and raise us to new life in your love,
in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Amen.

Prayers

Merciful God,
we entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms
are there to hold them safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;            

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, Charlie

Especially for those suffering the effects of COVID-19 both carers and patients and in thankfulness for our NHS and Carehomes.

We remember those who have died and those who mourn their Passing;          

Gordon Langdon, Doreen Rumsey (formerly Bradshaw), 
Mrs Mann

And whose anniversary falls at this time:

Tess Tanner

Notice Sheet for 12th April 2020 Easter Sunday

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Happy Easter everyone!



 

Collect (Prayer of the Day)

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.


Acts 10:34-43   Hear the Good News

Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

Psalm 118:14-24 The Gate of the Lord & Chief Corner Stone

The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
   the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
   the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.’
I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely, 
but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Matthew 28:1-10 The Resurrection of Jesus

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’


Sermon

For Easter Sunday to fall during the worst viral pandemic that we have seen in a century reminded me of an article a dear friend recently sent me which as a testimony seems so relevant and crucial in understanding faith in a crisis. It was about a pastor in Belfast who unfortunately contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalised. ‘He recalls two nights in particular when he was crying out to God for help’ with people dying around him. This scene is comparable to  Jesus’ dramatic cry from the cross as prophesied in Psalm 22:1 – my God, my God why have you abandoned me, and then the stillness of death for two nights in a stone-sealed tomb seems to be the empty reply. Our own angels – the health professionals in hospitals and care-homes hear the anguished cries as if they too are standing, sometime helpless, at the foot of the cross. For the pastor his witness at his bedside was a hospital cleaner, brave enough to draw near, and who prayed for him as if the busyness of the ward suddenly became still. Good Friday moved cautiously into Holy Saturday and then the unexpected happens the pastor recovered and began to feel better.

Today Easter Sunday becomes the unthinkable where the laws of normal observances are subverted where the human impossible becomes the divine possibility in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth… Jesus the Christ…Jesus God incarnate…and so our humanity is drawn into His divine pattern.
It doesn’t get better than that and where death no longer has the final say. St Peter declares this boldly by declaring ‘that we have witnessed all that has led to this point (although it took a while for the penny to drop until after the resurrection). ‘We ate and drank with the risen Jesus – the Lord of all, and that “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name”’ (Acts 10:43b). The disciples are witnesses of something new, strange and different, unnatural but certainly the very stuff of Easter joy and praise. St Peter’s own paradigm shift moves him from being the disclaimer of a broken Jesus to the proclaimer of the risen Christ.

The gospels clearly show a counter-cultural process of a God who shows no impartiality who opens eternal life to all through the way of the cross and the open tomb, by empowering the weak, the poor and the dispossessed as echoed in Mary’s song of praise, known as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). The Resurrection of Jesus was not witnessed by the ‘Pilates’ or ‘Herods’ of this world but first by the loyal female followers of Jesus. Their testimony of the resurrection would have been inadmissible in a court of law but not so for the male disciples but as later witnesses their patriarchal society is already being  subverted.

Easter Sunday must always be proclaimed as Good News and we are already witnessing something of resurrections, or more accurately resuscitations, when hospital patients recovering from the coronavirus are hailed and cheered by the medical staff as they leave the ward, the tomb-like corridors, with angels of mercy in blue scrubs rather than bright white garments lining the way into the light. As the angel said to both Marys “He has been raised…you will see him…then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid’ (Matt, 28, 7,10).

Lord of Light and Life,
Redeemer and Comforter
The Peace in our strife;
our eternal Governor
breathe in us the hope of your Way;
Risen star of Easter Day
abide with the children of men.
Amen.


Post Communion Prayer

God of Life, 
who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son
to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection
have delivered us from the power of our enemy:
grant us so to die daily to sin,
that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life:
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayers

We continue to pray not just for our community and nation but also for the nations of the world that God has given us. We pray that through the presence of the Holy Spirit that wisdom, courage and healing will be among those treating and being treated by sickness. We pray for all who are finding the changing of life routines troubling and for relationships that prove difficult in confinement. We pray for hope and support for those families and businesses facing an unknown financial future. We pray that being brought into the resurrection of life that we can encourage others to glimpse the Kingdom of heaven around us. 

For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;             

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards, Charlie

We remember those who have died and those who mourn their Passing;          

Gordon Langdon, Doreen Rumsey (formerly Bradshaw)

and those who we remember on the anniversary of their death: 



Notice Sheet for 5th April 2020 Palm Sunday 

Beginning of HOLY WEEK
As we read the Bible, take time over each of the readings so that you can see their links about prophecy and fulfillment and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you.
 

Collect (Prayer of the Day)

True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you 
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.
Amen.


Here is something for but especially for children



Liturgy of the Palms

Matthew 21:1-11   Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem     

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
‘Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
   humble, and mounted on a donkey,
     and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Homily: Who do we cheer? 

Jerusalem at Passover is a bustling city of expectation and celebration.
Jesus times his entry at the right moment in fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy (9:9) and the expectant crowd lining the streets are already buzzing about an expectant Messiah because that seems to be the growing expectation. Why? Passover is a celebration of deliverance from oppression and slavery from the time of Moses.  As Jesus approaches the city the people are again under the yoke of powerful overlords - the Romans. 

I think ‘word’ would have quickly gone round about this holy wanderer, this prophet of Nazareth, and some may have known that he was born in Bethlehem hence why they cheer-on the Son of David!

This is the beginning of the end of Jesus’ ministry to bring his Father’s Kingdom right into the heart of the holy city, to replace the Great Temple with his body and his blood - an offering for all eternity.

 

Now instead, imagine the city streets being empty of commerce and traffic, imagine a contagion forcing people to look from their windows, balconies and roof-tops at the now lonely procession to the Temple.

Instead of immediate jubilation there is a hushed sense of awe as people crane their necks to get a good view and see perhaps just one of the disciples at a social distance leading the colt and a donkey on which Jesus rides. Now imagine the residents become much bolder and start to wave; the waves of hands and garments give way to a loud cheer and clapping as this Son of Man comes to his people to save them from their sins - our sins! 

Fortunately no imagination is required for ourselves for the last consecutive Thursday evenings as we cheered and clapped for our heroic health professionals, care workers and all who keep this country going whether from: law to logistics or, from farmers to food shelves including our own village shop and for the dedicated team that keep it going. 

As a nation we have always valued our health service but now in these days so much more for those who help to contain, heal, restore and cure us. 

This Easter coming shall we also give thanks to Him who comes to restore us in heart, body mind and spirit? 

Amen.  


Liturgy of the Passion

Psalm 31:9-16

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
   my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,and my bones waste away.

I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
   I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.


Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name
   that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess
   that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.


Gospel Reading Matthew 26:14-27:66 click below for the reading as it is the longest reading in the church year. If reading with a family you may want to assume the different character roles to add to the effect of The Passion.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26%3A14-27%3A66&version=NRSVA


Prayer for the week                                                                                                      

Lord of compassion and mercy,
 as we travel with Jesus into the Jerusalem of our hearts, give us the strength and love to persevere no matter how hard life is changing all around us. Bless our families and neighbours and all those in service to their country at this time of peril and yet also of hope. As we transform our living, transform our hearts and minds always, through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. Amen


For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;             

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards.

We remember those who have died and those who mourn their Passing;          

Gordon Langdon, Doreen Rumsey (formerly Bradshaw)

and those who we remember on the anniversary of their death: 



                             Notice Sheet for 29th March 2020 PASSIONTIDE




Collect (Prayer of the Day)

Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; 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

Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

                                               

This is the Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God


The Gospel - John 11:1-45                                        

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Jesus Weeps

 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go."                                                

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


Our Prayers this week                                                                                                                                    

Lord,
As  a mother to us all we pray for your continued presence in body, mind and spirit in this time of crisis. We remember the healing touch of your son Jesus Christ and of his promise that you are always with us to the end of time. We pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit that you will imbue wisdom and good discernment to all leaders in politics, economy, medical and pastoral matters. Bless our parishes, now and always.
Amen.


For any who are sick or in particular need at this time;             

Richard Bellamy, Maureen Baker, Terry Bradshaw, Kelly, Colin Richards.

We remember those who have died and those who mourn their Passing;          

Peter Evans, Jean Bailey, Jeremy Ansell, Gordon Langdon, Doreen Rumsey (formerly Bradshaw)

and those who we remember on the anniversary of their death: 

John Spanton, Henry Maude, Margaret Keeler.


Events this week from 29th March to 4th April

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