Our worship together is in the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you:
and also with you.
Hymn: Great is thy faithfulness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTKIqmdfHSk
Let us pray
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Christ died to sin once for all, and now lives to God. Let us renew our resolve to have done with all that is evil and confess our sins in penitence and faith.
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you, +pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Let us pray
God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy: through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spiriit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Acts 17: 22-31
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
This is the Word of the Lord Thanks be to God.
1 Peter 3: 13-end
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
This is the Word of the Lord Thanks be to God.
Hymn: A new commandment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3as1QIC832w
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John Glory to you, O Lord.
John 14: 15-21
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Sermon from Michael Tonkin
‘He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.’ Words taken from this morning’s reading from 1 Peter.
Today, if it had not been for the coronavirus, Father Peter would have been being Licensed into his new role as Team Rector in the Diocese of Worcester. As far as St. Luke’s and the Barn Churches are concerned, and I am sure beyond, we are all very fortunate to still have him with us, if but, for only a little longer.
Jesus, in our Gospel reading today from John, is preparing his disciples for the fact that he would be leaving them, in his bodily form once he had ascended to his Father, but would remain with them for ever as the Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth,” “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” Of course, as with so much that Jesus tried to make his disciples understand, it would only be after his death on the cross and his resurrection, that they would fully come to understand. We will hear in two weeks time how they receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
It is never easy saying ‘good bye’ to friends and loved ones, and it is one of the greatest tragedies of this terrible Pandemic that so many have had loved ones die before their time and been unable to with them. We can only pray that they are now at peace with the one true God, who offers an eternal home to all who believe in Him.
It was while Paul was in Athens, as we heard from our reading from Acts that, in true Paul fashion, he went about teaching the Athenians about this one true God. I have always had a lot of time for Paul, although I am sure he was not the easiest of people to live with, being unquestionably fanatical in his desire to spread the good news of the risen Lord. Yet without his endless efforts, often against the greatest of odds, the roots of Christianity would, most likely, not have been spread so far and wide, and The New Testament would not, in a large part, have been written in the form we know it today. Without Paul’s letters and his travels as recounted by Luke in Acts the New Testament would be very short.
In Athens, as in many other places Paul visited, he began in the synagogues and market places, preaching the news of the risen Jesus. Athens at that time, as it had been for many years before, was a centre for philosophy and literature, and had a university even at that time. Paul was invited by, ‘A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers’, to speak to them, and having seen an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown God’, began to tell them about the God who made the world and everything in it, “In him we live and move and have our being”. Paul tells them they will be seen for who they truly are, and judged by God, and his Son, the risen Christ. But judgement was not what the Athenians were looking for, they wanted to bind their gods to them with gifts, and with the power and scope of their religious services, gods that they could control and use as they required.
It is, perhaps, something that we are all at times guilty of, holding on to our own personal God, who like the old advertisements for Bank Managers, were kept in a cupboard somewhere and brought out when needed. This was not Paul’s God; although for many, there and then, to believe that God might focus all truth and meaning in one man, Jesus Christ, was hard to understand or believe. We too often like the idea of controlling God more than the idea of giving God control over us. We need also to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus promised not only to his disciples, but to every one of us who is willing to travel His path, the path of our risen Lord. “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
So may we all in these troubled and uncertain times hold on to the fact that Jesus walks with us, and with the Holy Spirit lives within our very being, this day and always.
Taizé Community: Jésus, le Christ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqoYsauFa2I
Please remember in your prayers this week:
The Sick: Julia Holboro, Annie Kunz, Luci Mitchell-Fry, Joan Pritchard, Johanna Procter, Kevin Willoughby, Max Weston
RIP John Axell, Mary Smith, Revd Peter Holmes, Pattie Johnson, Norma Williams
Prayers – with thanks to Paul Gregorowski, recorded for us by Chris Lynch
Loving Lord, please bless every person in this world. We are all your children and you love each one of us utterly and unconditionally; be with us in this time of uncertainty and risk, and we pray especially for those who live always in misery and fear, who are permanently locked out of life: refugees, the homeless, the hungry, those broken in body or mind, all those without hope. Help us to use this crisis to come closer to them and to work for a better world when this is over. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
Lord of the nations, guide the rulers of the earth, give them wisdom, teach them mercy, inspire them with your love, Protect and bless all victims who live in states of injustice, cruelty and war. Bless your beloved home on earth, the Holy Land, and any country where people cry out to you for help in their despair. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
Living Lord, bless your family the Church; heal our destructive divisions that hinder your work and that cause you so much pain. Bless Christian Aid and all vital charities under threat during the epidemic. May we help to fill the gap so that your will may continue to be done. Please bless the Barn and St Luke’s and all in our parishes. May we bring them the light of Christ. Please bless Father Peter, Richard and Michael and all who serve you here, our churchwardens, administrators, musicians, volunteers and all who care for our children in Junior Church. And we celebrate with joy our links with Matabeleland and the Green Park School in Lusaka, for we are all one in Christ. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
Lord of giving and grace, we than you for all your blessings to us, for the beauty of this spring morning with all its colour and light, for the love that surrounds us, for the dedication of doctors, nurses, carers and encouragers, for our families and friends near or far away, and above all for your unfailing presence with us. Help us to use this slow time to draw closer to you and to learn all the lessons of love. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
Christ of the cross, please be with those who are sick or suffering in this time of crisis. Hold them in your healing arms and bring them peace. We pray especially in our community for: Alan Hay, Julia Holboro, Annie Kunz, Luci Mitchell-Fry, Joan Pritchard, Johanna Procter, Kevin Willoughby, Max Weston.
Risen Lord be with those who have died and those who mourn. Today we pray for: John Axell, Mary Smith, Joy Dyer, Revd Peter Holmes, Pattie Johnson, Norma Williams, for you are the resurrection and the life. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
God of all hope and love, be with us in this crisis. Once it is over may we create a fairer, kinder world free from the ravages of climate change, discrimination and greed, and may our children have a better future on this precious earth.
God’s promised kingdom longing to be born,
the poor are fed first, the hurt are listened to,
the kind are in control, the cruel are cured;
our deepest hopes become tomorrow’s news;
broken bones and minds are mended, the lonely loved;
fear is a distant memory,
happiness has banished hatred,
peace has vanquished war;
hurt earth turns into Eden once again,
and everything is green and fresh and free.
This is the Kingdom Christ has promised us,
and so we know that it will surely come,
not all at once, perhaps, but bit by bit,
will come the moment that we learn to love.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, “Peace be with you.” Then they were glad when they saw the Lord, Alelluia. The peace of the Lord be always with you: and also with you.
Be present, be present, Lord Jesus Christ, Our risen high priest;
Make yourself known in the breaking of bread
Hymn: Blest are the pure in heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMYVdGjUC2c
The Lord be with you
and also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, always and everywhere to give you thanks, almighty and eternal Father, and in these days of Easter to celebrate with joyful hearts the memory of your wonderful works. For by the mystery of his passion, Jesus Christ, your risen Son, has conquered the powers of death and hell and restored to women and men the image of your glory. He has placed us once more in paradise and opened to us the gate of life eternal. And so, in the joy of this Passover, earth and heaven resound with gladness, while angels and archangels and the powers of all creation sing for ever the hymn of your glory.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
+Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
+ the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and those you love, today and always. Amen.
Hymn: I the Lord of sea and sky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgLwH5RdtPk