26th April - Service, Readings & Music

The service this Sunday will take place via Zoom at 9am on Sunday 26th April 2020.
Here is the link to join the service. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7043470449?pwd=VkkvdXVsZWJ3ckY5S3dUUXlpWWVCQT09 The password is 530187

You will need to download Zoom to your device, allow it to make changes and then wait for the service to begin. 

Below is a link to the Church of England Communion Service that we will follow.
https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/holy-communion

Revd Mark's Homily Easter 3. 26/04/2020.

First of all can I say that after a couple of weeks it is good to be back and to be able to communicate with all of you joining us on Zoom this morning. Can I thank all of you who have sent good wishes and who have been remembering me in your prayers. I am pleased to say that I am now feeling much better.

I believe when we all finally get through this current crisis we will be in a much stronger position to move forward as a Benefice together.

As I approach forty years in Ministry (July 6th) I have been reflecting on the significance that the post-resurrection appearances of Christ have played in my life. I think it is fair to say that these forty days between Easter and the Ascension have been formative in my understanding of Christianity. Because in these days, we alongside those first witnesses are given an insight and understanding into what has inspired billions through two thousand years of Christian history. Here for all of us is the source of our hope. Here is the ground of our faith. One of the Epistle writers tells us that ‘if it is for this life only that Christ has given us hope we of all people are most to be pitied’. In these precious days following the resurrection we are given an insight into how those first disciples and witnesses came to recognise the presence of the Risen Christ in their lives. Out of a huge sense of disappointment, loss and bereavement there emerges, in various settings, a real sense that the Lord is indeed Risen. In many of these appearances there is a common thread. Many of these witnesses do not recognise the Risen Christ. Mary on that first Sunday morning mistakes him for a Gardener. Today in our reading the two on the way to Emmaus walk with him for several miles and fail to recognise who they are talking to. Was the resurrected body of Our Lord in some way different in appearance from Christ’s earthly body? Were the disciples and witnesses somehow blinded from recognising him by their real feelings of loss and disappointment. All of their hopes, visions and dreams had been shattered as he was nailed to the cross and as they witnessed his agony and death.

Today then we are given the story of these two disciples on their way to Emmaus, a village about seven miles from Jerusalem. It is Sunday evening just hours after those first witnesses, Mary, Peter and John had been present at the empty tomb. I would like us all to imagine this morning that we are on that road to Emmaus. It shouldn’t be that difficult. It is a road that many of us are probably in one way or another familiar with. It is, after all a well worn path. A road marked by questions, disappointments and a real sense of loss. The circumstances of all our lives have placed us on that Emmaus road. Our personal circumstances determine how steep or rocky or winding that particular road is for each of us. I am so aware at present that with over twenty thousand deaths during the current pandemic that many are travelling that road with difficulties at present.

What St. Luke is telling each of us this morning is that in our darkest moments the Living God comes alongside us unexpectedly in moments of loss and crisis. The Living God walks alongside us in moments that tempt us to despair and despondency. This is what those two disciples experience as they walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the evening of the day of the Resurrection. They have been discussing the events of previous days. They have been expressing their sense of loss and disappointment. It seems nearly impossible not to have connected that meal they shared with ‘this stranger’ with the Last Supper just a few days previously. There is just too strong a connection not to see a Common Bread, a Common Host. In the very simple action of taking, blessing and breaking and giving of bread we are told by Luke that something dramatic happens. As Jesus tears apart that simple loaf, their crumbs of hopelessness and disbelief fall to the ground. The eyes of the disciples, once clouded with tears, are opened to the realities of the resurrection and to the new world order in which DEATH has finally been conquered through the Resurrection of the One they thought had been lost.

The Road to Emmaus teaches us that God, Our God, has an affinity with brokenness. This is something we see repeatedly in the life, death and Ministry of Jesus. Jesus seems to gravitate towards those whose lives have been split open by illness, loss or disappointment. It is almost as if it is in the cracks in our humanity that the Divine and Resurrected life of the Living and Loving Saviour shine brightest.

These two very privileged disciples set out on that dusty highway to Emmaus. Their dreams seemed shattered. But it is in precisely that moment that Jesus comes alongside them, opens the Scriptures to them and reminds them of what is the very foundation of their hope. From the lips of LOVE Himself they hear the wonderful narrative of God’s history altering LOVE.

When we finally interpret ALL the Scriptures, when ALL the loose ends have been tied up, like those two who walked the ROAD TO EMMAUS we will finally understand that as we break bread together we too will be convinced: THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED. Is he Risen for YOU.

 

Collect and Readings for Easter 3.

Collect.

Almighty Father,

who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples

with the sight of the risen Lord:

give us such knowledge of his presence with us,

that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life

and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;

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.


Post Communion Prayer.

Living God,

your Son made himself known to his disciples

in the breaking of bread:

open the eyes of our faith,

that we may see him in all his redeeming work;

who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

 

Zephaniah 3. 14-end

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;

    shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
    O daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
    he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
    you shall fear disaster no more.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
    do not let your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
    a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
    he will renew you[d] in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
18     as on a day of festival.[e]
I will remove disaster from you,[f]
    so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19 I will deal with all your oppressors
    at that time.
And I will save the lame
    and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
    and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you home,
    at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
    among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
    before your eyes, says the Lord.

 

Psalm 116. 1-7

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.

 

Acts 2. 14a, 36-41

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: 

36  Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah,[h] this Jesus whom you crucified.’ 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers,[i] what should we do?’ 38 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. 39 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.’ 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

 

Luke 24. 13-35

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[f] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad.[g] 18 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?’ 19 He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth,[h] who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.[i] Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 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. 24 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.’ 25 Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah[j] should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 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. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us[k] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

HYMN https://youtu.be/Ro0qzNZj8PA

Jesus, stand among us
In Thy risen power
Let this time of worship
Be a hallowed hour

Breathe Thy Holy Spirit
Into every heart
Bid the fears and sorrows
From each soul depart
 

Thus with quickened footsteps
We'll pursue our way
Watching for the dawning
Of eternal day

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