26th April the third Sunday after Easter

CHRIST our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast; Not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. 5v7

On Lent 3, 15th March, the last time we held public worship in St James’, I promised that whatever transpired I would celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday morning at 10am. If we couldn’t come to church people could gather round their kitchen/dining room table either then or, at some other time in the day, to pray and break bread with those in their household who wished to join them. It would be an opportunity to share with the village in offering up prayers for themselves, their family this village and the world.

Today, the 3rd Sunday of Easter, we hear again the story of Cleopas and his companion journeying on the road to Emmaus. People have speculated where Emmaus might have been but nobody knows for certain. It’s a bit like our journey at the moment. Nobody knows how long it might be before life can socially return to normal. Some say life will never return to the “normal” we had before Covid 19. Whilst Cleopas and his companion had clearly decided to go back to what they were doing before they met Jesus their hearts and minds were open enough to hear and see Jesus when he called. We need to keep open hearts and minds so that when we are able to meet together again we can be open to the call of Jesus to do whatever is right for the future of the Church here in this village.

I offer this short service sheet for your use. Thanks to the continuing support from a friend who has suported me over the years with producing and recording public events and all those from the village who have contributed. For those not on social media if you have a SMART TV you can watch YouTube on it!

The link is: https://youtu.be/eCIzihdrbSI

Throughout the Easter Season we begin our service by saying

Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia

If you have a candle you might like to place it on the table and light it.

Spend some time in silence reflecting on how this pandemic and the month of “lock down” has changed your life and the lives of your family and friends some of whom you may be separated from because of distance or to protect them. Pray for any you know who have Covid-19 and those who care for them. You can share these silently or out loud. Please remember especially the soul Brian Tabner and his family Viv, David and Lawrence and the soul of Ron and the Heath family.

Offer to God the things you are sorry for, the things you wished you hadn’t done and the things you have failed to do.

You could then all say together the Collect for Easter 3:

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. Amen

Reading for today Luke 24 v13 –35

On that same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about eleven kilometres from Jerusalem, and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him. Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”

They stood still, with sad faces. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?” “What things?” he asked. “The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”

When Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.

As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!” The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.

This is the word of the Lord                    Thanks be to God

The Sharing of Bread

We now know it will be at least another three weeks and possibly be many more weeks before we can gather together in St James’ and share bread and wine. The church has no provision for the vicar celebrating the Eucharist with his own family whilst the rest of the congregation are in their own homes with their family breaking bread together; so as with so many things in this crisis we have evented one. This is not a Eucharist as we know it Sunday by Sunday. This is simply an opportunity to share together with loved ones and remember Jesus’ command to follow him as disciples of the crucified, risen and ascended Lord.

On the night Jesus was betrayed he had a very special meal with his family and friends where he broke bread and shared it with his friends. Since then in every conceivable human circumstance, people have found no better thing than this. For kings at their crowning and for of criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for a good crop of wheat; or for a sick old woman afraid to die. Today we break this bread in thanksgiving for all we have; for those suffering during this Covid-19 pandemic, and for wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help each of us make the world a better place in the future for all God’s people.

As you take the Bread, and break it say “Every time we break this bread we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us and that through his resurrection that he brings life and light to the world”

Let everybody with you share the bread and reflect on their own lives and how they will seek to make the world, in the future, a better place. Share with each other what is in your heart and your soul.

Say together the Lord’s Prayer in which ever version you prefer/are used to.

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. Amen.

A Concluding 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. Amen

The Grace—hold hands and say the grace together

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

If you would like a copy of this service sheet emailed to you every Saturday please send your email address to vicar@stjameschurchforton.org.

There are several people in the village offering help and support. St James’ has a number of people who are able to help with shopping, collecting of medication and in any other way should you need it. We are also aware that there will be some in the village who are experiencing severe financial difficulties due to not being able to work. Whilst we don’t have limitless funds we may be able to help in a small way.

If you need help in any way please contact Peter our Vicar: email and telephone number below Email vicar@stjameschurchforton.org Tel; 07970 923 141

If you would like the sheet to include the names of friends or realtives who are sick or any who have passed away please email them to Peter on the above email There will be a service sheet for every week whilst we are unable to have public worship Date for your diary: The first Sunday we are able to hold public worship there will be a Champagne Reception at 9.45am followed by a huge service of celebration in church. Watch this space!

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