Next Thursday (21st) is Ascension Day
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 6th Sunday of Easter, we hear of Jesus telling his disciples that he is going on a journey but they know where he is going and they can be with Him. He promises them that God will send them a guide and comforter to show them the way. We know that this is the Holy Spirit who will come at Pentecost. Hindsight is everything they must have been very frightened as many of us are now, as we begin to move into whatever the future holds. The disciples had a choice; go back to what they did before and forget all about what Jesus had taught them or walk on into an uncertain future believing God would provide. They chose the latter and so must we. Eternal life is not about holding on to the past it is about grasping the future. Will we be safe; have a job; a pension; freedom to meet with family and friends; go on holidays. We don’t know but as Christians we have to put our trust in God that he will show us the way to place to which he is leading us. I offer this short service sheet for your use. Thanks to the continuing support from a friend who has supported me over the years with producing and recording public events and all those from the village who have been prepared to share their inner most thoughts. For those not on social media if you have a SMART TV you can watch YouTube on it!
The link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT5XPiym_no
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 your hopes and fears for the future as we begin to move from lockdown to a more normal life and what it means to “Be Alert”. We are all experiencing more bird song, more wildlife and a clearer sky what it is God is saying to you in all this. 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 6:
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 Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Reading for today John 14 v 15-21
The Promise of the Holy Spirit “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you for ever. He is the Spirit who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you. “When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you. “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”
This is the word of the Lord Thanks be to God
The Sharing of Bread
We now know it will 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 invented 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.”
As you break bread this morning pray for the mission of the church for your own Christian life and for the work of the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives to bring them to Christ. Pray for the mission of the church here in Shireshead and Forton. Ask God to inspire and guide he church here to discern what is the best way to move form lockdown to the community gathering once more together to praise God. 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
God our Father, whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life: may we thirst for you, the spring of life and source of goodness, through him 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Tel; 07970 923 141
If you would like the sheet to include the names of friends or relatives 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 FOR ALL there will be a Champagne Reception at 9.45am followed by a huge service of celebration in church. Watch this space!