A short service for 3rd May the Fourth 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 4th Sunday of Easter, we hear of Jesus telling us that he is the gate keeper and how we must be aware of those who will try and rob us of our faith. There is a Jewish legend about Moses which tells of him guarding his father-in-law Jethro’s sheep when a lamb wanders off and gets stuck in a dark ravine. When Moses finds the lamb he puts it on his shoulders and carries it back to the flock. God says to him because you searched and brought back one of the flock you shall lead my flock Israel. We are challenged to care for each other and search for those that are lost.

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 contributed. For those not on social media if you have a SMART TV you can watch YouTube on it! At the end of this week’s reflection David has offered some advice on ways to record yourself!

The link is: https://youtu.be/fvAaMM3rifI

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. This week hopefully we will hear the beginnings of how the government see us returning to a more normal life. Also remember all those who gave their life in war as we “celebrate” the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on Friday. Pray for all those you are separated from any you know who have Covid-19 and those who care for them. You can share these silently or out loud. Please remember especially Viv and the family of Brian Tabner, and the souls of Mary Lindsay and Bill Gent to be laid to their rest this week

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 4:

Almighty God,

whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:

raise us, who trust in him,

from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,

that we may seek those things which are above,

where he reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen  

Reading for today

John 10 v 1-10

Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep fol-low him, because they know his voice. They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”

Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.

So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.

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 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”

As you break bread this morning remember all those who are challenged this week to come up with the beginnings of a “road map” for returning to a more normal life.

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, 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

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

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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