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 table and share with me in spirit, break bread, and offer up prayers for themselves and those in their household who wished to join them.
This is Palm Sunday a day when traditionally the church has processions of Palm: St James normally walks from the Vicarage garage to the church. This year we can’t do that but you could make your own palms and if you need help doing that on the Church web page Cathy Picken, Archdeacons David’s wife offers her Blue Peter guide. On the website there is also a link to a reflection for Palm Sunday which thanks to Ruth Ross’ initiative, concludes with people in the village who have been encouraged to wave home-made palms.
I offer this short service which you might like to use. Thanks to the continuing support from a friend who has supported me over the years with producing and recording public events I have also recorded a reflection for Palm Sunday which can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube – follow the link below or if you have a SMART TV you can watch YouTube on it.
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 last 13 days 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.
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 Palm Sunday:
Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; 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 Matthew 21: 1-11
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
This is the word of the Lord Thanks be to God
The Sharing of Bread
It will possibly be many 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.
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 thanks- giving 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 he brings life and light to the world”
Let everybody with you share the bread and reflect on how they will seek to make the world, in the future, a better place.
A Reflection from Peter: This can be found on the Forton Village Life and St James Church, Facebook pages and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcSU9T4_ack It lasts 8 minutes
Say together the Lord’s Prayer in which ever version you prefer/are used to.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
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.
A Concluding Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ,
you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant, and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation: give us the mind to follow you and to proclaim you as Lord and King, to the glory of God the Father.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.
Acknowledgments: The readings are from the NIV; Prayers from Common Worship; Some of words under Sharing of Bread from Dom Gregory Dix, The Shape of Liturgy
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Tel; 07970 923 141
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 9.45pm followed by a huge celebration in church. Watch this space!