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 Sunday I offer this short service sheet you might like to use. Thanks to a very kind offer from a former BBC producer and a friend who has supported me over the years with producing and recording public events I have also recorded my first ever reflection which can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube. For those not on social media if you have a SMART TV he tells me 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 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 Passion Sunday:
Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory;
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.
Readings for today:
The prophet Ezekiel Ch 37v1 –14 The Valley of Dry Bones
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
This is the word of the Lord Thanks be to God
John 11v 1-3 & 17-45 Raising of Lazarus
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
This is the word of the Lord Thanks be to God
A Reflection from Peter: This can be found on the Forton Village Life and St James Church, Facebook pages and on YouTube https://youtu.be/bFupej4BAxY It lasts 7 minutes
Say together the Lord’s Prayer in which ever version you prefer/are used to.
A Concluding Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you:
give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all,
and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, 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.
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.
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
The Sharing of Bread
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.
Take the Bread, as you 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.
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 we are unable to have public worship
Next week we will also be publishing information for Easter Messy Church at home
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!