Easter 8 Pentecost

31/5/20

INTRODUCTION

Easter season ends this Sunday as we celebrate Pentecost. It commemorates the gift of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and Jesus’ followers. The disciples have been in lock down, awaiting the arrival of something special, the Holy Spirit. For most of us our experiences of self isolation is different. When we end our time of self isolation will we, I wonder, be dancing in the streets as the disciples did? I may not dance but I know I will be giving thanks and praise that I am able to share in worship again with you all. Jesus’ promise to his disciples was fulfilled and that same promise can be fulfilled in us too. Peace be with you all.

Amen. 

Wendy King

THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGAN LOFT Fiona Bodmer

I am thankful that the sun is shining! The last 10 weeks would have been much more difficult in the depths of winter with the long nights and the cold days. There are some days when I struggle to find anything positive but the sunshine certainly cheers me up. I hope you are all keeping well and managing to fill your time. This

Sunday is Pentecost and so I have chosen a rousing hymn fitting for this day in the church calendar, Lord enthroned in Heavenly Splendour.

 COLLECT

https://youtu.be/H-o33ws7lBE Roger Carey-Smith

God, who as at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 READING – Acts 2.1-21

https://youtu.be/2YY4eTPQTnc  Lynn Carey-Smith

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs -in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’ But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”‘

This is the word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

 Gospel – John 7. 37-39

Glory to Christ our Saviour

 https://youtu.be/PKennYkx-iI Roger Carey-Smith

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”  Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 This is the Gospel of Christ

Thanks be to God

 SERMON Andy Brown

It is Pentecost Sunday, and the day we remember what is essentially the birth of the church. The word “Pentecost” means 50 days, and it occurs 50 days after the Jewish Passover. We may associate Pentecost with the church, but if you look at Acts 2:1, you will see that the Apostles met together on Pentecost, and then the Holy Spirit came.

Jesus, prior to His Ascension and after His death and resurrection, had instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had been “clothed with power from on high.” (see Luke 24:49). The Ascension, usually celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter, reminds us of how Christ ascended into Heaven. For ten days, the disciples have waited for this event, not really knowing what would happen.

The Holy Spirit descends on them with great power. As Jesus ascends into Heaven, He does not leave the disciples to fend for  themselves, but sends His Spirit to dwell in and with them. We see this power displayed in an amazing way in Acts 2, with a great rushing wind and tongues of fire. The Apostles then begin to speak out in the languages of the people around them, sharing the Gospel  of Jesus with them. This is perhaps a reversal of the events at the Tower of Babel, centuries earlier when God confused the language of mankind and scattered them about the Earth. Now all people are united in hearing the news about Christ and what He has done.

For us, living in this part of the world in the 21st Century, these first

Pentecost events may seem like something out of a movie. Very few of us, I imagine, can claim to have seen such works of power. I do not think such miracles are restricted to the Early Church, but such things are not the subject of our message right now.

For today, I want us to focus on the Apostle Peter. As the people see the strange actions of the Apostles, they begin to imagine they might be drunk. Peter leaps to their defence and begins a very eloquent sermon. With authority, he speaks of Old Testament prophecies from Joel and how God would pour out His Spirit. Until that point, the Spirit was reserved for only a select few of the Old Testament believers.

Look at Peter, and listen to his words. How he has changed in such a short time! Less than two months prior to this, he denied that he even knew Christ let alone was one of his closest friends. Now he stands tall and proud, proclaiming the good news about Jesus to a huge crowd. Later in Acts 2 we read that 3,000  people believed in Peter’s words, so the crowd was at least as large as that and of course probably more.

What has driven this change in Peter? What has made him so bold?

I suggest two things. Firstly, no one who encounters the Risen Christ can remain unchanged. Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter and the others travelled north to Galilee. There he met the Risen Lord by the sea, and told Jesus that he loved Him three times (see John 21). Jesus restores Peter, and although the road ahead would not always be smooth and would in fact lead to martyrdom, Peter knew he had been accepted and forgiven by Jesus.

Secondly, Peter has indeed now been clothed with power. Peter no longer acts alone and impetuously, instead he is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit shapes his words and gives him the confidence to face the crowds and Jewish authorities.

Peter does not do it in his own strength, but in the Lord’s.

For us here in St Osyth, or Great Bentley, or wherever you come from, we can likewise encounter the Risen Christ this Pentecost. We may not see Him with our own eyes, but that makes Him no less real or accessible. In the same way as Peter, we too can draw on the power of the Holy Spirit for our everyday lives. While we may not be called to speak to crowds like Peter was, the Spirit is as equally willing to aid us in raising our children, doing a good job at work or witnessing to those in our community.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Luke 11:13 (WEB)

Amen!

 As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is poured out on the apostles and the Church is born

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CHURCH WORLDWIDE!

God’s Holy Spirit, residing in our whole being opens up the possibility of living as God intended – in harmony with our Creator.  Our hope is that this new relationship will also carry over into our relationships with one another. Just as the apostles experienced the force of the Spirit,  so we desire these waves of God’s energising love and power.  The apostles had taken Jesus’ prophecy to heart and had waited watchfully and prayerfully for the last nine days since the Ascension.  Can we watch, wait and pray to hear God’s voice?  

 As the Spirit enables us, let us pray.

Father God,

May all church leaders, ordained ministers and the laity

Be filled to overflowing, with love for your people,

Bursting with excitement and expectation

for spreading the good news of the Gospel

Spirit of the living God:

Fall afresh on us

May all those negotiating for peace

 in the delicate areas of national conflict,

 disputes and entrenched bitterness,

 be blessed with the peace of God,

 calm and patient beneath the pressures

 Spirit of the living God;

Fall afresh on us.

In our homes and places of work,

Our schools and hospitals,

May there always be time

for the warmth of loving concern

And the comfort of being valued.

 Spirit of the living God

Fall afresh on us.

For those who have died

And all who mourn their passing;

Calm the fears of the dying

And have mercy on us all.

Spirit of the living God

Fall afresh on us.

We thank you, heavenly Father,

For the gift of the Holy Spirit among us;

And we look forward to the future

With you at the centre of all we do.

Amen

SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Dear Lord,

As this pandemic continues, we ask you to keep us under the shadow of your mercy during this time of uncertainty and distress.  Sustain and support the anxious and fearful and lift up all those who have been brought low during the lockdown, so that they can rejoice in your comfort.

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us,

You taught us to love our neighbour and to care for those in need, as if we were caring for you.  Give us strength in this time of anxiety.  Help us to comfort the fearful, the sick, the isolated, the lonely and to assure them of our love and your love. 

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us,

We pray for doctors, nurses and and others who are caring for those suffering from Covid – 19, in hospitals and care homes. We pray for   your wisdom to medical researchers who are working so hard to find a vaccine.  Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their skill and insights, many will be restored to health.

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us

We pray for all those returning to work in early June.  Give them a sense of peace and expectation for the coming months.  We pray for all children who will be returning to school in early June.  Please protect the children, teachers and other staff, from the disease and give wisdom to those making decisions about easing the lockdown.

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us

 We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God;

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

 Amen

Let us join together in the Lord’s Prayer

 REFLECTION Fiona Bodmer

I have chosen a piece of music which is somewhat different to those that have gone before. I enjoy all forms of church music and generally shy away from popular noise. Every now and again, a lovely song comes to the fore and this one is such.

This song was made popular by the 1979 film of the same name and was sung by Bette Midler. However, this beautiful arrangement by the King’s Singers is calm and peaceful. It reminds us in the final verse that, even in the darkest times, hope is just around the corner. As we all continue to cope with this difficult situation, I pray that you can find some hope.

https://www.youtube.com/wat

Service - 7th Sunday after Easter

THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGAN LOFT

On Thursday the Church of England celebrated Ascension Day.

Traditionally in Great Bentley a party climbs the church tower at 7am to sing “Hail the day that sees him rise” followed by a breakfast in the church room. We seem to have missed the most important part of the church year this year, missing the whole of Easter week and now his Ascension into Heaven. We are truly living in strange times and this has been a truly Global Pandemic. We have all seen pictures from around the world and some countries, particularly those with poverty and very high populations have had a terrifying time. We have been fortunate.

As the lockdown eases I think we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have all endured 8 weeks of difficulties and this will have taken its toll on us as individuals along with the country as a whole. I do think that there will be positives from it all, kindness, compassion and understanding of our communities, admiration for all key workers and a deep gratitude to those who have kept the country going.

I hope that you have had the opportunity to give your lives a spring clean and to understand what is important in your lives, I know I have!

This week I have chosen a rousing hymn for us to sing together at 3pm.

Crown Him with many crowns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7OCs0d_4vM

 COLLECT

https://youtu.be/gqRvza1Z18A    Carol Kerridge

O God the king of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 Readings

https://youtu.be/aku3WsuuGrg Carol Kerridge

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God.

 READING– Acts 1.6-14

When the apostles had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

 GOSPEL – John 17.1-11

Glory to Christ our Saviour

https://youtu.be/bePFxoiL3KU Carol Kerridge

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’

 This is the Gospel of Christ

Praise to Christ our Lord.

SERMON from Rev’d Sharon

At that last meeting with Jesus after he had told them he was returning to the Father, and explained that they would be given a helper, the disciples had so many questions and Jesus’ answer was that he could not tell when or where but God has it in hand and it will be in his timing.

I am sure you would agree that there are so many questions that we have and are asking about all that we are facing at this present time, that it made me smile when I read the opening question from the disciples to Jesus in today’s reading from Acts – Lord, is this the time…?

If I’m honest it made me think of lockdown and when we might be able to ease out in a safe way but then I thought about my childhood when me and my brothers were on a long car journey, I am sure you must know what I am going say – ‘are we nearly there yet?’  The answer for us was nearly always ‘not yet but we are getter closer’.

This is also what I think Jesus’ answer to the disciples was when they asked, ‘is this the time?’ – not yet but we are getting closer!

Jesus tells them that it’s not quite that easy, and tries to explain that there is a lot of work to be done and promises to give them some extra help – the power of the Holy Spirit who gives strength, timing and the right words and actions; the tools needed by all followers so that they can continue with his work.’

After Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciples were left on their own, they would have been inquisitive about where and when the helper would arrive but I am sure they also would be missing Jesus, they return home and wait.

I wonder how impatient they were on a day to day basis during the waiting time. How did they cope knowing that something was coming but they had no idea when?  Does this remind you of anything?

The disciples did exactly the right thing, they returned home and looked after each other while they waited.

How good are you at waiting? How patient can you be?

I only ask because I believe that things happen in our lives at the right time – at God’s timing. This interim time for the disciples between saying Goodbye to Jesus and waiting for the Holy Spirit to arrive was a challenge and might be described as ‘waiting with eager longing’ partly wanting the old way of being to come back but knowing they need to move forward with God and embrace a new way of being.

I believe we are called to do the same. So in all the uncertainty we are facing – let’s move forward with God and in stillness and calm embrace a new way of being.                       Amen.

PRAYERS

https://youtu.be/aJ-enygLAcU Helen and Andy Brown

Indigo The colour of bruises, we pray for all those suffering domestic abuse.

James 1 v 27

‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.’

Heavenly Father, during this period of lockdown domestic abuse killings have doubled and a national abuse helpline received 49% more calls. At a time when people are feeling trapped in with abusive partners we pray that they will receive the help they very much need. Father, keep them safe. We pray for children who are abused, bullied or neglected by those who are supposed to love and protect them. For many children school provided a safe place from a tumultuous home environment, we pray for those who are missing that security and sanctuary.

Father, keep them safe. Lord, enable us in the community to be aware of the more vulnerable among us and give us the courage we need to speak out or offer help where it is needed.

Violet The colour of Bishops, we pray for Church leadership.

Hebrews 13 v 17

‘Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Giving them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.’

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the church leaders who are providing guidance as well as worship and prayer resources on-line at a time when we cannot meet in our church buildings. Thank you for all the staff who are keeping people connected to their local churches, for the vicars, church wardens and admin staff. For those putting material on-line, making phone calls and praying for their church family. Lord, we lift before you Rev’d Sharon. We pray for her recovery and a speedy return to perfect health. We pray for her ministry in St. Osyth and Great Bentley and the hope and encouragement she brings to people in those communities. We pay she will soon be able to return to that work and using the gifts you have given her to serve you.

Lord, the rainbow was a symbol of your promise to Moses and you never break your promises. May we stand firm on those promises and be a witness to your love and power, your hope and promise. In Jesus’ name we pray.

We also pray for those known to us who are sick at this time, we think especially of: the Rev’d Sharon on her road to recovery. Pray for those in need of healing and long term prayerful support:

Nick, Sue, Helen, Pamela, Chisato Takaya, Peggy, Nina Hatchett, Dominie and Graham, Sienna, Peter, Pamela and Jane Eade.

Mick Moore who recovers after his radiotherapy

Myrtle Clayton who is still in residential care

Lynn Gordon as she recovers at home

Oliver and Lisa Ingwall King, as they recover at home from Coronavirus.

We remember Dr Mirza, Derek Watts, Jack Whittle, Sylvia Colmer, Dalma Woodward and Gordon Hesketh who have died recently.

May they rest in peace and rise in Glory.

 Let us join together in the Lord’s Prayer.

 REFLECTION

We have previously listened to the famous “For the beauty of the Earth” by John Rutter. He wrote so many beautiful anthems and carols and we all associate his music with the church year. There has been so much music during the lockdown and from all around the world, people have been very inventive. I have watched music from kitchens, gardens and the piece I have chosen for today is a compilation choir. They must have very good editors! I particularly like this arrangement of John Rutter’s “The Lord bless you and keep you” as it is so relevant to the last 8 weeks. May the Lord bless and keep each one of you.

Service - 6th Sunday after Easter

17th May

This week we are delighted to work even more closely with our sister church in our united benefice in St Osyth. Thank you all so much for the Readings, (Isabella and David Harrington) Rainbow Intercessions, (Helen and Andy Brown) and Sermon (Jane Eade).

In the Collect we are reminded that God has delivered us from the power of darkness. So many people have been facing those dark moments; of fear, loneliness, worry that they may catch the virus, loss of income or jobs. I watched a two part documentary from the Royal Free Hospital dealing with patients with Covid 19. It was not easy to sit through this but I felt I owed it to  those putting their own lives on the line to save others and also to truly understand what a devastating illness this is. There were dark moments for both patients, their close families and staff but for me the resilience of those involved, the determination to pull through against all odds, the empathy of all staff members was the light that shone through and was truly amazing.

I fervently believe that good comes of all things even if this is not evident immediately. We see this now in both of our villages with help given in so many ways and care and consideration for others around us. This time of national crisis has I am sure brought our churches closer together and we will  probably have to continue for some while with our online services.

Thank you  to everyone who has helped to bring this service together.

Mary Maskell

THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGAN LOFT from Fiona Bodmer

This week we have been promised an easing of the lockdown. It seems to be very confusing and this is a worry for us all as we try to do the right thing to protect ourselves and those we love. We can meet in a park as long as we are 2 meters away but cannot go and sit in the garden with a friend. There does not seem to be an end in sight and it is worrying to hear that the virus is having a  resurgence in Wuhan and Germany. I wonder what our “new normal” life will look like and I am not sure we will ever go back to where we were. This is causing me some grief and I expect you too are finding it difficult to cope with. I think we have to trust that we will get through this, with the help of our faith, friendships and family. I hope you have all embraced the new technology, zoom, whatsapp, facetime etc as they certainly help. Along with this service, there are many other churches and cathedrals live-streaming their services and I hope you have been able to find something that makes you feel close to God.

As the gospel reading today is focussed on the God in our hearts, I have chosen a hymn to help us individually to reflect on our faith. Please join us at 3pm to sing O Jesus I have promised . I have chosen the traditional tune as it seems more fitting for the current situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU_cev2ri90

 COLLECT

https://youtu.be/q_TlYgPdaKA Isabella Harrington

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.

 READING – Acts 17.22-31

https://youtu.be/qFeNRnMLICo David Harrington

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription. ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring. Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

 GOSPEL – John 14. 15-21:

Ihttps://youtu.be/mYmM05IqEFQ lsabella Harrington

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. II will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

 SERMON Jane Eade

As I write this I am hearing on the news about the new & purportedly reliable antibody test that has been developed for Covid-19 which means we should now be able to tell who has had the virus whether they show symptoms or not. I know this seems a strange way to begin a sermon but I hope you will see where this fits in soon.

Today’s reading from John 14 verses 15-21 tell us how Jesus promised his disciples, and us, that although he was to die, rise again & ultimately ascend to heaven, he was not really leaving us, we would never be alone as he would ask God to send us the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to be with us always. What an amazing & life changing promise!

I think most of us know someone, maybe a few, who have received a real audible or visual ‘call’, an undoubtable affirmation that the Holy Spirit is with them & in them and is directing their lives, watching over them & guiding them in everything they do. It isn’t really possible to doubt or deny the existence and indeed the current relativity of the Trinity (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) when in the more difficult times one can think back to that physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit, of God, in one’s own life and know that whatever happens one is never alone, never facing difficulties or challenges alone and that although we can’t see it, or even comprehend it, ‘God is working his purpose out’, as we have all so often sung.

The disciples and the first few other early Christians could physically see the Holy Spirit entering them as tongues of fire  hovered above their heads and they began to speak in all sorts of languages that fishermen from the Galilee, thought of by others as rough and poorly educated, could never have known or been taught. Even in the case of the first non Jewish Christians, the Roman Officer Cornelius and his household in Caesarea, there could be no doubt that the Holy Spirit had entered them too as Simon Peter and a few of his fellow christian followers witnessed them suddenly also speaking different languages as they praised God. Many other members of the fledging Christian movement in Jerusalem were very critical, perhaps even horrified, and doubted that such a thing could have happened to a group of Gentiles of all people! Such a thing was unthinkable and flew in the face of all their Jewish laws and beliefs. But Peter, backed up by those who had accompanied him, told them “As I began to speak the Holy  Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said ‘John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit’ And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11 v15-17)

But today there are many of us who have never had that personal audible or visual affirmation that the Holy Spirit is with us, we rely purely upon faith, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, a strong and solid Christian upbringing. At difficult times like we are going through at the moment those little seeds of doubt can start to creep in and the questions of non Christians like ‘how can you believe in God when so many people are dying?’ start to play with our minds trying to undermine that faith. Or even perhaps if your own friends and family have died or are dying; I don’t think there is anyone now who remains untouched by the appalling death toll even if it is someone you knew who has been lost though not as close to you as a friend or family member, still those little seeds of doubt can grow and flourish and spread with the same efficiency and speed as the virus if we let them go unchecked. And so, back to this morning’s announcement about the far more reliable antibody test that has been developed, now we can tell exactly who has definitely had the virus whether there were obvious symptoms or they were asymptomatic meaning the person showed no obvious signs of the virus but had it anyway. Just as not showing symptoms of Covid-19 doesn’t mean we haven’t had it, so, not having had an obvious audible or visual sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit certainly doesn’t mean we don’t have it as deeply ensconced within us as those who have. The only prerequisite, Jesus said, was that we believe in him, love him and obey his commandments. The very things we have always done before we need only keep doing now! How amazing is that?!

The last of those commandments, given literally just before Jesus ascended into heaven, was “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And then you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1 v8) and so that we do not need to worry that we won’t know what to say when we are called to do so he also said “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” (Luke 12 v11-12). How much easier then should it be to defend our faith before our friends and neighbours?

At the moment we hear endlessly about the ‘R’ number and how this affects the rate at which the virus spreads exponentially. If one person infects more than one person then the virus begins to get ‘out of control’, if that same person infects less than one person then the virus is halted.

So now let’s consider the ‘R’ number of our faith, we have shown that we can all be confident that the Holy spirit is with us whether it has been shown overtly to us or not, that that same Holy Spirit will help us to defend and proclaim our faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit when we are called to do so. Most of us are going to live a long and healthy life and the only thing we have really been tasked with is to defend and/or proclaim that faith to one or more people for the ‘R’ number of the word of God to spread exponentially, to become ‘out of control’ and unstoppable.

What an incredible dream to aspire to and what a perfect time to stand up for what we believe in when so many people are asking those ‘difficult’ questions or, as was reported a couple of weeks  ago, there are more people searching online for prayers than ever  before.

Amen

 INTERCESSIONS

https://youtu.be/PeDxHjob2zg Helen Brown

Praying through the Rainbow

 Yellow we pray for all those who are afraid.

Psalm 46 v 1-2

God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths;

 Heavenly Father, we lift before you all those who are feeling afraid for themselves and their loved ones at this time. For all those who have underlining health conditions, or who are of an age where any illness would have serious consequences. Lord, give them your peace and may they know you as their comfort and provider. May you be for them a rock and stronghold.

 Green ‘Green around the gills’, we pray for all those who are sick and those who care for them.

Psalm 69 v 29

But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!

 Heavenly Father, we pray for all those who are currently ill. For those with coronavirus, and for those with all manner of illness. May your healing hand be upon them. We pray for those who have hospital appointments and are scared of going into that environment.

We pray for those who’s hospital appointments have been delayed of cancelled and for the extra anxiety or pain this may cause. Lord, we lift to you all those who are pregnant at this time and are anxious about appointments, those who have to go into hospital to give birth and fear contracting illness while there. We pray for those going into labour who may not be able to have the people they love around them at such a special time. Give them peace Lord and keep them safe. Lord we thank you for the NHS and all those who work to keep it running from consultants to cleaners. We pray for doctors, surgeons, HCA’s nurses, theatre staff, porters, admin and reception staff, laboratory and pharmaceutical staff. May you give them wisdom in their work and peace in their hearts.

 Blue Feeling blue, we pray for all those who are sad or depressed.

Matthew 11 v 28

Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Heavenly Father, it is very hard for everyone at this time, we are all feeling isolated and lonely, missing our loved ones, their companionship and all our usual activities. We lift to you those who are finding it especially hard and are feeling particularly down. Those who already suffered from anxiety or depression which has been made worse by the current situation. We pray for those with mental health conditions or neurological disorders who find it hard to cope with being stuck inside. Lord, we pray you will be their rest and restoration at this time and always.

***

We also pray for those known to us who are sick at this time, we think especially of: the Rev’d Sharon on her road to recovery, Nick as his chemotherapy had to be cancelled on Tuesday and he awaits the results of a scan. We pray also for Sue as she struggles in hospital with coronavirus, having just lost her husband a few weeks ago. Sue is an old friend of Mel and Tina’s, who are self isolating and can do little to practically support their friend. Pray for those in need of healing and long term prayerful support: Nick, Helen, Pamela, Chisato Takaya, Peggy, Nina Hatchett, Dominie and Graham, Sienna, Peter, Pamela and Jane Eade.

Hilary Harris and the carers who look after her in her home.

Mick Moore who recovers after his radiotherapy

Myrtle Clayton who is still in residential care and who has just celebrated her 90th birthday

Lynn Gordon as she recovers at home

Oliver and Lisa Ingwall King as they rcover at home from Coronavirus.

We remember Dr Mirza, Derek Watts, Jack Whittle and Sylvia Colmer, Ben Harris, Keith Morris, Kevin Ladley who have died recently.

 REFLECTION

I came upon this by accident whilst looking for something else! Peter Nardone BA FRCO (born 1965) is primarily a free-lance conductor, singer and composer. He has sung with the Monteverdi Choir, The King’s Consort and the Tallis Scholars . He has been Director of Music at Chelmsford Cathedral and was subsequently Organist and Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral. He has been the artistic director of the three choirs festival and this is a

piece that he wrote which was performed in Chelmsford Cathedral. I hope you enjoy both the piece of music and the inside of the Cathedral. It is somewhere I visit regularly and I hope to be back there soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

SERVICE - 5th Sunday of Easter - VE Day Service

 VE DAY CELEBRATION 10th MAY

https://youtu.be/v2efGDEvqj0 Highland Cathedral 

Heaviness may endure for a night: but joy comes in the morning.

God has been our refuge and our strength: a present help in time of trouble.

Dear friends, as we join in heart and worship to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, when the sounds of war fell silent on this continent.

We worship conscious of our need for God’s forgiveness for the sin and the desire to dominate others that leads to conflict between people and war between nations.

As we remember many soldiers, sailors, and airmen who gave their lives restraining evil and opposing tyranny, so we also come in thanksgiving for the years of peace that the nations of Europe have enjoyed since the second world war. We represent those who gathered on that first Victory day.

Let us pray that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven:

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

THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGAN LOFT

Over the years I have often discussed the two world wars with my family. We together have wondered at the pointless loss of life and have congratulated ourselves that we have not had to live through something so dreadful and life changing…until now. This pandemic has been similar to a global war, our lives have been radically altered and we will be left picking up the pieces of the social, economic and personal cost we have all endured for many years. Many lives have been lost throughout the world. As we celebrate the end of the second world war 75 years ago I hope we can learn from our shared experiences, to reflect on the sacrifices made by

the brave soldiers, their families left at home and give thanks for our wonderful NHS which was a positive development from the horror.

Please join us to sing the hymn together at 3pm,

Guide me O Thou great Redeemer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3NmfmVGblw

 COLLECT

O Lord our God, as we remember, teach us the ways of peace.

As we treasure memories, teach us to hope.

As we give thanks for the sacrifices of the past,

help us to make your future in this world,

until your kingdom come. Amen.

 FIRST READING – Micah 4 1-4:

https://youtu.be/1Bts4MhjuIk

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God.

 The Gospel of the Lord

Glory to Christ Our Saviour.

GOSPEL – Luke 15: 18-24

https://youtu.be/cX2TQ0hTa3I Nicky Justice

I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ”So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe – the best one – and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”

And they began to celebrate.

This is the Gospel of Christ

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

The readings today had obviously been well chosen for this weekend. The Gospel reading from Luke speaks of a time when family members are reunited, communities restored and celebrations bringing people back together. It is a time when the whole community celebrates and work towards a new way of being. Our Old testament reading from Micah reminds us that we need to work together as a community, to “not learn war any more” but focus on truly becoming people of peace, people of God,

that work together and allow His work to be done and His love to be shared. It is no surprise at all that they were chosen for our service over this VE Day 75th Celebration weekend, when we give thanks for those who enlisted and fought for us and our freedom & safety, and for those who worked so hard at home to keep the home fires burning, and making sure that all that needed to be done was done through the creation of the Home Guard and the Women’s Land Army – again fighting/working for our freedom and safety. They did an amazing job and when Victory in Europe

was declared there was a great celebration, huge gatherings in London and King George and his family greeting the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace and sharing in the country’s joy. Princess Elizabeth (as she was then) and her sister, Princess Margaret, were given permission by their parents to join in the celebrations with the crowds – although they had to do so secretly.

As Christians, we are called to step up and do what is needed when we are in difficult times – at this time when we are battling  with the enemy we cannot see, it is great to hear how our   communities are at work within the villages we represent, making sure our skills and gifts are used any way they can be because with  every action we undertake for others, Gods love, peace and joy is shown and shared.

As a person of this generation I give thanks for all that was achieved 75 years ago by people I will never be able to thank. In return I work daily to be a presence of peace and a presence of God wherever I am, and I know that together we can continue to bring God’s peace to this place.

Amen

THE PRAYERS

Trusting the promises of God, and with faith in his mercy, let us pray to the Lord.

Let us give thanks for the selfless and courageous service and sacrifice of those who brought peace to Europe, and for the good example they have given us;

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

We pray for nations still devastated by war, for their people and their leaders, and for those who suffer the effects or memories of past wars; for veterans, for those who mourn, and for all innocent victims whose lives have been shattered by the cruelty of others; Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

Let us give thanks for those who work for peace and liberty throughout the world, for the Armed Forces of the Crown, and for all who strive to bring an end to injustice and oppression;

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

We pray for those in our own day who have grown weary or lost hope as a result of violence or terror; for all refugees and displaced people, and for those who seek to address the causes of discord and distrust;

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

Let us give thanks for the reconciliation of former enemies, for the

flourishing of goodwill between them, and for the many blessings we enjoy as a result of the sacrifices which have made for peace;

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

We pray for the young people of our own day and for all who will shape the future of this nation, that they may be inspired by those who have gone before them to serve as they have been served;

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

For the reconciliation of former enemies and for the flourishing of goodwill between them, and for the many freedoms and benefits we enjoy as a result of the sacrifices which have made for peace;

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

We pray for those in our time who are fighting to keep safe those who have Corona Virus – the enemy we can not see; that has taken so many lives in the past weeks and months across the world.

Lord hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

Help us to work with the NHS workers, carers and all medical staff who have given of themselves as they care for those who have the disease.

Also to give thanks for those who have been and continue to be there for others in so many different ways during this Pandemic. Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

We remember those who have died

Kevin Ladley, Ben Harris, Keith Morris, Derek Watts, Jack Whittle, Sylvia Colmer, and for all who mourn their loved ones.

We also remember in our prayers

Hilary Harris, Mick Moore, Myrtle Clayton, Reverend Sharon, Nick Lee,  Sue and family and Lynn Gordon, and in silent prayer we remember all of those known to us who need your love and our support.

Let us now join together in singing the second hymn,

Praise my soul the King of Heaven

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDe0ABw5IHs

Concluding with the Collect for Peace.

Almighty God,

from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed:

kindle in the hearts of all people the true love of peace;

and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom

those who take counsel for the nations of the earth;

that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward,

til the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 The National Anthem

Blessing

God grant to the living, grace; to the departed, rest;

to the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth,

and all people, peace and concord;

and to us and all his servants, life everlasting;

and the blessing of God almighty,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

come down upon us and remain with us always, Amen

REFLECTION

Samuel Barber was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania on 9th March 1910 and died in 1981. His father was a doctor and he lived a comfortable life and was well educated. His family were keen on sport but Samuel had made the decision early in his life that he wanted to compose music. He was composing by the age of 10. He met his life-long partner, Guan Carlo Menotti whilst they were both studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1938, when he was 28 years old his famous Adagio for strings was first

performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra for a radio broadcast. The conductor was Arturo Toscannini. In 1967 he set the words of the Agnus Dei from the liturgical mass to the tune. Many of you will have heard the tune before, often used to accompany the horrors of the trenches. I thought it appropriate for VE day.

Here’s the translation of the latin:

Lamb of God,

Who takes away the sins of the world

Have mercy on us

Lamb of God

Who takes away the sins of the world

Grant us peace.

SERVICE - Third Sunday of Easter - Good Shepherd Sunday

Having read today’s Gospel, we need to take a moment and picture a flock of sheep. They are safe in their pen, which they know well, and keeping a close eye on the only way in and out – the gate. The point of this parable is not the shepherd, but the gate. Several people are coming to the gate and this makes the sheep a little wary. The sheep  like it best when the shepherd comes – they know him and he knows each one of his sheep. The shepherd takes his sheep to where he knows they will be safe and where they can feed safely. A closed gate functions to keep the sheep safely in, but it is the open gate that allows the shepherd to come in and it is the open gate that leads to the life-giving pastures. Strangers who come to the gate, possibly

thieves who come to rob or kill, put the sheep at risk and they have to learn to value something more than safety. That something is what Jesus is offering them. Not security, but an abundant life.

This brief summary of the Gospel story highlights the similarities with the lockdown situation we are facing. Whilst we are safe in our homes, just like the sheep in their pen, we feel much more secure – even though the lockdown certainly does have it’s negative points. If we leave the gate open, we run the risk of having unwanted visitors who may unintentionally cause us harm, in this case, at this time, it could be the virus. Being locked in, like the sheep, we are safe, which is why we must observe this dictat from our Government. Looking at the positives of the lockdown – let’s not forget the enhanced sense of localism, less noise and air pollution; re-imagining of Church Services, to name but a few.

Shirley Wells

THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGAN LOFT – Fiona Bodmer

This has been a difficult week. I think the talk of lifting the restrictions, but with no definite plan, has made the current situation less tolerable. We all want to get back to our previous lives, to go out when we want, meet up with friends and family, plan things to look forward to and resume our routines. It is looking like it will be some time until we can do this and we will have to try  and find a new normal in all the chaos. However, we can use this time wisely to think about what we want to go back to and maybe

things we did out of duty rather than joy. I am sure many of you have given the house a good spring clean. Perhaps we can use this time to give our lives a spring clean, sort out the clutter and  generally tidy things up. I am sure we will all feel better.

As today is Good Shepherd day, please join us in singing The Lord is my Shepherd at 3pm.

 COLLECT

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.

 READINGS

 FIRST READING – Acts 2.42 – end

Many were baptized and were added to the community. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and

distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

 This is the word of the of the Lord

Thanks be to God

 David Branch

 GOSPEL – John 10.1-10

 Glory to Christ our Saviour

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate.

Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

 This is the Gospel of Christ

Praise to Christ our Lord

Rosemary Branch

SERMON from Rev’d Sharon

The Gospel reading from John 10.1-10 is about ‘Jesus the Good Shepherd’ and reminds us about the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep.

The good shepherd knew the needs of the sheep and would invest all his energy in providing for them – the shepherd knew where the safest places for them to graze were, where to find the cleanest running water and the safest places for them to sleep, providing them all that they needed to grow well.

The good shepherd had to be calm and brave, being out on the hills at night with the flock and only the moon and stars to lighten the sky was a solitary and often dangerous place to be but they knew the cost of the sheep, the importance of the flock and put their all into keeping them safe.

From the other side, the sheep knew the shepherds voice and would respond to him instantly. Wherever he went they would happily follow him because they knew that with him, they would be well cared for.

This relationship we hear about Jesus and the Sheep is about us with God – do we recognise his voice? Are we happy to simply be with him? Do we look forward to responding to his invitation to journey with him? Do we have the courage to do it?
are we excited about sharing the story of our relationship with God with other people?

I believe there is something very special about recognising God’s words, whoever says them, and they could be people we know or absolute strangers but we recognise that we have heard something that helps us move closer to God’s plans for us.

But seriously, what about us? Do we take time to simply be with God?
Are we good at listening, so that we might hear when God is calling us to a particular task or role or place?
Do we have good Christian support around us, that allows us to test out/discuss with them what we think God might be calling us to?
Are we brave enough to carry it out when we have gone through this stage of discernment?

God very often calls us more than once – so we must keep connected, keep listening, keep responding and be the people God calls us all to be.

Amen.

 Prayers

Lord, We thank you that our Prime Minister is fully recovered from COVID-19 and is now back at work. We are mindful of the many people who have tested positive in the UK, some of whom are in hospital – possibly in ICU. Lord, we pray that they will recover from this virus. We pray for those who have lost loved ones and are grieving. comfort them, Lord, at this difficult time. We pray for those in isolation that they may know your presence at this time and your peace to help them face their fears and

loneliness. We pray for patience, in our waiting.

Amen

Shirley Wells

This is Vocations Sunday, when we can explore where God is calling each of us. We pray for the whole church of Christ, and we pray for followers of other faiths, that there may be discussion and understanding between all of God’s people.

Today we pray especially for the Anglican Communion in Japan, and its Primate, The Most Reverend Nathanial Makoto Uematsu.

We pray for Elizabeth, our Queen, as she shows us her resilience and continuity in these difficult times. We also remember our Prime Minister, giving thanks that he is recovered, and ask that our Government remains steadfast in their commitment to helping the whole population.

As the Diocese starts its search for a new Bishop, please use this prayer of discernment, from the Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall, to help those making the decision:

“God of provision and care, discernment and knowledge: lead us in your love, empower us by your Spirit, and equip us with your gifts; give us hearts full of love for all people, minds open to the signs of the times, and wisdom to know how to respond to the voice of your calling; We ask this through him whose  coming is certain, whose day draws near, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

In our village, we thank everyone involved in the community support group, looking after the vulnerable and isolated; all at the surgery, and those staffing the local shops to enable us to shop safely. Also our post-men, refuse collectors and other front line workers. At this time we are particularly remembering all in the NHS and other care workers:

“Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

“God of all wholeness and healing, we thank you with all our hearts for those who are working with selfless skill and dedication to sustain our National Health Service. Grant that they may receive the resources they require to meet the demands that each day brings. Keep them safe and healthy while at work, and bless their families and loved ones at home. Amen.”

A prayer from Salisbury Cathedral that seems appropriate for these times:

“Lighting a candle is a prayer: When we have gone it stays alight, kindling in the hearts and minds of others the prayers we have already offered for them and for others, for the sad, the sick, and the suffering, and prayers for thankfulness too.

Lighting a candle is a parable: burning itself out, it gives light to others. Christ gave himself to others. He calls us to give ourselves.

Lighting a candle is a symbol: of love and hope, of light and warmth. Our world needs them all. Amen.”

Finally, we remember our saints, Mary, Peter and Paul, in Great Bentley and St Osyth, and our vicar Rev’d Sharon.

Annabel Wylie

 For our prayers at home this week

  • We pray for the Rev’d Sharon on her road to recovery.
  • Please hold Nick fast in your prayers as his chemotherapy had to be cancelled on Tuesday and he awaits the results of a scan. He has a real need of our prayers.
  • As does Sue, please pray for her as she struggles in hospital with coronavirus, having just lost her husband a few weeks ago. Sue is an old friend of Mel and Tina’s, who are self isolating and can do little to practically support their friend.
  • We remember Jack Whittle and Sylvia Colmer who have died recently.
  • Pray for those in need of healing and long term prayerful support: Nick, Helen, Pamela, Chisato Takaya, Peggy, Nina Hatchett, Dominie and Graham, Sienna, Peter, Pamela and Jane Eade.
  • Pray for our village, the residents, visitors and staff of Five Stacks and Vyntoner House; the pupils, staff and administrators of our school, for those working at school and children of key workers, and those working at home; all those living and working in Meadow View, Mersea View, Mill Street, Nassau Road, New Way, Newton Gardens, Newton Way, & Norman Close
  • Pray for those affected by the coronavirus.
  • Pray for those who are key workers at this time, NHS staff, scientists and the government.

Let us join together in the prayer our Saviour taught us

The Lord’s Prayer

 REFLECTION

Gabrielle Urbain Faure was born in Palmiers in 1845 and died in Paris in 1924. He was an organist in Paris and professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire. He was also its director from 1905-1920. He was a prolific composer and was very highly revered by his countrymen. He taught many other composers, amongst them Ravel, Florent and Ducasse. This piece is from his very famous work, his requiem. If you have time, and that is

something we all seem to have a lot of at the moment, it is worth listening to the whole piece. It is very beautiful.

SERVICE - Third Sunday of Easter

Fiona ended our service last week with the very beautiful John Rutter setting of ‘For the Beautyof the Earth’.

 This year’s Church of England Live Lent Course drew attention to God’s wonderful and precious gift of the world in which we live and encouraged us each day to include an activity, however small, which honoured that gift by helping to preserve and value rather than destroy it. Sadly with so much delivery and click and collect with the consequent increase in plastic packaging at present I fear that some of our measures may have been put on hold.

The follow up Easter Pilgrim Course is exploring the meaningful words of The Lord’s Prayer – a prayer we often use with a familiarity which precludes really listening to what we are praying. With the first four most meaningful words we are accepting God as our father in heaven and that ‘despite the chaos and suffering around us and the pain within us we are deeply loved children of our maker’ echoed in the hymn by ‘For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies’,

During this time when so many of us are confined to our homes and gardens and many are lonely or ill, as Christians we take comfort in God’s beautiful creation around us and the love with which he holds us.

Penny Evans-Jones

THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGAN LOFT  by Fiona Bodmer

We are now coming to the end of 5 weeks of lockdown. I spent a wonderful day out with friends on 14th March and could not have believed that life would change so rapidly in such a short time. I have days which are good but I also have days when I feel down but I always try to pick myself up with some positive thinking. I try to keep a routine so I know what day it is, Monday is shopping, Tuesday is zoom book club etc. I am also trying to use some time  every day to learn something new.

However, this time has made me realise that it is not the things I used to enjoy but the people I did those things with. Humans are social beings and this is very hard on all of us. When this episode of our lives ends, and it will, I will treasure those interactions so much more and I hope the world will be a kinder place.

Please join us to sing this lovely hymn at 3pm.

 Brother, Sister, let me serve you

COLLECT

Almighty 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.

READINGS

FIRST READING – Acts 2. 14a, 36-41:

Peter standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles. “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your

children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Glory to Christ our saviour

 GOSPEL – Luke 24. 13-35:

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them,  whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied,” The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these  things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him,” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them, took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

With thanks to Annabel Stern

SERMON

I do love these Easter readings – they are so comfortably familiar and yet however many times you hear them there  always seems to be new and relevant to say to us today.

Our reading tells us about 2 followers of Jesus, who were walking to Emmaus, they were deep in discussion as Jesus joined them in their journey, so intense was there conversation that they didn’t really look at Jesus as they walked and he had to ask the question – what are you talking about, why are you  getting so heated about it? OK my words but the same intention! They must have looked at him but in their grief and frustration at all that had happened, they did not recognise Jesus.

They begin with their disbelief that this person has not heard about the man of God who had been put to death.

They are quick to fill him in with the amazing story of women going to the tomb and finding that his body had gone!

Jesus then starts to explain to them all that needed to happen. I imagine that their journey must have flown by as they listened and started to understand God’s plan as Jesus reminded them of God’s work and his relationship with his people.

As they reached Emmaus and the 2 followers started to slow down – it looked like Jesus was going to continue his journey until they invite him to stay and share a meal with them. As Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it – they suddenly recognised him, and instantly Jesus vanished from their sight.

They could not believe it – such was their excitement that they had been travelling with Jesus, they decided to gather themselves and return to Jerusalem retracing every step of those 9 miles in order to find the other believers and share their news that Jesus made himself known to them in the breaking of the bread!

I know that it will be a while before we can come and worship together as the body of Christ and share in the breaking of bread and I am certain that you miss communion as much as I do but we must be reminded that this is just a moment in time,  God is always in a relationship with us, whether we are in Church or not.

It doesn’t matter where we pray, God hears and loves us more than we will ever know. God knows the strength we have because He gives it to us through his presence in our lives. All that is required in return is that we share it with others and make his name known.

Amen.

I am very much looking forward to us gathering and worshipping God together when it is safe for us to do so.

Until that time take care, keep safe and look after yourself.

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you now and remain with you always.

Reverend S Miles.

PRAYERS

Intercessions (26th April 2020) Prayers for our Time 

Loving and compassionate God, in this the third Week of Easter, we beseech you that you hear our prayers today for those whose lives are overshadowed by COVID-19, its spectre haunting their existence. We pray for those struck down by this disease and struggling to come to terms with its implications. Reach out into their turmoil and despair, and bring strength and hope. We pray for those who carry the virus but are not yet under its sentence, perhaps never becoming so, yet facing prejudice and fear, coupled with the knowledge that their closest relationships are clouded by the fear, or reality, of passing the disease on, reach out into their anxiety and isolation, and bring comfort and support.

Lord in your mercy

Lord, hear our prayer

Loving and compassionate God, we thank you for the work of our truly remarkable National Health Service – its consultants, clinicians, nurses, GPs, 999 dispatchers, paramedics, ambulance drivers, chaplains, cleaners, caterers, porters, technicians and support staff all those whose dedications and skills are providing a service that we often take so much for granted but need now like never before. Grant your blessing and equip and enable them in all they do, providing them with all the resources they need – physical, emotional and spiritual – to continue their work of healing support and comfort and especially in this time of peril. Work through them to express your loving care, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and reach out to them in the contrasting circumstances they will face – the joy of childbirth and heartbreak of bereavement, the delight of recovery and shock of bleak and terminal diagnoses, the exhilaration of an all-clear and trauma of surgery – so much hope and despair, faith and fear, so many joys and sorrows, beginnings and endings. In the midst of life they also walk in the shadow of death. Reach out to hold them Lord in your loving hand and reach out to heal.

Lord in your mercy

Lord, hear our prayer

Loving and compassionate God, hear our prayer for those who serve as carers for loved ones or for residents in care homes and hospices. Support them in their demanding ministry, often at great personal cost and through your blessing may they in turn be a blessing to those they care for and protect. When exhaustion overwhelms them, renew their vigour. When patience is tested, grant fortitude. When all seems bleak and fear takes hold, shed light and bring hope and the reserves to continue. When tears flow bring comfort. In all they do, may they be sustained by the knowledge that they too are loved, they too are cared for – above all by you.

Lord in your mercy

Lord, hear our prayer

Loving and compassionate God, we pray for those under the shadow of death from COVID-19, for those who weep, mourning those they’ve loved and lost; happiness that ran so deep followed now by such a cost. Each day brings now added pain, memories of times they knew, never to be shared again – life a case of getting through. When their hearts are fit to break – hurt too bitter to express – grant them solace, dull the ache, comfort them in their distress. In their anger, loss and shock, help them find in you a friend; in their turmoil be their rock, one on whom we can depend. Though they feel they cannot cope, gracious God, reach out to save; bring to each new life, new hope in your love, beyond the grave.

Lord in your mercy

Lord, hear our prayer

Loving and compassionate God, we pray for those on our pew sheet who are in poor health, especially those known to us, and those from St Mary’s Church Great Bentley in are unwell at this time. We remember all who have recently died including Sylvia Colmer and ask that you be with their friends and families especially at this time, when it may not be possible for them to say good-bye in person or attend funerals. 

Lord in your mercy

Lord, hear our prayer

Rejoicing in the fellowship of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Osyth and of all your saints, we commend ourselves and all people to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Amen.

Let us join together in the prayer our saviour taught us

The Lord’s Prayer

 REFLECTION

Anton Bruckner was born in Austria in 1824 and died in Vienna in 1896. He was a popular church musician and concert organist and gave recitals in Paris and London as well as in Vienna. In his forties he settled in Vienna and devoted himself increasingly to composition producing many large scale works. This sacred motet  was written in 1869 and was used for the annual celebration of a Churches dedication. It is sung in Latin, but don’t panic!

The words translate as:

This place was made by God

A priceless sacrament:

It is without reproach.

Tenebrae are one of my favourite choral groups .Lead by Nigel Short, they bring life and musicality to church choral music.

SERVICE - Second Sunday of Easter

This second Sunday of Easter we find the disciples in lockdown. Unlike us they are not following instructions from the authorities but hiding from the authorities (for fear of the Jews). They fear that followers of Jesus will be arrested so they stay out of sight.

Then Jesus appears to them, they see him, see his wounds and hear his words and so believe he is risen. But Thomas is not with them when it happens (maybe he is out exercising or shopping or helping vulnerable people) and even though the other disciples tell him about everything they have seen he does not believe that Jesus has risen from the dead on just their words, he wants to see for himself. He has to wait a week before he has his chance and also sees the risen Christ and then of course he believes.

If we ask God to show us something we also have to sometimes wait for the answer.

Thoughts from the organ loft – Fiona Bodmer

As I write this I am looking out of the window at the sunshine and the beautiful cherry blossom. The spring flowers are in full bloom, the bird song is a delight to hear now there are less other noises to distract us. My cat has just come into the house with a mouse for me, how kind!

A friend sent me an email with an interesting observation. All of nature is carrying on as normal, only the humans are in cages. I understand from the clever scientists that the ozone layer is mending, air quality has improved and it seems that the planet is taking a big sigh and healing itself. I hope we can take this time of enforced isolation to join with the planet, take a big sigh and try to heal ourselves.

George Job Elvey was born in Canterbury in 1816. He was organist of St George’s Chapel, Windsor and wrote the music for this lovely hymn. The words were written by Matthew Bridges  (1800-1894). Please join us at 3pm to sing together.

 READING

https://youtu.be/mhb-lD9GIy0

COLLECT

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen

SERMON FROM REV’D SHARON MILES

I do love this reading, it follows on directly from last week where Mary went to the tomb, and through the words of an angel and hearing Jesus say her name – came to believe that Jesus had risen. She then ran and told the disciples.

Today’s reading tells how Jesus shows himself to the disciples who were gathered together behind locked doors because they were fearful of what the Jews might do to them.

Jesus instantly identifies himself by showing the scars that caused his death, he shows his hands and his side. Once they had truly identified Jesus, they rejoiced that he was with them and they received the Holy Spirit and were commissioned by Jesus to forgive sins.

Thomas was the only disciple not present when Jesus appeared and although the disciples had told him, they had seen the Lord – it seemed too farfetched – for Thomas seeing was essential to his believing. I have to admit that I am a bit like that, I find it hard to get my head around things that simply don’t add up – and Jesus being nailed to a cross, having a spear thrust in his side and being seen taking his last breath, then being announced as living, breathing and visiting the other disciples would have me in a complete head spin.

That week must have had Thomas completely bewildered, the other disciples were acting as if Jesus was alive and yet how could he be? Then Thomas saw him, Jesus was present with them, without any door being opened to welcome him in. There was no need for introductions, no need for proof but still Jesus gave it. Thomas was invited to see the scars and to place his own fingers on them to check their validity. When Jesus invited Thomas with the following words ‘do not doubt but believe’ he made that great affirmation of faith – ‘My Lord and my God!’

I have no idea how you first came to know the presence of Jesus Christ in your life but I am sure that you will remember the first time that God became real to you. I am sure there will be special times in your journey that you have felt God’s warmth or strength or knowing that you are not facing something challenging or scary on your own. Sometimes the realisation of God or Jesus’ presence dawns after the event when you look back and wonder how on earth did I manage that?

The answer is that we didn’t manage on our own and we don’t have to manage on our own because wherever we are, there God is! He promises to never leave us and invites us to walk with him daily and to learn about and share his love with others around us.

It brings us all to that place where we can respond to the declaration ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen!’ with the words – He has risen indeed! Alleluia! because of our own personal relationship with our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

 INTERSESSIONS from Nicky Underwood

Dear God, in this the second Week of Easter we praise you God our Father who sent your son Jesus Christ and have given us great mercy as you raised him from death. We give thanks for The Word.  Let us rejoice that we are God’s chosen people and have been made holy by his spirit. Give us strength to live according to your word with hope in our hearts so that we can endure and accept suffering as a test of how real our faith is.  Let us be glad as we are filled with your blessings especially as we may be sad, especially at the present time, as we may face many  kinds of trials and sufferings. 

Lord in your mercy

Lord, Hear our prayer

Let us give thanks to our Queen and ask you to  bless her especially at this time during the pandemic,  when she provides a living example to the nation self-isolating at Windsor Castle and for her special public address to the nation as head of state and head of the church, may your blessings be poured  on her as she encourages us to maintain self discipline and resolve so that we will succeed in our battle against Coronavirus (Covid-19) 

We also give thanks that Prime Minister Boris  Johnson is recovering from Covid 19, leaving hospital during the Easter weekend and is now convalescing; we pray for rapid restoration to good health to enable him to return to active duty as prime minister. We ask that you guide Mr Raab as he is deputising  for the prime minister. 

We give thanks for our church, our benefice and our community.  We give thanks to Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, for his work in transforming communities of Essex and East London through Christ’s presence during his time as Bishop of Chelmsford. We also give thanks for modern technology to enable his farewell  address to be delivered via social media on Easter Sunday; we ask you to bless him as he prepares for his new role as Archbishop of York.  At this time we ask you to pour out your healing power on our vicar Revd. Sharon and restore her to health. We also ask  you to continue to fill all church members and people of the world with your living hope that we can keep strong in faith as we are being faced with the trials and sufferings of Covid 19.  

Lord in your mercy

Lord, Hear our prayer

We are blessed that we are part of a community where the individuals with diverse talents and skills are working together to enable care and kindness to be spread among us.  Let us rejoice that there are people actively working to help the vulnerable and that they know there are people out there who are  willing to help and care about them.  

We give thanks to you, for the gift of love, great Lord in love and wisdom….. Here are some extracts that come from the Month of April in Celia Haddon’s Year Book of Love and Wisdom. We pray that they will help us understand that at times we and others will suffer, but let these words help us know we are  not alone and ask you for your mercy as we endure difficult times. 

“Life is not easy for any of us. What does that matter? We must persevere and have confidence in ourselves. We must believe that our gifts were given to us for a purpose, and we must attain to that purpose, whatever the price we have to pay for it.”  (MARIE CURIE)

“He who will not suffer pain, will not achieve ease”(GAELIC PROVERB)

 “It is a good old rule to hope for the best. Always believe things to be right til’ you find them to the contrary; and then endeavour to put up with them the best you can if you cannot alter them. Never anticipate evils.” (adapted from W Hazlitt)  

Lord in your mercy

Lord, Hear our prayer

We pray for those on our pew sheet who are in  poor health, especially those known to us, those from St Mary’s Church Great Bentley and those listed on our pew sheet. We remember all who have recently died including Yrina Morgan-Kendall and Graham Rouse and please God be with their friends and families and also with those who lost loved ones, especially at this time, with Covid 19, when it may not be possible to say good-bye in person or attend funerals.  We give thanks and praise to those who are doing it on their behalf (e.g. carers and NHS staff) and  ask that you pour out your love on them to give them the strength to continue to do so . We pray that in their dying they may find the greatest healing of all as they come into your presence.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Amen

We bring all our prayers together in the prayer our saviour taught us. The Lord’s Prayer.

 REFLECTION

John Rutter is an English composer and conductor who was born in 1945.He read music at Clare College, Cambridge and had his first compositions published as an undergraduate.He founded the Cambridge Singers in 1981 and has recorded many choral works including his own compositions with this choir. He worked closely with Sir David Wilcox on the very successful series of books Carols for Choirs, which we use regularly in church at Christmas. This is a particularly beautiful composition which I hope you enjoy. It reminds me of happier times. Do sing along if you know it!

 THE PEACE

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and the love of God.

And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit  keep us and all we love, this day and for eternity. AMEN

Easter Sunday 2020

Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I am sure we are all wondering what is happening in these difficult times!  Our Prime Minister is currently in intensive care and this virus takes no account of age, race, wealth or religion. I remember some wonderful Easter Sunday mornings in our church, excited children full of chocolate, the scent of lillies filling the church and singing rousing, joyful hymns. I am sure we will be able to experience those times again once we can get through the weeks ahead.

There are so many lovely hymns to sing on Easter day, but I have chosen a rousing version of “Thine be the glory”. Please join us at  3pm so we can sing this together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaoV5w2Qfag

Some words from Bishop Stephen from the Diocese website:

“We are living through extraordinary days and we are all adjusting to how to do church differently in response to the coronavirus. It’s important that the  Church continues to offer hope and comfort to its communities in this difficult time for our world.”

“We are still called to serve those inside and outside the church, and to have care for the most vulnerable.”

“May God bless you this Easter with a new knowledge of his love for you and his purpose for your life. And may God lead us through this time of isolation and waiting to new adventures and to resurrection life.”

On Easter Sunday at 3.30 pm, after we have all sung, Bishop Stephen’s last service from Chelmsford Cathedral will be available:

Face Book Premiere www.facebook.com/chelmsdio

You Tube premiere www.youtube.com/user/chelmsforddiocese

There are also 173 churches in Chelmsford diocese that are live-streaming services, log on to www.achurchnearyou.com to find out more.

Please join us in the Lord’s Prayer:

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.

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 prayer from the C of E website:

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need, as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love,  and your love, for your name’s sake. Amen.

Finally, a favourite from Annabel, A prayer for peace of mind:

Lord, thou knowest my cares and my fears. Help me to turn them all over to thee, who hast promised to give rest to our souls. Grant to me now a restful spirit and a peaceful mind, and in quietness and confidence and faith, to find new strength. Amen.

The prayer of St Ignatius Loyola:

Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest, To give and not to count the cost, To fight and not to heed the wounds, To toil and not to seek for rest, To labour and to ask for no reward, Save that of knowing that we do thy  will. Amen

FIRST READING – Acts 10.34-43:

Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ – he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but

God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

COLLECT

Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame to old order of sin and death
to make all thing new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity.
Amen

GOSPEL – Matthew 28. 1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

SERMON from Rev’d Sharon

 Our season of Lent this year has truly been like no other!

Lent is usually a time where, as a worshipping community we focus on preparing ourselves for the events of Holy Week, the foot washing of the disciples on Maundy Thursday, Jesus’ trial and death on Good Friday, and of course the good news of the empty tomb on Easter Day.

All as we expected but this year has been nothing like what we have ever experienced before. I had never expected to live in a time when Church doors would lock people out. That there would not be a place of silence and calm where we can remember others before God.

It is, however, incredibly uplifting when you hear about so many people being there for others in so many different ways, since the outbreak of Coronavirus here in the UK and particularly in this village and Parish. Those who make phone calls to check others are well and coping with being confined to barracks and to remind them that they are not forgotten. The many different people who have and who still are delivering shopping or medication to those who have had to isolate. The village people looking after and serving the Village! Many thanks to all those who have enabled all of this to happen!

This difficult time that we find ourselves in is allowing us to explore what it truly means to be a Christian, allowing the way we live out our faith to make a real difference in the lives of others around us and drawing us closer to where God wants us to be. We also need to share what we believe, the truth of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the work that God has called us to be involved in.

Today’s reading about Mary at the tomb and finding the stone rolled away, we have all heard many times before, but it feels like I am hearing it for the first time, maybe because of the times we find ourselves in now with too many lives being lost each day to Corona Virus, maybe that feeling of how do we get through this? Just remember we get through things, not on our own by our own strength, but through the love and power of our Triune God – Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

EASTER DAY INTERCESSIONS – from Danny Wright

We have witnessed the suffering, the desolation and the sacrifice of Our Lord and his time resting in his tomb. Today we celebrate with great joy Christ our King has risen.

We give great thanks that we have been given the opportunity to be made aware of, and believe in, this wonderful event and what it truly means to us in our life as Christians.

Today our celebrations are somewhat muted as we experience lockdown and isolation due to coronavirus, which is sadly impinging on our normal fellowship, but in some ways we are witnessing great acts of selflessness, loving care and consideration from people in the frontline dealing with this nasty, life threatening disease. That valour exemplifies the love and sacrifice that Jesus not only spoke of but also displayed in his life and death.

We thankfully pray for those individuals, some of whom have unfortunately given their lives in service, and ask Lord that we do all that we can to support and comfort them during this time and remember this service in times to come.

Lord in Your Mercy

Hear Our Prayer

Being denied access to our Church and the fellowship of attending Sunday Service is hard for us but it is also opportune to reflect that there are Christians in our world that experience lockdown and isolation as a normal way of life. We therefore pray for them and entrust that with the current circumstances enabling worship to be conducted in different ways that their needs are being met and that they will feel part of a wider fellowship.

We also pray for those who have been unable to attend normal church services but who are finding solace and comfort in the on-line services being made available. May their needs be met, and their faith grow.

Lord in Your Mercy

Hear Our Prayer

We pray for our country, our government and for all those undertaking varied roles that are sustaining us in this time of unprecedented crisis.

We pray for our communities and the way they are coming together at this time.

We pray for all those who are sick in our community. Many of whom are known to us personally and are included on our prayer sheet, but we would especially remember Nick Lee and Jane Eade.

We give thanks that Rev Sharon has been discharged from hospital and that she is now recuperating at home.

Finally, we remember all those that have, sadly, died recently including Yrina Morgan-Kendall and Graham Rouse. May they rest in peace. Please be with their families, friends and colleagues and provide comfort and support as these times mean it is difficult for loved ones to comfort one another in the normal manner.

Lord in Your Mercy

Hear Our Prayer

 Rejoicing in the fellowship of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Osyth and St.Mary’s Great Bentley, and of all your saints, we commend ourselves and all people to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

 THE PEACE

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and the love of God. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit keep us and all we love this day and for eternity.

Some of you will know that we were planning a scratch choir for Easter day. We were to practice an anthem on Good Friday afternoon and join together on Easter Sunday morning to sing the anthem at Great Bentley during the 9.30 service and again at St Osyth during the 11 am service.

George Frederic Handel wrote the tune for our hymn today and the anthem is from his famous work, The Messiah. Handel was originally a violinist in Hamburg. At the age of 21 he went to Italy and acquired a reputation as a keyboard performer. He moved to London and was occupied in opera composition, influenced by his Italian roots. However, it is his oratorios which retain popularity to this day. His famous Messiah was written in 1741, and the anthem is taken from this wonderful piece of music. 

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