Service for the 6th Sunday of Easter

A Service for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

 

Preparation:

Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.  During the Easter Season we call to mind the days when our Lord passed from death to life and appeared to his disciples and spoke with them.  

 

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

 

 

 

Alleluia.  Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia

 

 

The Collect

 

Let us pray that we may walk the risen life of Christ in glory.

 

Silence is kept.

 

God our redeemer,

you have delivered us from the power of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:

grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,

so by his continual presence in us he may raise us

to eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

 

The First Hymn

 

Jesus, where’er thy people meet - please access Simon’s accompaniment here: 

https://youtu.be/_XPUfhq6kss

 

 

1 Jesus, where'er thy people meet,
there they behold your mercy seat;
where'er they seek thee, thou are found,
and every place is hallowed ground.

 

2 For thou, within no walls confined,
inhabitest the humble mind;
such ever bring thee when they come,
and going, take thee to their home.

 

3 Dear Shepherd of thy chosen few,
thy former mercies here renew;
here to our waiting hearts proclaim
the sweetness of thy saving name.

 

4 Here may we prove the power of prayer
to strengthen faith and sweeten care,
to teach our faint desires to rise,
and bring all heaven before our eyes.

 

5 Lord, we are few, but thou art near;
nor short thine arm, nor deaf thine ear;
O rend the heavens, come quickly down,
and make a thousand hearts thine own.

 

The Reading:

Acts 17: 22-31

 

The Gospel:

John 14: 15-21

 

Homily

 

Jesus indicates to his closest friends, in the Gospel reading for today (which is in the context of the Last Supper) that, though he will be taken from them, he will not leave them without support.  Our Lord is asking them to look forward in hope and trust.  His death on the cross and his resurrection were still to happen, as was the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would descend upon the gathering of the disciples in the upper room.  They were being willed by Jesus to settle their minds; be reassured; face the approaching difficult days without losing heart.  They needed to trust him.  This is a familiar situation in which Christians find themselves, even with our lesser challenges, and with our greater knowledge of what was happening to Jesus.  The need to trust him is ever with us, especially when things look difficult and we are full of anxiety.

 

The final withdrawal of Jesus as a physical presence from them would occur on Ascension Day.  Because of what was about to happen, especially in the immediate hours and days after our Lord’s resurrection, the ascension of Jesus was going to be a crucially important and decisive moment, and when it occurred, the disciples proved themselves ready.  We celebrate this 40 days after Easter, which means that Ascension Day is this coming Thursday, 21st May. It is believed from the witness of the New Testament, that this took place on the Mount of Olives, or possible a little further from Jerusalem, in the region of Bethany.  But that is for Thursday of this week.  Today we concentrate on the promise of comforter, the counsellor, the reassurance of support, but even more than this, Jesus insists that love and life are eternal, and that they, the disciples possess life, because he lives, and they demonstrate their love for him, by keeping the commandments.  Trust and obey are the watchwords that chart the way forward for the disciples.

 

As we think on these things today, and search for the truth that lies in Christ, we are aware that this language of Jesus, was, for the disciples, bound up with the language of parting.  Whatever he may say, they knew that he was to be taken from them.  It is this that left them terribly exposed and as they scattered after their Lord’s arrest in Gethsemane, so they needed reassurance that what they knew of him, was in fact true.  This situation is no different today. 

 

As we read these words, it is important that we connect them to other aspects of Christ’s teaching, that have a bearing upon this passage, but relate to it from a different angle.  Let us recall, that Jesus was looked upon by his listeners as, first and foremost, the Messiah.  They were desperate to acknowledge a Messiah, and when they looked at Jesus they believed that they beheld him. 

 

If you like to superimpose this upon the fragile and frightened disciples in the upper room for the Last Supper, we have a strange cocktail of emotions being worked through, leaving the closest followers of Jesus somewhat bemused and not entirely in possession of the understanding that Jesus willed for them.  They struggled to understand what was really happening to them, as the Christ, the anointed one of God, was also the rabbi from whom they did not want to be parted.

 

The message that we may take from this passage is one of reassurance and hope; of renewal in the ways of Christ, and in love, when we consider Christ’s prior love of us.  We are preparing for the Ascension and for Pentecost, as we approach the end of the Easter season in joy, but acknowledging what has been, we press on to what is yet to come, all held in the providence and love of Christ, but it is in his life that we find life, and in his love our inspiration, our trust, and our joy in obedience.

 

John Mann

 

 

Second Hymn

 

At the Name of Jesus: https://youtu.be/_Hn_yhCwDtk

 

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,

every tongue confess him King of glory now;

tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,

who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

 

Humbled for a season, to receive a name

from the lips of sinners unto whom he came;

faithfully he bore it spotless to the last,

brought it back victorious when from death he passed.

 

Bore it up triumphant with its human light,

through all ranks of creatures to the central height;

to the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast,

filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.

 

Name him, brothers, name him, with love strong as death,

but with awe and wonder, and with bated breath;

he is God the Saviour, he is Christ the Lord,

ever to be worshipped, trusted and adored.

 

Prayers

 

Almighty God grant us hearts alive in the Spirit of the risen Christ as we bring our intercessions before your throne of mercy and grace

 

Almighty God, we pray for your Church throughout the world; the family for which your Son taught the Lord’s Prayer and to call you ‘Father”.  Grant to us that sense of oneness in prayer, that unites the Church in one body, seeking the furtherance of your Kingdom of righteousness and truth.  Where there is persecution, give courage and support; where there is need of forgiveness, bring penitence and humility; where there is hatred, show, in your mercy the way of love.  

 

Bless, Nicholas and Karen our bishops, this Diocese of Salisbury, its parishes, institutions and chaplaincies, and guide our team of churches, within the town of Swanage and village of Studland, in mission and ministry within the wider Church and community, of which we are a part.

 

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

 

Father of all mercies and God of glory and splendour, we give you thanks for the miracle of new birth and the joy of parenthood, and for all the privileges of belonging to each other.  We pray for all whose lives are held in the busyness of family life, especially in these days when households are confined and activity limited.  We pray, as well, for those who are on their own in their homes, and would love the company of others.  May all our lives be enriched by your blessing and daily presence, guided in your service, and inspired by your Holy Spirit.  Fill our hearts with the deeper blessing that comes from the dedication of life to others and to you.

 

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

 

Bring peace, O Lord, to your troubled world.  Support the weak and vulnerable, the refugee, and the hungry and fearful, and all in need, Strengthen individuals and organisations dedicated to help those in poverty or distress.  Inspire all your people to act with determination to establish just and ordered societies in places of division, chaos and violence amongst and between nations and peoples.  Encourage and guide the deliberations of all who seek to minimise the effects of the current pandemic, in our own country and across the world.

 

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

 

Shed, O Lord, the bright beams of your loving presence on all who are sick, on those who mourn the loss of someone dear to them, on those who are anxious that their loved one is endangering themselves for the sake of the health and well-being of others.  Shield all who care for those who are ill, those who are lonely, those who are in danger, and may your love and compassion surround those we carry on our hearts today.

 

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

A few moments of silence before we say the….. 

 

Easter acclamations:

 

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He has given us new life and hope.

He has raised Jesus from the dead.

God has claimed us as his own.

He has brought us out of darkness.

He has made us light to the world.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 

God the Father,

by whose love Christ was raised from the dead,

open to all who believe the gates of everlasting life.

Amen.

God the Son,

who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory,

give us joy as we share the Easter faith.

Amen.

God the Holy Spirit,

who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord,

empower us and fill us with Christs peace.

Amen.

 

 

Hindemith - Sonata no 2, Movement 2: https://youtu.be/NWsZpVCdomQ