Sunday April 11th

Welcome to Holy Communion on Sunday 11th April!

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Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.


Song: O Happy Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWPGWfIvwU


We meet in the name of the Father,

and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen



Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed

for us.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting

away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins

with a sincere and true heart.


Almighty God, our heavenly Father

we have sinned against you,

through our own fault,

in thought, and word and deed and in what we have left undone.

We are heartily sorry

and repent of our sins.

For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

forgive us all that is past;

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name.

Amen


May Almighty God

have mercy upon you,

forgive you your sins,

and bring you to everlasting life.

Amen


Song: Gloria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep4TLwVM9mQ


The Collect

God of glory,

by the raising of your Son

you have broken the chains of death and hell:

fill your Church with faith and hope;

for a new day has dawned

and the way to life stands open

in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen



First Reading: Acts 4:32-35

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 The group of believers was one in mind and heart. None of them said that any of their belongings were their own, but they all shared with one another everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God poured rich blessings on them all. 34 There was no one in the group who was in need. Those who owned fields or houses would sell them, bring the money received from the sale, 35 and turn it over to the apostles; and the money was distributed according to the needs of the people.


This is the word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


Song: In Christ Alone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENtL_li4GbE



Gospel Reading John 20:19-30

19 It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive people's sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!”

28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”

30 In his disciples' presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book. 31 But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.




Sermon: Transformation



After the joy of Easter Sunday, our bible readings take us through what happened next. The resurrection wasn’t just an extraordinary event, defying the rules of nature. When Jesus came back to life, everything changed.

Our world is transformed.


The disciples are transformed.

I wonder if we can put ourselves in the disciples’ place. They were hiding, terrified that they would be found and killed, lost without Jesus as their leader; disappointed, let down- so many things. And then on the first Easter morning, Mary and the other women come running in with this mad story that the body has gone- and maybe Jesus is alive again. Peter and John go to check it out. They find an empty tomb- but… I’m sure at that moment none of it made any sense at all. I wonder what the conversation would have been for the next few hours? How did they cope? Dare they believe any of what some of them had seen?

And then Jesus turns up. Jesus addresses their fears. He reassures them. He shows them his hands and side. It’s really him. Not a ghost or a hallucination; Jesus is back from the dead.

I expect there were thousands of questions but what we hear is this. Jesus breathes on them, Jesus brings peace to frightened, dismayed, lost people. He brings peace.

And he brings a command and responsibility- not that they do too much about that just yet! Their transformation is amazing but it doesn’t happen in an instant. What Jesus gives to them is for them but not for them to keep for themselves alone.


• Frightened to Joy-filled

• Confused to Convinced

• Hiding to Sent out

• Spirit-filled and empowered.



Thomas is transformed

But what about Thomas? He wasn’t there? There are a few hints about Thomas in John’s gospel. He is the one, when Jesus goes back into danger (John 11:16 to raise Lazarus from the dead), who says that he is willing to go and die with Jesus. Impressive loyalty, if a bit pessimistic. Thomas also speaks up at the last supper (John 14:5) to express everyone doubts- we don’t know where you’re going so how can we know the way? Perhaps Thomas had just gone off on his own after the seeming disaster of Good Friday; he wasn’t about to be swayed by near hysterical accounts of Jesus come back to life again. He needed concrete evidence; he needed to see for himself.

And yet Jesus meets Thomas and shows his scars. Thomas falls down in recognition and worship. He wasn’t someone who wilfully disbelieved; he just wanted the evidence. So Jesus gives him what he needs- and Thomas responds with worship. The rumours are that Thomas went onto be a missionary- taking the encounter he had with Jesus to the furthest reaches on his world.


The Community is transformed.

From the outset, Jesus brings peace to his followers and he gives a command- as the Father has sent me, so I send you. And he sends them together. The peace he gave, the life he gives, was not for that one small group of followers. It was for all. And in Acts, we have the first community of new believers. They didn’t just grasp hold of a new idea or truth. The reality of Jesus’ new life changed them. The Holy Spirt transformed them, they became a new community- based on love, and mutual sharing so that no-one was in need. It was all founded on the experience of the resurrection. Because Jesus died, they were forgiven. Because he rose again, they received new life- and the Holy Spirit changed them. God does not speak to us as individuals for us to carry on with our individual lifes’ journeys- but to mould us together into a community. We follow Jesus together, share together support each other together.

And Joseph becomes Barnabas, what a wonderful nickname- the one who encourages!



And we are to be transformed.

After Jesus encourages Thomas and meets his needs- Jesus also brings a challenge to us. We do not have the privilege that Thomas had- of seeing Jesus in the flesh, but Jesus knows that. He brings us the challenge- we might not see him as Thomas did but we have Thomas’ evidence. We can know as certainly as Thomas did.

We can know for sure that we can believe too. We might not know every detail but we know enough to decide.

And this is not being forced to believe something that isn’t true or something unpleasant but necessary. This is an offer of life.



What we believe

Let us declare our faith

in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ died for our sins

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he was buried;

he was raised to life on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures;

afterwards he appeared to his followers,

and to all the apostles:

this we have received,

and this we believe.

Amen.


Our Prayers













In joy and hope we pray.


We pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That our risen Saviour may fill us with the joy of his glorious and life-giving resurrection …


we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That isolated and persecuted churches may find fresh strength in the good news of Easter …


we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That God may grant us humility to be subject to one another in Christian love …


we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That he may provide for those who lack food, work, or shelter …


we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That by his power war and famine may cease through all the world …


we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That he may reveal the light of his presence to the sick, the weak and the dying,

to comfort and strengthen them …


we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That he may send the fire of the Holy Spirit upon his people,

so that we may bear faithful witness to his resurrection,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


The Peace

The Risen Christ came and stood among

his disciples and said,

Peace be with you.

The they were glad when they saw the Lord.

Alleluia

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.


Song: When I survey the wondrous cross

https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/when-i-survey-the-wondrous-cross/

Holy Communion


The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.


Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.


And now we give you thanks

because through him you have given us eternal life and delivered us from the bondage of sin and the fear of death

into the glorious liberty of the children of God.


Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might

Heaven and earth are full of your glory

Hosanna in the highest

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest


We praise and bless you, loving Father,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord;

and as we obey his command,

send your Holy Spirit,

that broken bread and wine outpoured

may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.


On the night before he died he had supper with his friends

and, taking bread, he praised you.

He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.


When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.

Again he praised you, gave it to them and said: Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.



So, Father, we remember all that Jesus did,

in him we plead with confidence his sacrifice

made once for all upon the cross.

Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation,

we proclaim his death and resurrection

until he comes in glory.


Dying you destroyed our death,

rising you restored our life:

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

Lord of all life,

help us to work together for that day

when your kingdom comes

and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.


Look with favour on your people,

gather us in your loving arms

and bring us with all the saints

to feast at your table in heaven.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father, for ever and ever.

Amen.


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.


We break this bread

to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us

Alleluia! Let us keep the feast!


Prayer of Spiritual Communion

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits you have given me,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,

may I know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen



Song: What a beautiful name https://youtu.be/r5L6QlAH3L4


Father of all,

we give you thanks and praise,

that when we were still far off

you met us in your Son and brought us home.

Dying and living, he declared your love,

gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.

May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;

we who drink his cup bring life to others;

we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.

Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,

so we and all your children shall be free,

and the whole earth live to praise your name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Blessing

God the Father, by whose glory

Christ was raised from the dead,

strengthen you to walk with him in his risen life;

and the blessing of God Almighty

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you now

And remain with you always.

Amen


Song: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzQj7XvKFmA&ab_channel=ScottBacher


Dismissal

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.


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