Sunday May 10th Holy Communion - Stephen, his life and teaching

Updated: May 8

Welcome to our Communion Service.


Find us on Zoom.us: Meeting ID: 835 8280 0223

Password: 520477

Or: Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83582800223?pwd=RVNHRUdIWkk0QVhiZDVoZ09sZ0x5dz09


We meet in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen


Alleluia Christ is Risen

He is Risen indeed Alleluia


Hymn Love Divine All Loves Excelling https://youtu.be/JGGcqhKShQ8

Father God, we come to you because you turn doubt into hope, tears into laughter and fear into fearlessness. We come to you because on this Sunday and on every other day, we can say, ‘Jesus is alive!’ Amen.


We Say Sorry to God

Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins,

and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.


We have lived by our own strength,

and not by the power of your resurrection.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.


We have lived by the light of our own eyes,

as faithless and not believing.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.


We have lived for this world alone,

and doubted our home in heaven.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.


Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Gloria: Shine Jesus Shine https://youtu.be/J3iB30gCqAc

The Collect

Risen Christ,

your wounds declare your love for the world

and the wonder of your risen life:

give us compassion and courage

to risk ourselves for those we serve,

to the glory of God the Father. Amen


First Reading: Acts 7:55-60 read by Sam

55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God's glory and Jesus standing at the right side of God. 56 “Look!” he said. “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!” 57 With a loud cry the Council members covered their ears with their hands. Then they all rushed at him at once, 58 threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses left their cloaks in the care of a young man named Saul. 59 They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 He knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!” He said this and died.

Song: Faithful One So Unchanging https://youtu.be/HROSwkRwpPI

Gospel Reading : John 14:1-14 read by Antony

“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. You know the way that leads to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?” Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me. Now that you have known me,” he said to them, “you will know[c] my Father also, and from now on you do know him and you have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.” Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do. 12 I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son. 14 If you ask me[d] for anything in my name, I will do it.


Sermon: Julie

In the church’s calendar, the 26th December, Boxing Day, is when we remember St Stephen. He was the first Christian Martyr whose life was ended by stoning.


Today’s reading from Acts only gives us a glimpse of a very small, but very significant part of his life. And you may wonder just what we may learn from his life.


So, if we wind back time from the account in this reading, we find that actually Stephen was just another ordinary everyday kind of Christian-BUT what is important for us is that he became a KEYWORKER.


Britain will never be the same on a Thursday evening without this: https://youtu.be/OLfffB2i2Qg

It is our clap for carers. So who are they……………….over to you.


This time of Covid-19 has seen a reversal of our secular society’s values. Keyworkers going out to work, so that we can not go to work but stay safe in our homes.


Jesus said Matthew 23:11-13


11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

We no longer see lawyers, bank managers, footballers or pop stars making the main news headlines. It’s all about the above workers- they now have society’s utmost respect and support.


On Tuesday I bumped into one of these keyworkers at UHCW…giving above and beyond.


Our reading from Acts today is like the end scene of a film, just before the credits. It is the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian Martyr.


In our reading, we are not told-at least today, what has led up to this final moment. Who was Stephen- who was this man who gave his life to the cause- this new Christian movement.

Stephen was in fact a member of one of the larger group of Christ’s followers- one of the many disciples. He was one of the church’s key workers. He was someone working away in the background….

The daily distribution of food was not going smoothly, with groups of widows missing out.

So the church, in its’ wisdom, decided to appoint a team to head up and oversee this activity. 7 men were chosen for their wisdom and also their being full of the Holy Spirit. And Stephen was among their number. He was simply a good administrator and messenger.


Acts 6:8 states

Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”


Stephen found himself on trial. Stephen was incredibly articulate in his defence- while at the same time knowing he was signing his own death sentence.

https://youtu.be/SP4XITcU3j0

Stephen was a keyworker who gave his life for the faith.

Yet it is right at the end of this account that we are introduced to one of the greatest evangelists of the gospel, ever to be known- pictured here on the right.


From Acts 7:58b

"and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul”.


We know that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, but that doesn’t mean that following him is going to be easy. It will be a life full of challenges both within and without.


What kind of challenges do you suppose we might face today?......over to you


As our own church grows, we also need to be proactive in looking at how we manage our church’s mission to reach out and help the needy while at the same time, strengthening our own bonds of fellowship and faith within smaller groups. We are still one church but living the Gospel this way, will make each and every one of us keyworkers- all doing our bit, for Christ’s kingdom.


And above everything, Stephen’s story tells us that God holds the bigger picture. As he holds us here too.


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: Led by Pauline


The Peace

The Risen Christ came and stood among

his disciples and said,

Peace be with you.

Then they were glad when they saw the Lord.

Alleluia

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.


Offertory Hymn: Father I place into your hands https://youtu.be/FuaemMmOrUs

Holy Communion https://youtu.be/DsCUT1mP4IM


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.


Lord of all life,

you created the universe,

where all living things reflect your glory.

You give us this great and beautiful earth,

to discover and to cherish.

You give us happy times

and things to celebrate.

In these we taste your kingdom,

a feast for all your children.

You made us all,

each wonderfully different,

to join with the angels

and sing your praise:


Holy, holy, holy is the Lord,

Holy is the Lord God Almighty: x2

Who was and is and is to come,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord


We thank you, loving Father,

because, when we turned away,

you sent Jesus, your Son.

He gave his life for us on the cross

and shows us the way to live.

Send your Holy Spirit

that these gifts of bread and wine

may be for us Christ’s body and his blood.


On the night before he died,

when darkness had fallen,

Jesus took bread.

He gave thanks, broke it,

and shared it with his disciples, saying:

‘This is my body, given for you.

Do this to remember me.’


After they had eaten, he took the cup of wine,

gave thanks, and shared it with his disciples, saying:

‘This is my blood, poured out for you and for many,

for the forgiveness of sins.’

So Father, with this bread and this cup

we celebrate his love, his death, his risen life.

As you feed us with these gifts,

send your Holy Spirit,

and change us more and more

to be like Jesus our Saviour.


Help us, Father, to love one another,

as we look forward to that day

when suffering is ended,

and all creation is gathered in your loving arms.

And now with St Catherine and all your saints

we give you glory,

through Jesus Christ,

in the strength of the Spirit,

today and for ever.

Amen.

We continue with the words of The Lord's Prayer:

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.

Every time we eat this bread

and drink this cup,

we proclaim the Lord’s death

until he comes.

Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.

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

The Blessing

The God of peace,

who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep,

make you perfect in every good work to do his will;

and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son

and Holy Spirit be with you now

and remain with you always. Amen.


He is not here. He is risen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the name of Christ. Amen. Alleluia, alleluia.


Final Song: Christ Alone https://youtu.be/a3HH__-1Zbs


And the Coventry Blessing https://youtu.be/wFIZJ4DgILE

We would love to see you! For More Questions / Contact us at vicarstcaths@gmail.com 

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