2nd Sunday of Easter
Good morning. This is our fourth written Sunday service, this week with contributions from Rev Derek Akker and a choice of music from Martin. Before the service officially starts, here is a note from Martin and a special viewing recommendation:
O Lord, open our lips
All and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
In your resurrection, O Christ,
All let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.
Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you led your people through the waters
from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land, now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your beloved Son. Rising from death, he has destroyed death
and opened to us the gate of everlasting life.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this day you have made
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.
You don’t need me to tell you we live in uncertain times, where things are unprecedented, challenging unsettling and downright difficult. With everything else that is going on we are bombarded with endless stream of adjectives describing our current situation. We are aware of the pain and anguish families are experiencing, we are grateful for all the efforts of front line workers and acknowledge that some are putting their lives on the line for us. It is hardly surprising that that we can find it a challenge to pray, where do we start?
I want to suggest a way of being creative, of being artistic in your times of prayer. It is about giving you something that is unique to you, your own personal aid for prayer. I can almost hear the cries I can’t be creative or artistic, my reply to that is ‘poppycock’. Forget the Rijksmuseum, Tyler or Rembrandt Museums and the collections of Dutch masters, its not about following in their footsteps.
Over the last few weeks the UK Breakfast TV has had one story after another where people have faced challenges and been creative and done things which under normal circumstances they would not consider doing and would have probably said I can’t do that.
So, what is this way of being creative. It is simple create a collage. Collect pictures, photographs of your family, the church family, your friends and neighbours, from your local community also places that evoke concern or thankfulness, a photo of St Anna’s and St. Mary and church activity. Do you get the gist? Stick these onto a large piece of paper, a piece of newspaper will suffice.
This simple creative activity has a value in itself, especially at a time when many of our usual activities are not available to us due the restriction placed on us by Coronavirus. We can turn this activity into an aid to creative prayer. It can be done as an individual, with other members of your household or as a family activity.
Once you have started your collage, you can use it for prayer. Put the collage in front of you and sit and reflect on each picture/photo and allow your memory to come to the surface and as you recall your memories offer them as a prayer. There is no need for words, your focus becomes your prayer. Spend time, relax in the memories, bring your concerns and your thanks
As time passes you can add fresh pictures, just be creative.
Hold on the your collage and perhaps when we meet again, you can bring your collages and create a collective collage that can become a larger piece of prayerful art
Every blessing, Fr Derek
Christ died to sin once for all, and now he lives to God. Let us renew our resolve to have done with all that is evil and confess our sins in penitence and faith. Like Mary at the empty tomb,
we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Like the disciples behind locked doors, we are afraid to be seen as your followers. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Like Thomas in the upper room, we are slow to believe.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.
Jesus, light of the world,
bring the light and peace of your gospel in the midst of turmoil.
We give thanks for dedicated medical teams working around the world
to nurse the sick and dying with care and compassion.
We give thanks for researchers in the quest for testing and vaccination for Covid-19 and for the manufacturers of medicines and medical supplies.
Remind us that your light shines in the darkness
and darkness has never overcome it.
Jesus, bread of life,
give food to the hungry.
We call to mind the forgotten humanitarian crisis
unfolding in poorer countries around the world,
where people threatened by Coronavirus are also threatened by starvation.
We remember refugees and asylum seekers, fleeing from war,
now stranded in ill-equipped border camps far from home.
Release resources to the aid agencies that there might be enough food for everyone and nourish us all with your life-giving word.
Jesus, our way, our truth, our life,
be with us and all who seek to do what is right in times of adversity.
We pray for all in government with the heavy responsibility for the lives of others, under tremendous strain from daily crisis meetings and press conferences.
We pray that all nations will lay aside their differences and self-interest
in order to work together in unity to defeat a common enemy.
Grant them godly wisdom and discernment in their decision making
for the common good of all humanity across the globe.
Jesus, Good Shepherd,
who seeks for the lost and binds up the injured.
We ask for a strengthening of community life,
which will endure long after the current crisis is past.
We pray for the isolated, lonely and vulnerable within our communities, that they might be encouraged and supported by good neighbours.
Lead them to green pastures to restore the soul
and comfort them even though they walk through dark valleys.
Jesus, the resurrection and the life,
we give thanks for all who have lived and believed in you.
We pray for all those who are close to death,
that they may recognise your presence with them and encounter your saving power. We pray for the bereaved,
aware that they may not have been with loved ones in their final moments.
Pour out your grace in times of loss and grief
and give courage to face the future, trusting in your promise of life everlasting.
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us,
accept our prayers, and be with us always.
May the risen Christ grant us the joy of eternal life.
Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
All Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.