Sunday Orders of Service

Eastertide Spiritual Communion

Fourth Sunday of Easter – 3rd May, 2020



Preparation: You may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.


      The Lord be with you

All: and also with you.           


      Alleluia! Christ is risen.

All: He is risen indeed. Alleluia!



Father, hear the prayer we offer


Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously.


Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.


Not for ever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.


Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wand’rings be our guide;
through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.



Prayer of Preparation


        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.



Prayers of Penitence


       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.


      Like Mary at the empty tomb,
      we fail to grasp the wonder
      of your presence.
      Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.


      Like the disciples behind locked doors,
      we are afraid to be seen as your followers.
      Christ, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy.


      Like Thomas in the upper room,
      we are slow to believe.
      Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.



Gloria in Excelsis


All: Glory to God in the highest,      
      and peace to his people on earth.         

      Lord God, heavenly King,
      almighty God and Father,
      we worship you, we give you thanks,
      we praise you for your glory.

      Lord Jesus Christ,
      only Son of the Father,
      Lord God, Lamb of God,
      you take away the sin of the world:
      have mercy on us;
      you are seated at the right hand
      of the Father:
      receive our prayer.

      For you alone are the Holy One,
      you alone are the Lord,
      you alone are the Most High,
      Jesus Christ,
      with the Holy Spirit,
      in the glory of God the Father.


The Collect

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


      A period of silent prayer is kept.

      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.



The Liturgy of the Word


New Testament Reading

Acts 2:42-end


They (the newly-baptised) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


Life among the Believers


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.


At the end:

      This is the Word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.


Gradual Hymn

The Lord’s my Shepherd (Crimond)


The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want.
He makes me down to lie
in pastures green. He leadeth me
the quiet waters by.


My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e’en for his own name’s sake.


Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill.
For thou art with me, and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.


My table thou hast furnishèd
in presence of my foes:
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.


Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me.
And in God’s house for evermore
my dwelling-place shall be.



Gospel Reading

John 10:1-10

         Alleluia, alleluia.
         I am the first and the last, says the Lord, and the living one;
         I was dead, and behold
         I am alive for evermore.

All:  Alleluia.


         Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.


Jesus the Good Shepherd


‘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.


At the end:

       This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:   Praise to you, O Christ.



Fr Michael


When I was a child it was customary to learn things “off by heart”. Poetry of all sorts and, at my school, the Collect for the week. Today’s Gospel reading contains one of the verses in the Bible that it is good to know by heart. John 10:10 sums up the essence of the Christian life and why Jesus came: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” But what does it mean? It means that you and I should be filled to the brim with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Living life to the full. How many actually see us doing just that? A popular caricature of Christians is that we are far from happy. Actually, out in that world of blogs there are echoes of “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” Being indignant, shocked and horrified – a bunch of kill–joys.

Christian folk can easily be offended – don’t like a joke, are rather suspicious of the good things in life, not having much fun. Such folk are sometimes called “Custard Christians” – easily upset by trifles! Not much fullness of life there. The problem invariably isn’t sex or booze, but not living in moderation and not discovering God’s plan for our lives. Fullness of life and personal happiness come to us when we are obeying God’s plan for our lives – surely that is the point?

Fullness of life is there for each one of us and it is a life–long process which begins for us at our Baptism and continues all through life. We need to think less of ourselves and turn towards Jesus, to allow His Spirit to grow within us, so that the life of God can well up into eternal life.

Turning away from selfishness, living for others, rather than simply looking after number one, is difficult. Jesus warns us of the dangers of following other “false” shepherds – the values of greed, lust, power, selfishness, hatred, violence. The true follower of Jesus is not misled by these, but recognizes that ultimately a life based on these things will come to nothing.

Jesus Himself is the only “Way” of salvation, the gate which leads to security and the fullness of life.

There is nothing to fear when we can each affirm, both by our words and deeds, that the Lord is my shepherd. It is then that the power of the risen Lord becomes a living reality for us.


Every Blessing,

Fr. Michael.


Affirmation of Faith


All:    We believe and trust in God the Father,
         source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist.


        We believe and trust in God the Son,
        who took our human nature, died for us and rose again.


        We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
        who gives life to the people of God
        and makes Christ known in the world.


        This is the faith of the Church.

        This is our faith.

        We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



Prayers of Intercession 


      Pray for the needs of the world, for our local communities, our loved-ones and our friends.


At the end:


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


The Lord’s Prayer

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us



All:   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.



O Jesus, I have promised

Tune: Day of Rest


O Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end;
be thou for ever near me,
my Master and my friend:
I shall not fear the battle
if thou art by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if thou wilt be my guide.


O let me feel thee near me:
the world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
the tempting sounds I hear;
my foes are ever near me,
around me and within;
but, Jesus, draw thou nearer,
and shield my soul from sin.


O let me hear thee speaking
in accents clear and still,
above the storms of passion,
the murmurs of self-will;
O speak to reassure me,
to hasten or control;
O speak and make me listen,
thou guardian of my soul.


O Jesus, thou hast promised,
to all who follow thee,
that where thou art in glory
there shall thy servant be;
and, Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end:
O give me grace to follow,
my Master and my friend.

O let me see thy foot-marks,
and in them plant my own;
my hope to follow duly
is in thy strength alone:
O guide me, call me, draw me,
uphold me to the end;

and then in heav’n receive me,
my Saviour and my friend.



Closing Prayer

        Merciful Father,
        you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
        and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again:
        keep us always under his protection,
        and give us grace to follow in his steps;
        through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All:   Amen.



Virtual Blessing

        Alleluia! Christ is risen.

All:   He is risen indeed. Alleluia!


        God the Father,
        by whose love Christ was raised from the dead,
        open to those who believe the gates of everlasting life.

All:   Amen.


        God the Son,
        who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory,
        give us joy as we share the Easter faith.

All:   Amen.


        God the Holy Spirit,
        who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord,
        empower us and fill us with Christ’s peace.

All:   Amen.


        And [may] the blessing of God almighty,
        the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
        be with us and those whom we love, today and always.

All:   Amen.



Director of Music: James Lilwall





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