Second Sunday of Easter

Eastertide Spiritual Communion

Low Sunday – 19th April, 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!

 

Hymn

We have a gospel to proclaim

 

We have a gospel to proclaim,
good news for all through-out the earth;
the gospel of a Saviour’s name:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

Tell of his birth at Bethlehem,
not in a royal house or hall,
but in a stable dark and dim,
the Word made flesh, a light for all.

Tell of his death at Calvary,
hated by those he came to save;
in lonely suff’ring on the cross:
for all he loved, his life he gave.

Tell of that glorious Easter morn,
empty the tomb, for he was free;
he broke the pow’r of death and hell -
that we might share his victory.

Tell of his reign at God’s right hand,
by all creation glorified.
He sends his Spirit on his Church -
to live for him, the Lamb who died.

Now we rejoice to name him King:
Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
This gospel-message we proclaim:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

 

 

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.
  Amen.

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.
     Amen.

     

The Collect

 

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

 

      A period of silent prayer is kept.
 

     Almighty Father,
     you have given your only Son to die for our sins
     and to rise again for our justification:
     grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
     that we may always serve you
     in pureness of living and truth;
     through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
     who is alive and reigns with you,
     in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
     one God, now and for ever.

     Amen.

 

  

The Liturgy of the Word

New Testament Reading

Acts 2:14a, 22-32

Peter Addresses the Crowd

 

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
 

‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,
   for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
   moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
   or let your Holy One experience corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”

‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
“He was not abandoned to Hades,
   nor did his flesh experience corruption.”
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.

 

      At the end:

      This is the Word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

 

Gradual Hymn

Be Thou my vision

 

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me save that thou art;
thou my best thought in the day and the night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father, and I thy true heir;
thou in me dwelling, and I in thy care.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight,
be thou my armour, and be thou my might,
thou my soul’s shelter, and thou my high tow’r,
raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor all the world’s praise,
thou mine inheritance through all my days;
thou, and thou only, the first in my heart,
high King of heaven, my treasure thou art!

High King of heaven when battle is done,
grant heaven’s joy to me, O bright heav’ns sun;
Christ of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

 

 

 

Gospel Reading

John 20:19-31

 


       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 Appears to the Disciples

 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

 

Jesus and Thomas

 

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

 

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

 

The Purpose of This Book

 

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

 

       At the end:

       This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:   Praise to you, O Christ.

 

 

Reflection on John 20 19-31

Norman Johnson, Benefice Reader

 

The second Sunday of Easter is often referred to as Low Sunday. There may be many reasons it has become known as that, but to my mind the first part of verse 19 exemplifies its meaning. Ten of the apostles are gathered together on the first Easter evening. Their mood must have been really low. They had lost their leader and despite rumours, they themselves had not witnessed the resurrected Jesus.

That they were locked away behind closed doors for fear of the Jews is given amplified poignancy in our present situation. So many of you like my wife and I are confined at home, not necessarily behind locked doors, only allowed when we do leave our homes to communicate with our neighbours at a distance. But think what it would have been like a few short years ago without the technology that gives us virtual communion. What a joy it was to take part in our Easter zoom service and to be able to speak with so many of you.

The rest of the passage is about the doubts of Thomas and Jesus’ appearances to the apostles. I have often wondered on hearing or reading the passage, why was Thomas not there at that first meeting? Was he out getting supplies for the others risking himself for his friends, as so many are doing now? This is something we shall never know. But after initial doubts and his witnessing of the resurrected Christ, he did all he could to take the good news of the Gospel wherever he could. He travelled to India and it was there that he was martyred.

In order to believe, Thomas needed factual evidence not as he may have regarded the hearsay of his friends. Jesus admonishes him with the words “blessed are they who have not seen but have come to believe”.

Do we need factual evidence of God’s goodness to Humankind? If so, we do not have to look far to see a reflection of God’s love for his creation through the work of those who are giving themselves selflessly to help others. Those who work on the frontline in the NHS and the many who have volunteered to help others restricted in what they can do.

When we open ourselves up to God it will allow him in the words of Augustine “to touch us and inflame us with the love of his peace”, in the same way as Jesus brought new hope to the Apostles in their locked room.  

I pray that all of you will experience the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God over the coming weeks.

 

 

        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.
      Amen.

 

     

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.
      Amen.

 

 

 

Hymn

Crown him with many crowns

 

 

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne;
hark, how the heav’nly anthem drowns
all music but its own:
awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

 

Crown him the Virgin’s Son,
the God incarnate born,
whose arm those crimson trophies won
which now his brow adorn;
fruit of the mystic Rose,
as of that Rose the Stem,
the Root, whence mercy ever flows
the Babe of Bethlehem.

 

Crown him the Lord of love;
behold his hands and side,
rich wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified:
no angel in the sky
can fully bear the sight,
but downward bends each burning eye
at mysteries so bright.

 

Crown him the Lord of peace,
Whose pow’r a sceptre sways
from pole to pole, that wars may cease,

absorbed in prayer and praise:
his reign shall know no end,
and round his piercè
d feet
fair flow’rs of paradise extend
their fragrance ever sweet.

 

Crown him the Lord of years,
the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
for thou hast died for me;
thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity.

 

 

 

 

Closing Prayer

        Lord God our Father,
      through our Saviour Jesus Christ
      you have assured your children of eternal life
      and in baptism have made us one with him:
      deliver us from the death of sin
      and raise us to new life in your love,
      in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
      by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 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.


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