Worship Where You Are
Sunday 29th March 2020
5th Sunday in Lent
Welcome to our latest Sunday worship in this time of isolation. I was very grateful to receive a number of comments about the resources we offered to draw our community to worship for Mothering Sunday. I'm sure you will agree that these days offer both challenges and opportunities, and so we will continue to take steps to improve what we have to offer for worship together.
Interestingly, while we could not be more separated than we are at present, it is a particular joy to see that as we come to worship individually, the ability to involve members from churches around the chaplaincy means that in a new and profound way we are more united as a chaplaincy, than ever before. Indeed, today we are blessed to enjoy a sermon delivered from California by my friend and colleague, Tony Jewiss! While doors are closed, boundaries mean less than once they did.
You may have heard that the restrictions in place across France due to Coronavirus, have been extended until at least the 15th of April. As Easter Sunday falls on the 12th of April this year, this means that Easter, the central moment in our calendar, from which our entire Christian faith flows, will be a very different occasion for us this year than ever before. As you see, we have so far been using pre-recorded prayers and readings to gather for worship on this page. We are now doing everything we possibly can to be able to provide for some 'live' worship for Easter Sunday. I'll continue too update you as we discover the best way to do this.
For the coming week, we will also prepare some contemplative worship resources for a service of prayer for healing. These will be available for Wednesday evening, though of course you may choose to access them at any point in your week that provides the best opportunity to praise God. In this way, together we may hold ourselves and those we love in prayer for healing and wholeness.
I want to thank the members of our chaplaincy for the wonderful work you are each doing in sharing your faith in word and in deed, by caring for those in need and raising the spirits of the lonely. The Lord is with us in every moment, he walks ahead of us as we encounter each new situation and invites us to offer his love to others through the gifts he has given us.
You may use the recorded liturgy to help you follow this service, or for those praying in pairs or larger family groups, you may decide that one person will lead, while others respond with the words in bold type.
You may wish to spend some time in silence or listening to gentle music before following the service.
The above video is 'Lamb of God', by Matt Maher, a short piece taken from a Mass setting. We frequently say that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Listening, may God give us a fresh appreciation of his saving love as we hear the latin words 'Miserere Nobis (have mercy on us) Donna Nobis Pacem (grant us peace).
As we draw up to the throne of grace, please remember before God all those who join us in prayer and worship today.
The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us rejoice and shout for joy,
giving God the glory.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
cf Revelation 19.6,7
Prayers of Penitence
St Paul says
‘Be imitators of God;
love as Christ loved;
do not grieve the Holy Spirit;
put away all anger and bitterness,
all slander and malice.’
So let us confess our sins to God,
who forgives us in Christ.
In a time of silence, we call our sins to mind and resolve to sin no more.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
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.
As we worship our loving God, play one or more of the following worship songs, or other music.
Join in singing or just enjoy the words and music in God's holy presence
The Word of the Lord
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.’
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The Psalm for the Day
A Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits for him;
in his word is my hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than the night watch for the morning,
more than the night watch for the morning,.
O Israel, wait for the Lord,
For with the Lord there is mercy;
With him is plenteous redemption.
and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
Sermon by Rev. Canon Tony Jewiss, Assistant Chaplain. Recorded from California.
Prayers for Our Community
The Breaking of Bread
Lord God, we praise You and we thank You,
We are the product of Your creativity, made to be like You;
When we rebelled against You, and denied our true selves,
You stepped into our flesh and our reality,
and submitted to the cross so that we could find our way home.
And now, in gratitude, we join in the love song of creation
for all eternity:
Jesus died; Jesus came alive again; Jesus is coming back.
We remember how all things were made new:
On the night before He died, Jesus took the loaf of bread,
and after blessing it, and breaking it, He gave it to His friends:
Remember Me whenever You eat. This is my body given for all.
When supper was finished, He took the cup of wine,
and after blessing it, He gave it to His friends:
Remember Me whenever You drink. This is my blood shed for all.
With thanksgiving we eat and drink;
With joy we remember,
And with Christ's inclusive love we gather together around His table.
Those gathered share the bread and the wine, remembering as we do that Jesus died for us, and determined to live in the love of God.
Dedicating Ourselves, to God
O God our mystery,
you bring us to life,
call us to freedom,
and move between us with love.
May we so participate
in your dance of trinity
that our lives may resonate with you,
now and for ever.
Jesus, lord of time,
hold us in your eternity.
Jesus, image of God,
travel with us the life of faith.
Jesus, friend of sinners,
heal the brokenness of our world.
Jesus, lord of tomorrow,
draw us into your future. Amen.
Draw your Church together, O God,
into one great company of disciples,
together following our Lord Jesus Christ
into every walk of life,
together serving him in his mission to the world,
and together witnessing to his love
on every continent and island.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
And, may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with us, now and always,
Food For The Road: Life Lessons From The Lord’s Table, material from which is included here,
is copyright © John van de Laar 2005
Bible Readings taken from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.