5th Sunday of Easter
10 May 2020
Opening Prayer: Lord, guide us as we walk in your way, rejoice in your truth, and be kept for ever in the life which you give; through him who lived and died and rose again for us, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Accompaniments to the hymn (recorded by Carol) This hymn has two popular accompaniments. Choose which you prefer (or come back later to try the other one).
Wilton (Samuel Stanley)
O thou who camest from above the pure celestial fire to impart,
kindle a flame of sacred love on the mean altar of my heart!
There let it for thy glory burn with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return, in humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire to work, and speak, and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire, and still stir up thy gift in me –
Ready for all thy perfect will, my acts of faith and love repeat,
ill death thy endless mercies seal, and make the sacrifice complete.
Reading: John 14:1-14
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.' In response to these words Helen has prepared and
dance. It was initially inspired to bring peace to us all in these troubled times, but is also a prayer for a friend and anyone else who is grieving at this time:
Listen To Rev Will Fletcher as he reads his Reflection
Reflection: Jesus said, do not let your hearts be troubled. At times such as this, that might be easier said than done. It is all very well to say, ‘Do not be troubled. Do not be afraid.’ But what can we actually do to ease our troubles or sense of fear? I offer three suggestions to try this week.
The first is to choose a passage of Scripture and return to it regularly through the week – if you are able, maybe even try and learn it off by heart. I often return to the psalms. One favourite is Psalm 134: Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD. May the LORD, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion. For me this psalm reminds me of the importance of the places we would usually worship on a regular basis. Picture our church, or maybe a cathedral that holds some significance, and in picturing one of those places be reminded of better times when God felt near at hand. This psalm for me also speaks of those countless generations of saints who have gone before and faced their own trials and always found God to be faithful. Through all this, we can know that blessing from God of which the psalm speaks.
The second is to think about the power of music to ease one’s fears and bring that peace of God. In particular I want to think about our hymns and worship songs – though any music can bring this peace. The hymn above is an important one for me. It was used at my ordination and takes me back to kneeling in Chelmsford Cathedral whilst hands were laid upon my head and God’s blessing prayed upon me. Not only that, but the words speak of God continuing to kindle his love within us. That reminder of God’s ongoing work within us, wherever we are and whatever we face is a source of peace and strength.
The final thing is to return in your mind to somewhere that has significance for you. Some of you may have heard me talking about Stanage Edge in the Peak District before. It was only 15 minutes from where we lived in Sheffield and was a place that filled me with awe, wonder and tranquillity where the problems of the world seemed a long way away. In these days of being shut in I encourage you to look at pictures of a place that fills you with that sense of awe and wonder, or just sit and picture it in your mind to sense that peace of God.
So, in this week to come, I encourage you all to make use of Scripture, hymns and places of significance to discover once more Christ’s words of peace that your hearts may not be troubled or afraid. And I encourage you to share them with me and with one another that we may continue to support and encourage each other, so that, through one another, we can know that peace of God which passes all understanding. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession: Lord, as you have called us to walk in your way, make us the people that you would have us be; guide us that we may do what you would have us do, that we may reveal your truth, and lead others to the fullness of life. May we proclaim your mighty acts of love as we work to share your light with others and work hard to serve our neighbours. Lord, lead us in the ways of peace. Guide us in the path of life.
We pray for all who are in positions of authority; for all who will be called upon to make difficult decisions this week and the weeks to come. We pray for those putting together a plan to re-open our countries and our communities. We remember those who make decisions that affect the life of the planet. We pray for all who do research into healing and the renewal of human beings and the earth. Lord, lead us in the ways of peace…
We praise you for all who have enriched our lives; for all who have helped to hold our communities together during this time; for those who extended our vision from our own needs to the needs of others as well; for all who have worked hard during this time to teach, to heal, and to care for others; for all who set us on a good path. We pray for our families and friends, for the people we work with and those we spend our live with. Lord, lead us in the ways of peace…
We pray for all who feel confused and uncertain at this time; for all who find themselves struggling mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically; for all who feel lost and alone. We pray for all who are struggling to face the reality of how they are having to live now. We pray for all who are not at peace. We come to you with all who are troubled in heart. Lord, lead us in the ways of peace…
Lord Christ, as you have gone before us and prepared a place for us, lead us until we come fully into your kingdom and walk before you in that life which is eternal. Lord, lead us in the ways of peace. Guide us in the path of life that Christ called us to follow as we pray together…
Our Father in heaven…
Blessing: May our good and gracious God guide us into the ways that lead to peace. Amen.
If you wish please join in singing our Vesper :