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Church at Home, Passion Sunday 2020

Sunday 29th March, 2020


Churches and Coronavirus We will try to keep you updated on information and advice for church activities. Current advice from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has become stricter in recent days, meaning that clergy are no longer permitted to go to church buildings to pray or record services by themselves. We believe it is right to keep adapting to the most recent health advice. You can read the latest information and advice for churches here. Do you need some help?  You may have to self-isolate but you don’t have to feel alone! Contact the clergy or our volunteers and we will find the best way to support you and those not currently isolating can bring you supplies. Everyone, please keep social-distancing - stay 2 metres apart, and only go outside to exercise, and go to the shop for essentials.

Contact us

Holy Week We have some creative ideas for Holy Week at Home, so watch this space! The Revd Anne Marr has also prepared a resource for you to pray each day throughout Holy Week which you can download here

Make a palm cross at home! 'Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest' Unfortunately, we won't be able to get palm crosses to you on 5th of April. Fortunately, Elspeth Kirkwood has put together some resources to make our own! Usually we process with the crosses and keep them throughout the year as a reminder of Jesus entry in triumph into Jerusalem leading to the Cross and Resurrection. So keep hold of yours and use it to pray with this Holy Week. There is also simpler version for young children to cut out and colour. 

Goodbye to Ellen Ellen Chamber's funeral will take place on Monday 30th March. As you probably already know, funerals are currently limited to immediate family. However, her family intend to have a memorial service in church at a later date so the rest of her friends and family can have the chance to say goodbye. We will let you know when this is to happen. Please keep Ellen and all her loved ones in your prayers on Monday.

Foodbank Although churches are closed for worship, the Venerable Bede and St James' are currently still open with volunteers on the front line of caring for the community. The Foodbank will continue operating for as long as possible with strict hygiene measures. Please pray for all the volunteers and clients.

Children's resources - Passion Sunday We will include resources each week from Roots to help you reflect on Bible readings with children at home. You can download and print the resources here:  Activity sheet Colouring sheet


WORSHIP Passion Sunday 2020 Reflection by The Revd Chris Minchin Service led by The Revd David Kirkwood

We will pray at 10am on Sunday, join us at home at if you can.

Responses are optional. If you are listening online, a pause will be left for you to say responses. Or if there is more than one person, one person can lead and the other respond.

Listen to the service:

Today is Passion Sunday the start of Passiontide. These are the last two weeks of Lent when our attention is turned more and more towards the Saviour’s Cross. May we be drawn by and held more deeply in the Love there revealed.

Opening prayer In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Christ himself carried up our sins in his body to the tree, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds we have been healed. Let us confess our sins.

Confession O God, you know my foolishness and my sins are not hidden from you:  Lord, have mercy (Lord have mercy). Let not the flood overwhelm me nor the depths swallow me up; let not the pit shut its mouth upon me: Christ, have mercy (Christ have mercy). Hear me, O Lord, as your loving kindness is good; turn to me as your compassion is great: Lord, have mercy. (Lord have mercy). May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days. Amen.

Collect Most merciful God, Who by the death and resurrection of your son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel 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.’

(Ezekiel 37.1-14)

This is the word of the Lord.      

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 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.

(John 11.1-45)

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection  Written by The Revd Chris Minchin, Team Curate. Listen to 'Dem bones' by Fats Waller here

I recently found online this wonderfully macabre version of ‘Dem bones’ by jazz musician Fats Waller. It is a song now more commonly used as an upbeat children’s song to teach some basics of anatomy. But it was originally written by James Weldon Johnson in the 1920s as an African-American Spiritual based on our Old Testament reading.

The Ezekiel reading it uses is intended to give hope; the desolate people of Israel, ravaged, killed and taken into exile by the Babylonians, are being told that God will breathe life into their people again: “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37.5). It is a prophesy of resurrection, that those who have died will live again, that a subjugated group of refugees in exile will survive as a race. Ezekiel calls for very real hope in very real times of suffering. This is why it lent itself to being turned into a spiritual, singing being used powerfully to bind communities together in their struggle for racial equality and their recognition as humans.

“suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone” (Ezekiel 37.7).

The bones of our country are rattling together, becoming an army of volunteers, rebuilding links and sinews of community. We are in no way in the same situation as African-Americans in the early twentieth century. But we are waking up to the fact that people in our communities are isolated and we need to reach out to them. We are waking up to the fact that we sometimes need to forget our pride and reach out and ask for help from others. We are beginning to realise that community is not an optional extra for those who have the time. We are waking up to the fact that the muscles and spirit of community are essential for us to survive, to be human.

Currently I am amazed by how much creativity is coming out of a difficult time. Even the homeless are being given housing, workers are being given financial protection, welfare and benefits are being given quickly to those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves without income. There are serious questions to ask about why these things are suddenly being made possible now when they couldn’t before, but it shows there is hope for our society. Use this time to connect in new ways, tackle your fear of technology, communicate with your neighbours and people you cannot see, find new ways of helping. In times like this the spirit of God calls us to love one another, to breathe life into our communities because we believe that all people matter, that their lives matters to God.

As Passiontide begins, the time when we remember how Jesus approached his own death, we will be powerfully reminded that our spiritual lives are not separate to our actions in the world. The loving actions of Christ led to his death. But the grace of God is that even out of the worst situations, good can still come. For resurrection to happen, there must be death, for us to have hope we have to have known suffering. But Jesus says “‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (John 11.25).

Prayers Spend some time in prayer for yourself, one another, and the world, using the following intentions: Let us pray to the Father through his Son who suffered on the cross for the world’s redemption. The response today is: By the Saviour’s cross and passion, Lord, save us and help us. The Church All who feel cut off for the sacramental life of the church particularly:

  • those whose baptism have been postponed,

  • those whose wedding plans have had to change

  • those whose funerals can no longer take place in church or with loved ones

  • all those who face illness and death without the comfort of fellowship or Eucharist.

The World

  • Those working to combat Covid19. Those in government around the world and all faced with difficult decisions. Medical staff and health professionals, Places whose health services are most vulnerable and undeveloped.  A Spirit of cooperation and solidarity.

The Sick & Suffering

  • All affected by Covid19

  • Lesley Towers

The Departed

  • Ellen Chambers

  • All victims of Covid19

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

Lord's Prayer

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.


And can it be that I should gain An int'rest in the Savior's blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! how can it be That Thou, my God, should die for me? Refrain: Amazing love! how can it be That Thou, my God, should die for me! 'Tis mystery all! Th'Immortal dies! Who can explore His strange design? In vain the firstborn seraph tries To sound the depths of love divine! 'Tis mercy all! let earth adore, Let angel minds inquire no more. [Refrain] He left His Father's throne above, So free, so infinite His grace; Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam's helpless race; 'Tis mercy all, immense and free; For, O my God, it found out me. [Refrain] Long my imprisoned spirit lay Fast bound in sin and nature's night; Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee. [Refrain] No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine, Bold I approach th'eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own. [Refrain]

Conclusion The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ And the love of God And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit Be with us all, evermore. Amen.

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