Easter 4 - Church at Home

Weekly notices and a service for worship at home

4th Century Roman tombstone depicting the Good Shepherd. Baths of Diocletian, part of the National Roman Museum, Rome.

NOTICES


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

Giving during lockdown

One of the unforeseen pressures of lockdown is that many of our members give money physically on Sundays and this is no longer possible. To keep our work going (and make sure our buildings are still standing when we return to them!) we are asking that, if you can, please give by standing order. Regular donations help us to have a better estimate of our income and ensure we can keep our activities running.

  • You can set this up with your bank online using the details here.

  • Or download and print a standing order form here and send to your bank.

  • If you wish to be posted a form please call us or email church@benwellscotswood.com

Faculty for St James' churchyard

In light of current circumstances, we are ensuring faculties are posted publicly online as well as physically outside the church. This is an application for a rolling faculty for routine maintenance to be carried out in St James' Churchyard. You can read the notice here and objections may be submitted via email to dac@newcastle.anglican.org

Children's resources

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

4th Sunday of Easter 2020

Reflection by The Revd Chris Minchin, Team Curate

Service led by The Revd Dominic Coad


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


Opening prayer

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

Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!


Confession

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.


Lord Jesus, you raise us to new life.

Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy).


Lord Jesus, you forgive us our sins.

Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy).


Lord Jesus, you feed us with the living bread.

Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy).


May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect

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. Amen.

Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.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.

(Acts 2.42–47)

This is the word of the Lord.

Gospel

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.

Alleluia!


The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

‘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.

(John 10.1–10)

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection

by the Revd Chris Minchin


Our Acts reading describes the very early church. It is so early in the movement, that they are not even called Christians yet, just followers of ‘the way’, the movement has not yet spread beyond Israel, they are still very much Jewish and meet in the Temple in Jerusalem. Indeed the temple is still standing, having been destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. In a few short sentences the writer paints a blissful picture of when things were just starting out. Wonders are being done by the Apostles. All who believed “were together and had all things in common”, possessions, beliefs, practices, they are united and break bread in each other’s homes. They have not built their own buildings, so they do not have to worry about that. Persecutions have not begun so no one is in hiding or fearing for their lives. They have not become bogged down in different practices and hair-splitting theological arguments, and the institution does not even exist to become complicit with worldly abuse of power. There is excitement for what lies ahead. They stand on the brink of a new world and their movement will change so much of it. It is enough to make us nostalgic. Especially now it would be wonderful to return to a time when we can simply be with others at all! It would be wonderful to return to a time when we were excited rather than frightened about what lay ahead, and not ashamed or depressed by what has gone before. I imagine that those of us who go to church have all at some point wished we could wipe away the past, press the reset button, to start again, return to early church values and simpler times; to break bread together and remake a church that declares God’s love, not obscures it. It was surely this that drove much of the reformation. Of course many are now going further, more and more people reject the church and other religions, feeling the institutions stand in the way of God, and they would be better off pursuing their own personal spirituality. Or they look at those who claim to act in the name of God, and not liking what they see, they inevitably reject the idea of God altogether. We are in new and different times. The world we know is changing in ways we never expected. The church as we know it is crumbling away. But do not be fooled into nostalgia. Do we really want to return to the days when everyone went to church just because pressured to do so? Do we want to return to the days when we felt judged by other Christians? When church was snooty, uptight and a bit racist? When the church took for granted its power and influence? The early believers in our passage are driven by the opposite of nostalgia, they have hope and excitement about what God will do. They do not know what lies ahead, but they are united in their faith, and faith by nature needs the unknown. They have faith that it is the spirit of God going ahead of them. They have faith that God knows what it is to be human, that God loved them so much to walk among them, to live with them, to die like them, but rising again declaring that even death cannot put an end to the love and goodness of God. And now God is calling us to him, God is calling us to the unknown, the mysteries of a new existence, the mysteries of eternal life. We were a society that thought everything ultimately was sorted, and now we are slowly coming to terms with the horror of a new and unknown world. We now stand on the brink of an uncertain future and must decide whether to partake in the work of God and build what is good. It won’t all be plain sailing, but we have faith that pain, hurt, fear, is temporary and the love of God is eternal. In our Gospel passage Jesus describes himself as the ‘gate’ to a sheepfold. He is saying that he opens the way to a place of safety, where the sheep do not have to fear. We are told we already know the voice of the good shepherd. It is our job to follow the voice that proclaims love and inclusion. We must not follow a voice that proclaims hatred, exclusion and fear. It is our job to know love and goodness when we see it, and to not let preconceptions get in the way, whether that be ideas of race and nationality, sexuality or gender, ideas about upbringing and privilege or lack of it, and appropriate ways for someone to look. That is how a new world will be built, the world we long for, by having faith that God’s love is for each of us, he knows you by name, even you, and that love cannot be taken away. The life ahead is frightening and exciting and new, it is not over yet, and Jesus’ promise still stands now: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Amen.

Prayers

Repsonse:

Jesus, Lord of life: in your mercy hear us.


The Church • All who feel cut off for the sacramental life of the church particularly, all who could not celebrate the resurrection together but are joined in the risen body of Christ.

The World • Medical staff and health professionals, those in government, and those faced by difficult decisions. • Places whose health services are most vulnerable and undeveloped. • A spirit of cooperation and solidarity.

The Sick & Suffering • Lesley Towers • Stan Adams • All affected by Covid19

The Departed • Richard Jarvis • James Sheriff • Ann Larkin • Ellen Chambers • All victims of Covid19

Lord's Prayer

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,

as our Saviour taught us, so we pray


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

Listen to the music here

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto me and rest; lay down, O weary one, lay down your head upon my breast." I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad; I found in him a resting place, and he has made me glad.


I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Behold, I freely give the living water; thirsty one, stoop down and drink, and live." I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream; my thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in him.


I heard the voice of Jesus say, "I am this dark world's Light; look unto me, your morn shall rise, and all your days be bright." I looked to Jesus and I found in him my Star, my Sun; and in that light of life I'll walk, 'til trav'ling days are done.

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.


He is not here. He is risen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia.

In the name of Christ. Amen. Alleluia, Alleluia.

We are committed to our churches being safe places for everyone. Read our policy below and contact us if you have any concerns about the safety of a vulnerable adult or child:

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