Sunday, 10th May

Fifth Sunday of Easter                               10th May 2020

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall declare your praise.
O Lord, open our eyes
That we may know your presence.
O Lord, open our ears
That we may hear your call.
O Lord, open our hearts,
That we may receive your love
O Lord, open our lives,
That we may rejoice.
The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.

Prayers of Penitence
Lord Jesus, you raise us to new life.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you forgive our sins,
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you feed us with your life,
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Receiving God’s Forgiveness
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.

Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading: John 14:1-14
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Thought for the Week: Nigel Hughes
It seems a little at odds that on this, the Fifth Sunday after Easter, our Gospel reading takes us back to the Last Supper prior to Jesus’ death. Jesus had already washed his disciples’ feet, foretold of his betrayal by Judas, and of Peter’s imminent denial of him. Put yourself in their shoes for a short while and consider how you would have felt upon hearing that news. One blow after another and, to cap it all off, he has just told them that he will be leaving them shortly. No wonder they were feeling anxious and concerned. Jesus responds sympathetically, calling them back to their relationship of trust and assurance. He is not abandoning them but is returning to his Father. A destination he assures them that will also be theirs as there are many rooms within his Father’s house and he would be preparing a place for them. How reassuring that must have sounded? Or did it? Would we doubt? Would we have questions? Well, like Thomas and Philip, I am sure we would. When we experience difficulties or periods of duress, a little like we are now, then
of course we seek and want answers that reassure us. Thomas looks for specific answers whilst Philip seeks to know more about the Father – to see him. Jesus’ response is surely one of exasperation and one that that should resonate with us when he says, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” To know Jesus is to know his Father. In these words, Jesus is making his most unambiguous claims about his own identity and asking them to trust him. Trust is not always easy to give; it can be destroyed easily by careless words or actions. However, the words of Jesus are never careless, and his actions are always considered. He walks by our side everyday and we should take strength from knowing that, like the disciples, to be with and know Jesus is the most reassuring message that we could ever be given.

Prayers and Intercessions
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,
‘I am with you always’.
Be with us today, as we offer ourselves to you.
Hear our prayers, for others and ourselves
And keep us in your care today and always.

Christ, be with us, Christ within us,
Christ behind us, Christ before us,
Christ beside us, Christ to win us,
Christ to comfort and restore us,
Christ beneath us, Christ above us,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in the hearts of all who love us,
Christ in our eyes, Christ in our ears,
Christ in the mouth of friends and strangers.

Gracious God,
We ask that you continue to look after all who care for the sick,
In hospitals, care homes or at home,
We ask that you give them the strength to go on.
We pray for all who have worked throughout this crisis,
For all those in the emergency services,
For all in our Armed Forces who are providing support,
For our postal staff, small shops, and essential businesses,
For all within our communities who are helping others,
And for our church and all who support it
We thank you Lord for all you do.

Have a time of open prayer, offering your own prayers for your life, and the lives of others close to you and around the world. You might like to listen to a hymn or worship song during this time, as you enjoy God’s presence and peace.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

Lord, set your blessing on us
as we begin this day together.
Confirm in us the truth
by which we rightly live;
confront us with the truth
from which we wrongly turn.
We ask not for what we want
but for what you know we need,
as we offer this day and ourselves
for you and to you
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour
Let us bless the risen Lord,
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!