Sunday, 11th April

Together in Prayer
2nd Sunday of Easter

O Lord open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
In your resurrection, O Christ,
heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you ransomed your people from Egypt
and led them to freedom in the promised land,
so now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this new day you have made,
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Preparing our Hearts
Who is it that you seek?
We seek the Lord our God.
Do you seek Him with all your heart?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your soul?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your mind?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your strength?
Amen. Christ, have mercy.

Psalm 133
The Blessedness of Unity – A Song of Ascents.
1 How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
life forevermore.

Psalm 133 – Ecce, quam bonum! (Where the wind)

From David’s Crown (Sounding the Psalms by Malcolm Guite)

The crown still blossoms round his sacred head
And he would also wreathe us altogether
Gathered in him. Though we have all been led

By many different paths, at last we gather
And find that all our paths have led to him,
Whether his beauty drew us here, or whether

It was companionship in grief. The hem
Of his good garment spreads that everyone
May touch it at some moment, as for them

His power of healing flows. And then the Son
Calls them to turn and meet him face to face,
Feel after him and find him, and to join

With all the others who have felt his grace.
It is indeed a good and joyful thing,
To gather in one love and in one place.

Prayers of Penitence
The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite
heart God will not despise.
Let us come to the Lord,
who is full of compassion,
and acknowledge our transgressions
in penitence and faith.

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.


Receiving Absolution
Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for 2nd Sunday of Easter
Almighty Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Acts 4: 32-35
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

John 20: 19 – end
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Thought for the week: Rev Sarah Hobbs
I hope you have carried the joy Easter on with you this week. The celebrations of Easter shouldn’t be just a one-day wonder and then back to work. And when the sun shines as beautifully as it has it stands as an extra reminder to us that, – Christ has risen and a new creation has dawned.
From our epistle reading we get the sense that the apostles are now able to stand tall, confident, and able to witness that Jesus has risen indeed, and “that God’s great grace was upon them”. It seems that others were now sensing the love and wanting to be a part of the apostles Good News and contributing to the life. We know that Peter is developing into That Rock, that Jesus called him, as his courage and confidence increases. But Thomas hasn’t caught it yet, and it’s not surprising, he wants proof. And when we consider all that he has witnessed– who could blame him?
An article caught my eye not long ago, it’s a situation that we could all find ourselves in or advising a friend or family member in this predicament and I wondered how we would deal with it?
The writer states that his six-year-old daughter returned home from school recently and wrote a letter to God. It read: ‘To God, how did you get invented? From Lulu – hug, kiss.’ Lulu asked her father to send it in the usual way she sent her letter to Father Christmas, up the chimney, but this set the father into a dilemma.
Should he just file it in her memory box, as a sweet memento hoping she’d forget all about it – or should he sit down and tell her that God couldn’t be sent the letter or answer the question because, in his view, God didn’t exist? He would have said that God was invented by human beings because they were rather puzzled by life and earth and other problems in between! No, he couldn’t do that, because he had always wanted to be honest with his children but the myth of Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny still lived on; besides the fact that they all enjoyed the excitement of Christmas stockings and singing carols – he had put himself into a dilemma.
The father had to admit that having sent his child to a Christian school he liked the idea of her learning about the faiths and especially Christianity, he considered it’s important for her culture, but now he was feeling uncomfortable and out of his depth where to go next.
Firstly, he sent a copy of Lulu’s letter to both the grandparents and Christian friends. The grandmothers came out best and both said that God didn’t have to be invented because He was always there, and even for people who didn’t feel they needed Him, and that he wasn’t actually a person but ‘the power of love’. And that it took courage to have faith in Him.
I admire the diligence of the father because then he wrote to the leaders of the Church of Scotland, and even to Lambeth Palace. He had one reply from the Catholic Church in Scotland and then he received an email from Lambeth Palace asking him to tell Lulu that someone special was going to write to her. The father admitted he was impressed.
The question is – what would we say in that situation? Our two readings today give us a lot of ammunition. Here is a God who gives him only son to be born as one of us, coping with our very human ways, our selfishness, insecurity, and total disregard for others, and ultimately to die for us. Sharing with us His power of forgiveness and showing how we too can forgive others. We know that EVEN from the cross he forgave one of the criminals giving him hope. He has taken the sting and finality out of death for ever and he told us that he has prepared a place for us with him for ever when our earthly life is over, – BUT first Jesus had to suffer the death of a criminal for our sake.
Here is a God who will build up confidence within us to do things we never thought we were capable of, Peter forgiven for his doubt in denying Jesus at such a critical point and, understanding Thomas’ reticence to believe in his resurrection so completely that he allowed him to see and touch his wounds.
And so I ask you – Who was guiding that father to do what he did for his daughter? During these weeks after Easter, we realise that this is the last time in the New Testament that we hear of the disciples being afraid – the very last time. Could we also accept God’s peace into our hearts and live with the confidence of Christ as our Risen Lord and Saviour?


Christ our risen Lord, no tomb can keep you,
no door is closed to you, no heart is barred to you,
no mind is shut off from you.
Come lead us out of darkness into light,
out of doubt into faith,
out of death into life eternal:
Jesus Christ our risen Lord.

Lord, we pray for all who witness to your resurrection,
for those who speak of your presence,
for all who preach the word and ministers of the sacraments;
for those who reveal your presence by the way they live,
for all who live simply that others may simply live,
We pray for all those are in doubt and for all who are seeking you.
We pray for unity in the church and in the world.
We call to you my Lord and my God.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the communities in which we live,
for our churches, our shops, our schools, our children,
and for all welfare organisations who provide support
to those in need.
We give thanks that we can start to worship together again.
We give thanks for you appearing in the Upper Room,
and we pray for our homes and loved ones.
We call to you my Lord and my God.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we remember all who are despairing, doubting their abilities.
We pray for all who lack confidence,
Those who are afraid to trust themselves or others.
We remember all who are lonely, who are fearful, or in despair.
We pray for all those who are sick or in hospital, looking to you
in hope, O risen Christ.
We call to you my Lord and my God.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

O risen Lord, in you is our hope and trust,
in life, in death and to eternity our faith is in you.
We rejoice with all who have entered into the fullness of
life eternal.
We pray especially for loved ones departed;
may we with them have a share in your eternal kingdom.
We call to you my Lord and my God.
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son
our Saviour Jesus Christ

Let us join all our prayers into one, by saying the Lord’s Prayer:
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.

The Blessing

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

The Grace

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