Sunday prayers 7pm this evening

You may wish to light a candle, the Christ Candle – shining brightly out into a Dark and Sin filled world

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

We celebrate Easter as a powerful, life-altering moment which changed the course of world history and set the disciples upon paths that they could never have imagined. We celebrate with the Sacrament of Holy Communion and lilies and joyous Alleluias. The world now celebrates with chocolate eggs and bunny rabbits, reflecting some of the traditions throughout the world, where this time of year has always been about new life. However, let’s remember that the first day was mired in the after-effects of death, of grief, of fear, of paralysis for what was and what might be. The disciples who would be the force to bring Christianity to the world, still had not fully processed the Message. They closed the doors and stopped, much like every family after a death.

The events of Easter slowly peel away the after-effects of grief and loss, until they find themselves in a new place, with a different dawn to look towards. The encounter in St John moves them from grief to hope and the singing of Alleluias. That is the place we want to place ourselves into today, just before the Alleluias fully begin.

John 20:19-31

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 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.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Jesus and Thomas

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So 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.’

26 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.’ 27Then 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.’ 28Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

The Purpose of This Book

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But 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.

Prayer of approach

As the candles flicker
and Your people gather,
behind locked doors,
drawn together through their grief
and worrying what comes next,
You come into our midst
Peace be with you

In our many seasons of life,
in hope and fear,
in joy and in despair,
You come into our midst
Peace be with you

As we gather today
sharing our alleluias
for death overcome
sharing our silence.
As we hold our imaginations in common,
come into our midst
Peace be with you

Assure us of Your presence surrounding us
and hold us with all that burdens us
and all that we have to be thankful for.
Come into our midst
Peace be with you

Help us to be with You
and Your risen Son
here and now
Amen

Prayer of confession and absolution

Love Incarnate,
Creator of the bluebells and larks
Sustainer of the stars and galaxies
Redeemer of everything that has life and breath,
we confess that we are far from perfect
and we lack the subtle word of encouragement,
the vision to be the solution to hurt.
We speak too much
and rarely listen as we ought.
We move when we should be still
and we come before You today without focus.

We lay our lives into the palm of Your hand,
You, who holds us, carries us and pushes us when we need it.

Forgive us through the hands
which reached out for His mother from the manger.
Forgive us through the hands
once stretched out on the cross.
Forgive us through the hands
held out for Thomas to touch.

Receive the confessions of our hearts
In this time of silence

(Silence is kept)

In Christ we are offered hands,
leading us into a future
surrounded by His love.
Receive His promise of forgiveness
and be released from the burdens which bind you,
so that you may open the doors of your hearts
and with confidence walk into the future
surrounded by Resurrection Hope.
In Jesus Name
Amen

Prayer of thanksgiving

We raise our prayers to the One
who shares our wounds
who shares our lives
who shares in our past and present and future.

We give You thanks for the simple things of life:
for nourishing food which is readily available,
for roofs over our heads, to keep us safe,
for easy access to healthcare,
for committed educators, widening horizons and encouraging imaginations,
for families and support, and a faith community, to share in our lives and support us in love.

Help us, Eternal Spirit of Love,
never to take for granted all that we have.

We thank You for the inspiration of the disciples,
who emerged from behind hidden doors
and walked and acted in faith, sharing in all the possibilities
which You, Jesus Christ, called them to engage in.

We thank You for the people of faith,
down through the centuries
who similarly have shared their faith
and showed it in practical ways
that so many could be touched and affected by faith.

We thank You for the people around us,
who share in worship and work:
that this place and people
will continue to walk and act in faith,
as Christ has called us to.

These prayers we make in the name of Jesus Christ,
The One who stood in the upper room and changed the lives
of Thomas and the disciples, and now, even us.
Amen

Prayer of intercession

Resurrection Love in action,
who is and was and will be,
let us raise our prayers
for the people who sit around us,
for the people who join us online,
for the people who have already worshipped long before we were even awake far to the East,
for the people who are yet to see the dawn and will continue these uplifting of prayers
as the world turns.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
we pray for our children as they return to school
for their final term this year.
May they bless their teachers
by their lively laughter and thirst for knowledge.

We pray for our older students
with exams on the horizon in school, college and university.
May they have strength for this final task
before their summer break.

We pray for teachers
who dedicate their lives to their students.
May they know fulfilment and joy in their task.

We pray for the people we know whom we love
whose good we pray for this day.
For the people whose lives are straightforward
we give You thanks.
For the people who await results of medical investigations
we give You our worries.
For the people who are frail and whose lives are limited
we give You our concern.
For the people whom we have lost,
we entrust to Your care all those whom we love.

We pray for our Church
in the way She seeks to serve
and live in the light of Your Resurrection Power.
May we seek how we can live well,
serve our communities, and bless Your Name
in all that we do and say and are.

We pray for our communities, country and world.
We pray for peacekeepers,
who reach beyond the boundaries,
offering a hand of hope and understanding.
We pray for healers,
who tend to the wounds of ancient hurts.
We pray for justice bringers,
who uncover hidden abuse,
to enable justice and healing,
and a different way of living.

These prayers we make in the Name of the Creator, Redeemer and Perfecter of our Faith.
Amen.

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