Sermons & Reflections News

Thank you

Apr 22, 2022

To the choir and Derry, the servers, the wardens, the welcomers, those who provided refreshments, the cleaners, the flower arrangers, the bell ringers, the readers, the administrator, the builders of our Easter fire, and to all the others who played any part in helping us in Holy Week and Easter, a massive thank you. This year was always going to be a different, not least because our rector, Andrew, had gone and we were not operating under the same Covid restrictions, and so these two changes meant we could try some new things as well as being able to share properly in well established approaches. It was great too to be able to meet in the early part of Holy Week in each of the churches of our benefice. None of this was possible without a huge effort from a great array of people and we do not say thank you enough. We are truly grateful.

Over the next few weeks, on Sundays, we shall hear from the Book of Acts, which is St Luke’s account of the disciples and the early church trying to make sense of the resurrection and what they must do next.

Not all goes well: sometimes there’s great anxiety as well as excitement and not everyone agrees all of the time. Sounds alarmingly like our lives now - we don’t quite know what the next few weeks or months will hold and we definitely won’t agree on it all! However, like the disciples, we should try and work out what difference does the good news of Easter make to us and those around us. We have been called to a new life with Jesus but what does that mean for us: personally, as a family and as a church? Give it some thought, live out what you think it means, get ready for set backs but also look forward to the spring of this new life with our risen Lord.

Happy Easter! Christ has risen! He has risen indeed. Alleluia!


Readings for Sunday

Acts 5.27-32

When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.’ But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, so that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’

Psalm 118.14-29

The Lord is my strength and my might;

   he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:

‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;

   the right hand of the Lord is exalted;

   the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.’

I shall not die, but I shall live,

   and recount the deeds of the Lord.

The Lord has punished me severely,

   but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,

   that I may enter through them

   and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;

   the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me

   and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected

   has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the Lord’s doing;

   it is marvellous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made;

   let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!

   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

   We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God,

   and he has given us light.

Bind the festal procession with branches,

   up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;

   you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

   for his steadfast love endures for ever.

Revelation 1.4-8

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds;

   every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him;

   and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

John 20.19-31

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.’

Jesus and Thomas

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.

Readings for the week

Monday (St Mark the Evangelist): Acts 15.35-41; Psalm 119.9-16; Ephesians 4.7-16; Mark 13.5-13

Tuesday (St George): 1 Maccabees 2.59–64; Psalm 126; 2 Timothy 2.3–13; John 15.18–21

Wednesday (Christina Rossetti): Acts 5.17-26; Psalm 34.1-8; John 3.16-21

Thursday (Peter Chanel): Acts 5.27-33; Psalm 34.1, 15-end; John 3.31 -end

Friday (St Catherine of Siena): Proverbs 8.1, 6-11; Psalm 40.5-7a, 9-10; 3 John 2-8; John 17.12-end