Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Paul Blackheath

A short service for the sixth Sunday of Easter 17th May 2020

Today is the sixth Sunday of Easter.

Grace, mercy and peace
From God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.

Alleluia, Christ is risen
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.


A gathering prayer.
Spirit of truth, come close to us.
Unite us into the body of Christ.
Enable us to worship God in Spirit and in truth. 
Help us to support and encourage each other. 
Help us to love as we are loved. 
Spirit of truth, come and abide in us. 
Amen.


Psalm 66 verse 8-20
8 Praise our God, all nations;
let your praise be heard.
9 He has kept us alive
and has not allowed us to fall.
10 You have put us to the test, God;
as silver is purified by fire,
so you have tested us.
11 You let us fall into a trap
and placed heavy burdens on our backs.
12 You let our enemies trample us;
we went through fire and flood,
but now you have brought us to a place of safety.[b]
13 I will bring burnt offerings to your house;
I will offer you what I promised.
14 I will give you what I said I would
when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer sheep to be burned on the altar;
I will sacrifice bulls and goats,
and the smoke will go up to the sky.
16 Come and listen, all who honor God,
and I will tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried to him for help;
I praised him with songs.
18 If I had ignored my sins,
the Lord would not have listened to me.
19 But God has indeed heard me;
he has listened to my prayer.
20 I praise God,
because he did not reject my prayer
or keep back his constant love from me.

Footnotes:
Psalm 66:12 Some ancient translations safety; Hebrew overflowing.


Our bible reading is John 14 verses 15-21
The Promise of the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you.

18 “When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. 20 When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you.

21 “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”


A Thought for the Day by Revd. Mike Sermon
The Promise of the Holy Spirit

The Spirit lives to set us free,
walk, walk in the light.
He binds us all in unity,
walk, walk in the light.

The Spirit lives in you and me,
walk, walk in the light.
His light will shine for all to see,
walk, walk in the light.

Damian Lundy (1944-1997) copyright 1978, 1993 Kevin Mayhew Ltd

The song from which these verses are taken wonderfully draws out some of the characteristics of the helper, advocate and comforter that Jesus is describing to his disciples. Jesus is tempering news that he is to leave them, with the disclosure that another, the Holy Spirit, will come in a new and powerful way to transform them and the landscape around them. God’s Spirit is in the business of transformation. Transforming lives as newly discovered faith in God is found and transforming landscapes as new God fearing, loving communities are formed.

On that first Easter day when Jesus met with Mary Magdalene in the garden, he warned her not to hold on to him. Our reaction to hold on to those we love is only natural, but Jesus states to Mary that she must not hold on to him, because he is returning to his Father and our Father, to my God and to our God. This journey and final destination that we celebrate on Thursday with Ascension Day, can be ours too if we choose to receive it. A little earlier in this chapter John tells us that there are many rooms in my Father’s house and the bottom line is that one of them is joyfully ours, for heaven is our final promised resting place, if we choose to take up the reservation.

With his birth in Bethlehem, Jesus was located within a particular context, a place and a human body. This chosen pathway limited the range and reach of his ministry. But now with grace and forgiveness pouring out from his cross, his impossible task successfully completed, the way back to his heavenly Father is clear and open for him and for us. The imminent arrival of the promised Holy Spirit opens up the range and reach of Jesus’ life and ministry worldwide, to herald the advent of a new era and the birth of the church.

Last week we remembered another sacrifice with the commemoration and celebration of VE Day. The self-sacrifice of so many in order that our world might become a better place. We may still be on a journey to that place of aspiration, but we are committed to the goal. Self-sacrifice whether it be on VE Day or Easter Day celebrates the very highest form of love that puts another person ahead of ourselves. This is divine love and it is the kind of love that Jesus commands us to practice as he reminds us to love God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. May that be our goal today and every day. Amen

Revd. Mike Sermon Vicar St Paul’s Blackheath, Priest in Charge St James’ Rounds Green


Hymn
The Spirit lives to set us free,
Walk, walk in the light.
He binds us all in unity,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light of the Lord.

Jesus promised life to all,
Walk, walk in the light.
The dead were wakened by his call,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light...

He died in pain on Calvary,
Walk, walk in the light.
To save the lost like you and me,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light…

We know his death was not the end,
Walk, walk in the light.
He gave his Spirit to be our friend,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light…

The Spirit lives in you and me,
Walk, walk in the light;
His light will shine for all to see,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light…

Damian Lundy (1944-1997) copyright 1978, 1993 Kevin Mayhew Ltd


Our prayers.

Dear Lord, we bring into your love
those who do not know you and your love; 
those who have turned away from you; 
those who struggle to accept you; 
those who refuse to listen.
May your love touch them,
and transform their lives.

Dear Lord, we bring into your love
those who need parental love; 
those who are alone; 
those who are abused; 
those who are neglected.
May your love touch them,
and transform their lives.

Dear Lord, we bring into your love
those who seek the truth; 
those who work in the justice system; 
those who campaign and advocate on behalf of the voiceless
those who seek to build and maintain public health.
May your love touch them,
and transform their lives.

May we show the power and presence of your love in our church, in our community and in our world – for Jesus’ sake.
Amen.


A sending out prayer

Go in peace to live in love,
to show God’s love, 
to receive God’s love
– everywhere, and at all times. 
Amen.

So now may the God of hope
heal us and restore us,
that we may know the power of God’s love at work in our lives,
today and every day.
Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

© ROOTS for Churches Ltd. Reproduced with permission. www.rootsontheweb.com

Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society