URC Daily Devotions Sunday Service for 15th May 2022 – The Revd. Andy Braunston

Daily Devotions from the United Reformed Church
Worship for Sunday 15th May 2022
The Fifth Sunday of Easter
 
The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Introduction
 
Hello and welcome to worship.  My name is Andy Braunston and I am the United Reformed Church’s Minister for Digital Worship.  My role is to help provide a range of resources for worship to churches to help us all as we offer praise to Almighty God.  As I prepare this service I am still living in Glasgow and am a member of Barrhead URC but, by the time it goes out, I very much hope to have moved up to Orkney where we will become part of the Peedie Kirk – our most northerly URC congregation.  Let’s worship God together.
 
Call To Worship
 
One:         Alleluia! Christ is Risen!     

Many:         He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
 
One:        Rejoice, heavenly powers!   Sing, choirs of angels!  Exult, all creation around God’s throne!  Jesus, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!
 
Many:      Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
 
One:         Rejoice, O Earth, in shining splendour, radiant in the brightness of our King! Jesus has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever!
 
Many:      Rejoice, heavenly powers!  Sing, choirs of angels!
 
One:         Rejoice, O holy Church! Exult in glory! The risen Saviour shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy,  as we sing, echoing the mighty song  of all God’s people!
 
Hymn       The Day of Resurrection
St. John of Damascus (675-754)  Translator: J. M. Neale
 

The day of resurrection!
Earth, spread the news abroad;
the Paschal feast of gladness,
the Paschal feast of God.
From death to life eternal,
from earth to Heaven’s height,
our Saviour Christ has brought us,
the glorious Lord of Light.
 
2 Our hearts be free from evil,
that we may see aright
the Saviour resurrected
in His eternal light;
and hear His message plainly,
delivered calm and clear;
“Rejoice with me in triumph,
be glad and do not fear.”

 

3 Now let the heavens be joyful! and let earth the song begin!
Let the whole world keep high triumph, and all that is therein!
Let all things in creation their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord is risen, our joy that hath no end.

Prayers of Approach
 
Eternal One, ever new, yet older than the ages, we come to worship yearning to be united with you, longing to hear your words of peace, knowing our hearts are restless until they rest in you. We bring you our praises and our pain, our time and our treasure, our fullness and our failures.
 
Risen Lord Jesus, in your good time you will unite heaven and earth, making all things new, revivifying all Creation, uniting all things with you through the power of your resurrection, refashioning us and all created things in the power of your love. 
 
Most Holy Spirit, you moved across the waters of creation, and the chaos of our lives. You inspired your people long ago and move amongst us now. Accept our praises as we meet you in worship, lift our hearts into your presence, equip us for service as we follow you.  Amen. 
 
Prayer of Confession
 
God of the Ages, you seek to unite heaven and earth, yet we seek always to divide, to ignore your will, to divide ourselves into opposing factions, to love sin over grace, and to blind ourselves to your sovereign actions loving, instead, our outworn truths refusing to see the new things you do and call us to. Forgive us, enable us to see what you are doing in our world, and give us time to change.  Amen.
 
Assurance of Forgiveness
 
Hear good news! The Risen Lord makes all things new, even us! Accept the forgiveness on offer, use the time you have well and forgive yourselves.  Amen.
 
 
The Gloria        The “Clap Hands Gloria”
Mike Anderson
 
Gloria, Gloria, in excelsis Deo, Gloria, Gloria, in excelsis Deo.

 

Lord God, heavenly King,
peace you bring to us
We worship you,
we give you thanks,
We sing our song of praise.
 
2 Jesus, Saviour of all,
Lord God, Lamb of God
You take away our sins, O Lord,
Have mercy on us all.

3 At the Father’s right hand,
Lord, receive our prayer
For you alone are the Holy One,
And you alone are Lord.
 
4 Glory, Father and Son,
Glory, Holy Spirit
To you we raise our hands up high,
We glorify your name.

 
Prayer of Illumination
 
Eternal One, you are forever new, yet ancient of days, your Spirit moved across the waters of old, inspired your people to follow you,  reflect and write of their journeys and explorations. Move amongst us and inspire us now as we hear your Word to us read and proclaimed, that we may explore and reflect as we follow you, who makes all things new.  Amen.
 
Reading            Acts 11:1-18
 
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.  So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”
 
Psalm 148 (sung)
 

The Lord of heav’n confess,
on high his glory raise.
Him let all angels bless,
Him all his armies praise.
Him glorify Sun, Moon, and stars;
ye higher spheres, and cloudy sky.

2 From God your beings are,
Him therefore famous make;
you all created were,
when he the word but spake.
and from that place,
where fixed you be by his decree,
you cannot pass.

 
3 Praise God from earth below,
ye dragons, and ye deeps:
fire, hail, clouds, wind, and snow.
whom in command he keeps.
Praise ye his name,
hills great and small, trees low & tall;
beasts wild and tame.

4 O let God’s name be praised above both earth and sky;
for He his saints hath raised, and set their horn on high;
ev’n those that be  of Isr’el’s race, near to his grace. 
The Lord praise ye.

 

Reading   Revelation 21:1-6
 
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
 
Hymn       My Life Flows on In Endless Song
Robert Lowry (1822-1899) and Doris Plenn
 

My life flows on in endless song
above earth’s lamentation:
I catch the sweet,
though far off, hymn
that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult
and the strife,
I hear the music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul –
how can I keep from singing?
 
2  What though my joys
and comforts die?
My Saviour still is living.
What though the shadows
gather round
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake
my inmost calm
while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven & earth,
how can I keep from singing?
 
3: When tyrants tremble in their fear
and hear their death knell ringing,
when friends rejoice
both far and near
how can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame
are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?
 

4:I lift my eyes;
the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
& day by day this pathway smooths,
since first I learned to love it,
the peace of Christ
makes fresh my heart,
a fountain ever springing;
all things are mine since I am his—
How can I keep from singing?

 

Sermon
 
Our two readings today are well known and give, in different ways, powerful perspectives about our faith and our future which cause us to think deeply.
 
We are used to comparing and contrasting two different views of cosmology.  We think of heaven as eternal.  Earth changes – it’s proud empires wither and decay, countries come into being, flourish and, very often, dissolve into other entities.  Species flourish then become extinct.  The whole of life is a creative cycle of birth, life, and death.  It’s the natural order against which we like to contrast the eternal, unchanging nature of the hereafter.  We realise that death is fundamentally bound up with life – in the midst of life there is death – as Cranmer put it in the Book of Common Prayer.  When we conceive of heaven we think of something where people are no longer troubled by the pain and horror of life, where everything in heaven is different to what we endure on earth.  Heaven is eternal, earth is transitory.
 
Except that’s not the cosmology we see in the Book of Revelation.  In this book Heaven and earth are in a creative relationship and, one day will be united.  There are, according to Revelation, doors between heaven and earth.  In our Basis of Union we are told that every act of worship in a local church is an expression of the worship of the whole Church.  Revelation goes a little further – the worship of the Church is a reflection and a joining in with the worship in heaven.  Calvin might put it that through worship we are raised to the heavenly places, like Isaiah of old, to join in with the divine worship there. 
 
In today’s passage from Revelation we read of the vision of a sea being no more, of the first heaven and earth having passed away.  The sea, representing the primordial chaos of the waters over which God’s Spirit hovered in Genesis is, in Revelation, swept away.  Revelation shows a view of heaven and earth being united.  Through the atonement God makes all things new – seen in Revelation as the final consummation of all things with the creation of a new heaven and earth where there is no more death, no more illness, no more pain.  This isn’t, however, what we normally mean by heaven.  This isn’t a cloudy existence with the strains of praise in the background.  Revelation suggests a new earth, united with heaven, where God dwells in our midst.  Revelation shows that earth has been, is, and will be a primary concern of God’s activity.  It isn’t that we escape earth, and earthly things when we die but that God renews creation until, one day, heaven and earth shall be united.   As the new creation continues to unfold in Revelation so the divisions between earth and heaven melt away.  The pain of life is acknowledged and shared by God but will, one day, end as heaven and earth are renewed.  All divisions will be gone.  Only when God’s word is spoken over this deeply troubled creation will evil be finally banished, hope restored and all things made new.  It’s a theology we’re not used to, a theology we can’t yet experience but within it is hope for renewal, hope that all things will be made new, a hope that we see in our reading from Acts where the Early Church’s theology is changed by a good dose of experience.
 
This story in Acts was vital in the Early Church; without it Christianity would have remained as a movement within Judaism.  It is told and retold in Acts and clearly caught the imagination of the Earliest Christians as they started to reach out to Gentiles.  At no point did the Church think Gentiles couldn’t join – the debate was whether they needed to become Jewish first.  Did Gentile men need to accept circumcision, keep kosher and see themselves as Jewish?  The safe choice, the Scriptural answer was to see Christianity as a movement within Judaism and insist converts became Jewish as part of their acceptance of Jesus.  History would have been very different if that had happened – and, perhaps, the poisonous anti-Semitism which pollutes our history would have been different.  Perhaps we’d more easily accept God’s covenant with the Jewish people if we’d realised the Jewish roots of our faith. 
 
Peter’s vision is striking and goes to the heart of the food laws which differentiated faithful Jews from Gentiles.   What is striking isn’t just the array of animals that appeared in his vision as possible food  – but the fact that Peter didn’t baptise a Gentle of his own initiative because he thought it wasn’t fair to keep Cornelius out, or because he decided to depart from a traditional position or doctrine but because God moved.  It was God who told Peter to eat of the forbidden food, God who seemed to violate God’s own laws about kosher food.  Peter, three times – as is always the case with Peter – was told and he obeyed.  As a result of this obedience the doors of the Church opened wider, more were included but, due to human sin, a gulf opened between the Church and Synagogue with horrific and tragic consequences – consequences which are still seen today. 
 
So what might we learn from these passages that we’re offered to ponder today?
 
First, it strikes me that the Early Church was not afraid voice disagreement and difference.  They managed a process of discernment through discussion which is rather different to our own ways of doing this.  We are bound up with being nice, of not wanting to offend, of using rational argument, theological insight, appeals to pain and justice to make our points.  Surprisingly, others don’t see our theology, view of justice or rationality as entirely convincing.  Peter didn’t argue, didn’t appeal to ancient Scripture or practice but simply asserted what God had done.  In effect he said “this is what God commanded, this is what God has done, look how it’s working out.”  To the sources of Scripture and tradition Peter added experience – a source that is hotly contested even today.  How do we use our experience to inform us about what God is doing?  How do we use the experience of others to inform us about what God is doing?
 
Secondly, it’s the story not the argument that changes hearts and minds in Jerusalem.  The story enables the members of the Council to see the authenticity of the conversion and of God’s work in Cornelius.  Arguments about fairness, theology, or Biblical interpretation might have gone on for decades – as modern Christians know all too well!  Stories are powerful as they invite people to reach over the theological chasm and see something different, something new.  Stories allow people to see God at work – which is no doubt why Jesus spent so much of his ministry telling stories allowing his hearers, then and now, to tease out the meanings and interpretations.  Stories help there to be no winners or losers but simply listeners and interpreters of truth.    How do we tell our stories – as a denomination, as a local congregation and as individuals?  How do we tell our stories to our children and grandchildren, to our friends and neighbours.  How does the compelling story of God’s transforming love in our lives, our congregation, our denomination get told?  Of course theology, tradition, reason, and the Biblical witness are all vitally important – of course I’d say that I’m a minister, after all, who has spent many years studying these things.  But the personal stories of how all those things are at play in our lives is vitally important.  Faith isn’t primarily an academic exercise but a journey of trust. 
 
Finally, we need to rethink our relationship with the Church universal.  We started by thinking about and contrasting the normal way we view things and the way the writer of Revelation did.  We noted that, in Revelation, what happens on earth is bound up with what happens in heaven and, one day – in God’s good time – heaven and earth will be  united as all Creation is renewed.  Peter’s striking vision in Acts was a staging place on that journey of renewal, our own lives and decisions to follow Christ are similar staging posts on that journey.  We’re not used, however, to thinking of the union between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven.  We’re not used to thinking of the connections between our world and the heavens, nor of their eventual union.  Yet here we are in worship, listening to ancient stories, thinking how we relate to them, singing God’s praise using words from the Jewish Psalter, the Early Church, a nineteenth Century American Baptist, and, from the 20th Century, a Catholic composer, African Children, a Swedish Pastor and a URC minister.  In Revelation the worship of heaven is something we’re drawn into; in our tradition the Reformers – like those who went before them – wanted to cite both the presence of God in heavenly places and the reality of Christ’s presence in Holy Communion.  As we worship, as we meet the Risen Lord in bread and wine we’re drawn into God’s presence, we’re drawn into the heavenly places which, one day, will be renewed along with the earthly realities of our lives until all is made new by our risen and ascended Lord. 
 
Will you pray with me?
 
Help us, O God, to tell your stories,
the stories behind our theology, reason, and experience,
the stories that informed your Word,
and give energy to your Church.
Help us, O God, to tell our stories,
the stories that shape our theology, reason and experience,
the stories that help us understand your Word,
that we may find energy in your Church.  Amen. 
 
A Sung Affirmation of Faith  
 
My Only Comfort

 

What is your only comfort     
in life or in death?
That I belong body and soul   
to the Lord who gives me breath, 
to the Lord who gives me breath. 
 
2. He has fully  paid for my sins      
with his own precious blood. 
He has set me free
from the tyranny
of the ruler of  this world,       
of the ruler of  this world.       
 
Oh I am not my own,      
I am bound to  Christ alone.   
My only comfort in  this life    
is belonging to the Lord, 
is belonging to the Lord.
        
3. I believe in the Resurrection      
and the promise that was made,   
that my body and soul
will be made whole
on the Lord’s Anointed Day,  
on the Lord’s Anointed Day.  
 
4. No eye has fully seen,
no ear has fully heard,   
no human heart can imagine 
the world that is to come,      
the world that is to come.      

 

Intercessions
 
God of the past, we praise you for the stories of old which inspire us, help us to understand, puzzle and intrigue us, and provoke us to action. As the immediacy of Peter’s vision inspired him to go beyond the boundaries of culture and tradition, so may you help us to learn from stories of faith which expand our horizons, open our borders and widen our visions.
 
God of the present, we lift to you our world with all its joy and all its pain.
We see the effects of human sin around us, war and greed, conquest and hatred, misused power and corruption, imperial history and imperial present all combine to oppress, wound and terrorise your people.  Hasten the day, O God,  when you renew our earth, when you make all things new.  Until then, give us the strength to make a difference, to speak your truth, to use our money, our voices, and our resources to proclaim and embody your new realm  which breaks into the bleakness of our world. 
 
God of the future, we bring to you our dreams and our hopes, the visions and ideas we have, and ask you to bless and shape our frail efforts. Renew your Church in all the lands, that we may be a sign of your loving kindness,  a stumbling block to faith, peacemakers not war mongers, a source of blessing not of cursing.
 
God of our lives, we bring to you, in a moment of silence, those we love and care about.
 
Accept our prayers, Eternal One, as we pray as Jesus taught….
 
Offertory
 
We give for many reasons – we give because it is good for us and frees us from the consumerism that poisons our souls, we give because we believe that our money and resources should do good and, through our giving, the church uses our money to make a difference through ministry and charity in and beyond our local communities, we give, above all, because God gave and showers us with grace and blessings and we wish to express our gratitude what we, ourselves, have received.  We may gave in the plate in church, we may give through standing order, using an envelope or writing a cheque – however, we give, God rejoices in our cheerful giving.  Let us pray:
 
All good gives around us, come from you O God, and we return, through our gifts, something of what you have given us. Help us through our time, talent and treasure, to co-operate with your work of renewal of Creation,
that, at the end, we may rejoice with you forever.  Amen.
 
Hymn       You Are Holy, You Are Whole
                  © Per Harling 1991 (Du är helig) sung by Gretchen Mertes
 

You are holy, you are whole,
you are always evermore,
than we ever understand,
you are always at hand.

Blessed are you coming near,
blessed are you coming here,
to your church in wine and bread,
raised from soil, raised from dead.

You are holy,
you are wholeness,
you are present,
let the cosmos
praise you Lord.
Hallelujah,  hallelujah,
hallelujah, 
hallelujah, our God.

 

Holy Communion
 
Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Jesus Christ says to all that turn to him. Come to me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.  And so we come now to be refreshed, to be drawn up into the presence of God and given food for our souls. 
 
One:         May God be with you.     Many:          And also with you.
 
One:         Lift up your hearts.          Many:          We lift them up to God.
 
One:         Let us give thanks to the Eternal One, our God.
 
Many:      It is right to give our thanks and praise.
 
Truly it is right and good to glorify you, at all times and in all places, to offer you our thanksgiving  O Ancient of Days, Almighty and Everlasting One.  Through your living Word you created all things, and pronounced them good. You made humanity in your own image to share your life and reflect your glory.  When the time had fully come, you gave Christ to us, as the Way, the Truth and the Life. He accepted baptism and  consecration as your Servant to announce the good news to the poor.  At the last supper Christ bequeathed to us the Eucharist, that we should celebrate the memorial of the Cross and Resurrection, and receive His presence as food.  To all the redeemed Christ gave the royal priesthood and, in loving his brothers and sisters, chooses those who share in the ministry, that they may feed the Church with your Word and enable it to live by your Sacraments.  And so with the angels and all the saints,  we proclaim and sing your glory:
 
Sanctus
from Missa Luba: An African Mass Setting.
 

Sanctus, Sanctus,
Sanctus, Sanctus                                
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.                   
Sanctus, Sanctus,
Sanctus, Sanctus                                
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.                   
Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua. 
Hosanna in excelsis.                          
Benedictus qui venit
in nomine Domini.                   
Hosanna in excelsis.                 
Holy, holy, holy, holy      
Lord God of hosts,           
Holy, holy, holy, holy      
Lord God of hosts,           
Heaven and earth are
full of your glory,
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He who comes
in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest.

 

 
O God, Sovereign of the universe,  you are holy and your glory is beyond measure.  Upon your Eucharist send the life-giving Spirit, who spoke by Moses, Miriam and the prophets, who overshadowed the Virgin Mary with grace, who descended upon Jesus in the river Jordan and upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.  May the outpouring of this Spirit of Fire transfigure this thanksgiving meal that this bread and wine may become for us the body and blood of Christ.  May this Creator Spirit accomplish the words of your beloved Son, who, in the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
 
Take, eat: this is my body, which is given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
 
After supper he took the cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and said:
 
Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
 
Great is the mystery of faith.
 
Christ has died!  Christ is risen! Christ will come again!
 
And so, Eternal One, we celebrate today the memorial of our  redemption: we recall the birth and life of your Son among us, is baptism by John, his anointing by the unnamed woman, last meal with the apostles, his death and descent to the abode of the dead; we proclaim Christ’s resurrection and ascension in glory, where, as our Great High Priest he for ever intercedes for all people; and we look for his coming at the last, when he will bring a new heaven and a new earth, uniting all things, renewed and made whole, into the new story of your loving kindness.
 
Remember, O God, your Church throughout the world and throughout the ages, redeemed by the blood of Christ, called to praise your name and serve all people.  Reveal its unity, guard its faith, and preserve it in peace.
 
Remember, in your loving kindness all our sisters and brothers who have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to you alone:
guide them to the joyful feast prepared for all peoples in your presence,
when, with all the redeemed, for whom your friendship was life, we shall sing your praise and await the happiness of your Kingdom where with the whole creation, finally delivered from sin and death, we shall be enabled to glorify you through Christ our Lord.
 
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all honour and glory is yours,
Almighty God and Ancient of Days, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.  Amen.
 
As we receive Communion we listen to the Agnus Dei from Missa Luba, the first mass setting using African music with no Western influence in its composition, and remember God’s work beyond our imaginings. 
 
Agnus Dei
from Missa Luba Congolese Children’s Choir
 

 

Agnus Dei,                                             
qui tollis peccata mundi,                 
miserere nobis.  (repeat)                                            
Agnus Dei,                                           
qui tollis peccata mundi,                 
dona nobis pacem           
 
Lamb of God who takes away
the sins of the world               
have mercy on us (repeat)
 
Lamb of God who takes away
the sins of the world
grant us peace.

 

Silence
 
Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word be deaf to clamour and dispute;  may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit; may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love shine with the light of hope; and may the bodies which have been fed with your body be refreshed with the fullness of your life; glory to you for ever.
 
Hymn       In the Light of Resurrection
                           Michael Forster
 

 

In the light of resurrection,
Jesus calls us all by name,
‘Do not cling to what is past,
for things can never be the same;
to the trembling and the fearful,
we’ve a gospel to proclaim:
The Lord is risen indeed!
 
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
The Lord is risen indeed!
 
2: So proclaim it in the high rise,
in the hostel let it ring,
make it known in Cardboard City.
Let the homeless rise and sing:
‘He is Lord of life abundant,
and he changes everything,
the Lord is risen indeed!’
 
3: In the heartlands of oppression,
sounds the cry of liberty,
where the poor are crucified,
behold the Lord of Calvary!
From the fear of death and dying,
Christ has set his people free!
The Lord is risen indeed!
 
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
The Lord is risen indeed!
 
4: Tell the despots and dictators
of a love that can’t be known
in a guarded palace-tomb,
condemned to live and die alone:
‘Take the risk of love and freedom;
Christ has rolled away the stone!
The Lord is risen indeed!’
 
5: When our spirits are entombed
in mortal prejudice and pride,
when the gates of Hell itself
are firmly bolted from inside,
at the bidding of his Spirit,
we may fling them open wide!
The Lord is risen indeed!

 

 

 
Blessing
 
May God, the Ancient of Days
who created you in the divine image,
remind you of the goodness of your creation.
 
May Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord,
renew you in heart and mind as he will,
in his own good time, renew and restore all creation
inaugurating a new heaven and a new earth.
 
May the Holy Spirit,
who guides, inspires and energises the Church,
lead you into all truth.
 
And may the blessing of Almighty God,
the Holy and Undivided Trinity,
bless you, this day and always.  Amen. 
 
Sources
 
Call to Worship adapted from the Exultset.  Communion preface and prayer adapted  from the Lima Liturgy.  All other material, and adaptions, by Andy Braunston.
 
The Day of Resurrection – St. John of Damascus (675-754)  Translator: J. M. Neale sung by the OCP Session Choir
The “Clap Hands Gloria” – Mike Anderson © 1999 Kevin Mayhew Ltd, Recording from Mike Anderson’s YouTube Channel
Psalm 148 sung acapella from The Scottish Metrical Psalter of 1650. Sung at the 24rd Free Church of Scotland Glasgow Psalmody Recital, 1995
My Life Flows on In Endless Song – Robert Lowry (1822-1899) and Doris Plenn sung by members of Bridgton United Church of Christ, used with their kind permission.
My Only Comfort © Joe Deegan 2016  based on the Heidelberg Catechism Performed by Joe Deegan of Reformed Youth Ministry. Used with his kind permission.
You Are Holy, You Are Whole – © Per Harling 1991 (Du är helig) sung by Gretchen Mertes
Sanctus – from Missa Luba: An African Mass Setting, sung by the Immanuel Baptist Church Gospel Choir, Portland Maine.
Agnus Deifrom Missa Luba Congolese Children’s Choir recorded by Les Troubadours Du Roi Baudouin
In the Light of Resurrection – Michael Forster (from his hymn In the Very Depths of Darkness) © Kevin Mayhew Ltd Sung by Susan Durber, Ruth Whitehead, Lythan and Phil Nevard.



 
 
 
Opening Organ Piece: Prelude in E Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach (organ of The Spire Church, Farnham – 2020)
Closing Organ Piece: Wir Glauben all’ an Einen Gott (“We all believe in one God”) by Johann Sebastian Bach (organ of St Thomas-on-The Bourne, Farnham – 2001)
 
Both pieces played by and received, with thanks, from Brian Cotterill http://briancotterill.webs.com
 
Thanks to Sarah Wilmott, Ray Fraser, John Wilcox, Karen Smith, Hilary Eveleigh, Diana Cullum-Hall, Kathleen Haynes and Pam Carpenter for reading various spoken parts of the service.
 

 

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