Sunday May 24th

There is no Communion service on the web this Sunday. There will be one posted for next Sunday, Pentecost Sunday

 

If you can light a candle please do so as we begin; if not then just try and focus on something beautiful – perhaps a flower, a bird in your garden or whatever.

 

Our opening acclamation:

Jesus has ascended to be with the Father

Jesus lives! Alleluia!

 

In a moment of quiet bring before God all those whom you care about, those whom you are worried about. In silence offer each one of them to God’s love.

 

A gathering prayer

Mighty God, we gather in humility to worship you. Caring God, we bring to you our concerns. Glorious God, we exalt your holy name. Unite us – make us one in you, that your love may strengthen and empower us. Amen.

 

Our opening hymn is number 80 (or you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKqBY5Hsfik )

 

Our reading today comes from St John’s gospel, chapter 17 verses 1 – 11:

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

 

‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

 

REFLECTION

This passage comes from Jesus’ discourses with his disciples at the Last Supper. Here Jesus looks up to heaven and says, ‘Glorify your Son.’ We often think of glory as dazzling light, the spiritual equivalent of some heavenly bling, but when the term is used in this passage several other meanings emerge. The crucifixion, for all its horror and darkness, will be the hour in which Jesus is glorified (v.1). Jesus has also glorified his Father by finishing the work he was sent to do (v.4). Jesus even says that he has been glorified in his disciples (v.10). Glory, like knowledge, is deeply relational and mutual: Jesus requests that the Father glorify the Son, so that the Son may glorify the Father. Glory is something to bestow on another, and knowledge is about knowing someone, not knowing something.

We are taken back to the very beginning of John’s gospel, and so back to before the time that the world itself existed. Jesus is not asking here for a return to a heavenly status quo where he can forget that the experiment of the incarnation ever happened; he is praying for a new situation of increased knowledge and glory, where his disciples are included in the relationship between Father and Son, caught up in this mutual giving of glory, like so many mirrors reflecting the eternal light. Jesus is asking for a “new normal”.

That’s a phrase that has been banded about by politicians, doctors, scientists and many others recently. Our lives will take a long time to get back to what we once called ‘normal’; the airline industry has estimated returning to what it was a few months agon in 2022 – 2023, so between now and then we have a ‘new normal’. But if you are anything like me you’ll be wondering, even concerned, about what this ‘new normal’ might be.

To put it simply, we don’t know … nobody does and so naturally we worry about it. So we need to cast our worries on God. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in Me” (John 14.1). And that’s a real message for us to rejoice in. We don’t know how this will all end, but if we put our trust in God it will end well … and all shall be well.

 

Our prayers
We bring before God our concerns for our world: where there is war we pray for peace; where there is sickness we pray for health; where there is despair we pray for hope. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

We pray that you would be active in health care: in the work of doctors and dentists, psychiatrists and psychologists, nurses and administrators, pharmacists and researchers, paramedics and carers. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
Guide our activity in the church: may we find ways to grow even in these difficult times; may we always honour you; may we serve our communities. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
We hold in your love those whom we love: those who are sick; those who are suffering with the Coronavirus; those who are sorrowful; those who need guidance and direction; those who have recently departed this life. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
Come to us, God of glory. Hear us, heal us and shine through our lives. Cast all your anxiety on him,  because he cares for you. Amen.

 

Please join in the Lord’s prayer in whichever version you prefer.

 

Our next hymn is “Forth in thy name O Lord I go. Its number 239, or you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X-4HRj8llI

 

Today’s final prayer: Lord, may your glory be seen in what I do and who I am. Amen.

 

Some of this service is © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020. Reproduced with permission.




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