Monthly Archives: April 2020

Third Sunday after Easter

Sunday 26th April 2020 – with thanks to The Village Church

 Kia ora! Good morning!

We join together in our apart-ness again on this third Sunday after Easter

We are pausing to acknowledge and grow in the presence of God in our lives.

We are meeting as part of a church community, albeit a scattered one.

We are stilling ourselves, our fears, our anxieties, and all the distracting things around us, to seek and delight in God’s life with us.

Let us worship God!

Our words to focus this time of worship are some verses from Psalm 116, maybe appropriately titled, ‘Thanksgiving for recovery from illness’

I love the LORD, because he has heard

my voice and my supplications.

Because he inclined his ear to me,

therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

The snares of death encompassed me;

I suffered distress and anguish.

Then I called on the name of the LORD:

“O LORD, I pray, save my life!”

What shall I return to the LORD

for all his bounty to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of the LORD,

I will pay my vows to the LORD

in the presence of all his people.

O LORD, I am your servant;

You have loosed my bonds.

I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice

and call on the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows to the LORD

in the presence of all his people,

in the courts of the house of the LORD,

in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!

Our prayer on the way

Loving God

Looking back, we recall a week where there was nowhere to go for coffee and chats,

no way to sneak a cuddle or even a handshake, with anyone who lives outside our bubbles,

no way to catch up, even from a distance, with anyone who lives outside our neighbourhoods,

no way to pop into a shop, other than the supermarket or pharmacy,

no way to walk on a beach, or hike over a hill.

BUT looking back, there was also:

that daily walk down Hamilton Ave, lined with Liquidambars in full Autumn colour,

warm sunlight to soak in and dry clothes on the line,

time to get lost in a book, jigsaw, knitting or Netflix,

a quiet so intense we could hear birds, occasionally a child laughing, a dog barking,

a world still enough to notice the piwakawakas flitting about so full of joy.

Looking back, we see now that it was a good week, God,

one where less people have been overtaken by the virus,

one where many more have recovered,

and it looks like through working together we are getting the better of this thing.

It was a week full of hope.

It was a week too where we remember that once two men walking down a dusty road were joined by a man they didn’t recognise.

They didn’t recognise him because their thinking couldn’t allow for the possibility that this could be the same man whose loss they were still mourning.

How easily we dismiss what we can’t understand,

how easily we miss what we are not open to

In this time now we hand over to you, the things that blind us,

the things that weigh us down and stop us being open to possibility,

the things that make us too weary to engage imagination,

the things that reveal our lack of faith.

These things are yours now Lord, yours to transform and make new in us.

We trust this to you because we have seen you transform

our sense of loss into gratitude for what we have,

our fear into peace,

our uncertainty into hope,

our swords into ploughshares,

the hungry into the fed,

the homeless into the sheltered.

May we learn to be agents of your work,

servants of one another in making this world a kinder fairer place for all.

In Jesus’ name we pray Amen

I think of the disciples locked up in the upper room, deflated and despairing, with fear and anxiety paralysing them. It was Jesus breaking into the room and breathing his Spirit on them that gave them propulsion. Similarly, on the road to Emmaus, it was the unfolding of the big story and the simple breaking of the bread that jolted belief and life back into them, and the boat, that we now know as the church, was able to get moving.

As we sit out this period of waiting and worldwide calamity, and wonder what ‘what next?’ looks like, we look for the breath and Spirit of Jesus to come upon us and provide us with the delight and oars to propel us forwards to where God’s kingdom coming meets us.

Bible Reading: Luke 24:13-35 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Today’s gospel reading is about a walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Although this walk was one of just seven miles (approximately 11km) it was one with profound significance for those who were present (Cleopas and his companion). The account of this walk has continued to provide great encouragement to Christians throughout the past 2000 years, and it is quite possible that Luke 24:13-35 may be a favourite Scripture passage for some of you.  

It is certainly a passage that I have, over the years, enjoyed reading slowly, imagining myself walking alongside those discouraged disciples who met that wonderful stranger on the road.

Confusion to clarity; discouragement to hope

It is the third day after Jesus’ death. The tomb is open and Jesus’ body is missing. His followers are bewildered and distraught. They had hoped that Jesus – this man who “was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did” would “be the one who was going to set Israel free.” But things haven’t turned out the way they had hoped. They have already left Jerusalem. They are confused and deeply discouraged.

As many of us will have learned from painful experience, confusion and discouragement can be catalysts for growth in faith. An awareness of our own inadequate understanding can lead us to seek answers and be genuinely open to new insights. Discouragement can make us aware of our own limitations and prompt us to pray. It can stimulate us to strengthen the foundations of our relationship with God. But confusion and discouragement can also cause us to go round and round in circles in our thinking – which seems to be what was happening for these disciples in the early stages of their walk to Emmaus.

Jesus joins them but they do not recognise him. They continue to thrash out their concerns and their doubts about the validity of the women’s report of a vision of angels who had told them that Jesus was alive. As they walk, Jesus responds to their confusion and discouragement with great patience. He explains what is said about himself in all the Scriptures “beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets”. Deepening (though partial) clarity supplants the disciples’ confusion; hope displaces discouragement.

When Jesus breaks bread with the disciples, praying for God’s blessing, they finally understand and believe that he has risen from the dead. It is through a familiar action that “their eyes are opened” and they recognise Jesus. This marks the beginning of another journey – both literally (the disciples immediately return to Jerusalem) and figuratively (as they begin to learn what it means be disciples of the risen Lord). Can you imagine how different their conversation must have been on the walk back?!

  • Do any of the images included in today’s service reflect your experience at the moment? Do you feel that you are at a border or crossroads? Do you find yourself in a place of refuge? Are you struggling because of external factors over which you have no control? Why not talk with God about these things?
  • Can you think of a time in the past when you felt confused or discouraged about your faith? What helped you to find hope or greater clarity? How might recalling that experience be helpful to you at the moment?
  • Perhaps you are feeling discouraged or have doubts about your faith right now. If so, it may help to remember that even the disciples who were closest to Jesus had their moments. Hang in there. If it is helpful, perhaps you might phone and talk to someone who may offer you a fresh perspective?
  • After recognising that Jesus had risen from the dead Cleopas and his companion immediately walked 11 kilometres back to Jerusalem (presumably at night) to share the good news with the other disciples. How might you share the good news about Jesus that others have shared with you?

Offering & Prayer for the Road

In this part of the service, we dedicate these gifts and indeed our entire lives once again to the service of God in the week ahead. We do this all, in response to the ongoing Generosity of God of which we are all receivers and to remind ourselves that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it’ (Psalm 24:1).

Collectively now at this moment as we turn our hearts and minds outwards let us be grateful for God’s ongoing gifts, grateful that many of us can still give to the ongoing life and work of this parish and dedicate ourselves to the presence of God in our ‘bubbles’, in our phone conversations and in our waving across the street.

We pray

Like the disciples at Emmaus, we offer what we have.

They offered their company, their table, their bread.

We sense you are with us, Jesus, as we offer you our love,

our devotion, our gifts.

May our eyes be opened to your holy presence among us,

now and always.

As we gather while apart, we remember all churches across the world,

Who today are meeting as we are:

Walking this unknown road of pandemic uncertainty.

Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts,

To see you as the one who walks this road beside us.

We think of our leaders, local and national,

And don’t envy their positions at this time!

Our prayer is that they remember their call to the common good.

And serve with resilience, wisdom, and kindness.

We notice our planet,

In many places breathing a sigh of relief,

As our assault on it is subdued.

We pray that as the earth speaks at this moment,

We collectively would listen,

And not simply take up arms against our global home once again, as soon as we are able.

We bring to mind those who are almost always forgotten.

Yes, we are in lockdown but we are also privileged surrounded by our comforts of home.

We think of the poor, the refugee, the victims of domestic violence;

And in gratitude for where we find ourselves,

We ask, God, may your grace and mercy lift up and hold those who struggle at this time.

And as we begin to slowly emerge from lockdown over the coming months,

May we know how and when we can offer hospitality of all kinds to those in need.

We hold too at this moment,

Those who are wracked with fear, anxiety and worry,

Those for whom their imaginations turn to unhelpful places.

We pray for your peace, your deep peace, to make its way into their minds and hearts,

Becoming for them an endless resource of calm and of capacity to live, freely.

You, God, are the beginning and end of all creation,

In this we trust,

For you are good,

And your love never fails,

Despite all uncertainty and adversity.

In your Spirit,

Lifted with Christ we pray,

Amen.

As we “stay home and save lives” during this time of global pandemic we are all restricted in our physical movements, but we are still “pilgrim people.” The lectionary readings for today place our gospel reading alongside Psalm 116. This Psalm includes the following lovely words: “And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth.” (Ps 116:9) Let us remember these words of encouragement and give thanks for the presence of God with us today.

Posted in Services | Comments Off on Third Sunday after Easter

Sunday 26th April 2020

The St Martins facilities will remain closed under Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions

Sunday Service: Many thanks to Rev Anne Stewart and the team from Village Presbyterian Church (Papanui & Bryndwr) for making this available to the people of St Martins. There is also a midweek reflection which will be e-mailed to you.


Moderator’s live streaming of devotions every Sunday at 9am. Go to the Moderator’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/modpcanz/

Watch Sunday’s service from Beckenham Methodist: the video link/s are available after 11am from their webpage:  www.bmc.nz  Services/Reflections


Want to re-stock your pantry? Sue has the following for sale:

Bottled – Black Boy Peaches, Pears, Plums, Peaches, Tomato Puree

Chutneys – Pasta Sauce, Relishes, Tomato Sauce

Jams – Feijoa & Ginger, Feijoa & Pear, Feijoa & Lemon

Chilli Sauces – some with only a little sugar in them.

Kasundi – tomato relish

Give her a phone call 960 7657 to place an order. As we will be in ‘Level 3’ from Tuesday, and you will be able to travel a little further, Sue will leave your order in her letterbox for you to collect and leave money there.

Charitable Giving Tax Credit 

Our treasurer, Joan Macdonald, will have your receipts available for you once the COVID19 lockdown is over.

You may have been considering donating your Charitable Giving Tax Credit to the church. For more information, contact Joan – 337 1648.

Moderator’s Anzac Day Message
Greetings

“Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends.” (John 15:12-14)


The words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ring and echo loudly in our situation today.

In fact, as we all attest to this truth in life, it is the sound of Jesus’ words that permeate our being as we move from Easter toward Anzac Day. Easter was very different this year, with the crowds and gatherings, worship and fellowship, meals of fish and bread, communion – all carried out using digital communication. This is an unprecedented situation due to unusual times affecting the whole world. What stands out for me each and every year is: “Jesus died on the Cross, for you and I”.


ANZAC Day appropriately follows Easter on our calendar. The underlying theme of the Cross is echoed by the soldiers that died for “God, King and country”. Their lives, their commitments, their sacrifices were for you and I, which is commemorated on ANZAC. It is poignant, significant and sacred.


Many lives were lost. We are forever indebted to the brave men and women who died on the frontier of the battlefields for our freedom, for all that we have. We will never forget them. We remember and recall ANZAC every year, and we educate our children about this alliance. We will remember them: they are our heroes, our champions, our “game-changers”.


Today, in our world and in our country, we have new heroes, champions and “game-changers”. These new heroes are the many men, women and children who have stepped up, arisen, “taken the bull by the horns” and made a difference in the lives of many during the Covid-19 crisis. To all the essential workers (police, nurses, doctors, firefighters, rest home carers, orderlies, supermarket workers, chaplains… the list is long), thank you. Bless you.


Your service for the masses, for our country, is both courageous and brave. You are valued and loved, appreciated and cherished. You risk your lives every day against an unseen enemy – Covid-19. You work is in the same order of sacrifice as our Lord Jesus on the Cross and the soldiers on the battlefields. Your lives are on the line every time you step up and step out. We salute you and keep you and your loved ones in our prayers. We will not forget you.


Jesus said, “I came that you may have life, life in all its fullness”. (John 10:10)


Blessings,
Right Reverend Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

A Prayer for Anzac Day:

Almighty God and Heavenly Father, whose kingdom rules over all and in whom there is perfect freedom. We give you thanks at this time for all who have served in the defence of this country.

As we remember those men and women who served – in the ranks of our Navy, Army, Air Force, Merchant Navy and Police, we give thanks to you, gracious God, for their great sacrifices in conflict and in captivity – for the cause of peace and freedom. In our nation of wealth, prosperity and comfort, let us not forget the cost of these privileges which we now enjoy. 

We pray for peace. Have mercy on our broken and divided world and banish the spirit that makes for war. We ask that leaders of nations and governments will pursue freedom, justice and the welfare of all peoples.

We pray for ourselves. In the midst of worldly turmoil and lockdown, make us yearn for peace – not only with each other – but peace with you through our crucified and risen Saviour.  Trusting in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, help us to look forward to His kingly return.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Council: Unite Against Covid-19

Under Alert Level 3 you still need to Stay Home, Save Lives. If you’re going out for fresh air, stay local. Take care of yourselves and stay connected with family and friends over the phone.

Some takeaway businesses will be open.

If you need welfare assistance, call the CCC helpline 0800 24 24 11

When walking the dog, keep them on the lead.

Recycling will be sorted again from May – please make sure you only put recyclables in the yellow bin.

The Eco Depots will be open from Tuesday.

For health advice, contact Healthline 0800 358 5453. If you are feeling unwell, call your GP before you visit.

Call the free Government Helpline 0800 779 997 (8am-1am) 7 days a week if you need advice.

Keep an eye on the official website – Covid19.govt.nz – for updates.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Sunday 26th April 2020

Sunday 19 April 2020

Due to Coronavirus lock-down the St Martins facilities are closed until further notice.

Moderator’s live streaming of devotions every Sunday at 9am. Go to the Moderator’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/modpcanz/

Watch Sunday’s service from Beckenham Methodist: the video link/s are available after 11am from their webpage:  www.bmc.nz  Services/Reflections


We would like to thank our friends at St Martins for their thoughts and concern for Rob and myself.

We are both well and well looked after and today we will have meals back in the dining room and can move a little.

Our rooms are very close and Rob comes to my room a lot of the time. Today there will be activities again in small groups.

It has certainly been a different Celebration time of Easter but technology  has helped a little.

I  wondered how I would manage living in one Room but we both have a nice bright  sunny room with an outside door on to a courtyard and small flower beds.

Greetings to each one.

God bless you all

Margaret and Rob McLean

Charitable Giving Tax Credit 

Our treasurer, Joan Macdonald, will have available your receipts for you once the COVID19 lockdown is over.

You may have been considering donating your Charitable Giving Tax Credit to the church. For more information, contact Joan – 337 1648.

Two Prayers by Bill Wallace

Easter

Easter hope shines out like snow on the mountain peaks

Clear and defining, high and promising

God of resurrection,

help us look beyond the foreground of our worries,

to the glorious hope of the risen Christ. Amen.

Easter Life and Light

Dear God, this is the best season of the year.

The autumn leaves are banners of colourful joy.

Jesus who was dead is alive for ever.

In this Easter season help us see your love,

and push aside the darkness that holds us.

For Jesus lives,

In the power of the Father and the Spirit. Amen.

From the Council: Unite Against Covid-19

Thanks for heeding the call to Stay Home, Save Lives. If you’re going out for fresh air, stay local. Take care of yourselves and stay connected with family and friends over the phone.

Information about when we move to Level 3, and how it will work will be available next week.

If you need welfare assistance, call the CCC helpline 0800 24 24 11

Ratepayers facing financial hardship will be able to defer the rate payments for up to six months.

When walking the dog, keep them on the lead and please take used dog poo bags home with you.

Please keep neighbourhood noise down.

Kerbside rubbish collection continues as normal.

Street sweeping also continues.

For health advice, contact Healthline 0800 358 5453. If you are feeling unwell, call your GP before you visit.

Call the free Government Helpline 0800 779 997 (8am-1am) 7 days a week if you need advice.

Keep an eye on the official website – Covid19.govt.nz – for updates.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Sunday 19 April 2020

Sunday 12th April 2020

Due to Coronavirus lock-down the St Martins facilities are closed until further notice. See information below for service details.

Moderator’s Easter message – He is Risen
Jesus the Christ is risen, indeed.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid… Jesus, who was crucified…. he is risen, just as he said. Go quickly and tell his disciples. He has risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:5-7).

Rejoice and be glad that our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, did rise from the tomb. Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures. Every page, every word foretold about the Messiah of God, prophesied by God’s prophets since the beginning of time, came true.

Jesus the Christ of God has risen.


This risen Christ spoke to the women, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10). The encouragement from the angel, and the words of our Lord Jesus speak to us clearly! “Do not be afraid”. The disciples were terrified, they had lost all hope at Golgotha. Judas betrayed Jesus, Peter denied him, most of them scattered for fear from the Roman soldiers and of the religious authorities. They were lost and afraid.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ our Lord Saviour died and rose from the tomb. What does it mean for us? 


It means salvation, eternity with God is ours, if we believe and accept that Jesus is Lord. That he came to redeem humanity back to God. He taught and exemplified the way of the Kingdom of God. His resurrection defeated death. His sacrifice, the perfect Lamb of God, paid for our transgressions. Jesus personifies the love of God, in life, in death, in resurrection. May we sing everyday with the faithful gone before us, “He is Lord, He is Lord. He has risen from the dead and he is Lord. Every knee shall bend, every tongue confess. That Jesus Christ is Lord”. Alleluia, Praise the Lord, Amen. 


Beloved, do not be afraid. Jesus is risen. Nothing on earth, in heaven and in the world below can separate us from the love of God, in Jesus Christ. This was Paul’s words in encouraging the early church. Especially the persecuted faith community in Rome. Do not be afraid. Be careful out there. Be wise in life, be strong in the faith. Be kind to everyone. Be the light of Christ in our challenging times. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always to the very end of age” (Matthew 28:26).

Yours in Christ’s service
Right Reverend Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand


Moderator’s live streaming of devotions every Sunday at 9am. Go to the Moderator’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/modpcanz/

Charitable Giving Tax Credit 

Our treasurer, Joan Macdonald, will have available your receipts for you once the COVID19 lockdown is over.

You may have been considering donating your Charitable Giving Tax Credit to the church. For more information, contact Joan – 337 1648.

From the Session Clerk:

Alpine Presbytery Council have advised and appointed the Rev Dr Matthew Jack (currently Minister of Knox Church, ChCh) as St Martins temporary Interim Moderator – that is until a Stated Supply begins at St Martins.

Are you aware of any parishioners who may have an email address that we don’t have? Let Anna know. Email Anna also: stmartpresch@xtra.co.nz if you would like to receive an up to date parish phone list.

Rob McLean was 99 last Sunday and Margaret was able to spend a couple of hours with him. The family were able to join them electronically!

Happy birthday to all those folk having birthdays during this week – but especially to John England who, on the 13th April, celebrates a very special milestone. Congratulations John.

From the Council: Unite Against Covid-19

Thanks for heeding the call to Stay Home, Save Lives. If you’re going out for fresh air, stay local. Take care of yourselves and stay connected with family and friends over the phone.

If you need welfare assistance, call the CCC helpline 0800 24 24 11

Ratepayers facing financial hardship will be able to defer the rate payments for up to six months.

When walking the dog, please take used dog poo bags home with you.

Please keep neighbourhood noise down.

Kerbside rubbish collection continues as normal.

Water restrictions have been lifted.

For health advice, contact Healthline 0800 358 5453. If you are feeling unwell, call your GP before you visit.

Call the free Government Helpline 0800 779 997 (8am-1am) 7 days a week if you need advice.

Keep an eye on the official website – Covid19.govt.nz – for updates.

A Message from the Moderator of Alpine Presbytery

To the people of our churches in Alpine Presbytery

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

I do hope and pray that you and your family are coping with these strange times we find ourselves in. Hopefully too, you are finding ways to stay connected both with your family and friends as well as with your church community. Although many things are restricted at present, there are still opportunities to renew old connections or maybe meet your neighbours – from a safe distance, perhaps, even, for the first time – and I hope you are finding ways to do this. Reaching out, in whatever ways we can, is especially important as we go through this time, in order to protect those among us who have vulnerable health, but also to build appropriate bridges once the Covid-19 levels are lifted.

During this time when we cannot physically meet and activities that might have previously helped support the church are suspended, all of our churches will be feeling the strain financially. I want to humbly put a suggestion to you that I would like you to give your careful and prayerful consideration to.

I wonder if you would, if you do not do so already, consider redirecting any tax rebate that you receive from donations through the last year, back to your church. The Government is, currently, kind enough to encourage this generosity by paying us back one third of the donated amounts if our churches are registered as charities. It seems to me to be reasonable to make that third, which was initially given to the church, back to the church. This would provide at least some initial help to your parish over what is likely to be time of considerable struggle with cashflow. Martin and I have practiced this discipline for the past thirteen years, and of course, it follows that each year our donations grow without any noticeable pain to our own living!

Secondly, there is a bit of talk around about remembering to be missional in this time of hunkering down. I think this is timely in that when we are under threat we tend to want to tighten up and withdraw, believing that survival is paramount. Can I encourage you in these times to do the opposite; to be more open to your community, braver in our call to be generous, and remembering always that relationships are missional in their very core. Don’t be afraid to offer care and kindness to others, be confident that there is enough of these things to go around when God is at work among us! While we are unable to start, or continue, new programmes or activities, we can chat with a neighbour, over the fence or down a drive on your daily walks, or on the phone. The most common thing I hear in talking around our parish is ‘I have great neighbours!’ That is such a good thing to be hearing. May I also encourage you in the holy art of being great neighbours!

Go well in Christ, and please stay well!!

Rev Anne Stewart

Alpine Presbytery Moderator

An Easter Prayer –

Christ, we thank you for all rebirths.

We thank you for forgiveness and for second chances,

both for ourselves and others.

This Easter season, as, in this part of the world,

the trees are painted with autumn colours

and nature is readying itself for winter rest,

help us all to be at peace, calm, thoughtful

yet mindful of the needs of others,

and to be the people you mean us to be.

Here’s the link to Beckenham Methodist’s services:http://www.bmc.nz/?fbclid=IwAR2hgjhhyF4ICjd49Yki-zhQ4iIdJtA4Yp1CajaOgWA7AclPwcs_hb84Mzk

Posted in News | Comments Off on Sunday 12th April 2020

Easter Day 12 April 2020

WELCOME
Welcome to this Easter day service, albeit in extraordinary circumstances.
We could never have envisaged Easter separated from one another or wider family.
However, celebrate we will, wherever we are and however small “our community” this day.


THE GATHERING

Jesus lives! He lives in the hearts
and minds of all who love him.
On this day called Easter, we celebrate
the indestructible love and wisdom that
Jesus showed to the world.
We remember Jesus as we follow The Way:
We will remember him as we forgive,
and not hold on to hurts.
We will remember him as we give
until it makes a difference.
We will remember him as we resist violence
and all forms of abuse.
We remember him as we feed the hungry,
shelter the homeless and befriend the lonely..
We will remember his faith in a God
who loves, forgives and restores our hope.
We remember Jesus as we follow The Way.
We will remember his example of living
and loving.
Amen.
(2012 Easter Liturgy, PCNVic – adapted)


Lighting an Easter Candle

We light this candle aware that the power of resurrection
has forever changed who we are,
and given us the courage
to boldly proclaim a living faith.
Today we celebrate:
new life,
new joy,
new possibilities.
We give thanks for the Spirit of Life visible in Jesus,
visible in us, visible in people in all walks of life.


HYMN: Christ is Alive and the Universe Must Celebrate

Christ is alive, and the universe must celebrate,
and the stars and the suns shout on this Easter Day!
Christ is alive, and his family must celebrate
in a great alleluia,
a great alleluia
to praise the power that made the stone roll away.
Here is our hope: in the mystery of suffering
is the heartbeat of Love, Love that will not let go,
here is our hope, that in God we are not separate,
and we sing alleluia,
we sing alleluia
to praise the power that made the stone roll away.
Christ Spirit, dance through the dullness of humanity to the music of God, God who has set us free!
You are the pulse of the new creation’s
energy;
with a great alleluia,
a great alleluia we praise the power that made the stone roll away.
© Shirley Murray (AA)

THE READINGS:
This morning’s readings are the well known summons to praise in Psalm 100, along with the earliest gospel account of the Resurrection – Mark 16: 1-8. Both readings are from the New Revised Standard Version.


Psalm 100
All Lands Summoned to Praise God
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.


Mark 16: 1-8
The Resurrection of Jesus

When the sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,
they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another,
‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’
When they looked up, they saw that the stone,
which was very large, had already been rolled back.
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe,
sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,
who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee;
there you will see him, just as he told you.’
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them;
and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


HYMN: Was it the Shaking Ground (Tune: Fulda WOV 137)
Was it the shaking ground that moved
the stone, that freed the resting Word,
that called the Christ to life again:
God’s Spirit, breathing, moved and stirred?
The world still spinning, recollects
that God survived all human scorn;

that lives were changed for ever more
in meeting love alive, re-born.
This is the Voice that turns us round,
that calmly offers grace to cope;
that gives us strength to live again, that gives us cause to sing our hope.
©Andrew Pratt


RESURRECTION – SOME THOUGHTS AND CHALLENGES TO CONSIDER
MUSIC FOR REFLECTION
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

The candle lit this morning symbolises new life and new hope.
Our prayer is that there be new possibilities for people and situations.
God of the universe.
All life comes from you and all nations are held in your loving embrace.
The pandemic that now holds us hostage threatens the well being and stability of the whole world.
With the dawning of this new day we place our trust in you.
Gather us under your protecting wings that we might encourage one another and work together to bring health, safety and peace.
Self-isolation signals a cut-off from many usual and normal contacts. Social distancing affects every community – family, school, church, town, city, our entire nation, and our world.
This is a frightening global phenomenon. However, perhaps we will look back and be able to see
that it also brought blessings, that we came to realise the important things – what makes life so precious along with those things we have taken for granted, or never really appreciated.
Today as we reflect on how the lock down affects us, we also consider the tragedy of isolation that so many people experience all the time: refugees, social outcasts, the elderly on their own, solo parents, the sick kept in isolation, people nobody wants anything to do with, those who are imprisoned.
And in the quiet we hold in our hearts those whom we love and are separated from; those in our parish and community and world we are concerned for.


And now in the spirit of the Lord’s Prayer we say [The Casa del Sol, John Philip Newell]
Ground of all being, Mother of life,
Father of the universe,
your name is sacred, beyond speaking.
May we know your presence.
May your longings be
our longings in heart and in action.
May there be food for the whole human family today
and for the whole earth community.
Forgive us the falseness of what we have done
as we forgive those who are untrue to us.
Do not forsake us in our time of conflict
but lead us into new beginnings.
For the light of life, the vitality of life,
and the glory of life are yours now and for ever. Amen.


Celebration of Communion (as a community) is not possible on this Easter day.
However, let us experience whatever food and drink we have as sacrament.

You may wish to prepare morning tea. As we enjoy eating and drinking, whether with others, or on our own, let it be as if in eating and drinking, we are eating and drinking with our St Martins’ community of faith.


HYMN: We Are Called to Tell the Story (Tune: Regent Square, WOV 84)
We are called to tell the story,
passing words of life along,
then to blend our voice with others
as we sing the sacred song.
Christ be known in all our singing,
filling all with songs of love.
We are called to teach the rhythm
of the dance that never ends,
then to move within the circle,
hand in hand with strangers, friends
Christ be known in all our dancing,
touching all with hands of love.
We are called to set the table,
blessing bread as Jesus blessed,
then to come with thirst and hunger,
needing care like all the rest,
Christ be known in all our sharing,
feeding all with signs of love.
May the One whose love is broader
than the measure of all space
give us words to sing the story,
move among us in this place.
Christ be known in all our living,
filling all with gifts of love. © Ruth Duck (DITU)

A THANKSGIVING:
May our living rooms be sacred space this day;
lifting us into the awesome mystery that is life.
In our sacred space we give words
to our inner sense of gratitude and hope.
We pause in gratitude for all that has been given;
in hope for all that is yet will be.
And so we will take gifts of food and drink,
such ordinary things of life, but blessed by God,
God’s to lift us into the mystery of grace.
God, we celebrate the life that is ours
for we know we are precious in your sight.
We celebrate Jesus’ life that became the pattern of reality for us:
life that is love revealed
love given and received
love in action.
Therefore, with all who have loved you throughout the ages
we praise you saying:
Holy, holy, holy, resurrection God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest.
Food and drink today remind us that the Communion bread and wine tell a very special story.
Bread has its beginnings in the earth: it is gathered, ground and kneaded by loving hands, tired backs, by sweat of toil.
Bread from field and mill and store.
Bread to break, to give and eat, shared from hand to hand.
Bread that must be broken open, to be used, to feed.
Bread broken to fill emptiness.
Likewise, the wine is of the earth, bitter and sweet.
From vine to glass, given and shared, of people’s labour.
Wine of joy and pain, grief and gladness.
Wine to be spilled to slake thirst and enliven the heart.
(Ruth Duck. Adapted by Nancy L Steeves)


Today, with food and drink we are also invited
to see, hear, smell, feel and taste the mystery of grace.


CLOSING PRAYER:
We give thanks for our life and the courage we are given to live it.
May our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
May our faith be expressed through love in action.
May our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude to life, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.


HYMN: We Are An Easter People
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
the yeast is rising in our hearts,
our wine has vintage taste.
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives.
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our tears are freed to flow and heal
our shattered hopes and hearts.
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our fears have died, we rise to dream,
to love, to dance, to live. © William L Wallace (AA 146)


A BLESSING
May God the star maker cradle and circle you.
May God the storyteller beckon and encourage you.
May God the life-changer challenge you and cherish you.
May you walk in the light of God’s love and laughter
all the moments of your nights and days.
AMEN

Posted in Services | Comments Off on Easter Day 12 April 2020