| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

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Sunday 24th May 2020 7th Sunday of Easter - Worship and Prayer
Opening our hearts to God Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us. Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Father eternal, giver of light and grace,we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,in what we have thought, in what we have said and done,through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault.We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,forgive us all that is past; and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light. Amen. Affirming God’s Forgiveness May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to our kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn: At the name of Jesus
Bible Readings Acts 1.6-14 The Ascension of Jesus 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of * James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. 1 Peter 4.12-14 Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, * which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. *
John 17.1-11 Jesus Prays for His Disciples 17After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, * to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6 ‘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. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 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. 9 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. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 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.
Song of Praise: Glory to God
Hymn:

All heaven declares

the glory of the risen Lord

Reflections By Reverend Tony Richards
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
Prayers Prepared by Karen Crowhurst Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for the gift of this new day. Help us to be conscious of your loving presence with us whatever the day holds for us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Heavenly Father, we are all too aware of the shadow that the coronavirus pandemic is casting upon our world and our local communities. We ask your blessing upon all who are sick, bored, anxious, lonely, or grieving. We also pray for those who are indirect victims of coronavirus, unable to take medical tests or to access the treatment they need because of lack of capacity or fear of infection. Help us to remember that we do not walk alone, but in the knowledge of your wonderful love for us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for all those serving our local community in hospital, GP practices or in care homes. Lord, grant them protection and uphold and strengthen them as they work in difficult situations. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for those facing financial difficulties or uncertainty and for those who have lost their jobs. We pray particularly for young people leaving school or college who are struggling to find employment. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for our families and friends, particularly for those from whom we are currently physically separated and for all in our church families of St Blasius and St John’s. Bless us, Lord, in this difficult time and help us to offer one another the support we each need until we are able to meet again. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Heavenly Father, we trust in your unfailing and boundless love for us. Sustain us as we carry on into another week of coronavirus restrictions and help us to live hopefully, believing that you will be with us in the future as you have been in the past. ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer’ (Romans 12:12). Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We gather together all our prayers in the words that Jesus taught us… The Lord’s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
I was once sent this story by e-mail: A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As often happens in during a haircut, they talked about many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists." The customer asked him “how do you work that out?”. The barber said ”just look around, and you can see that God doesn't exist. If there were a God, why do people get sick, why are there abandoned children, why are there so many poor and hungry, why are there wars and injustice? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain and I can't imagine a loving a God who would allow these things to happen." The customer thought for a moment but didn't respond, as he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished the haircut and the customer paid and left. But, just after he left, he saw a man in the street with long, greasy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He turned and went back to the shop and said to the barber: "You know what? I don’t believe barbers exist." "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I’m here, I’m a barber and I just cut your hair!" "The man said. "barbers don't exist because if they did, why then are there people with long greasy dirty hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside wouldn’t exist either." "Ah, but barbers DO exist! What the problem is - is that people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards don’t come to me." "Exactly" affirmed the customer. "like you, God DOES exist! The reason why there is so much pain and suffering is not that He doesn’t exist, rather it is because people don't come to Him nor do they look for Him.” With so many people across the world becoming ill and so many lives being taken by the covid-19 virus, the continuing inequalities, conflicts, wars and hunger it’s perhaps little wonder that so many begin to doubt the existence of God or perhaps more likely, a God who cares for us. Yet if we look around we can find so many ways that God shows his presence and the way that the love of Christ is manifest in the dedication and commitment of doctors, nurses, care home staff, care workers and the men and women who keep our essential services running, the overseas relief workers and the many who give so freely of their time and resources. Do we come to God in thanks for the sacrifices made and what others are doing? We have been giving thanks on Thursdays when we stand outside our homes and make a noise for the NHS, but do we turn to Jesus in thankful prayer for the way his love is shown in those we are applauding? Our Gospel reading today is a part of the famous Jesus prayers. William Temple, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has described it as “perhaps the most sacred passage on the four Gospels.” In it, Jesus shows us that the reason behind his ministry here on earth - which is to give eternal life to all those who are his true disciples – those whom God the Father had given to Him. Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” is about finding your purpose by finding God’s purpose for you and plugging into it. It’s all about God. It starts out with the opening sentence: “It’s not about you.” He goes on to say, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfilment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” Jesus’ prayer is all about God’s purpose for us and the importance of prayer in Jesus’ life and of course ours, as we follow his example. Jesus doesn’t speak of some sort of distant deity – but he uses the word “Abba” or “Daddy” (in Hebrew) when speaking with God. As his followers, Jesus encourages us to develop that relationship with our maker. In his prayer, Jesus shows us the reason for his ministry here on earth, to give his followers the promise of eternal life. Jesus put it like this; "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” Jesus came to reveal his Father and himself to his disciples, not just the first Century disciples to whom he was speaking, but each of us right down the centuries. In John 17:3, Jesus says this: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” We can KNOW God personally – that is have a relationship with him. It’s not about us – it is all about a changed lifestyle and how each of us is called to live differently, not just believing in God, but having a close relationship with him. So, giving thanks and prayer is not just about recognising what good people have done and are doing, but, in understanding God’s and Jesus’ hand in what goes on in the world today and in deepening our relationship with God and Christ.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen in- deed, Alleluia!
Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus
Hymn: Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour
God’s Blessing May God the Father, who has given to his Son the name above every name, strengthen us to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord. May God the Son, who is our great high priest passed into the heavens, plead for us at the right hand of the Father. May God the Holy Spirit, who pours out his abundant gifts upon the Church, make us faithful servants of Christ our King. And may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen.
Where can I turn for peace? Words: Emma Lou Thayne, 1924–2014 Music: Joleen G. Meredith, b. 1935

| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

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Sunday 24th May 2020 7th Sunday of Easter - Worship and Prayer
Opening our hearts to God Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us. Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Father eternal, giver of light and grace,we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,in what we have thought, in what we have said and done,through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault.We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,forgive us all that is past; and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light. Amen. Affirming God’s Forgiveness May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to our kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayers Prepared by Karen Crowhurst Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for the gift of this new day. Help us to be conscious of your loving presence with us whatever the day holds for us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Heavenly Father, we are all too aware of the shadow that the coronavirus pandemic is casting upon our world and our local communities. We ask your blessing upon all who are sick, bored, anxious, lonely, or grieving. We also pray for those who are indirect victims of coronavirus, unable to take medical tests or to access the treatment they need because of lack of capacity or fear of infection. Help us to remember that we do not walk alone, but in the knowledge of your wonderful love for us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for all those serving our local community in hospital, GP practices or in care homes. Lord, grant them protection and uphold and strengthen them as they work in difficult situations. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for those facing financial difficulties or uncertainty and for those who have lost their jobs. We pray particularly for young people leaving school or college who are struggling to find employment. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for our families and friends, particularly for those from whom we are currently physically separated and for all in our church families of St Blasius and St John’s. Bless us, Lord, in this difficult time and help us to offer one another the support we each need until we are able to meet again. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Heavenly Father, we trust in your unfailing and boundless love for us. Sustain us as we carry on into another week of coronavirus restrictions and help us to live hopefully, believing that you will be with us in the future as you have been in the past. ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer’ (Romans 12:12). Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Bible Readings Acts 1.6-14 The Ascension of Jesus 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of * James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. 1 Peter 4.12-14 Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, * which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. *
Reflections By Reverend Tony Richards
We gather together all our prayers in the words that Jesus taught us… The Lord’s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
Hymn: At the name of Jesus
Song of Praise: Glory to God
Hymn:

All heaven declares

the glory of the risen Lord

John 17.1-11 Jesus Prays for His Disciples 17After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, * to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6 ‘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. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 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. 9 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. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 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.
Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus
Hymn: Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour
God’s Blessing May God the Father, who has given to his Son the name above every name, strengthen us to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord. May God the Son, who is our great high priest passed into the heavens, plead for us at the right hand of the Father. May God the Holy Spirit, who pours out his abundant gifts upon the Church, make us faithful servants of Christ our King. And may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
I was once sent this story by e-mail: A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As often happens in during a haircut, they talked about many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists." The customer asked him “how do you work that out?”. The barber said ”just look around, and you can see that God doesn't exist. If there were a God, why do people get sick, why are there abandoned children, why are there so many poor and hungry, why are there wars and injustice? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain and I can't imagine a loving a God who would allow these things to happen." The customer thought for a moment but didn't respond, as he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished the haircut and the customer paid and left. But, just after he left, he saw a man in the street with long, greasy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He turned and went back to the shop and said to the barber: "You know what? I don’t believe barbers exist." "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I’m here, I’m a barber and I just cut your hair!" "The man said. "barbers don't exist because if they did, why then are there people with long greasy dirty hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside wouldn’t exist either." "Ah, but barbers DO exist! What the problem is - is that people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards don’t come to me." "Exactly" affirmed the customer. "like you, God DOES exist! The reason why there is so much pain and suffering is not that He doesn’t exist, rather it is because people don't come to Him nor do they look for Him.” With so many people across the world becoming ill and so many lives being taken by the covid-19 virus, the continuing inequalities, conflicts, wars and hunger it’s perhaps little wonder that so many begin to doubt the existence of God or perhaps more likely, a God who cares for us. Yet if we look around we can find so many ways that God shows his presence and the way that the love of Christ is manifest in the dedication and commitment of doctors, nurses, care home staff, care workers and the men and women who keep our essential services running, the overseas relief workers and the many who give so freely of their time and resources. Do we come to God in thanks for the sacrifices made and what others are doing? We have been giving thanks on Thursdays when we stand outside our homes and make a noise for the NHS, but do we turn to Jesus in thankful prayer for the way his love is shown in those we are applauding? Our Gospel reading today is a part of the famous Jesus prayers. William Temple, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has described it as “perhaps the most sacred passage on the four Gospels.” In it, Jesus shows us that the reason behind his ministry here on earth - which is to give eternal life to all those who are his true disciples – those whom God the Father had given to Him. Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” is about finding your purpose by finding God’s purpose for you and plugging into it. It’s all about God. It starts out with the opening sentence: “It’s not about you.” He goes on to say, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfilment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” Jesus’ prayer is all about God’s purpose for us and the importance of prayer in Jesus’ life and of course ours, as we follow his example. Jesus doesn’t speak of some sort of distant deity – but he uses the word “Abba” or “Daddy” (in Hebrew) when speaking with God. As his followers, Jesus encourages us to develop that relationship with our maker. In his prayer, Jesus shows us the reason for his ministry here on earth, to give his followers the promise of eternal life. Jesus put it like this; "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” Jesus came to reveal his Father and himself to his disciples, not just the first Century disciples to whom he was speaking, but each of us right down the centuries. In John 17:3, Jesus says this: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” We can KNOW God personally – that is have a relationship with him. It’s not about us – it is all about a changed lifestyle and how each of us is called to live differently, not just believing in God, but having a close relationship with him. So, giving thanks and prayer is not just about recognising what good people have done and are doing, but, in understanding God’s and Jesus’ hand in what goes on in the world today and in deepening our relationship with God and Christ.
Where can I turn for peace? Words: Emma Lou Thayne, 1924–2014 Music: Joleen G. Meredith, b. 1935
Shanklin Isle of Wight St. Blasius Old Parish Church

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John 17.1-11 Jesus Prays for His Disciples 17After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, * to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6 ‘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. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 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. 9 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. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 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.
Sunday 24th May 2020 7th Sunday of Easter - Worship and Prayer
Hymn: At the name of Jesus
Opening our hearts to God Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us. Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Father eternal, giver of light and grace,we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,in what we have thought, in what we have said and done,through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault.We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,forgive us all that is past; and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light. Amen. Affirming God’s Forgiveness May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to our kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Song of Praise: Glory to God
Bible Readings Acts 1.6-14 The Ascension of Jesus 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of * James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. 1 Peter 4.12-14 Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, * which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. *
Hymn:

All heaven declares

the glory of the risen Lord

Reflections By Reverend Tony Richards
Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus
Prayers Prepared by Karen Crowhurst Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for the gift of this new day. Help us to be conscious of your loving presence with us whatever the day holds for us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Heavenly Father, we are all too aware of the shadow that the coronavirus pandemic is casting upon our world and our local communities. We ask your blessing upon all who are sick, bored, anxious, lonely, or grieving. We also pray for those who are indirect victims of coronavirus, unable to take medical tests or to access the treatment they need because of lack of capacity or fear of infection. Help us to remember that we do not walk alone, but in the knowledge of your wonderful love for us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for all those serving our local community in hospital, GP practices or in care homes. Lord, grant them protection and uphold and strengthen them as they work in difficult situations. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for those facing financial difficulties or uncertainty and for those who have lost their jobs. We pray particularly for young people leaving school or college who are struggling to find employment. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. We pray for our families and friends, particularly for those from whom we are currently physically separated and for all in our church families of St Blasius and St John’s. Bless us, Lord, in this difficult time and help us to offer one another the support we each need until we are able to meet again. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Heavenly Father, we trust in your unfailing and boundless love for us. Sustain us as we carry on into another week of coronavirus restrictions and help us to live hopefully, believing that you will be with us in the future as you have been in the past. ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer’ (Romans 12:12). Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We gather together all our prayers in the words that Jesus taught us… The Lord’s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
I was once sent this story by e-mail: A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As often happens in during a haircut, they talked about many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists." The customer asked him “how do you work that out?”. The barber said ”just look around, and you can see that God doesn't exist. If there were a God, why do people get sick, why are there abandoned children, why are there so many poor and hungry, why are there wars and injustice? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain and I can't imagine a loving a God who would allow these things to happen." The customer thought for a moment but didn't respond, as he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished the haircut and the customer paid and left. But, just after he left, he saw a man in the street with long, greasy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He turned and went back to the shop and said to the barber: "You know what? I don’t believe barbers exist." "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I’m here, I’m a barber and I just cut your hair!" "The man said. "barbers don't exist because if they did, why then are there people with long greasy dirty hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside wouldn’t exist either." "Ah, but barbers DO exist! What the problem is - is that people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards don’t come to me." "Exactly" affirmed the customer. "like you, God DOES exist! The reason why there is so much pain and suffering is not that He doesn’t exist, rather it is because people don't come to Him nor do they look for Him.” With so many people across the world becoming ill and so many lives being taken by the covid-19 virus, the continuing inequalities, conflicts, wars and hunger it’s perhaps little wonder that so many begin to doubt the existence of God or perhaps more likely, a God who cares for us. Yet if we look around we can find so many ways that God shows his presence and the way that the love of Christ is manifest in the dedication and commitment of doctors, nurses, care home staff, care workers and the men and women who keep our essential services running, the overseas relief workers and the many who give so freely of their time and resources. Do we come to God in thanks for the sacrifices made and what others are doing? We have been giving thanks on Thursdays when we stand outside our homes and make a noise for the NHS, but do we turn to Jesus in thankful prayer for the way his love is shown in those we are applauding? Our Gospel reading today is a part of the famous Jesus prayers. William Temple, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has described it as “perhaps the most sacred passage on the four Gospels.” In it, Jesus shows us that the reason behind his ministry here on earth - which is to give eternal life to all those who are his true disciples – those whom God the Father had given to Him. Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” is about finding your purpose by finding God’s purpose for you and plugging into it. It’s all about God. It starts out with the opening sentence: “It’s not about you.” He goes on to say, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfilment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” Jesus’ prayer is all about God’s purpose for us and the importance of prayer in Jesus’ life and of course ours, as we follow his example. Jesus doesn’t speak of some sort of distant deity – but he uses the word “Abba” or “Daddy” (in Hebrew) when speaking with God. As his followers, Jesus encourages us to develop that relationship with our maker. In his prayer, Jesus shows us the reason for his ministry here on earth, to give his followers the promise of eternal life. Jesus put it like this; "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” Jesus came to reveal his Father and himself to his disciples, not just the first Century disciples to whom he was speaking, but each of us right down the centuries. In John 17:3, Jesus says this: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” We can KNOW God personally – that is have a relationship with him. It’s not about us – it is all about a changed lifestyle and how each of us is called to live differently, not just believing in God, but having a close relationship with him. So, giving thanks and prayer is not just about recognising what good people have done and are doing, but, in understanding God’s and Jesus’ hand in what goes on in the world today and in deepening our relationship with God and Christ.
Where can I turn for peace? Words: Emma Lou Thayne, 1924–2014 Music: Joleen G. Meredith, b. 1935
Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
God’s Blessing May God the Father, who has given to his Son the name above every name, strengthen us to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord. May God the Son, who is our great high priest passed into the heavens, plead for us at the right hand of the Father. May God the Holy Spirit, who pours out his abundant gifts upon the Church, make us faithful servants of Christ our King. And may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen.
Hymn: Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour
Shanklin Isle of Wight St. Blasius Old Parish Church