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2nd Sunday of Easter            

The Greeting

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He has given us new life and hope.
He has raised Jesus from the dead.

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

Faithful one, whose word is life:
come with saving power
to free our praise,
inspire our prayer
and shape our lives
for the kingdom of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

We pause for 2 minutes to mark with respect the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Merciful Father and Lord of all life, we praise you that we are made
in your image and reflect your truth and light.
We thank you for the life of His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
for the love he received from you and showed among us.
Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants,
living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ.
And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Philip that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. 
Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

In baptism we died with Christ,
so that as Christ was raised from the dead,
we might walk in newness of life.
Let us receive new life in him
as we confess our sins in penitence and faith.

Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord,
we come to you in sorrow for our sins,
and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.
We have lived by our own strength,
and not by the power of your resurrection.
In your mercy, forgive us.
Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived by the light of our own eyes,
as faithless and not believing.
In your mercy, forgive us.
Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived for this world alone,
and doubted our home in heaven.
In your mercy, forgive us.
Lord, hear us and help us.

Absolution

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Collect

Risen Christ,
for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts,
that we may seek the good of others
and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,
to the praise of God the Father.
Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Readings

The New Testament Reading: Acts 4:32-35
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Homily

In our readings today, it feels as if we have come a long way from the pain of Good Friday. For all of us, the pain of bereavement, which the Royal Family must be feeling now, can throw emotions up in the air, the old ways, the loved familiar voice and touch has gone, and it can be a long and turbulent roller coaster ride before life settles into a new normal. The disciples had felt the pain of Good Friday, but the normal pattern and rituals of mourning were thrown to the wind when they faced the empty tomb on Easter morning, and then – later the same day – when the disciples, with the exception of Thomas, are  in the house, the doors locked out of fear – the risen Lord is there with them. Christ’s message – “shalom” – “peace be with you” – said not just once, but twice “peace be with you”. And more than that, the instruction to go out and tell the world “as the Father sent me, so I send you”. All this happening on that first Easter Day. The disciples can hardly have had time to draw breath, to get their heads around what was happening. No wonder they locked themselves away, and no wonder poor old Thomas doubted what he heard when he was told about it later. We need time to come to terms with bereavement, but this was no bereavement. Christ was not dead, he was alive. He is alive. No time to sit around and mourn, the disciples were given a task to do, and Christ breathes the Holy Spirit into them, to empower them to take up the torch Christ is handing to them, to go out, spread the word, to take the peace out, to share it. And it’s a peace that’s not to be hidden away, behind locked doors, to be kept personal and private. It’s so much more than just an inner peace of heart, or an absence of war, it’s a quality of life transcending both, a rich a fruitful life, God’s new creation bursting into life. This peace is to be shared, and shared, as our Lord had shown, in service to others. We see that sense of sharing, of spreading the gospel, in the reading from Acts. The disciples are not just talking the talk, they are walking the walk. I can feel a sense of urgency, a sense of excitement in the way they behave. The old order needs to be turned upside down, not focused around the magnificent Temple built by Herod as but focused on Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, as the foundation of their faith.  In sharing all they had, they are taking responsibility for each other, a step taken spontaneously, of their own free will. Their focus is not based on self protection or self benefit they were looking outward, they were thinking about each other, and beyond each other. The community they were forming, and building, and spreading was so much bigger than just themselves, they had a mission, to take the good news of the risen Jesus to the whole world. There was no time to hang about. This stage of the disciples’ journey starts with their encounter with Jesus in the locked room on Easter Day. Jesus words “Peace be with you… peace be with you, as my Father sent me, so I send you” were spoken that first Easter Day. Such a long way to come in those three short days since Good Friday. This was no bereavement, this was new life, a better life, but no easy life, a life facing dangers and opposition, a life lived facing outwards, and lived to the full, made possible through the strength of the Holy Spirit.  The message is the same to us today and as we go from here, let us take out that peace of God, the peace that surpasses all understanding, let it fill our hearts and minds, and let us share it, in service to others, in all we say and do in the week ahead. 
                                                                        By Susan Heads (LLM)

Affirmation of Faith

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.
Jesus, light of the world,
bring the light and peace of your gospel to the nations …
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, bread of life,
give food to the hungry …
and nourish us all with your word.
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, our way, our truth, our life,
be with us and all who follow you in the way …
Deepen our appreciation of your truth
and fill us with your life.
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, Good Shepherd who gave your life for the sheep,
recover the straggler,
bind up the injured,
strengthen the sick
and lead the healthy and strong to new pastures.
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, the resurrection and the life,
we give you thanks for all who have lived and believed in you …
Raise us with them to eternal life.
Jesus, Lord of life,
in your mercy, hear us,
Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Gathering our prayers and praise into one,
let us pray as our Saviour taught us
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Conclusion

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He has given us new life and hope.
He has raised Jesus from the dead.

God has claimed us as his own.
He has brought us out of darkness.
He has made us light to the world.

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

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples
and said, ‘Peace be with you.’
Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.
Amen.


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