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Sunday Worship - 10th May 2020

A Service For Christian Aid Week

GATHERING PRAYER

God of all the Earth, be present with us now. In each of our homes, as we connect together. Build us into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, offering sacrifices acceptable to you through Jesus Christ, our risen redeemer and healer.

AMEN. (John 14:1-14 - read it quietly).

Christian Aid Week has been cancelled in these troubled times. Meanwhile the vital ministry of Christian Aid goes on and is needed around the world today more than ever. We rightly hear about concern for ventilators and PPE her. However, in poor Haiti, still recovering from the earthquake that hit them a few years ago, Port au Prince, the capital, with a population of 1.4 million has just 7 ventilators. A clear example of how the ministry of Christian Aid is desperately needed now.

THE CONTEXT OF THE GOSPEL

The comforting words of Jesus:'do not let your hearts be troubled' are spoken to the disciples who have good reason to have troubled hearts. Jesus says these words at the Last Supper, just after he has washed their feet with his own hands, talked of his betrayal, and of Peter's denial and his imminent departure (John13). They are words of comfort offered for unsettling times and worth meditating on in these challenging times today.

Jesus speaks of there being many 'dwelling places in my Father's house'. We cannot meet in God's house now. Where many are turning to mindfulness and meditation in these anxious times, this gospel also offers us the invitation to spend time dwelling in the presence of God, and not let our hearts be troubled. For those who can find the space, our homes can become our hermitage - a dwelling place for spiritual retreat - and when we are finally able to leave our homes we can still carry his dwelling place in our hearts wherever we go.

THE RELEVANCE OF THE GOSPEL FOR US NOW

Like 'Honest Thomas', at some point though perhaps not quite yet, we too need to face up to the honest questions our response to coronavirus prompts us to ask - questions such as to how we can reimagine and recreate a world where no one dies of preventable diseases, that we already have vaccinations for and medicines to treat - why are there still more than 7,500 children under 5 dying every day from such diseases? These questions take on a greater resonance the Christian Aid Week.

This gospel message concludes with the call to action. In this digital Christian Aid Week, Christian Aid is calling us tom prayer. Right in the middle of the Last Supper Jesus encourages the disciples to ask him for anything and he'll do it. These are hard words to reconcile with the prayers that have seemingly gone unanswered in these difficult days. And they may have been difficult for the disciples to accept in the events that were to follow in the days to come. These are words of hope and promise of connection for us all and always, but most particularly in these days when we are so separate, yet never alone.Physical absence and separation do not mean abandonment, and by entering into the dwelling place of God in prayer, He brings us back to the way, the truth and the life, again and again.

AMEN

INTERCESSIONS

Gracious God remind us that we are all doing our part and saving lives by washing our hands regularly, and staying at home wherever possible.

God in your mercy
HEAR OUR PRAYER

We pray for much wisdom and resources for those in local and national authority for all frontline and key workers here in Britain, Ireland and across the world.

God in your mercy
HEAR OUR PRAYER

As we have clapped to honour them, we clap our hands now in praise of your glorious creation, and with the hope that the first shoots of another psosible world are coming into view.

God in your mercy
HEAR ALL OUR PRAYERS

AMEN.

THE LORD'S PRAYER.

THE BLESSING

May the presence of the Creator refresh us, may the comfort of the Son renew us. May the inspiration of the Spirit restore us to be love in action, even from a distance, in our neighbourhoods, near and far, this day and for evermore.

AMEN

(If you wish to make a donation to Christian Aid, you can do it online or send a cheque to: Christian Aid, Interchurch House, 35, Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RL

 
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