Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12 : 2
The Lord be with you
Almighty God, we are sorry for all the darkness in our lives, for all the wrong thoughts and words and actions.
Please forgive us and help us to shine with a pure, clear light, so that when Jesus comes again, we shall be pleased to see him, and not ashamed, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days Amen
We believe in God, the almighty Father, who is the creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, given birth by the Virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, is seated at the Father’s right hand. He will return to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and in everlasting life. Amen
Reading: John 21 : 15 – 25
A Challenge for Peter
It is only a few days since Peter experienced the traumatic night in the Chief Priest’s courtyard when waiting to see what would happen to Jesus he was recognized as being one of his disciples. Presumably fearing the volatility of the crowd he denied Jesus each of the three times that he was challenged.
Jesus met the disciples on the shore of Galilee and after they had eaten he took Peter aside to talk to him.
“Simon son of John” Jesus said, “do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Jn 21:16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
Jn 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep”
Peter was hurt because he realized that Jesus had been aware of his denials and had chosen to ask him to reaffirm his love for his master three times. Maybe he thought he had got away with his denial given the chaos of that fateful evening. Jesus responded to each confession of love with a commission to care and provide for the community of believers who would emerge after Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained to Peter that in his old age his freedom would be taken away and John tells that this was to indicate the kind of death Peter would experience.
We have to understand that being furtive and secretive is part of our past lives but now we live in the knowledge that God sees and hears everything even in those most deep parts of our minds.
In Hebrews chapter 4 verse 13 we read:
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Our consolation is that through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross we are a forgiven people.
In 1 John chapter 1 and verses 1 and 2 we read:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.
We must always:
Admit our sins to ourselves,
Confess our sins to God,
Turn to Christ.
Jesus then took Peter right back to the day three years before when he first called him. He just said, “Follow me!” The call Jesus has for us is always as dynamic and fresh as that first day that we accepted Jesus as our Saviour.
Some time ago one of our children bought me a jigsaw for my birthday. At the time I wasn’t sure that I had actually reached the stage of retirement that would give me time to complete it. However these last couple of weeks or so we remembered his gift and have experienced a real sense of achievement on finishing the first of two puzzles. I did reflect that each and every piece of the puzzle is completely different but each one is necessary to complete the full picture. The church is just the same, we each of us are called as individuals, given unique gifts that all fit together to form the community that God desires.
Peter tried to deflect Jesus’ attention away from him by asking what would happen to John, the disciple Jesus loved. Jesus more or less told Peter to mind his own business. God has an individual plan for each and every one of us and it is our responsibility to make sure that we remain obedient to the future that God has mapped out for us. From time to time we are called to walk the path of faith together in community, loving, supporting and helping each other as we grow. Combined together as church we can achieve so much more than we can individually but we are all called to contribute our unique gifts to the whole so that we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4 : 13)
John signs off his Gospel:
Jn 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jn 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
In the same way that Jesus called the disciples to follow him and continue his work of reconciliation so we in our generation knowing the call of God on our lives combine together to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the community around us.
Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
Through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer:
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
God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side, and guide us in truth and peace; and the blessing of God Almighty,
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon us and remain with us always.
Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ. Amen
The Bridge Prayers for Sunday 26th April 2020
Loving Heavenly Father, as we join together in prayer today, let us remember that although we cannot physically be together, we are one church because we all believe in you.
Risen Christ, Easter has passed and so quickly we forget the marvellous story, and return to normal. Although the world right now is not normal, as we all struggle to get our heads round the fact that thousands of people have died in this country, and thousands of families and friends are grieving for lost loved ones. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort them we pray.
Risen Christ, come like spring to bring hope to all nations facing this Covid-19 pandemic. Be with all those in isolation, especially those at home alone and lonely. Be with all those who have now got to stay home because their place of employment is closed, or those who are self-employed and cannot work. Be with all those worried about how they are going to feed their families, and pay the bills. Be with all those trapped in abusive relationships who have nowhere to escape, and for children witnessing this. Help them not to feel like they are living under a dark cloud, but let a shaft of Easter light pierce the gloom and illuminate at least part of their lives.
Risen Christ, silently at home we remember those we know who are suffering. Lord God we thank you for all those working tirelessly in the NHS, in the emergency services, and for all those working in supermarkets and shops so that we may eat. Help us all to pray and keep praying until this pandemic is beaten, and it will be beaten. We pray Lord that after all this death and suffering the leaders of the world might pull together. We thank you as we see small communities in our country pulling together, and we see neighbours helping neighbours who for the first time are becoming friends. Plant Easter in their hearts Lord.
Lord God when this is over let this church be a place where imaginations fly and hope sings. May it be a place where we do something beautiful for God each week, and then go out as Easter people to serve the community around us, because
WE have been raised with Christ and seek things that are above. AMEN
Category: Prayers , Services , The Bridge