2nd Sunday of Easter Worship

The Second Sunday of Easter – 19th April 2020

The Preparation

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

A Living Hope

Blessèd be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:
   by whose great mercy we have been born anew,

born to a living hope:
   by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;  

born to an inheritance which will never perish or wither away:
   one that is kept in heaven for us.  

By God′s power we are guarded through faith:
   for a salvation ready to be revealed at the end of time.

We rejoice in this, though now we suffer various trials:
   so that the genuineness of our faith,
      more precious than gold that is tested by fire,  

may result in praise and glory and honour:
   at the revelation of Jesus Christ.      1 Peter 1:3-7

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy  Spirit;   
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever.
Alleluia! Amen.

As God who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in all your conduct.
Spirit of God, search our hearts.

In silence we remember our need for God’s forgiveness.

Silence

Let us confess our sins to God.

Almighty and merciful God,
we have sinned against you,
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with all our heart.
We have not loved others
as our Saviour Christ loves us.
We are truly sorry.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.   Amen.

Almighty God, who pardons all who truly repent,
forgive our sins, strengthen us by the Holy Spirit,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

Collect

God of mystery,
you affirm our right to question what we find hard to know.
Grant us the maturity of faith
that knows when to question and when to trust.
Through Jesus Christ our Liberator,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Ministry of the Word

A reading from Acts 2:14a, 22-32


(Peter preaches the fundamental message of the resurrection.)

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,
   for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
   moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
   or let your Holy One experience corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”

‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
“He was not abandoned to Hades,
   nor did his flesh experience corruption.”
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.

Acts 2:14a, 22-32

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

Psalm 16

Preserve me O God:
   for in you I have taken refuge.

I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my God:
   from you alone comes all my prosperity.’

All my delight is in the faithful who dwell in the land:
   and in those who excel in virtue.

But as for those who run after other gods:
   their troubles shall be multiplied.

Libations of blood I will not offer to those gods:
   nor will I take their names upon my lips.
All my delight is in the faithful who dwell in the land:
   and in those who excel in virtue.

You Lord are my allotted portion and my cup:
   you yourself have cast my lot.

All my delight is in the faithful who dwell in the land:
   and in those who excel in virtue.

My boundaries enclose a pleasant land:
   indeed I have a noble heritage.

I will thank you O Lord for giving me counsel:
   at night also you teach my heart.

I keep you always before me:
   you are on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall.

So my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices:
   my body also shall rest in safety.

For you will not give me up to the power of death:
   nor suffer your beloved to see the Abyss.

You will show me the path of life, in your presence is the fulness of joy:
   and from your right hand flow delights for evermore.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Alleluia! Amen.

A reading from John 20:19-31 –­ or watch the video

(Two appearances of the risen Lord to his disciples)

Rev’d Alister Hendery reading the Gospel for today 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.

JOHN 20:19-31

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

The Sermon  

SEE THE SERMON WORD OR PDF FILE ATTACHED TO THE EMAIL – OR WATCH THE VIDEO

2nd Sunday of Easter
Jesus of the Scars
John 20:19-31
 
The Oxford Dictionary defines a scar as: ‘a permanent mark on
the skin from a wound; emotional damage from grief etc.; sign
 of damage.’
 
We all have scars of some kind, whether physical, emotional,
 or spiritual. Scars not only mark us but tell a story. I
 wonder what stories your scars tell ... stories of pain,
 heartache, suffering ... but there may also be stories joy
 and hope, of lessons learned or adversity overcome. Then
 there’s the question of what we choose to do with our scars
 ...  Some we may bear with ease. Others we may hide or even
 have removed, and yet others may have become a gift.
 
Another question comes to mind. What will God do when the time
 comes for us to receive what Saint Paul calls a resurrected
body ­– an imperishable or spiritual body. Will we still carry
 the blemishes and the damage that we incur over a lifetime?
 Will the scars remain, or will they be removed? Perhaps it’s
 a trivial question – the type that emerges when one has been
 in lockdown – but it was relevant to the disciples that
 evening when Jesus came to them.
 
Jesus stands among them and says, “Peace be with you.” They
 don’t immediately recognise him. Then he shows him his scars.
 Now they know him. His scars aren’t superficial cuts and
 bruises. These are the wounds of the cross – terrible wounds
 of human betrayal, of torture, humiliation, degradation, and
 of an agonising death.
 
The disciples recognise Jesus by his scars. This go against
 our picture of perfection, but the risen Jesus still bears
 these ugly marks. They are a part of who he is. When he was
 raised from the dead, the cross wasn’t left behind. The risen
 Christ is also the Christ who suffered and was crucified. The
 resurrection and the cross can’t be separated.
 
Christian art has portrayed this through the centuries.
 Countless images of the risen Jesus show the marks of
 suffering never effaced but carried into risen glory. Such
 art conveys a deep truth and a profound hope. It says to us
 that the triumphant and risen Christ is a Christ who suffers
 with us. Jesus may be risen from the dead, but he still
 shares our pain and suffering. The cross has left Jesus
 scared and wounded for eternity.
 
Thomas was absent from this encounter with Jesus, and when he
 was told about it he declared, “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.” We often
 give Thomas a hard time, labelling him doubting Thomas. But
 perhaps there’s a Thomas in many of us. He reminds us that
 questions and doubts often form a part of our faith journey.
 He also reminds us that it’s in Jesus’ scars and wounds we
 see who God is – God as vulnerable, suffering love.
 
After the First World War, when people were struggling to come
 to terms with the immensity of suffering and carnage that all
 war inflicts, Edward Shillito (1872–1948), wrote a poem
 called Jesus of the Scars.
 
 
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.
 
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.
 
If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.
 
The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.
 
Jesus invited Thomas to probe his wounds, but seeing the scars
 Thomas knew this was Jesus, and makes his declaration of
 faith, “My Lord and my God!” In telling this story, John
 knows that this isn’t an option for us. Yet, we receive a
 blessing: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
 come to believe.” Blessed are those who trust, even without
 seeing. This blessing reaches over the centuries to us today.
 We are blessed because God in whom we trust is God who is
 wounded, scarred, and disfigured by pain and suffering.
 
Earlier in this story, John tells of how Jesus breathed the
 Holy Spirit on the disciples. It’s the creation of the
 church, the body of Christ. If we are to be at all like the
 one who created us – if we are to reflect our Lord and God –
 which is our calling – then we must own that we are a
 wounded, scarred community. We have scar tissue everywhere,
 even though we may pretend it’s not so. If the Easter faith
 is to prevail it won’t be through a church that pretends to
 have a perfect, unblemished body, but a community which bears
 living witness to the marks of suffering and pain, of
 questions and doubts.
 
Let us we proclaim our trust and belief in one who is risen
 and crucified – whose wounds speak to our wounds – and give
 thanks for Jesus of the Scars, the resurrected Christ who has
 breathed new life into us and called us to be his own.
 
Alister Hendery
St Matthew’s, Hastings – 19.4.2020

Prayers

Make your ways known upon earth, O God,
your saving power among all peoples.

Renew your Church in holiness,
and help us to serve you with joy.

Guide the leaders of this and every nation,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.

Let not the needy, O God, be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Make us instruments of your peace,
and let your glory be over all the earth.

We offer our own prayers…  Pray especially for

Our Prime Minister, government, and officials, that they may have the necessary strength and wisdom at this very challenging time…

Those who are critically ill and for the medical staff who are caring for them…

Those in essential occupations, that they will have stamina and patience to fulfil their work…

For the dying, those who have died, and those who grieve – remembering that they are unable to hold funerals for their loved ones.

Give thanks for those who have, in some way, served you this past week…

Christ, you are risen with the sun;
you are light in our darkness,
warmth in our cold.
You are peace and hope and joy,
for you went willingly to death.
You turned defeat and failure to victory for all.
You live eternally, and with you live the millions,
living and dead, who trust in you.

In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father,
to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The risen Christ is in our midst, and so we pray

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.
Save us from the time of trial
   and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours    now and for ever.    Amen. 

Christ who out of defeat brings new hope and new alternatives, bring us new life.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

            ~


~ Go and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea…. or a glass a bubbly with an Easter egg (or two). Chat to a parishioner by phone, email or text, especially someone who may not have email. 

KEEP IN TOUCH

Our St Matthew’s website is being updated regularly:  https://stmattshastings.com

Also our St Matthew’s Facebook

CONTACTS

The Rev’d Alister Hendery: 021 742 434
Email: alister.hendery@waiapu.com

Parish Office (Tracey at home):  06 878 9476
Email: stmatthews.hastings@gmail.com

~ This copyright material is taken from A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, © Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and is used in accordance with regulations.

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