READINGS

EZEKIEL 37.1-14

 

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath* to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath* in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.

 

PSALM 130

 

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

 

ROMANS 8.6-11

 

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit* is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit,* since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit* is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ* from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through* his Spirit that dwells in you.

 

GOSPEL READING: JOHN 11.1-45

 

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,* ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus* was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the Twin,* said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus* had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles* away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.* Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,* the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’

When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

 

HYMNS

 

Organ Celebration

 

New every morning is the love (Listen)
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

The trivial round, the common task,
will furnish all we need to ask,
room to deny ourselves, a road
to bring us daily nearer God.

Only, O Lord, in thy dear love
fit us for perfect rest above;
and help us, this and every day,
to live more nearly as we pray.

Refrain:

Steal away, steal away (Listen)
steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home;
I ain’t got long to stay here.

My Lord, he calls me;
he calls me by the thunder.
The trumpet sounds within my soul;
I ain’t got long to stay here. [Refrain]

Green trees are bending;
poor sinners stand a trembling.
The trumpet sounds within my soul;
I ain’t got long to stay here. [Refrain]

My Lord, he calls me;
he calls me by the lightning.
The trumpet sounds within my soul;
I ain’t got long to stay here. [Refrain]

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy (Listen)
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.

There is no place where earth’s sorrows

are more felt than up in heaven.

There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment given.

For the love of God is broader

than the scope of human mind.
And the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.

But we make his love too narrow

by false limits of our own;

and we magnify his strictness

with a zeal he will not own.

There is plentiful redemption

in the blood that has been shed;

there is joy for all the members

in the sorrows of the Head.

If our love were but more simple,
we should gladly trust God’s Word,
and our lives reflect thanksgiving
for the goodness of our Lord.

 

Intercessions

Praying hands

Prepared by Esther Makinde

Merciful God, we thank you for your unending love and care for us.

We come today to seek your special mercy and forgiveness for all our sins. We confess and admit that we have not followed your ways and teachings through selfishness and arrogance in all that we do.

We now come on our bended knees to ask you, Lord, to look at us with favour and forgive our sins which we believe are the source of our present World Deadly Health War called coronavirus that is ravaging all nations on earth.

Heavenly Father, kindly forgive us and bring back peace and good health into our lives.

We pray for all those who have died due to the illness that you grant them eternal rest and grant heir families the fortitude to bear their loss. We ask you, Lord, to please have mercy on those who are still suffering from the illness and heal them. And for the rest of us, Lord, protect us.

We pray for our Hospital Frontline Workers, the doctors, nurses and all paramedics. Please continue to give them good health and strength to enable them to continue the good caring work they are doing for our country and all over the world. Lord, please guard them against any illness and bless them and their families.

We ask you Lord to bless churches and clergy all over the world and here at St Peter’s. Kindly hear the prayers being offered to you from all churches at this critical time.

Lord bless our church volunteers and our community and continue to give peace, good health and tranquillity in our lives.

 

Message from Matthew Bull, Ordinand (priest in training)

 

God’s Peace and love be with you as you wait out this Coronavirus at home. God’s protection be with you when you leave your home to shop for essentials, and God’s rich blessings rain upon you when you reach out to your neighbour in need.

Such unprecedented times can distract us from the Hope we have in Jesus. Today, as our clocks go forward, and we can enjoy brighter, warmer days, do not forget the hope we have in our risen Lord. The same Lord who instructed the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy in the Valley of the Dry Bones, where life was restored to the dead. The same Lord who raised Lazarus from the dead. The same Lord who will sit with us in our fears and hopes as we wait for an end to this virus.

Hear the words of the Psalmist who cried out to the Lord in his hour of need: I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. In John 11: 25 Jesus said: I am the resurrection and the life. If we can hold onto the words of our Lord in these tough times, then we will see revival now and at the end of the Coronavirus.

God bless you all.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us

that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters

we do also for you:

give us the will to be the servant of others

as you were the servant of all,

and gave up your life and died for us,

but are alive and reign, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

POEMS AND REFLECTIONS

St Peters Lockdown 2020

LOCKDOWN

From Gillian Borrie

 

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

 

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

 

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

Fr Richard Hendrick, OFM     

 

PRAYER FOR A PANDEMIC

From Liz Little
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.
Amen.

Cameron Bellm

 

Julia Portrait

A message from Julia can be read here.

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