United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

4th April 2021 Easter Sunday AND 11th April 2021 Second Sunday of Easter

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

CURRENT WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

As of today we are allowed to gather in groups of 6 or less outdoors, so there will be coffee and tea available in the Parish Centre garden at St Mildred’s if the weather remains suitable!

Meanwhile the diocesan website www.portsmouth.anglican.org still has a direct link to parishes that are streaming live worship, while for those unable to access such resources this pewsheet continues to contain material for offering a “spiritual communion” at home. You must do whatever feels right and safe for you.

ONLINE WORSHIP

Previous services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube via the following link:

Church Service – Palm Sunday – YouTube

Today’s service will appear on YouTube later this week.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: new life, new hope and all causes of celebration

Pray for: worldwide vaccination distribution; all living with restrictions we can barely imagine

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Oliver; Rita; Stuart; Thabani Maposa and family; Helen Hirons; Roo; Paul and family; James; Maureen; families of those in mourning

Give thanks for: Improvements in Catherine’s health; Rita’s improved mobility

If you wish particular names to be added to the prayer list, please inform Rev Susan. All names will be reviewed on a monthly basis. Please keep Rev Susan updated if you would like a name to stay on the list beyond the current month.

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

Ian Hirons; Hilda Chantler; Mitchell McIvor

EASTER SUNDAY WORSHIP MATERIAL

COLLECT FOR EASTER DAY

God of glory,

by the raising of your Son

you have broken the chains of death and hell:

fill your Church with faith and hope;

for a new day has dawned

and the way to life stands open

in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 10 : 34-43

34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

GOSPEL Mark 16 : 1-8

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

ADDRESS

They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. That is hardly the way to begin a new faith. The most amazing thing has happened, and a dead man has been resurrected – but the very first witnesses are so frightened that they don’t tell anyone about it.

What were they afraid of? Perhaps the messenger himself seemed in some way intimidating. Something about him seemed to instil fear into them. Who was he? How did he get to be inside the tomb? If he was an angel, who would believe them? These are humble ordinary women, whose chief concern up till then had been practical matters – the anointing of a body, the practical problem of access. The strange man in white certainly throws them off balance. They don’t stop to ask questions: they simply run away. And that is the point at which the original gospel stops.

Then again, perhaps they were frightened of the message not being believed. Everyone had seen Jesus die, after all. His closest friends were in hiding from the Jews, and just maybe they thought this was some sort of trick. Perhaps they themselves didn’t even believe it. So they weren’t going to risk luring them into any kind of trap. Only in the later versions of Mark’s gospel do we learn that they overcame their fear and told the disciples what had happened. Initially it was all too much, especially when they were all in grief anyway.

But the very fact that there is this initial slowness to understand and to believe, but instead these very opposite reactions of fear and silence suggests that this is no cooked up tale to impress the gullible. We have lost that early naivety and sense of being overwhelmed, because we know the story too well. If you listen to a street preacher witnessing to the gospel, it will often sound contrived and slick, full of clichés and confidence. But that’s simply not how it was at the beginning. Two thousand years of speculation and scholarship have failed to dislodge the sheer mystery of that first Easter morning, in all its chaos and disbelief.

So at first it wasn’t good news as we now understand it – it was just strange and inexplicable, frightening and something to run away from. It only became good news when the women and the disciples had time to assimilate what it meant and to experience for themselves the reality of the risen Christ.

We shouldn’t be surprised when exactly the same is true for us today. Thousands of people – millions even – will have watched Good Friday processions and Passion plays, read about Jesus and even attended church services of some sort: but unless the knowledge of what they have encountered becomes more than head knowledge, unless it actually becomes heart knowledge, it will not be good news at all. It won’t mean any more than it would mean to me to read up a bit about Buddha or Mohammed – maybe interesting, but completely irrelevant to my daily life. I remember being shocked once when I asked a student why he hadn’t ever read the Bible, and he simply shrugged and said, “But there are so many things to read.” So we have this situation where we might know that theoretically the death and resurrection of Jesus are good news, but the next step is yet to be taken – moving from a passive awareness to a personal experience. How is that to happen?

It happens when we take the time to reflect on what we know and to start to find out how to experience God. For each of us that will be different, but the key thing is to set aside time for it to happen. The reason why I fail to get fit isn’t that I don’t know the procedures for joining a gym or eating the right foods: I know perfectly well what the theory is – but I can’t motivate myself to put it into practice – and that’s partly because I fear at heart that it might not make any difference anyway. There are a lot of people who feel the same way about religion. There is an underlying fear that it might not make any difference, as much as any underlying fear that it might mean making changes in what is to some extent a contented life.

There is also the stumbling block that we probably have never been taught to pray beyond the very simple baby-like prayers that we learned when we were small. So the prayer we feel safe with is nowhere near adequate to equip us for a mature spirituality. What might have fed us when we were three is unlikely to be appropriate now. At the same time, we live in an individualistic culture that really dislikes being told what to do or being lumped in with a load of strangers – who just might be more clued up than we are and make us feel awkward. So we put our heads in the sand and forget all about it.

But help is at hand. The prayer room we had a few months back has been a good way to start to explore prayer, but also I can say with absolute certainty that any vicar or reader or member of a prayer group would be delighted to know that someone wants to learn more about praying, and any member of a church congregation, if they don’t feel confident themselves in what to say to people enquiring, would be happy to pass on the request to someone who just might be able to help.

This is Easter, the time of new beginnings and new life. It’s a time to look for the resurrection of faith among the people who are the living church, the body of Christ, not some bunch of scared people dependent on a vicar, but people who are rising to new life right before our very eyes. Now that is good news.

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(Supplied by Peter Robinson)

Jesus is risen from the dead! Having passed through death to life, Christ has won the victory over everything evil and destructive. Full of glory and power, he enables us to bring the hope and joy of resurrection into the world’s problems and tragedies. With God, nothing is impossible.

In the joy of this Easter morning, let us pray to the God who loves us completely.

We pray that the joy and conviction of Christians may be so radiant that all who are lost, weary and searching may be directed towards your lasting, inner peace. May churches be a place of welcome for all, so that existing and new attendees feel wanted.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

We pray that from every world crisis and tragedy, especially this current pandemic, some good may come, and every problem become an opportunity for development and spiritual growth. We pray that this country sees the relevance of God, and not to let the politicians marginalise our faith.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

We pray for the newly born, and for all families, that the children may be nurtured, and the elderly cherished through your wide accepting love. We pray that everyone feels wanted, so that we build communities of friendship.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

We pray that those in mental, physical or spiritual distress may recognise in their suffering a privilege of sharing Christ’s passion, until they also share the joy of new life in you. We pray for all the sick known to you, and especially those named on our pew sheet.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

We pray that all those who have died, and especially from Covid, may share your risen life for ever. We remember in our hearts any whose anniversaries of death occur at this time.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

In silence we praise you, Father for your abundant blessings.

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ,

Amen.

PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

In union, Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body with the sure hope that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you and embrace you with all my being. Let nothing ever separate you from me. May I live and die in your love. Amen.

You might like to sit in silence for a while, then pray:

God of Life,

who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son

to the death of the cross,

and by his glorious resurrection

have delivered us from the power of our enemy:

grant us so to die daily to sin,

that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, either listen to the music links below or simply rest quietly in God’s presence

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 279 Jesus, stand among us.MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 342 My God, and is thy table spread.MOV

NOTICES

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The Café is currently open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10.30am – 2.30pm for takeaways only. Hours will increase as we get into the full tourist season: please contact Sue Richmond (297883) for up to date details!

CONTINUING EVENING WORSHIP ON ZOOM

If you would like to take part in a Zoom service of Evening Prayer please tell Rev Susan and I will send out an online invitation. You do not have to own a computer to do this: Zoom can be downloaded onto an i-phone or an iPad very easily, after which it is just a question of responding to the link that will be sent to you by email.

The Zoom service will resume at 8.00pm on the second Wednesday of the month from Wednesday 14th April.

ARRANGEMENTS AFTER EASTER

Rev Susan is off duty for a week following Easter Day, so please contact Rev Mike or Rev Peter if there are any pastoral emergencies, otherwise the Pastoral Assistant Team (Peter Robinson, Gillian Jackson, Colin Dutton) may be able to help. For matters involving the church buildings, contact the wardens, and for wedding enquiries please see the Portsmouth Diocese website for updates on what is allowable at the time of writing.

I am grateful to Rev Mike for agreeing to take next Sunday’s services.

Now read on for next Sunday’s liturgical material…..



SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER WORSHIP MATERIAL

COLLECT FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

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.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 4 : 32-35

32 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. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There 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. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

GOSPEL John 20 : 19-end

19 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.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So 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.’

26 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.’ 27Then 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.’ 28Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But 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.

INTERCESSIONS

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the renewed message of hope which Easter brings, that we can overcome our fears by believing and trusting in you, accepting your forgiveness and receiving a fresh start in life.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

Thank you for the spring flowers and lovely birdsong of this season. We are grateful for the easing of Lockdown allowing us to meet family and friends again. Help us to proceed with caution, out of consideration for others.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

We pray for your church in the world, and here on the Island we pray for our Clergy, and ask for your guidance Lord in seeking a successor to Christopher, Bishop of Portsmouth, as he retires.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen and give wisdom to all in authority. We pray for the world and its leaders, for politicians, governments, scientists working on our vaccines and for doctors and medicines worldwide.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

We pray for our local community, our NHS and key-workers, and those assisting with the vaccine administration. We pray for our local Councillors in the forthcoming elections, our homes, shops, businesses, schools and colleges.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

Compassionate Lord, we pray for the sick, all who have died during this past year, and for the bereaved. For all who are suffering, and for those who are helping to care for them, we ask, loving Lord, that you would comfort and strengthen them.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

In a time of silence we humbly pray for our own needs.

Lord hear us . . . Lord graciously hear us

We are reminded at this time that through the resurrection of Jesus he offers us hope where there is despair, joy where there is grief, trust where there is fear, and where there is indifference, love.

May God grant us faith to continue our lives following Jesus, as we tell others the good news, that Christ is risen.

Merciful Father . . . accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

In union, Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body with the sure hope that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you and embrace you with all my being. Let nothing ever separate you from me. May I live and die in your love. Amen.

You might like to sit in silence for a while, then pray:

Lord God our Father,

through our Saviour Jesus Christ

you have assured your children of eternal life

and in baptism have made us one with him:

deliver us from the death of sin

and raise us to new life in your love,

in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

To conclude, either listen to the music links below or simply rest quietly in God’s presence

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 152 Gather around, for the table is spread.MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\Voluntary (Wesley).MOV