Services: Sermons and Prayers

Sermon: 3rd Sunday of Easter 18th April
(Acts 3. 12 – 19 & Luke 24. 36b – 48)

Through the written word, and the spoken word, may we know your Living Word Jesus Christ our Savour, Amen.

I wonder how many of you can associate with what’s happening in our Gospel Reading. How many of you can recall a time when someone has constantly been on at you to do something, or you have had that nagging feeling in your mind, like a little bird on your shoulder, that just won’t go away until you completed the task your being nagged about or that’s on your mind. Well, Jesus today is like that person who is constantly peaking, as we hear for the second time Jesus’ appearance among his disciples with the message of peace but also with the message to go out and testify the Easter message. Yet, different to last week, Jesus this week’s adds to his message about the importance of repentance and looking at the teaching and messages beyond the three days of Easter.

I believe as a society we very easily talk about blame, but forgiveness is often ignored. And I hate to say it, but the church is no better. Though, interestingly for the church we have permission to talk about forgiveness but still find it hard to discuss and be open about the topic. But we are in the Easter season and the message of Easter is not just Jesus died and rose, but that Jesus’ death happened to allow all our sins to be forgiven. In the build up to and on Good Friday we are reminded that Jesus spent over three hours on the cross suffering in pain and torment. We also need to remember that when Jesus died, we hear that the curtain of the temple of torn in two, this is to represent the forgiveness of sins and for the opening of the temple to all who wish to turn to faith. This is two clear statements, in addition to his physical death on forgiveness but often brushed over or incorporated into the whole message. However, by Jesus coming again Jesus reinforces this message more clearly and therefore allows us to live a life of forgiveness with his help and guiding presence.

I often wonder why we are scared of talking about forgiveness and I wonder if it’s because we are unsure how to approach the subject, or if its own personal doubt and understand that makes us scared of challenge’s and questions. But Jesus today, in speaking to his disciples makes it, I believe, simple for us.

Jesus when he first appears puts the disciple’s fears to rest. Jesus begins by coming among them and offering peace. But when he realises that they are fearful and have doubts, Jesus encourages them to recognise him and understand that he is the risen Lord by showing them his hands and his side as proof. Secondly, he asks them for food, another way of proving his human form rather than ghostly.

After creating a calm atmosphere Jesus goes on to teach them about the message of forgiveness. And he does this by firstly offering forgiveness to each of the disciples. If we cast our minds back to the week that led up to Jesus’ death, a number of his disciples doubted, asked questions, and some even betrayed Jesus to the authorities. After his death, finding out that Jesus was not in the tomb many had doubted that he was to come again and began to fear for their own lives and doubt his teaching. This is why when Jesus does come among them for this first time, and they believe again, Jesus offers forgiveness for their betrayal and doubts. Yet, Jesus then tells them that they must learn from this experience and go and teach others about his death in relation to forgiveness.

In his teaching and message Jesus refers to the messages given before his coming. To those given by Moses, the prophets and in the Psalms. And we hear he also opens the disciple’s minds to these messages and understanding in scriptures. Again, these highlight that Jesus’ death and resurrection was for the forgiveness of sins and this message has been and still needs to be proclaimed. However, those before Jesus death only proclaimed these messages with knowledge from God, whereas the disciples are reminded that they are witness of these things, and therefore can proclaim through their own experience and witnessing of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Our Acts reading is a good example of Peter doing what Jesus taught. The reading from Acts comes just after last week’s reading where a man, who many had passed and ignored, was healed outside the temple by two of Jesus’ disciples. On entry to the temple, Peter is highlighting to those who passed the man the error of their ways. The fact that they passed the man, whom they believed was sinful as a result of his inability to walk, therefore leaving him outside the temple and ignoring his presence as well as not recognising God’s present to free all from their sins. Peter then goes on to preach about Jesus’ death and resurrection and that all important message of repentance and forgiveness. Peter ensures that all understand that they are set free to worship and live in God’s presence, despite their wrong doings. Peter ends by suggesting that it is they themselves that need to repent, receive forgiveness and then preach the message of forgiveness to others following their own experiences.

Reflecting on our readings today, I believe, makes forgiveness a little less scary and easier to understand. Firstly when recognising we have done wrong, we need to recognise Jesus died for us and therefore accept forgiveness within our own lives. But then we need to go and share this with others in the same way in which we live and share our other day to day experiences with others.
I am not sure about you but something I have begun to recognise is that it is a lot easier talking from experience than talking about something that we believe is to happen. Quiet early on in my curacy I was listening to someone’s story and this resulted in them needing and me offering to them God’s forgiveness. This giving of forgiveness I could only do due to my own belief and witness in God. Also, in offering forgiveness I began to notice in the weeks that followed, that this individual also began a new life and developed a deeper faith and they themselves now share this message through their new given life. But it’s not just a job for Jesus and for me. We are all disciples of faith and Jesus’ message is to all his disciples. Therefore, if we ourselves are committed to become deeper in faith, our experience is going to also deepen. As none of us are perfect we will often be aware and reminded of God’s forgiveness for us. This in turn will allow us to, like the disciples, keep being witness, and therefore proclaim, without fear and with trust, that Jesus does forgive all and through forgiveness can give life. Life both to ourselves and to others. So, let’s us all today commit to removing the taboo on the topic of forgiveness and instead talk and proclaim openly the message of forgiveness to all who listen.

Intercessions for Easter 3 – Sunday 18th April 2021
By Lesley Lees
Heavenly Father, we bring before you now our concerns for ourselves and for others, our hopes for the coming week and for the future. We pray, not out of duty or habit but in the certainty that you listen and hear us. Help us clear our minds of all the clutter from the past week, help us to focus on you. Lord, breathe the life and energy of the Holy Spirit into our lives that we may expand our vision and come to know you better.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for our own Church. Guide us by your Holy Spirit that our services of worship may be a worthy offering to you and may attract, include and inspire people of all ages; that our inner life of prayer may be nurtured, and that the journey of faith may not be seen as the province of a few. We pray also that our church premises may convey a message of openness, be a means of Christian service, and forge effective links with community groups.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Let us pray for people and places in all kinds of need.
We pray for the parts of the world where life is a daily struggle for survival against war, famine, disease or the cruel, selfish or thoughtless behaviour of others. We pray for the peacemakers and the relief workers who work to improve the lives of the poor and the oppressed. Lord, it is too easy to ignore the imbalance of the world’s riches. Help us always to be mindful of the needs of the world. We pray for those countries who still have very high rates of Covid cases, and hope that mass vaccination programmes can help bring the situation under control.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

In our own country we pray for those who are preparing to stand in the local elections and that they will fairly represent the wishes of all people in their area.
We pray for those without work, especially the young, and that ambition and hope will not be crushed by idleness but that programmes will be developed to increase their skills and to harness their energy in a positive way.

We pray for freedom from poverty and social injustice, freedom from crime and for peaceful living in our neighbourhood. We remember all victims of violent crime.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all children. Lord, lead them day by day in your ways, keep them safe from harm and temptation, protect them from danger. Let their homes be places of love laughter and guidance. Grant them patience and cheerfulness and enthusiasm in all the lessons they must learn as they grow. Help them get the support they need in these challenging times.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We thank you Father for your many miracles of healing, and we pray for all who work with the sick, with all who are lonely and housebound. We name in our hearts those we love who are in need of your healing touch. We pray that your blessing be upon them and those who love and care for them and we pray that they may find peace and comfort in their time of need. We especially at this time pray for Joyce Holt

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We remember those who we love but see no longer. Almighty Father, be with all those who are grieving today over the loss of a loved one.
We remember
Fredrick Ward

Living God you are our strong rock and our shelter we thank you for showing us the way.

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

 

St John’s Hopwood & St Luke’s Heywood
2nd and 3rd Sunday of Easter
11th and 18th April 2021
(at Home Service)

The Greeting
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

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

Prayer of Preparation
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers of Penitence
Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.
Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil
and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

May, almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Gloria
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

The Collect
2nd Sunday of Easter – 11th April
Almighty Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

3rd Sunday of Easter – 18th April
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 for ever. Amen

Readings:
2nd Sunday of Easter – 11th April

Acts 4: 32-35
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. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There 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. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

John 20: 19-end
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.

3rd Sunday of Easter – 18th April

Acts 3: 12-19
When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.
“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,

Luke 24: 36b-48
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

Sermon (attached – See above)

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Affirmation of Faith
Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.
We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions (Attached – see above)
& Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace
The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said:
‘Peace be with you’
Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

The Blessing
May the God of peace,
who brough again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

——————————————————————-

2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER

Sermon: 11th April (Acts 4. 32 – 35 & John 20. 19 – end)
Through the written word, and the spoken word, may we know your Living Word Jesus Christ our Savour, Amen.
A few years ago, I went on a retreat and the theme was “The Road to Emmaus”. The Road to Emmaus is one of two readings we can hear in this second week of Easter. The alternative being the Gospel reading we have heard today – the story of the disciples in the upper Room and Thomas’s doubt. However, both stories pick up on the same themes. They both share the journey whereby Jesus reveals himself post resurrection but at first the disciples are blind to who Jesus is and both end with the message of testifying.
On retreat we reflected in detail on three words – turning, seeing and becoming, words that are important to our faith but also clear in the Gospel today. And it’s some of what I have learnt and reflected on that I want to share with you and encourage you to think about.
One of the things I began to realise, more than I had previously, is that it is hard to separate the different seasons in the church, as each encounter relies on you knowing something of another. During this season of Easter, our readings allow us to reflect on some of Jesus’ post crucifixion encounters. We hear in detail Jesus’ appearance before his disciples but also before those whom God had chosen to be witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. But in order for each to recognise who Jesus is, they need to have been aware of him pre-crucifixion and understand recent events. Then when revealing himself post resurrection, this process of turning, seeing and then becoming can occur.
In our Gospel we hear the disciples had gathered in a locked house. The disciples were afraid and on high alert because they themselves thought they would each be arrested and either killed or put in prison for false prophecy. However, as they were probably sat there discussing their escape from the town, or how to stay safe, Jesus comes among them and simply says “Peace be with you”. The disciples upon hearing this greeting would have had to, no doubt, look up and turn to see who was speaking and see the Lord. But Jesus doesn’t leave it there, Jesus shows them his wounds. As a result not only do the disciples turn to Jesus but they then see, and believe that he is in fact risen from the dead. But again, it’s not left there.
I mentioned that each story finishes with the importance of testifying to the resurrection. In our Gospel, this is given in the form of a commandment but also a gift from Jesus. Jesus allows the disciples to become.
As Jesus breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit” Jesus was becoming part of the disciples in his resurrection life. As a result, the disciple’s change from Co-travellers with Jesus to disciples who had Jesus within them in the form of the spirit and therefore became part of their actions and their words. The disciples turned, saw and in recognising and accepting became. This experience allowed them to testify that Jesus had risen as promised and was still very much with them.
Sounds easy doesn’t it, but Thomas’ reminds us that it’s not as easy as it seems. Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared. When the other disciples shared what had happened, Thomas notes that unless he himself sees and feels Jesus’ hands and side, he would not believe. And he doesn’t, not until a week later when Thomas, for himself, turns and see’s Jesus. And then again in turning and seeing (note not feeling, only by seeing) Thomas becomes. He becomes someone who is also able to testify to Jesus’ resurrection and give his life anew to Jesus. Our Gospel ends…. 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.
We are unsure of the reasons why Thomas was not there on the first night Jesus appeared, but it makes me wonder. How many of us miss opportunities of turning and seeing Jesus because we are too busy in our day to day chores, or too busy to stop and listen or because we are elsewhere either in mind, body or spirit. Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the pathways for us to live a faithful life, yet in order for us to share this with others, we to need to firstly understand and experience our own God given signs, we then need to stop and listen to God’s call, and when God does call, we need to turn, see and become what God has called us to be and go where he has called us to be. By experiencing and doing this we to, like the disciples, along with those years later in Acts, can celebrate and testify with the true knowledge and understanding of joy, hope, peace and love that Jesus promises and gives in his resurrection. Therefore, I invite us all today, to reflect on our encounters with God, to do a reality check and ask ourselves, are we open to hear God’s call upon our lives, and if so, are we ready to say Yes to God. Yes to hearing his call, yes to turning and seeing. But then also yes to becoming. To becoming one centred and filled with Gods presence so that we can testify and proclaim Chris is risen.

Intercessions for Easter 2 – Sunday 11th April 2021
By Tony Williams
Knowing that the risen Christ is here among us,
let us pray in his name
for the Church and for the world.

Father we pray for your blessing
on every group of Christians worshipping today
all over the world;
and we pray for all who doubt your truth.
We pray that our hearts may be set ablaze
with love,
and that we may walk as children of light.

MY LORD AND MY GOD
MY LORD AND MY GOD

Father, we pray for all the areas of your world
which are torn apart by hatred and violence,
famine , disease, or religious differences;
we pray for an end to war
and a deeper commitment to peace.

MY LORD AND MY GOD
MY LORD AND MY GOD

Father, we pray for those who face family rejection
If they become Christians,
and for all families divided by beliefs
or persecuted for their faith.
We pray for the children of our church
that they may grow up strong in the faith
with good role models to guide them.

MY LORD AND MY GOD
MY LORD AND MY GOD

Father, we pray for those who wake up
to the prospect of another day filled with pain;
for those who long for someone
to spend time with them, enjoying their company;
and we pray for sight to notice needs.
We remember Joyce Holt

MY LORD AND MY GOD
MY LORD AND MY GOD

Father, we pray for those who mourn,
and we pray for those they love and miss,
commending all who have died including Frederick Ward
to the everlasting arms of the God of love,
in whom there is life in all its fullness.

MY LORD AND MY GOD
MY LORD AND MY GOD

Father, with joy in our hearts we thank you
for the new life opened up to us
through Jesus, our Redeemer.

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

Easter Day

Easter Day Sermon: (Acts10: 34-43 & Mark 16: 1-8)
Through the written word, and the spoken word, may we know your Living Word Jesus Christ our Savour? Amen
Hope – Hope is a small four-letter word, however at Easter it is a word that is so much more. However, when preparing the sermon for today, my first reactions was:
– How can I preach about hope, when I find it hard to see hope, or need to ask what hope do we want?
– Where hope is so far down the wish list, as exhaustion, frustrations, pain and a muddleness of mind overtakes
– And where hope comes and goes as quick as day and night, and which is out of our control.
– Hope – hope for normality, hope for change, hope for the future, hope for……..

I am sure many of you have or are currently experiencing the same emotions and the same questions, so where do we find Hope. A hope that sustains us, a hope that gives us nourishment, hope of stability, and a hope that remains steadfast and true. Well, as I prepared for Holy Week and Easter Weekend, alongside all that has and is happening in the world around us, all these things were offered to me in the story at the center. And these are offered to all of you too.
Jesus in the lead up to Maundy Thursday has travelled a life of fullness, of learning and teaching, of giving and receive love, plus much more through the giving of himself. Yet has also lived a life that is included hurdles to overcome, has included persecution, has included times of struggle. In other words, Jesus truly lived out the human life that we all experience and can relate to. And in the final days and in his resurrection, he holds on in the Bleakest moments to give us Hope.
Jesus gives us a hope that sustains us. In all that Jesus was to go through, he never lost sight of the end goal. He gave us the bread of life and cup of salvation on that evening at the last support. Even in those final moments, where he stood before Pilate, where he could have changed the whole story, Jesus named the end goal – that he came to testify to the truth, and that only God was in control. And on the cross, Jesus brought together his mother and his beloved disciple, so they could care and support one another. Jesus knew his resurrection was to come, and the hope of what to come is what kept the journey going. Even in the bleakest moments, the hope of what was to come was very much present and alive.
Jesus’ Easter story gives us a hope that gives us nourishment. I have already mentioned the last super. But if we look at a few days post Easter, Jesus is found walking alongside his disciples, unbeknown to them that it was Jesus, the revelation of who it was only became revealed in the breaking of bread again. Weeks later we celebrate Pentecost, where we remember Jesus’ first coming in the form of the Holy Spirit, which is very much alive and present with us today. How we all receive communion and the Holy Spirit will vary. But through prayer, through events in our lives, through the receiving of communion via the bread and wine, or a blessing Jesus feeds us and gives us hope through his not arriving once, but through the endless giving that he offers, and we can receive.
By that continuous giving Jesus offers us a hope of stability. Jesus arrived on earth over 2000 years ago. But through the story of his life, and the teaching and encouragement of his disciples, his story and his presence is still around 2000+ years later. And this continued stability of faith that is still present, is something that cannot be taken away. Faith is something that you choose to believe in and follow. Faith is something that you choose to apply to your life and live out. Faith is your rock and your foundation in all that happens.
Lastly, the Easter story gives us a hope that remains steadfast and true. James chapter 1, verse 12 says – “Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him”. No one said life was going to be easy, and for this reason, Jesus died so our wrongdoings and our sins can be forgiven. If we believe, if we try our best, if we ask for forgiveness when we acknowledge our wrong doings. Jesus promises us a place in the everlasting kingdom when our time comes. As Desmond TuTu said “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
Hope – Hope is a small four-letter word but a word that explodes and gives so much more when placed alongside the Hope that Jesus offers to us all, in his story. So, alongside our struggles, our questions, our world, and things that are out of our control:
– Allow the hope of this Easter to sustain you by not losing sight of that end goal
– Allow the hope of this Easter to nourish you through whichever way God nourishes you in your celebration of Easter.
– Allow the hope of this Easter to offer you stability, reminding us our faith is ours alone and is our rock
– And allow the hope of this Easter to remain steadfast and true not just this weekend, but in the days, weeks, months and year ahead. Because God promises us all that greater things are to come
Jesus is risen, Jesus is alive, and that Jesus comes afresh with Hope to stay with us and be with us always Amen.

INTERCESSIONS 

Christ our Lord, who in his love for us died for us that we might live, we pray for all people in all places and in all kinds of need.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!

Lord our Father, we pray for all people who make up this church, both leaders and congregation.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!

Risen Lord, we pray for people who are suffering as a result of all kinds of disaster, whose lives have been torn apart by war or natural disasters, we pray for the homeless, those who have lost relatives, friends, their town and their livelihoods. May the risen Christ lead them from despair into hope.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!

Lord of love, we pray for all who suffer in mind or body and for those who care for them. We pray for the sick, for those who mourn, for those without faith, hope or love. We pray for any known who are in special need of our prayers at this time, especially those known personally to us. We remember them now in a moment of silence……

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!

The risen Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench, we remember those who have died in this past week, or whose anniversary of death falls at this time. We remember Julie Ann Barns Roger Howarth Fredrick Ward and Joan Taylor

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

Easter Sunday Service – 4th April 2021

The Greeting
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

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

Prayer of Preparation
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers of Penitence
Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.
Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil
and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

May, almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Gloria
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

The Collect
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:
Acts10: 34-43:
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Mark 16: 1-8
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Sermon (attached)

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Affirmation of Faith
Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions & Lord’s Prayer (Refer Prayers above)

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace
The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said:
‘Peace be with you’
Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

The Blessing
May the God of peace,
who brough again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

Go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

INTERCESSIONS SUNDAY 28. 3.2021 – PALM SUNDAY

When you hear the words, Saviour of the world, our redeemer,
Reply by saying:- Save us and help us.

As we rejoice today in Jesus ‘triumphant entry,
Let us gather our thoughts and pray to God our Father.
Lord, as the crowds welcomed Jesus and sang your praises, we pray that many more will welcome you into their hearts over the coming year. We pray for opportunities not only in our church of St. John, but in churches all over the world enabling us to spread your good news and have courage to speak of the love you have for each one of us, freely given through our lord Jesus’s death and resurrection.

Saviour of the world, our redeemer ,
Save us and help us.

Lord as we pray for our world, guide our nations to acknowledge that justice and peace is needed for everyone not just the privileged. Guide all leaders and rulers to care for our world, for the fish and marine life in our many polluted rivers and oceans, for the protection of all trees and animals that live in environments under the threat of human destruction.
Bring comfort to all who are shattered by the betrayal of loved ones, and those who feel scorned and rejected.

Saviour of the world, our redeemer.
Save us and help us.

Lord Jesus, there is nothing we can experience which you have not already suffered. Create in the hearts and minds of all people a realisation that we are all one in your world. Help us to emphasise those things which are similar in all cultures and may we learn to celebrate our differences, together and in peace.
Jesus, stretch forth your wounded hands in blessing over your people, to heal and restore, to draw them to yourself and to one another in love.

Saviour of the world, our redeemer.
Save us and help us.

Lord Jesus, you were broken on the cross to make us whole. Be with all who are suffering at this time, especially because of the corona virus pandemic. Come as a light to all who walk in darkness, the despairing and the despondent. Come as joy to all who have lost confidence and to all who are depressed. Come as hope to all who are ill and fearful of their future.
We pray for Joyce Holt, and bring before you in the silence of hearts loved ones in need of our personal prayer today.

Saviour of the world, our redeemer,
Save us and help us.

Lord Jesus, we remember that you died that we might live. You descended into the depths to raise to the heights. We ask your blessings upon all our loved ones departed.
We bring before you in prayer,

Fredrick Ward, Roger Howarth, and Julie Ann Barns.

May they rejoice in the fullness of your kingdom.

Saviour of the world, our redeemer,
Save us and help us.

God of grace and glory give us the mind, the heart and the strength to live for you. Walk with us and work through us that we may be faithful in prayer, grow in holiness, and draw many to you, as we walk in the power of your spirit transform us into the likeness of Christ, to the glory of your name.

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

             

 Palm Sunday
28th March 2021
(Via Zoom / at Home)

The Greeting
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you.

Prayer over the Palms
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, during Lent we have been preparing by works of love and self-sacrifice for the celebration of our Lord’s death and resurrection. Today we come together to begin this solemn celebration in union with the Church throughout the world. Christ enters his own city to complete his work as our Saviour, to suffer, to die, and to rise again. Let us go with him in faith and love, so that, united with him in his sufferings, we may share his risen life.

God our Saviour,
whose Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as Messiah to suffer and to die;
let these palms be for us signs of his victory
and grant that we who bear them in his name
may ever hail him as our King,
and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The Palm Gospel
Mark 11: 1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
“Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

The Collect
True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.
Amen

Passion Reading John Chapter 18 and 19
(See end of Service for full reading)

Homily

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.
Intercessions & Lord’s Prayer
Refer to Prayers by Denise

…..Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer

….. Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace
Once we were far off, but now in union with Christ Jesus
we have been brought near through the
shedding of Christ’s blood, for he is our peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you and also with you.

Hymn
(words and music on screen)

The Blessing
May the Father,
who so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
bring you by faith to his eternal life.
Amen.
May Christ,
who accepted the cup of sacrifice
in obedience to the Father’s will,
keep you steadfast as you walk with him the way of his cross.
Amen.
May the Spirit,
who strengthens us to suffer with Christ
that we may share his glory,
set your minds on life and peace.
Amen.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen

 

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is,

seen and unseen.

 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

 

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Intercessions & Lord’s Prayer

 Refer to Denise’s Prayers above

…..Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer

 

….. Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Passion Reading John Chapter 18 and 19

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus before the High Priest

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.  Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Peter Denies Jesus

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter Denies Jesus Again

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Jesus before Pilate

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.[g] It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters,[h] so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters[i] again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

Jesus Sentenced to Death

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters] again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew[c] Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[d] is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.