St. Mary's Church

Sixth Sunday of Easter

16 May 2020 • General news

Readings

Acts 17:22-31

22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor[a] he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God[b] and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we too are his offspring.’

29 Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”


1 Peter 3:13-22

13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear,[a] and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence.[b] Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered[c] for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you[d] to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for[e] a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

John 14:15-21

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep[a] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[b] to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in[c] you.

18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Thought for the Day

1 Peter 3: 18-22 by Revd Dmitry Lutsenko

The book of 1 Peter was written by Peter ‘the apostle of Jesus Christ’ (1:1) with the help of Silas who Peter regards as a faithful brother (5:12). The book most likely was written from Rome (5:12-13 ‘Babylon’ was used as a cryptic name for Rome) to all Christians both Jews and Gentiles scattered throughout the Roman provinces of Asia Minor (Pontus, Galatia and Cappadocia) modern day territory of Turkey.

The letter was written to encourage new Christians in their newly acquired faith. Peter sees Christians in danger of persecution (1:6) and not prepared for it (4:12). In the light of this he aimed to encourage and to testify to the true grace of God (5:12) in which he urged his readers to stand. Encouragement and testimony are prominent throughout the book, as Peter declares God’s gracious acts in Christ, made known and mediated to us by his Spirit. This is vividly seen in today’s reading 1 Peter 3:18-22.

In today’s reading Peter reminds us of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. He points out that Christ also suffered on the cross, although the was innocent and did not deserve to be punished. He did it to bring us back into original relationship with his Father, so we can experience love, forgiveness, restoration, hope and purpose for our lives. By reaffirming the Gospel Peter hopes to affirm the faith of the new believers in the light of their present persecution. According to Peter, Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together to bring us to new life in which past is forgiven (3:18), the present protected and future assured.

Peter’s message intended to equip Jesus’ followers to live in the real world as they faced suffering of persecution. This message can motivate us today too, as we live in the real world with the presence of various types of suffering, not so much of persecution in this country, but our current battle and struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as numerous other sufferings and challenges of modern world. According to Peter, our current sufferings are only temporary and they are nothing in comparison to the eternal glory we will receive when we meet our Heavenly Father face to face in Heaven. 

Intercessions

Heavenly Father,

We remember the presence of the Risen Christ with us now.

We pray for your church; for its clergy and lay ministers. Especially we pray for Malcolm and Dimitry, that you will guide them through these exceptional times. We pray for Frances and all hospital chaplains as they support patients and staff.

Thank you Lord for all doctors, nurses and care workers on the frontline.

Lord in your mercy...........Hear our prayer.

We continue to pray for all people in the world suffering from Covid-19, whether in hospital, at home or in a carehome. Comfort them, help them to overcome feelings of isolation and despair. We pray for families in distress, feeling depression and uncertainty about what the future may bring. We particularly pray for those living with illnesses apart from coronavirus and anyone who has lost a loved one. Help them towards an understanding that their loved one is at peace.

Lord in your mercy...........Hear our prayer.

We pray for those in authority, facing the burdens of government and decision-making. Help them to overcome any feelings of doubt and confusion. May we be ever thankful for all those who continue to support our day to day lives, the postmen, the policemen, council workers, shop staff and many others.

Lord in your mercy …........Hear our prayer.

As we nervously face a world of greater risk, we only ask for your company on our journey. Show us where we may bring calm, confidence and a sense of hope to others. We ask for the simple trust that only you can give us.

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

Morning Prayer (Zoom)

Date Meeting ID Password
18.5.20 8843453 5958 1At19b
19.5.20 843 9900 4348 1gBizf
20.5.20 822 4544 9050 3QfUth
21.5.20 851 7438 2922 0Z4R6Q