Easter 4 2020
This page contains all of the resources for our Sunday act of worship. You are encouraged to join us at 9:30am if you are from Widford or Wareside or 11am if you are from Hunsdon because these are the normal times of the services in these villages. However, if you are unable to make this, please follow in your own time. Our use of common resources means that, though we are separated, we can nonetheless worship together.
Sentence of Scripture
“I myself will tend my sheep and make them lie down,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.
I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.”
Prayer of Preparation
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.
Choose “All people that on earth do dwell” (traditional) or “10,000 reasons” (contemporary)
Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
teach us to hear your voice
and to follow your command,
that all your people may be gathered into one flock,
to the glory of God the Father.
Prayers of Penitence
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:8-9)
Let us admit to God the sin that always confronts us.
we have sinned against you;
we have done evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your love.
Wash away our wrongdoing
and cleanse us from our sin.
Renew a right spirit within us
and restore us to the joy of your salvation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(cf. Psalm 51)
Hear the words of comfort our Saviour Christ says to all who truly turn to him:
God so loved the world
that he gave his only-begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life.
Hear what Saint Paul says:
This saying is true and worthy of full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
(1 Timothy 1.15)
First Bible Reading
“The Lord’s my Shepherd”: choose traditional (Crimond) or contemporary (Townend)
Second Bible Reading
Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Though he was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself
and was obedient to death,
even the death of the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(cf. Philippians 2.6-11)
In union with Christ Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to God the Father.
Heavenly Father, you promised through your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, to hear us when we pray in faith.
So we pray:
For your church:
As our media is dominated by stories of how coronavirus is affecting lives all over the world, other tragedies are being overlooked. We pray today for your church in Africa; our brothers and sisters in the faith being persecuted, attacked and killed by Islamist groups. We remember the Christians killed by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria over the last month including a five-year old girl. We pray for the Christian family whose grave was desecrated in Burkina Faso and the eleven churches that were destroyed there that same week. We grieve the murders of 57 Christians and the damage caused to churches by militants in Mozambique.
Compassionate Lord, have mercy on your suffering people. As their world falls apart, give them hope in your eternal promises and resilience to endure to the end, witnessing faithfully to the one who himself suffered and died in the cause of truth and true worship. Help us to value and to make best use of the freedom we have to worship you without fear. Stir us to long for a deeper knowledge of who you are and for a closer walk with you day by day. May y our Holy Spirit transform us, that we might shine your light into the darkness of our world, that love may overcome hatred and that justice, truth and peace may be known in all nations.
For the world:
As we have considered the need to follow the right shepherd, so we pray for those to whom you have given the responsibility of leading the nations. Especially we pray for Boris Johnson, those who serve with him in our government and those in Her Majesty’s opposition who seek to hold them to account on behalf of the people.
Sovereign Lord, give wisdom to all in authority, and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace.
For our communities:
We remember the communities of which we are a part – our families, friendship circles, villages, clubs, schools and workplaces.
Loving Lord, we thank you for the gift of human friendship, and we praise you for the kindness and generosity that people are showing in these trying times. Please uphold all those who are seeking the welfare of others and draw close to those who are finding this lockdown experience distressing. We pray especially for those who grieve and are fearful: may they know your peace and your hope. And for those who are lost – that they may come to the Lord Jesus as their shepherd and receive life in all its fulness, now and for all eternity.
The Lord’s Prayer
As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Choose either “Lead us, Heavenly Father, lead us” (traditional) or “Is He worthy?” (contemporary)
God the Father,
by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
strengthen you to walk with him in his risen life;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be with you always.
Some material in this service is from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) and is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council. cf. www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship