Weekly Online Service
02 May 2021 The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.

Hymn

Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost

Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost,
taught by thee, we covet most
of thy gifts at Pentecost,
holy, heavenly love.

Love is kind, and suffers long,
love is meek, and thinks no wrong,
love than death itself more strong;
therefore give us love.

Prophecy will fade away,
melting in the light of day;
love will ever with us stay;
therefore give us love.

Faith will vanish into sight;
hope be emptied in delight;
love in heaven will shine more bright;
therefore give us love.

Faith and hope and love we see
joining hand in hand agree;
but the greatest of the three,
and the best, is love.

From the overshadowing
of thy gold and silver wing
shed on us, who to thee sing,
holy, heavenly love.

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

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

and also with you.

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.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

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

Gloria in Excelcis

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

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.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

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.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

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.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

The Collect of the Day.

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The New Testament Readings

Acts 8.26-40 - Read by Jean McDonald

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31 He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
   and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
     so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
   Who can describe his generation?
     For his life is taken away from the earth.’
34 The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’ 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

1 John 4.7-21 - Read by Diane Coxon

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

John 15.1-8 - Read by Katie Smart

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

The True Vine

May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Evangelists ‘Jews for Jesus’ often remark that Chapter 53 from Isaiah is the turning point in the conversion of many Jewish people, and today we read of Philip who was perhaps the first evangelist and of his encounter with an Ethiopian of high standing who was reading aloud some words of Isaiah.

Let me tell you about a young woman, let’s call her Elizabeth, who had recently been discharged from the best rehabilitation unit in the country. Every day she drove her newly converted car to Stratford where she watched the Olympic Stadium rise layer by layer from the ground.

Some of the builders noticed this and a few began to give her a wink or a whistle. When the day came for the scaffolding to come down a young man in a smart suit and a yellow helmet came over to her in the car park, he had noticed the ‘blue badge’ and he asked what made her come every day and just sit and watch for an hour and then leave. I think she must have liked the look of him because uncharacteristically she said, “If you have time for a cup of coffee, I will tell you my story”.

Elizabeth loved running, she had been in training, when, on an early morning run two years before, a car had skidded on a bend and knocked her twenty feet down the road. When she woke from the coma it gradually became clear that not only was her spine broken but also one of her legs had been amputated.

The love of her life, her passion for running had been snatched away just when she had a chance of running for her country, perhaps even to compete in the Olympics. Elizabeth’s spirit was crushed; most of her friends were athletes and had drifted away, she felt excluded from all that she had dreamed about, hoped, and planned for. Hold on to your feelings about Elizabeth’s situation, we will join her again later.

Returning to Philip and his encounter with the Ethiopian. This was a man, ritually unclean, who, because of his mutilation, was never going to be included in the Jewish faith, and yet still he loved the one true God of Israel. He was excluded from celebrating the festival, and yet still he wanted to worship, to be near the Temple and feel close to where God met with his people.

On his way home, in the middle of nowhere, and whilst reading from the scriptures, he met Philip, or rather Philip ran into him. The Ethiopian became aware of and invited Philip to join him. To discuss and flesh out what it was he struggled to see in Isaiah’s words. Philip did something quite remarkable, as we shall discover.

Scholars tell us that the passage in Isaiah, chapter 53, and the piece that we know as ‘The Suffering Servant’ had been interpreted in two quite distinct ways. The first saw the Messiah as the ‘new David’ a warrior and the sufferings as what he inflicted on the pagans and gentiles. The second view of the servant was one of the ‘righteous martyrs’, but they were not the messiahs. Philip, it seemed with a masterstroke married the two ideas together, and perhaps was first in applying both to Jesus. In Jesus, God had revealed his universal servant love for Jew and Gentile alike, in fact for all creation. Jesus had swept aside the old order and made the unclean clean and acceptable.

The Eunuch was baptised in a convenient pool of water, and went on his way as Luke records, rejoicing. Philip in some mysterious way was transported to Azotus where he too, full of the Holy Spirit, preached the ‘good news’ to everyone he met on his way to Caesarea.

The implications of Jesus’ resurrection were beginning to gel for the apostles. The symbolic vine of Israel from Moses forward had been kept pure for their God by the rules and regulations of the ‘Law’. Jesus, the true vine, now presented different symbols, the cross and the empty tomb, signs of healing and restoration for everyone. The old order had indeed been replaced, God’s overwhelming love for his creation now held no bounds.

Back now to Elizabeth’s story; as he got up to pay for their coffee Elizabeth noticed a slight limp in his gait. As he walked beside the wheelchair, back toward the car she asked what was wrong. He lifted a trouser leg just enough to show a prosthetic leg. As he closed the car door, he offered a ticket to the Paralympic 100mtr finals. Elizabeth refused it saying that she was competing too, in the wheelchair event.

Jesus taught us to love our neighbour as our self; John’s letter speaks of God’s overwhelming love; a love that is not so much an emotion but more of a call to action. This love in action is what prompted Philip to approach the chariot of a High Ranking Foreign official and the result, if we are to believe it, was the Ethiopian Church that thrives to this day.

Elizabeth and the young man, a soppy romantic story perhaps, but in everyday life we all make assumptions about other people. We sometimes exclude people from our groups because they are not like us, not good sports, not from the same place, not as clever, do not support the same football club. Think about Elizabeth and the young man and the disfigured Ethiopian and as N. T. Wright reflects, “Physically unfit, ritually excluded; all that way and no entrance ticket when he arrived…” As Disciples of Christ, we remember the Church is open to all, the prisoner, the poor, the disabled, the smelly; Jesus the Suffering Servant has made us servants too.

May we, like Philip, by the grace of God, be moved by the spirit of love in action, to approach the stranger and impart a little of God’s overwhelming love for us all. Amen.

The Rev'd Mo Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 02/05/2021

Service Audio

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.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

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

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

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. Amen.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Prayer

Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: grant us to walk in his way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour
first-begotten from the dead,
thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people’s head.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Jesu, true and living bread.

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith’s discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia, alleluia,
thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
Alleluia, alleluia,
we in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou wast slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain,
Alleluia, alleluia,
cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly manna,
stricken rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died,
Alleluia, alleluia,
risen, ascended, glorified!

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.