Light a candle as a reminder of Jesus keeping you company
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Come with me, come wander,
come welcome the world
where strangers might smile
or stones may be hurled;
come leave what you cling to,
lay down what you clutch
and find, with hands empty,
that hearts can hold much.
Sing hey for the carpenter leaving his tools!
Sing hey for the Pharisees leaving their rules!
Sing hey for the fishermen leaving their nets!
Sing hey for the people who leave their regrets!
Come walk in my company,
come sleep by my side,
come savour a lifestyle
with nothing to hide;
come sit at my table
and eat with my friends,
discover that love which
the world never ends.
Sing hey for the …
Come share in my laughter
come close to my fears,
come find yourself washed with
the kiss of my tears;
come stand close at hand while
I suffer and die
and find in three days
how I never will lie.
Sing hey for the …
Come leave your possessions,
come share out your treasure
come and give and receive without
method or measure;
come loose every bond that’s
resisting the Spirit
enabling the earth to
be yours to inherit
Sing hey for the …
John L Bell and Graham Maule
Loving God, we are here to worship you.
Help us to remember that you are with us,
We pray to you in faith,
sing your praises with gratitude,
and listen to your word with eagerness;
through Christ our Lord
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today our daily food. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the glory and the power Forever and ever,
1 John 1:1-2:11
1 1-2 From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
3-4 We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
Walk in the Light
5 This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.
6-7 If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.
8-10 If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—simply come clean about them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.
2 1-2 I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.
The Only Way to Know We’re in Him
2-3 Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.
3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him’, but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 whoever says, ‘I abide in him’, ought to walk just as he walked. 7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because[b] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says, ‘I am in the light’, while hating a brother or sister,[c] is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves a brother or sister[d] lives in the light, and in such a person[e] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates another believer[f] is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
- 1 John 1:4 Other ancient authorities read your
- 1 John 2:8 Or that
- 1 John 2:9 Gk hating a brother
- 1 John 2:10 Gk loves a brother
- 1 John 2:10 Or in it
- 1 John 2:11 Gk hates a brother
The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 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. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
NRSVA: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Blessedness of Unity
A Song of Ascents.
1 How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
life for evermore.
1 John 1:1-22
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
Jesus and Thomas
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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.’ 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27 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.’ 28 Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 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.’
The Purpose of This Book
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 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.
- John 20:24 Gk Didymus
- John 20:31 Other ancient authorities read may continue to believe
- John 20:31 Or the Christ
Reflection on 1 John 1:1-2:11
In this passage there are four major topics:
1/ The writer reminds his audience that he was a witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus:
2/ He gives the main theme of Jesus’ life – to reveal that God is light, and that followers of The Way can walk in the light – that is, we can live in the company of Jesus, in the freedom conferred by his Spirit:
3/ Reassurance that human failings – sin – in those of his Church will be judged and written off because Jesus died loving for all humanity although Believers need to live in obedience to Jesus’ commandments;
4/ John writes that whichever believer “hates his brother” is not living with Jesus’ Spirit, and “does not know the way to go.”
Jesus left three commandments:
1/ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength;
2/ Love your neighbour as yourself;
3/ Love one another as Jesus loved his disciples.
Long after John’s letters were written, “The Way” had changed to “Christianity”. There was a welter of different teachings, Gnostics, Arians, Copts, Jewish Christians. Many communities and no New Testament, no canon of Scriptures. Often wrangles between different scholars, different communities.
In 313 Emperor Constantine decreed that Christianity was to be accepted alongside the other religions practised in the Roman Empire.
In 322 he ordered fifty sets of Scriptures for churches he founded: two copies have survived. Recent studies of these Codices has added hugely to Christian knowledge.
Fifty years after Constantine, Christianity was made the only permitted religion, bringing Christendom to full power.
The intervention of Christendom, where the Empire demanded that its soldiers be Christians who were required to kill enemies of the State while “loving” them seriously derailed Jesus’ non-violent approach and diverted attention from ending the Sacrificial Meme.
This Meme, where followers of The Way, of Jesus, would deal with tensions and stresses within the community by appealing to the Holy Spirit reminded disagreeing parties that Jesus had broken the endless cycle of sacrifice of an innocent victim where the sins of, and tensions within the community are removed for some, usually short, period, and then the cycle repeats itself.
John’s reminder that intolerant church members are at fault and tolerance and compromise is necessary for the life of the church.
Put simply, a Christian’s duty is to live, following Jesus’ three commands and using the text of the Sermon on the Mount for situational guidance.
If we allow ourselves to be hurried, to be put under pressure, our witness will become clouded – the “mirror dimmed” and the partial will rule instead of God’s kingdom principles.
(1) A meme is a often repeated pattern of behaviour, such as the elimination of tensions within a community by picking a scapegoat, usually wholly innocent, and ousting it from the group – sacrificing the victim in some way. eg Jesus was the Temple’s victim.
Pray for ourselves, our community, for those in need
God of compassion and mercy, listen to our prayer. May what we ask in Christ Jesus be done according to his word: he said “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”
We pray for the needs of the world, for those returning to work, for the keyworkers who have worked so hard to keep our society going.
We pray for those who fear with deep dread: may their fear abate.
We pray for the Church, that we and the other members will bear witness of your compassion, your powerful love.
Lord, we pause to let these prayers deepen and grow within our minds, our hearts, our understanding of the complexities of today.
Father, let these things be.
Jesus calls us here to meet him
as, through word and song and prayer,
we affirm God’s promised presence
where his people live and care.
Praise the God who keeps his promise;
praise the Son who calls us friends;
praise the Spirit who, among us,
to our hopes and fears attends.
Jesus calls us to confess him
Word of life and Lord of all,
sharer of our flesh and frailness,
saving all who fail or fall.
Tell his holy human story;
tell his tales that all may hear;
tell the world that Christ in glory
came to earth to meet us here.
Jesus calls us to each other,
vastly different though we are;
creed and colour, class and gender
neither limit nor debar.
Join the hand of friend and stranger;
join the hands of age and youth;
join the faithful and the doubter
in their common search for truth.
Verse 4 is omitted when Holy Communion is not being celebrated
John L Bell; Graham Maule
We go into God’s world, to walk in His light, to rejoice in His love and to reflect His glory.