Morning service for Sunday 24th May 2020

Posted by Barbara Nadin on 23 May 2020

Service 24 May 2020

Melbourne URC 24th May 2020 10.30am Sunday after Ascension Day


Please read the service together out loud as appropriate, or read it slowly to yourselves savouring the words, as you prefer.  This is except for the Gospel which will be read out loud by either Heather or Margaret on behalf of us all, and the Consecration (The Gospel and Consecration are shown in red italics) and Revd Margaret will say the consecration so please just read those words quietly and hold them in your hearts knowing that they have been said.

You will need a Bible, A candle to light, and some bread. (and wine if you wish.)


To begin : Please open your Bible and place it where you can see it.


The call to Worship.

Today we are called to worship the King of Glory and to wait. Jesus has been crucified, died, buried and now ascended as the King of Glory back to the Father in heaven. Then we have a gap – a gap between Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  A gap between the old and the new – a gap in which the disciples have to wait. They wait for The Holy Spirit – but they do not have any idea what the Holy Spirit will mean to the rest of their lives.


As those disciples wait for the Spirit -we too are called to wait –to wait on the Lord this morning in our homes – to worship him, and to come to his table.

(We say/read the words of invitation)

Come among us, Jesus

You whom the angels worship and children welcome,

Come Jesus and meet us here.


Come among us, Jesus,

You who hurled stars into space and shaped the spider’s weaving,

Come Jesus and meet us here.


Come among us, Jesus

You who walked the long road to Jerusalem, died, was buried, rose again and was lifted up to heaven. You who lit a flame that dances forever,

Come Jesus and meet us here.

Come among us Jesus, in our homes, at our tables, in Melbourne and beyond, Come and meet us here this morning.


(So Jesus comes as we gather together and we say/read or maybe even sing the hymn.)

As we are gathered Jesus is here,

one with each other, Jesus is here;

Joined by the Spirit, washed in His blood,

part of the Body, the Church of God.

As we are gathered, Jesus is here,

One with each other, Jesus is here.


Please light your own peace candle and say/read the following prayer.


We light this candle in peace Lord. In times of uncertainty, fear and anxiety, we call to you to bring your peace into your world, into the hearts of your people, and into our homes, remembering always that even now in these difficult times there are people still being displaced by violence, war and famine in other places. Lord, bring your peace into your world.  Amen.


God of peace and freedom, we welcome you in our midst.

We praise you for your love which surpasses all understanding

We praise you for who you are – now and forever.

You are an amazing God!


Jesus we praise you for the gift of respect, for the dignity of human life, for the love of one another, and for giving your life that we may have life eternal.

Holy Spirit we praise you for calling us and enabling us to worship in our homes today – You are the Spirit of Truth – unify us in our prayers and actions this morning.


As we pray so we confess our failings:

We are here God, in this moment and this place and we thank you that you are here with us.  We do not have to pretend with you.

In the silence of your love, we bring to you the things that trouble us, that harm us, that make us feel ashamed or afraid.

Have mercy upon us.



Listen to the words of Jesus, words that we can trust “Don’t be afraid, your sins are forgiven, I love you, come follow  me.” Thanks be to God amen.


We say together the prayer our Lord Jesus Christ taught us:


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.


We read or sing two verses of the 2nd Hymn :


Lord Jesus Christ

You have come to us,

You are one with us, Mary’s Son;

Cleansing our souls from all their sin,

Pouring your love and goodness in;

Jesus, our love for you we sing – Living Lord!


Lord Jesus Christ,

You have come to us

Born as one of us, Mary’s Son;

Led out to die on calvary,

Risen from death to set us free;

Living Lord Jesus, help us see – You are Lord!


Gospel Reading   Luke 24:44-53 The Ascension.


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. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.



As we call to mind the risen and ascended Jesus, now enthroned as the King of Glory, we read or sing the first verse of our 3rd hymn :


Crown Him with many crowns,

The lamb upon His throne;

Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns

All music but its own;

Awake, my soul and sing

Of Him who died for me

And hail Him as thy chosen King

Through all eternity.


Reflection on The Sunday after Ascension

The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, has ascended and sits on his throne in heaven.  The disciples are excited and prayerful.  Those first disciples have been on an emotional roller coaster.  They have experienced the fellowship of the Last Supper, the confusion in the Garden of Gethsemene, the horror of the crucifixion, the strangeness of the resurrection appearances, and now the excitement of the Ascension – then what? Then we have a gap between Ascension and Pentecost.  According to Luke those first disciples filled this gap with prayer in the Temple. But even as they prayed they didn’t know what Pentecost and the future would hold for them.


Now gaps are strange things!  I used to work for British Railways Board.  There is a mantra on the Railways which goes “Mind the gap. Mind the gap!”  You may well remember that.  Railway gaps between train and platform are something to be anxious about.  On some stations you can lose you shoe down the gap, on others your suitcase will go down the gap, and if you are unfortunate to try to get down from the train on the curve in Birmingham New Street Station you can lose a whole baby and buggy down that gap.


Today, the church is in a gap.  A gap between Ascension and Pentecost, but the world is also in a gap.  A gap between before Covid 19 and whatever it is that life will be like when restrictions are lifted.  Like the gaps on the railways there will be many of us who are finding life in that gap an anxious and even traumatic experience as we experience a loss of control over our lifestyle and world events.  We do not know what the lifting of restrictions will bring but we do know what that first Pentecost brought to the world.  After a time of prayer the arrival of the Holy Spirit changed those disciples lives forever, and eventually changed the world. But all these centuries later we have changed our reliance on the Holy Spirit and become more self-centred and reliant on ourselves.


Yet in the midst of all our anxieties as we sit out the restrictions of Covid19 we can see Pentecost beginning to blossom in the world as people begin to look towards the needs of others and the needs of our environment rather than themselves.  Perhaps this is the one moment in our lives when, if we grasp it, Pentecost could happen for real and bring about a change in society, a change in our lives and the Church, a change in what is important and what is not, a more loving and considerate world, a movement that will change the world. Following the example of those first disciples perhaps we too might fill this enforced gap in our lives with prayer. Maybe even find some excitement in the hope that a new and more Spirit filled world could be on the horizon as we begin to emerge from lockdown. The disciples did not know what Pentecost and the Holy Spirit would bring. In the Covid19 gap that we find ourselves in we too need to pray that that the world will once more be filled with the Holy Spirit this Pentecost and be changed for the good forever.  This is our big chance to lay our needs and the needs of the world before God in hope that the Spirit will come once more and together with the witness of God’s people bring the ways of the world closer to the values of God’s kingdom.


We say or sing the 2 verses of our 4th Hymn :

Father I place into your hands

The things that I can’t do.

Father, I place into your hands

The times that I’ve been through.

Father I place into your hands

The way that I should go,

For I know, I always can trust you.


Father, I place into your hands

My friends and family.

Father I place into your hands

The things that trouble me.

Father I place into your hands

The person I would be

For I know I always can trust you.


 Intercession prayers

As we come to a time of intercession we place into the Father’s hands our trials and anxieties and hope for the world, our families and ourselves in a time of crisis. Two weeks ago we had Christian Aid Week and today we use the prayers from Christian Aid as we bring our prayers to the Father.

“Even in the darkest moments, love gives hope.  Love compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far.  As we pray in our individual homes, around the nation and around the world, we are united as one family, so let us pause and find a moment of peace, as we lift our hearts together in prayer……

For the health workers tending the seriously ill

For scientists working on a vaccination

for researchers analysing data and identifying trends

For the media outlets working to communicate reality

For the supermarket workers, hygiene and sanitation providers

For the good news stories of recoveries and effective planning

For singing from the balconies of locked-down communities

For the notes through letterboxes offering help and support

For the internet, telephones and technology that connect

For an awakened appreciation of what is truly important

We pray to the Lord.


For those who are unwell and concerned for loved ones

For those who are already very anxious

For those whose immune systems are compromised

For the vulnerable because of underlying conditions

For those watching their entire income dry up

For those who have no choice but to go out to work

for those who are afraid to be at home

For those who are more lonely than they have ever been before

For those who are bereaved and grieving.

God be their healer, comfort and protection,

Be their strength, their shield and provision

Be their security, safety and close companion


Father raise up your Church to be your well-washed hands and faithful feet

Distant but still present. Virtual but still connected

Apart but still helping to respond with love in action If even from a safe social distance.”


Today in our prayers we pray specially for:-

(insert prayers)

As we remember those struggling in this world we remember those now over the threshold of death and resting in God’s closer presence and those who remain behind to grieve their passing. So today we pray for the family and friends of Margaret Simpson.

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


(The communion follows and we say the words of the invitation and the story of the Last Supper. Please ensure that you have your bread with you ready.)



This are the tables not of the church, but of the Lord.

They are made ready for those who love him and who want to love him more.


So come, those who have much faith and those who have little,

Those who have been to his table often, and those who have not been for a long time.

Those who have tried to follow and those who have failed.

Come, it is the Lord who invites you.  It is his will that those who want him should met him at these tables in our homes.


Jesus said : Listen, I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into the house and eat with them.


The apostle Paul tells us of the institution of the Lord’s Supper :

For the tradition that I handed on to you came to me from the Lord himself ; that on the night of his arrest the Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and after having given thanks to God, broke it and said “ This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.”  In the same way he took the cup after supper and said “ This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood.  Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.  For every time we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim the death of the Lord until he come again.


For when we were nothing, you made us something.

When we had no name and no faith and no future you called us your children.

When we had lost our way or turned away you did not abandon us.

When we came back to you your arms were open wide in welcome.


(Revd. Margaret will consecrate and break the bread on your behalf saying the following words in her home – please read the following words silently to yourself)

Living God, fill us with your Spirit, that as we share this bread and this wine, we may feed on the body and blood of Christ and be empowered for service in your world. The table is laid -and Jesus Christ is here – all are welcome – Here is the Lord – coming to us in bread and wine – These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

Among friends - Jesus took a loaf of bread broke it and said “This is my body which is broken for you do this in memory of me – The body of Christ broken for us all”


Revd. Margaret will eat a piece of the broken bread.

Please eat your own bread in your homes if you wish.


(The cup is lifted and Revd Margaret will say : )

Among friends Jesus he took the cup and said : This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood, whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me. The blood of Christ shed for us all.


Revd Margaret will take a sip of wine on your behalf.


Please say or read the Post Communion Prayers

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far off you

met us in your Son and brought us home.  Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace and opened the gate of glory.  May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others;  we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.  Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us, so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name, through Christ our Lord, amen.

As we prepare to leave the excited disciples in that gap between the Ascension of Jesus, we too begin to look forward to Pentecost next week and the coming of the Holy Spirit and ask that the Spirit comes into our homes to fall on us and set our hearts on fire in the words of our last hymn:

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me;

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me;

Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me;

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.


Let us pray:

Be present, Spirit of God within us, your dwelling place and home,

May this house, and our world, be one where all darkness is penetrated by your light, all troubles calmed by your peace,

all evil redeemed by your love,

all pain transformed into your suffering,

and all dying glorified in your risen life.


And so we say to each other across the homes of Melbourne and beyond:


May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

May the rain fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.




Thank you for taking part in this service. God bless you all.


CCL 257405.  Hymns from Mission Praise.

Some Liturgy from The Pattern of our Days, A Wee Worship Book, and the Iona Abbey Worship Book. Iona Community.

Prayers from Christian Aid.

Hymns: Mission Praise.



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