9 am Sunday 5th April 2020

Please have a bible to hand for the Psalm and to follow the reading.

(The following service is made up of liturgy on this page, prayers, songs on YouTube (a separate website) and a sermon from Steve Bishop. As you progress through this digital service you will be given instructions as what to do next. Please remember that although you may be praying through this physically remote from the rest of the congregation we will be saying these things together today. Physical distancing need not mean spiritual distancing, for we are all one in Christ).

Vicar's Introduction
Click here 
for a short message from Doug, our Vicar,  for Palm Sunday.

Opening prayer (please say or read through this as you feel most comfortable)

O Lord open our lips, and our mouth shall proclaim your praise
Give us the joy of your saving help, and sustain us with your life giving Spirit.

Introduction (please read this aloud as a sign of our worshiping together)
We have come together in the name of Christ to offer our praise and thanksgiving, to hear and receive God’s holy word, to pray for the needs of the world, and to seek the forgiveness of our sins, that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Hymn: Ride on ride on in majesty (Now click on the link below and it will take you to YouTube; the lyrics are shown on the screen. Sing as loud as you like!)

Ride on ride on in majesty

Confession (please say this confession; it is a corporate confession that uses “we” and is another sign that although physically distant, we stand as sinners together).

Jesus says “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”. So, let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

(Take a moment to contemplate our confession to God)

Lord God, 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 cleans us from our sins. Renew a right spirit within us and restore to us the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Take a moment; then speak words of affirmation of our belief that sins are forgiven through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. You are speaking those on behalf of the others that are following this service today as much as they are speaking them over you).

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Psalm of the day: Psalm 61 (please have a bible to hand and read the psalm or listen to it read by clicking below).

Psalm 61

(Followed by…)

Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. Amen.

Sermon : Richard Slade on John 17   Ministry: Prayer
(Richard has provided both the script of his sermon that you find below and a recording of that sermon. Please choose which option you would like to follow.)

Reading: John 17 (please read this passage in your bible or click on the recorded reading below)

Click here for recording of the reading

Read Text below

The wise Christian, A.W. Tozer, once remarked: ‘Prayer at its best is the expression of the total life’. Chapter 17 of John’s Gospel is divided into three unequal parts – vs.1-5, vs. 6-19 and vs.20 to the end.

A.  vs.1-5.  We often say, ‘I’ll pray for you’ – sometimes it is said without careful thought – we mean well. When Jesus came to pray for his disciples, he meant it.  He expressed the idea comprehensively.

Firstly, Jesus looks towards heaven, for that is where our focus should be.  Jesus knew that what was to happen was in the Father’s timing.  He also knew that He was to glorify God through dying on the cross (Glorify means to be in God’s presence and honoured by Him) – a timely thought on Palm Sunday.  As He calls God his Father, He is assured that God will listen to His prayer as He is His Son.  This is an obvious reminder that we should pray to the Father in Jesus’ name.

Secondly, Jesus authority is comprehensive – the giving of eternal life is of primary importance as it is the reason why Jesus came (to save His people from their sins).   Verse 2 shows that to save some out of every nation, Jesus must have authority over all flesh – and that is a reminder that we are weak by nature.

Thirdly, Jesus reminds the Father, in the hearing of the disciples, that eternal life is simple – we have often made it complicated.  It is simply this: know God and Jesus whom He has sent.  One commentator has described this truth as ‘joyful acknowledgment of His sovereignty, glad acceptance of His love and intimate fellowship of His person’.

Fourthly, Jesus longs to be back in the deep fellowship and sharing in the glory He had before the foundation of the world.  We, too, from a different perspective, need to be in a position of longing for the Father’s fellowship which Jesus came to bring us.  All these things are a foundation for our praying – a checklist to see where we are at spiritually.B. vs. 6-19.  In this second section Jesus prays for the disciples.  Verse 6 states that, apart from Jesus, no one gets to know spiritual matters in their real inner essence and value.  We need to be sure that nothing in our faith is ‘man-made’ or we shall be going off the rails.  As a point of encouragement, Jesus had recently (Chapter 16 verse 31) rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith.  Here (verse 6) he states that ‘they have obeyed and kept your word.’  This seeming contradiction may well have been an expression of faith on Jesus’ part and also linked to the sentiment of 1 Corinthians 13 ‘love takes no account of evil’.  What an encouragement to us all to keep on going on.
Jesus specifically prays in verse 9 for the disciples ‘those you have given me’, because although some will not respond to God’s message, that message needs to be preached to all – because we don’t know who will respond and who will not.  All must be given a chance to decide for themselves.

This is a challenge to us for all time: The Great Commission to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28: 16-18) is needed to be obeyed now more than ever.

Jesus also draws our attention to the need for unity among the disciples so that the outside world will see it, being kept by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and knowing Jesus’ joy.  He was referring to the Holy Spirit, one of whose gifts is joy.  Jesus also addresses the fact that the disciples have a relationship with the world.  He states they are not of the world (v.14).    This is an encouragement as well as a challenge.  The disciples were to be so different that their very characters would act as a judgment on others’ lifestyles.   Are we that different?

Jesus saw the disciples needed to be in the world but would need protection from the evil one.  This needed to be strengthened by being set apart by the Word of God.  Being made holy is impossible without the Word of God.  Let that thought make us regular and daily Bible readers.

Finally, in this section, Jesus offered himself up as a living sacrifice (v.19) so that his followers could do the same.
C. vs.20 to the end.  Jesus prays for the Church because witnesses will share the message.  This prayer is still going on.  The unity being asked of us is that which already exists between the Father and the Son.  We need the Holy Spirit’s help to see that happen.
I remember one Kaleidoscope mission, where, at the end of the week, all the participating churches took part in a communion service.  One mother was converted because of this obvious unity among the churches.

Jesus final petition (v.24) is that we shall  be glorified as we meet up with Him in heaven, (to be in God’s presence and honoured by Him) and also that we remind ourselves that He is always with us on earth.

Finally, a prayer and an encouragement.

Firstly, a prayer from Number 6:24: ‘The Lord bless us and keep us, The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us, The Lord lift up his countenance upon us and give us peace.’

Secondly an encouragement:An extremely timid young man approached the Scottish writer, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, and said ‘I’m so afraid of people, so shy and nervous. People terrify me.How can I overcome this problem?’

Then M’Cheyne asked him ‘what if you could hear the Lord Jesus Christ praying for you in the next room – and praying for you by name?What do you think it could do for you?’

The man replied, ‘I don’t think I would ever be the same again.’

M’Cheyne said, ‘Well, He is praying for you, not in the next room but on the royal throne’.
May this impact us as we realise that the Lord Jesus Himself is not in lockdown but alive and praying for us right now!

Intercessions: (Bob Benn has provided the following intercessions ; please pray through these, using the responses to acknowledge that we say these prayers together).
Let us pray for the Church and for the world, and let us thank God for his goodness.
Strengthen all you’re 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. Lord we give thanks that further to the order to close churches, services on television have received such support from people in our country. Lord continue to bless our religious leaders with wisdom and authority to speak of the love that Jesus has for us all.
We pray for those involved in leading our Church and our fellowship in Purley, for our clergy and all our leaders and preachers. Lord this is a difficult time in our country, but also for all vicars and church leaders as they face caring for their flocks at a time of crisis in our country. Lord may you keep all our clergy safe and may you give them the power of your Holy Spirit to pray for us all and give them words of comfort for those who face darkness in their families.
Lord as we consider the words from our passage today in John’s Gospel, may we all be reminded that Jesus prayed for himself and for all believers, Lord may we all take heart that for those who know who sent him into this world, that Jesus is with us and that love the Father had in Jesus is also in us.
Lord in your mercy.
Hear our prayer

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 men may honour one another, and seek the common good.
Lord we pray for our leaders and Government. Given the difficult situation in our country bless all our leaders with wisdom and honesty, insight and a concern for the common good. Father, we pray, may they share in the planning and management of our country to minimise the effects of this epidemic.
Lord we also bring before you the Coronavirus epidemic that is prevalent in our country and round the world at this time. Lord may the nations of the world be vigilant and may we all be aware and obedient to the advice given and not be complacent over maintaining distance between those in our families. Lord may you protect those who may be vulnerable, and may you bless the skills of our medical staff and provide the treatment to control this outbreak.
Lord these times are difficult for so many in our fellowship and community. I do not want to mentions names, but we all know of someone affected by this virus. Lord we pray for all families, and particularly those who may have loved ones unwell, our children, husbands and wives. It is so hard when we cannot tend to our families, give them cuddles and nurse them due to social isolation. Lord may you put your loving arms around each one of us and for those who are ill, some seriously ill, may they be given the most loving care by our medical staff and may they know that Lord you are with them. 
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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.
Lord we pray for all those who are fearful of the times we live in and despair of what the future may bring. Lord many have concerns about their work and having enough money to sustain normal life. Lord we bring before you those who are self-employed, who may not be able to work, and those whose work has stopped because their companies have closed at this time. Lord may your love shine into all our lives and may we all take confidence that we are not alone and that you will give us each day our daily bread.
Lord, some may be privileged to hear of instances at work of colleagues who have been affected by the virus at this time. People of faith and people of no faith have been moved with words of comfort and support for colleagues and families. Lord we give thanks that many are open to say ‘I will pray for you’, in conversation and emails. Lord may you bless us all and may these prayers be answered.
Lord we pray for Transformation in our town and Borough, and for the Croydon Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health. Lord we pray for those who provide this service and for your healing for those who use it. Lord please provide assistance with training and support for volunteers in this service and Lord may the faith and love of the helpers show in the lives of people in Croydon. 
Lord in our mercy
Hear our prayer

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit. Lord we have a number of our fellowship who are living with serious illness at this time, Lord we pray that they can put their trust in you. Lord Jesus in a moment of quiet we offer up to you all those who we know of among our families and friends who are in need of prayer at this time. Give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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 all Christian people to your unfailing love.
Merciful Father.
Accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

The Creed: (please now affirm our faith by saying the creed).
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried;
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father
And will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy catholic Church
The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins
The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen

Prayer of dedication : (please say this prayer).
Almighty God, we thank you for the gift of your holy word. May it be a lantern to our feet, a light to our paths, and a strength to our lives. Take us and use us to love and serve all men in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect: (Please say the prayer for this week, the fifth Sunday of Lent; a special prayer for this day said by churches around the world)
Almighty and everlasting God who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of hhis resurrection; through Jesus Christ your son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God , now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer: (please say this prayer)
Standing at the foot of the cross, 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 forever. Amen.

Closing Hymn: All Glory laud and honour (please click below to sing our closing hymn, open the windows, let the neighbours hear!)

All Glory laud and honour

May Christ who bore our sins on the cross, set us free to serve him with joy. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God! Amen

This is the end of Morning Prayer.

An act of Spiritual Communion
(The Church of England has provided a liturgy that recognises the importance to many of Holy Communion. In the absence of actually sharing the sacrament  during the Covid-19 crisis, there is a principle of Spiritual Communion that you can follow at home.  If you wish to do so then please follow the short service below. For an explanation of Spiritual Communion please click here ).

(You may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place. You might choose to make your Spiritual Communion at a particular time of day, or after viewing an online service.)

Reflect on the day and on your relationships.

- What good things have come from God today?
- Where have I fallen short?
- What might I do tomorrow?
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

(Read the following words from Scripture)

Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’
John 6.35

Pray for:
- the needs of the world,
- your local community
- those close to you.

Lord’s Prayer.
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 forever. Amen.

Give thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus and ask him to be with you now.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

(You may want to hold out your hands as if recieving a gift)
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
Come Holy Spirit.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly,
day by day. Amen.

(From:  Prayer of St Richard of Chichester)

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,
‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care. Amen.

Closing prayer:

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil,
and keep us in eternal life. Amen.

(Thank you for following this Christ Church Digital service. If you have feedback, suggestions, offers of help or prayer requests please send them to vicar@christchurchpurley.org.uk )
Copyright acknowledgement c The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. Used with permission of The Archbishops Council 2000

Doug McHardie, 05/04/2020