Morning Service for the Second Sunday of Easter 2024


We are soon to celebrate the gift of the Spirit.  The birthday of the church.  The church  follows the order of things as given by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles and places the coming of the Holy Spirit 49 days after the Resurrection. 

Morning Service for the Second Sunday of Easter 2024

HYMN Ye choirs of new Jerusalem NEH 124 – St Fulbert

1 Ye choirs of new Jerusalem,

Your sweetest notes employ,

The Paschal victory to hymn

In strains of holy joy.

2 How Judah’s Lion burst his chains,

And crushed the serpent’s head;

And brought with him, from death’s domains,

The long-imprisoned dead.

3 From hell’s devouring jaws the prey

Alone our Leader bore;

His ransomed hosts pursue their way

Where he hath gone before.

4 Triumphant in his glory now

His sceptre ruleth all,

Earth, heaven, and hell before him bow,

And at his footstool fall.

5 While joyful thus his praise we sing,

His mercy we implore,

Into his palace bright to bring

And keep us evermore.

6 All glory to the Father be,

All glory to the Son,

All glory, Holy Ghost, to thee,

While endless ages run. Alleluya! Amen.

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

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.

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

FIRST READING – Acts 4.32-35

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. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 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. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

HYMN Christ the Lord is risen again!  NEH 105 – Württemberg

1 Christ the Lord is risen again!

Christ hath broken every chain!

Hark, the angels shout for joy,

Singing evermore on high,


2 He who gave for us his life,

Who for us endured the strife,

Is our Paschal Lamb to-day!

We too sing for joy, and say


3 He who bore all pain and loss

Comfortless upon the Cross,

Lives in glory now on high,

Pleads for us, and hears our cry.


4 He whose path no records tell,

Who descended into hell;

Who the strong man armed hath bound,

And in highest heaven is crowned.


5 Now he bids us tell abroad

How the lost may be restored,

How the penitent forgiven,

How we too may enter heaven.


6 Thou, our Paschal Lamb indeed,

Christ, to-day thy people feed;

Take our sins and guilt away,

That we all may sing for ay,


GOSPEL – John 20.19-31
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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.”

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.” 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.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 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.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 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.

We are soon to celebrate the gift of the Spirit.  The birthday of the church.  The church  follows the order of things as given by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles and places the coming of the Holy Spirit 49 days after the Resurrection.  But for the writer of St John’s Gospel it was not so; according to him, Jesus’ first appearance to his disciples culminated with him breathing upon them and saying, “receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” These are important words, uncomfortable words, words that make us stop and  question what this Gospel is trying to say. 

The power to forgive sins is the prerogative of God, it was Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive on God’s behalf that enraged the scribes, priests, and pharisees – it completely negated the Jerusalem Temple, the Torah, the whole religious edifice of Israel.  Now that controversial power Jesus passes to his community of the faithful.  That ragged bunch of disciples has been transformed into the vehicle of God’s grace in the world.  No wonder Thomas didn’t believe it. 

I don’t believe that the Apostles, or those who followed them, were actually allowed to decide someone’s fate. I don’t believe Jesus ever taught that his disciples could not forgive someone their sins – clearly his teaching was the very opposite of that. But I do think St John is trying to tell us something bigger, something that Jesus did believe.
His community of followers were to be the sign of something that became clear on Easter morning in a decisive demonstration; that the way to God is not through Temple and sacrifice, unbending law and ritual, that it is through relationship; and that Jesus is the embodiment of that relationship, and that relationship is open to everyone in the world, Jew, Greek, male, female, adult, child – that there can be no division before God, all are his people, all of equal worth. 

This is the message of grace to a tired and sick world. Simply that in Jesus God could communicate who he is and that in following his way, believing in his truth, sharing his life, brings a more abundant live. A living relationship with God through him who described himself as ‘the way, the truth and the life’. 

St John realised, as Jesus did, that if that message was to reach the world it would need to be communicated, not just in books that eventually become more hallowed than the message they convey, but communicated in living flesh and blood, in real people. If Jesus was the sacrament of the Father then the Church is to be the sacrament of the Son. In the giving of the power to forgive, a central part of our Lord’s ministry of reconciliation, those endowed with the Spirit, now, as a body are to represent him in the world.  These poor confused, and frightened people are more than a symbol of their crucified leader, they are in very fact – sacrament. 

To call the followers of Jesus the sacrament of his presence in the world, is to say that Jesus is present in the world through the community of those who still follow him. Flawed we maybe, falling short we undoubtedly do, but nevertheless, to paraphrase St Teresa of Avila, ‘Christ has no other hands, but our hands; no other feet but our feet’.  

Jesus was not merely a picture of God dwelling with his people, not only a symbol of the presence of God, but God really and decisively present – the Word made flesh. We now, by the gift of the Spirit and our love for Christ, we give substance to his presence still in the world.  Just as a candle does more than simply represent light, by gives light, so we do not simply symbolise Christ’s resurrection, we give it substance and form, we make it real, we are the resurrection for this day, for our day.

And if we, like St Thomas, need wounds to touch and scars to see, then we can look around us – and see wounds aplenty, and scars without number in the children of the resurrection who are still its witness and its proof.  And whether or not the world about us believes in resurrection, the evidence is all about us, now as much as ever. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles: this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 15.3-7

HYMN Jesus Lives!  NEH 112 – St Albinus

1 Jesus lives! Thy terrors now

Can, O Death, no more appal us;

Jesus lives! by this we know

Thou, O grave, canst not enthral us.


2 Jesus lives! henceforth is death

But the gate of life immortal;

This shall calm our trembling breath,

When we pass its gloomy portal.


3 Jesus lives! for us he died;

Then, alone to Jesus living,

Pure in heart may we abide,

Glory to our Saviour giving.


4 Jesus lives! our hearts know well

Nought from us his love shall sever;

Life, nor death, nor powers of hell

Tear us from his keeping ever.


5 Jesus lives! to him the throne

Over all the world is given;

May we go where he is gone,

Rest and reign with him in heaven.



Risen Lord, fill our hearts with Easter joy.

We pray for our world and give thanks for its beauty and the many blessings which we enjoy. Help us to find hope beyond the ecological destruction and the desolation and pain of the ruthless conflicts. 

May the nations’ leaders seek the common good, turning away from corruption and self-seeking, so that there is no room for the hatreds which divide and oppress.

Lord, be with the multitudes caught in the violence and bloodshed of conflict. We pray for the people of Ukraine, Gaza and Haiti and all who are victims of violence. Also we remember those caught up in the earthquakes in Thailand and Taiwan. 

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer 

Lord we pray for your church here and across the world especially where it is persecuted. As we rejoice in the joy of your Resurrection, may the Lord Jesus Christ help us to strengthen our faith and worship. May we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, proclaim your word. On Good Friday the choir sang “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est” – where all charity and love are, God is always there. 

We give thanks for William’s leading of the Easter worship, and for all those who contributed to our worship and activities in the each of our three churches. 

We remember in our prayers Justin our Archbishop and all who minister in your church. We pray especially for Charles our king and all the Royal Family. 

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer 

Lord, may our communities feel the peace and strength of your presence in our worship, activities and care for each other. Lord be with us all during our Easter break, whether at home or away. 

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer 

Lord Jesus we pray for all who are sick or in special need, whether in mind, body or soul. We give thanks for the work of all who are carers: at home, in hospital, in care homes and hospices. 

Lord, be with those whose needs we bring before you… In a moment of quiet we remember those known to us personally… 

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer 

We remember with love and thanksgiving all who have died. May they rest in peace. We pray particularly for Marie Neyroud and Harry West whose funerals took place in Compton Church this week and for Alfred Witham who lived in this parish for so many years and died aged 97 on Good Friday. 

Lord, support and guide all who mourn – may they find comfort in thee.

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

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father in heaven, h

allowed 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.

HYMN This joyful Eastertide  NEH 121 – Vruechten

1 This joyful Eastertide,

Away with sin and sorrow.

My Love, the Crucified,

Hath sprung to life this morrow:


Had Christ, who once was slain,

Not burst his three-day prison,

Our faith had been in vain:

But now hath Christ arisen.

2 My flesh in hope shall rest,

And for a season slumber:

Till trump from east to west

Shall wake the dead in number:


3 Death’s flood hath lost his chill,

Since Jesus crossed the river:

Lover of souls, from ill

My passing soul deliver: 


May Christ, who out of defeat
brings new hope and a new future,
fill you with his new life.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Log in/out