Morning Service for the Sixth Sunday of Easter


But at the heart of John’s meaning is an indefinable, but palpable sense of Jesus’ presence; a presence synonymous with the presence of God, the Father. Present after they see him no more but in Spirit, available as power and comfort, inspiration and encouragement.

Morning Service for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

HYMN God of mercy, God of grace NEH 366 – Heathlands

1 God of mercy, God of grace,

Show the brightness of thy face:

Shine upon us, Saviour, shine,

Fill thy Church with light divine;

And thy saving health extend

Unto earth’s remotest end.

2 Let the people praise thee, Lord;

Be by all that live adored:

Let the nations shout and sing,

Glory to their Saviour King;

At thy feet their tributes pay,

And thy holy will obey.

3 Let the people praise thee, Lord;

Earth shall then its fruits afford;

God to man his blessing give,

Man to God devoted live;

All below, and all above,

One in joy, and light, and love.

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.


God our redeemer,

you have delivered us from the power of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:

grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,

so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

FIRST READING – Acts 16.9-15
During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

HYMN Come down, O love divine NEH 137 – Down Ampney

1 Come down, O Love divine,

Seek thou this soul of mine,

And visit it with thine own ardour glowing;

O Comforter, draw near,

Within my heart appear,

And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

2 O let it freely burn,

Till earthly passions turn

To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;

And let thy glorious light

Shine ever on my sight,

And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

3 Let holy charity

Mine outward vesture be,

And lowliness become mine inner clothing;

True lowliness of heart,

Which takes the humbler part,

And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

4 And so the yearning strong,

With which the soul will long,

Shall far outpass the power of human telling;

For none can guess its grace,

Till it become the place

Wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

GOSPEL – John 14.23-29

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”


We have just heard part of John’s farewell discourse of Jesus, given at the last supper to his disciples. In the discourse John has in mind not only what happens immediately after the trial and crucifixion but also what happens in the years that follow. The community of Jesus’ followers would not be left bereft, but that Jesus’ presence would be with them in the form of the Paraclete or Advocate – names which give a sense of the Spirit’s function for John’s community – to give words to Christians on trial for their faith, as an advocate in a court hearing.

But at the heart of John’s meaning is an indefinable, but palpable sense of Jesus’ presence; a presence synonymous with the presence of God, the Father. Present after they see him no more but in Spirit, available as power and comfort, inspiration and encouragement.

We might recall the story of Moses drawn to the burning bush, he is instructed to go back to Egypt and free his people. He asks ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” The voice replies, “I will be with you…”. The rest of the story of Moses is about God’s abiding presence with him, the same is true of the prophets and people of faith ever since.

Thomas À Kempis wrote in his “Imitation of Christ”, ‘When Jesus is with us all is well, and nothing seems hard; but when Jesus is absent, everything is difficult.’ 

Such an awareness, however strong or weak, is what provides that assurance that gives courage in the face of any of the trails of life and confidence at life’s closing. It was certainly central to the resurrection experience of the disciples who had the courage to witness to the life of Christ after his crucifixion, and many paid the penalty with their lives.

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 Father hear the prayer we offer NEH 357 – Sussex

1 Father, hear the prayer we offer:

Not for ease that prayer shall be,

But for strength that we may ever

Live our lives courageously.

2 Not for ever in green pastures

Do we ask our way to be;

But the steep and rugged pathway

May we tread rejoicingly.

3 Not for ever by still waters

Would we idly rest and stay;

But would smite the living fountains

From the rocks along our way.

4 Be our strength in hours of weakness,

In our wanderings be our guide;

Through endeavour, failure, danger,

Father, be thou at our side.


Holy God, we come before you with thanksgiving for all your mercy and grace and we give thanks for the beauty and wonder of the world around us, as we bring to you our prayers of intercession and thanksgiving.

We ask for your guidance and blessings for all of our deacons, priests and bishops and all in training for lay and ordained ministry. We thank you for William’s ministry in this benefice, and for all who support him in his work. As the people of God, we ask for the gifts we need for the work you ask us to do.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Eternal God, we pray for the all the nations of the world, but especially we pray for the people of Ukraine, for the families of those who have died and those who are injured, the people who are now displaced and refugees.  We pray for all who bring aid and support and we continue to pray that a way may be found to bring about peace. We pray for peace and reconciliation in all areas of the world where there is conflict, poverty, hunger, injustice and hopelessness.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father God, may our homes be centres of love, acceptance and welcome; we pray that you will make your home among us in each room and in each relationship. We pray for our family and colleagues, for friends neighbours and strangers; For those with whom we break bread at home, at work, in the community, and in our church; For all who grow, harvest and prepare the food we eat and for those who cook it and serve it; for all who share with the less fortunate through food banks and charities.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, we pray for everyone who is suffering, in body mind or spirit, for those weighed down with doubts and fears, for all who support and care for them. We pray that they may be aware of your constant presence and have the courage to place their hand in yours. In a moment of silence we bring before you those known to us, asking for your peace that the world cannot give.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord God, we remember those whose earthly life has come to an end, may they rest in eternal peace. We pray that they, and we in our turn, may be with you in heaven and live in your light forever,

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving God, help us who love you to keep your word, and become the dwelling place of your Holy Spirit, as you have promised. As we go out into the world we pray for your peace, that the world cannot give.

Merciful Father, 

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

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

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.

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

HYMN God is love, let heaven adore him NEH 364 – Abbot’s Leigh

1 God is Love: let heav’n adore him;

God is Love: let earth rejoice;

Let creation sing before him,

And exalt him with one voice.

He who laid the earth’s foundation,

He who spread the heav’ns above,

He who breathes through all creation,

He is Love, eternal Love.

2 God is Love: and he enfoldeth

All the world in one embrace;

With unfailing grasp he holdeth

Every child of every race.

And when human hearts are breaking

Under sorrow’s iron rod,

Then they find that selfsame aching

Deep within the heart of God.

3 God is Love: and though With blindness

Sin afflicts the souls of men,

God’s eternal loving-kindness

Holds and guides them even then.

Sin and death and hell shall never

o’er us final triumph gain;

God is Love, so Love for ever

O’er the universe must reign.

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