Services

Our three churches offer a range of service styles each Sunday.  Our regular services include: said and sung Holy Communion; All Age Worship; and service of the Word.  Special services are held to celebrate major festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Harvest etc. and several times a year the three parishes worship together in a joint Benefice service.

You are also welcome to join us for a chat over a cup of coffee after each service.

For times of services in each church please go to the following pages: 

St. Michael's, Creech St. Michael   St. George's, Ruishton

Holy Cross, Thornfalcon

 

In line with government and Church of England guidelines our three churches

in Creech, Ruishton and Thornfalcon will be closed until

we are told it is safe to open them to the public again.

 

Bible readings, prayers and reflection for Sunday 29th March

 

Bible reading: John 11: 1 - 44

The death of LazarusThe Death of Lazarus

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

jesu comforts Lazarus' sistersJesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus raises Lazarus from the deadJesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Reflection

Over the last couple of weeks our world has been changing in a way we could never have imagined. For so many of us our worlds have shrunk, and we might have been socially distancing or isolating ourselves and now we are nearly all on lockdown as they are calling it. Like many of you I am doing this too and it is difficult. As Christians we are called to show God’s love, compassion and mercy out in the world. We are called to love our neighbour, to be the least and to serve others ahead of ourselves. We may be questioning, how am I doing that if I am self-isolating and protecting myself? Please, be assured what you are doing is not an easy task and by protecting yourself and your loved ones, you are protecting others. But also let me assure you there is still so much we can be doing to support and love others.

In today’s reading Jesus was informed of Lazarus’ illness and knowing how this would turn out Jesus did not rush to return instead he recognised that this would be an opportunity for his father’s glory, God’s glory to be seen in the world. This makes me wonder, how often are our first thoughts about how our actions reflect God’s glory first, before we think about how we may be perceived by our actions or our words?

We as Christians are called to follow Christ; to be his hands, his feet and to speak his words of love and grace in this world. By our actions and our words, we too can and should acknowledge and signpost our Father’s glory…

Jesus knew Lazarus was not going to stay dead, he knew Lazarus would rise again. And yet, Jesus wept when confronted by the pain Lazarus’ sister was feeling. Her confusion, her hurt, her anger and her grief moved him deeply. He did not rebuke Mary when she fell at his feet and, possibly even angrily, accused Jesus that by his not being there when her brother was ill, Lazarus had died. How often in our grief do we seek someone, something, anything to blame? Jesus did not explain himself, or excuse himself in this moment, instead he listened, and he was overcome by her emotion. Despite knowing that this death was a temporary state, Jesus wept.

This is a powerful example of the compassion Jesus has for us. It is a powerful example of the vulnerability Jesus offers us. The action of really opening yourself up, not only to acknowledge and recognise someone else’s pain…but to feel it! To love someone enough to take on their hurt, their anger, their disappointment and even their rage without questioning the effects on yourself…without making it about you, about what is does to you…but purely holding that person in the moment and feeling their pain with them.

Jean Vanier writes:

Compassion is a word full of meaning.

It means:

Sharing the same passion,

Sharing the same suffering,

Sharing the same agony,

Accepting into my heart

The misery in yours.


Your pain calls out to me.

It touches my heart.

It awakens something within me,

And I become one with you in your pain.

 

I may not be able to relieve your pain,

But by my understanding it and sharing it

I make it possible for you to bear it

In a way that enhances your dignity

And helps you to grow.

In today’s reading Jesus shows us that he is with us, he has compassion for each of us and he feels our pain, our worry, our anxiety. He is with us in our joy and in our despair. We are blessed to be able to come before him in prayer and know he is holding us. This passage shows us that it is completely acceptable to fall at Jesus’ feet in our pain, our anger and our grief. We are welcomed, we are held, and we are comforted. We can share ourselves fully, and we are fully known, fully accepted and fully loved. In whatever state we are in, we must come. David writes in Psalm 139 “You have searched me Lord and you know me…your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” In faith, in trust and in love whatever our circumstance, whatever we feel about where we are, how we feel, we too can fall at our loving Saviours’ feet.

The question for us today is how can we be as vulnerable, as loving and compassionate as Jesus?  How do our actions and words at this difficult time speak of our father’s glory?

One way is to stay connected in as many ways as possible. We need to seek new ways to connect with one another and we must share our love and compassion for others. We must offer prayers for one another, we share the Gospel in our actions, we share our hope and trust in our Saviour, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our fears, doubts and worry allowing others to support us when needed, compassion for self is important too! We listen to each other, really listen…we seek to understand and share the burdens, the pain, the worry and the loneliness. Without judgement, without blame, without necessarily having the answers, we share, we love and we care, fully.

One thing we can also do, is use this time to choose a new rhythm of life, a new rhythm of prayer, new ways to connect with our creator. We take the time to pause, perhaps we take that walk outside in God’s beautiful garden and lift our eyes to notice His glory all around us and remember He is with us through it all, holding us, feeling with us what we feel, loving us.

As we keep believing, we too will see the glory of God and let us give thanks, that in every time and in every situation, he hears us too!

Prayers for 5th Sunday of Lent– 29th March 2020

Holy God, Before raising Lazurus Jesus gave you thanks.  Following his example we now give you thanks for hearing our prayers of intercession even before we pray them.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Gracious God In St. Matthews Gospel Jesus reminds us “that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  And so we thank you for Jesus’ presence here with us today in our homes as we raise our hearts and voices in worship, praise and thanksgiving.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Creator God Once again the shadow of fear comes close to home with the Covid-19 Virus.  We pray for the many people who have contracted the Coronavirus in China, in Europe, in the UK and in other parts of the world.  Bring comfort to those grieving loved ones have died and peace to those worried, fearful and uncertain as the virus spreads.  We also pray for governments and authorities who are developing strategies to contain and deal with the virus and those in the health services who may be risking their own lives to care for sick patients.

Here in the UK we especially pray for the Corona Virus situation and the procedures that have been put into force to try to halt its spread. Help us all to be responsible in the things that we do in our lives to prevent the spread of the virus by taking heed of the recommended precautions and avoiding situations which may make things worse.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Father God in his dealing with Mary, Martha and Lazarus Jesus showed his love for those friends who had become like family to him.  We thank you for our friends and for the richness and diversity that they bring to our lives.  Help us to return that gift to them whenever we meet and to keep in touch with those who we see less frequently.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Loving God, touch, heal and restore all who are ill.  Open their hearts and their minds to welcome your restoring power so that their sickness ends and your healing begins.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Merciful God, the death of a friend is one of life’s most difficult situations to cope with.  Help us through Jesus’ example to recognise that our tears are natural and bring healing.  Help us also to see that through his sacrifice that first Good Friday death is no longer such a final thing and that we shall meet again in God’s good time.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Everlasting God we thank you for having heard us and, confident that all is safely in your hands, wherever we may be, confined to home or restricted in any way we know that we are surrounded by your love and care in all that we do in the coming week.

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

The Collect for the day

Gracious father,

you gave up your son

out of love for the world:

lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,

that we my know eternal peace

through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,

Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen

 

Please click on the link to be directed to the hymn today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

(If you have difficulty clicking on the link, please copy and paste the link into your internet browser)

 

Gleaners is an informal group of people who come together once a month to worship in new and exciting ways, to reflect on the Bible, to share in fellowship and support each other in life and in our faith journeys!  We meet on the second Sunday of each month at 7:30pm. If you are able to join us, please come along. Everyone welcome!!