24th April 2022
Morning Worship – 24th April 2022
St George – Following the way of the early disciples
As the disciples in the locked room reached out and touched you,
let us reach out and touch you today, living Lord Jesus.
Let us be still and know that you are with us.
Our Lord and our God.
Reading – Acts 5.27-32
27 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.’ 29But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, so that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
Reading – John 20.19 – 31
19 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.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So 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.’
26 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.’ 27Then 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.’ 28Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But 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 now in the season of Easter. The period from Easter Day to Ascension and Pentecost. It marks the time when Christ prepares his disciples for taking forward his mission on earth in his absence. It is a mission that all followers will carry on throughout the ages. Some will die as witnesses to Christ.
The 23rd April is St George’s Day. Patron saint of England. Remembered as a martyr, the details of the life of George have been lost in time, although fifth-century records attest his existence, and to the beginning of his commemoration. In all probability George was a soldier, and a victim of the Diocletian persecutions in Lydda, in Palestine. The known facts of his life state that George, an officer in the Roman Army, ‘gave his goods to the poor, and openly confessed Christianity before the court’. At a time when many Christians were persecuted for their faith George would have given his life as a witness of Christ.
St George is personified as an ideal knight – a champion and servant to a cause or a mission. The two readings and the example of St George remind us that everything we do should be focussed on God.
The 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 for ever. Amen
Our Lord and our God.
As we go out this week.
May we remember the example of the Apostles and of Saint George, whose strength and constancy in faith sustained them in their mission.
May our faith remain strong. Free from wavering and doubt.
So that we may walk in your path and stand in Your name.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore.
Posted by Nigel Smetham on Friday, April 22, 2022