St Mary's Aberfoyle

Service for Sunday 29th March 2020 – Passion Sunday

The Bulletin for Passion Sunday

29th March 2020

Notices

Thank you to those who have been in contact by phone and email during the week. Please continue to do so, even if just for a chat. I remain of course anxious to help anyone during these difficult days. My thought and prayer for you all.

The extended virus regulations issued earlier this week now prohibit anyone save the incumbent entering his or her place of worship.

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

For those who prefer devotion in another form, the following is a complete service for Passion Sunday

SERVICE FOR TODAY

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

The Collect for the day

Most merciful God,

who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ

delivered and saved the world:

grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross

we may triumph in the power of his victory;

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 for ever.

The Gospel.

John 11.1-45

11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The sermon

Today, Passion Sunday marks the beginning in the Christian calendar of a two-week period in the Christian calendar during which the sequence of events leading to the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday are recalled.

Passion is a richly suggestive word. In its human context, it describes a state of deep emotional feeling and attachment. In the context of the divine, it conveys the most powerful longing by Almighty God to redeem humanity by allowing his only son to suffer death for the sake of the world.

Exhibiting passion requires self-giving, that in turn may necessitate personal suffering. Christ’s sufferings in the cause of passionate love for the world are well documented in the Gospels. During his anguished visit to the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ confessed to his disciples that his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow. As he prayed, sweat like drops of blood fell to the ground. The next day, Good Friday, his accusers spat on him and mocked him. They struck his head repeatedly before attaching him to a cross with nails. Later, Christ called from the cross in words of deepest distress., “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  That Christ willing suffered this and much besides explains the divine context of passion, a holy outpouring of love demonstrated by the crucified Christ.

 However, before showing this love for the world, Christ was to outpour his love for one particular family.  Mary, Martha and Lazarus who lived at Bethany were amongst Jesus’ closest friends. Lazarus became ill to the point of death and, in desperation, Mary and Martha sent for Christ, pleading with him to come immediately and heal their brother.

But Christ didn’t respond as the sisters had wished. Rather he postponed the journey for nearly three days. By that time, Lazarus had died. The explanation for the delay will in time became apparent. Martha and Mary though were unaware of the cause and consequently made no effort to hide their disappointment. “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

At Christ’s bidding, the sisters took him to Lazarus’s tomb and Jesus shook with emotion from the depth of his soul in his concern for the grieving sisters. Christ then was able to show more than mere sympathy for Martha and Mary’ plight.

St John carefully notes in his gospel account no less than seven occasions when Christ exhibited the miraculous. He turned water into wine and cured the hunger of five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. He healed a paralytic at Bethsaida, a royal official’s son at Capernaum, and gave sight to a blind man. He walked over the Sea of Galilee to rescue the disciples from a storm. These account for six miraculous acts. Now Jesus would perform his last and greatest miracle in the presence of Martha and Mary at their brother’s tomb.  

Upon their arrival, Jesus asked that the entrance stone be removed.  Martha though demurred.  “Lord, he has been dead four days.” The stone was nevertheless rolled away. Jesus prayed and then called out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”.  He appeared; his body was still wrapped in burial cloths.  Jesus said, “Free him, and let him go.” The previous six miraculous acts had given Jesus an opportunity to demonstrate the power of God in varying ways. Now in this the seventh at Lazarus’s tomb Jesus proved the power of God to raise the dead to new life.

The reason for Christ’s delay in answering the sister’s plea for help now becomes apparent. The performance of this last and greatest miracle could only be possible after Lazarus had died.   

No act of compassion can be made without cost. According to St John, those who witnessed the miracle went back and told the temple leaders what happened.  John then wrote:

“The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered
and from that day forward they took counsel
that they might put him to death.”

Through this outpouring of compassion for Martha and Mary, Christ had thereby sealed his own fate. And of no less importance, the miracle foreshadowed Christ’s own rising from a tomb.

Amen  

The Prayers

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

For those who are ill

Merciful God,
we entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

For hospital staff and medical researchers

Gracious God,
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.

The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee, and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

The Grace

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with me always. Amen.