THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
" I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 Love's redeeming work is done;
fought the fight, the battle won:
lo, our Sun's eclipse is o'er,
lo, he sets in blood no more.
2 Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ has opened paradise.
3 Lives again our glorious King;
where, O death, is now thy sting?
dying once, he all doth save;
where thy victory, O grave?
4 Soar we now where Christ has led,
following our exalted Head;
made like him, like him we rise;
ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
5 Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given:
thee we greet triumphant now;
hail, the Resurrection Thou!
The Risen Christ: Bergognone
The collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
The First Reading: Acts 11: 1-18
The apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, ‘Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?’ Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But I replied, “By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” But a second time the voice answered from heaven, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.”
And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’
When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, ‘Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.’
Peter said: ‘I now realise that God does not show favouritism, but accepts people from every nation who fear him and do what is right.’ (Acts 10:34). The early Christians failed to understand that Christ had died for the whole of Creation and not just those who had been brought up in the Jewish tradition. This may seem difficult for us to understand in an age where there is so much talk of diversity and respect for alternative ways of life but we have to admit that we too often fail in our calling to see Christ in all we meet. That is where we need the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you angels of his; praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord; for he commanded, and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever; he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea-monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and fog, tempestuous wind, doing his will; Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens, old and young together.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for his Name only is exalted, his splendour is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people and praise for all his loyal servants, the children of Israel, a people who are near him. Hallelujah!
The Second Reading: Revelation 21: 1-6
I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
In Jewish thinking, a reference to the first and last letters of an alphabet (alpha and omega) was regarded as including all the intermediate letters and represented totality or entirety. This is a reading that assures us that there is hope for the whole of Creation, despite what we see going on around us in the world today.
Gospel reading: St. John 13:31-35
During the supper, when Judas had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
Jesus gives us a very clear and “simple” commandment: Love one another! Love is not about fine words or sentimental feelings. For Jesus, love is what love does. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12
At the start of Christian Aid Week we pray: Generous God, through your Son, Jesus Christ,
you have shown us what it means to love. And you call us to follow Your example—
to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Continue to write your law of love on our hearts.
Give us an unwavering passion for justice, and a tenacious faith that will not rest until the hungry are fed, the oppressed find relief, and the outsider finds a welcome. Amen
- We continue to pray for peace in the world, thinking especially of those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
- We pray for those known to us who are in poor health, thinking especially of ......... May they know the strength and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
- We pray for the repose of the souls of those who have recently departed this life .. … and bring before you all who are deeply missing loved ones through bereavement.
Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: grant us to walk in his way, to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.
A prayer for Ukraine….
Lord, you promise us a future in which the weapons of war will be transformed into instruments of peace.
Today is not such a day, as missiles rain down on Ukraine and innocent people take refuge underground..
You taught us to pray your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,
and so we pray that you will restrain the aggressor, grant courage and wisdom to the resistance, and bring peace to this part of your world.
Look with mercy on the peoples of Ukraine and Russia, and grant our leaders wisdom and courage to seek a resolution that will allow truth and freedom to return to these lands.
Grant Lord, that through this conflict that we would have unimaginable six weeks ago, we may recognise anew our need for you, and live to thank you for answering our prayers.