A Celebration of the Eucharist – Sunday 22 March


Good morning, and welcome to St Duthac’s
Chapel, here in the garden of my house at Arpafeelie. It seems quite odd to be in this
situation but we are together, and we will now worship together on this Sunday when we
give thanks for Mother Church. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ. We meet in Christ’s name and share his peace. 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. Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and
with all Your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is
no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy. God is love and we are God’s
children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because he loved us first. Let us
confess our sins in penitence and faith. God our Father, we confess to you and to our fellow
members in the Body of Christ that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, and in what
we have failed to do. We are truly sorry. Forgive us our sins, and deliver us from the
power of evil, for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord. God,
who is both power and love, forgive you and free you from our sins, heal and strengthen
you by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Almighty God, grant that we, who are weighed down by
our sins, may be relieved and encouraged by your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without
end. Our Epistle reading this morning is from the letter to the Colossians, chapter three.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint
against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also
must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together
in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were
called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ* dwell in you richly; teach
and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms,
hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. The word of
the Lord. And the Holy Gospel is taken from the Gospel according to St John, chapter ninety,
beginning at the twenty fifth verse. Glory to Christ our Saviour. And that is what the
soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s
sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the
disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your
son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the
disciple took her into his own home. Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel.
Praise to Christ our Lord. I instinctively want to say let’s now sit down, but I assume
most of you probably are. I’m standing here in this small chapel which is in the steading
across the garden from my house. It’s the place where I come to pray. It’s a space
in which I can weep and I can shout. I can get angry and give thanks. And I simply wanted
to share it with you today. Especially for those who are worshipping in their own homes,
in their space. Those who were unable to go out this morning. For me to share from my
home to your home the love of God. In this service there are no bells and whistles. I
will leave you to sing your hymns as you wash up, vacuum the living room or sit in your
comfortable place and give thanks to God for this prayerful family which is our Church.
Today’s Gospel for mothering Sunday is one of the most powerful moments in the Passion
narrative. Jesus hangs in agony on the cross. And in that agony he sees there standing before
him his Mother, and he sees standing there his disciple, John. And at that moment, amidst
all that is going on in his heart and in his mind, all the anguish he does something remarkable.
Mother, here is your son. Son, here is your Mother. There at the foot of the cross he
creates, and recreates, and recreates. That sense of family, of love, of care and compassion.
The need for human contact, the need to feel the you belong. That is a powerful moment.
It’s one that on Good Friday when I would normally be standing in a packed Cathedral,
it’s the moment I weep. The moment where the love and compassion of Christ overflows.
And so actually it’s quite right for today, because today in this small space and in your
spaces, we are doing all we can to live within the fellowship and within the love and within
the community that is the Church, difficult as that clearly is at the moment. But that’s
something we need to keep trying to do. It’s almost easy to stop. To say, well we don’t
have to bother for a while, but we do. We have to, through all the difficulties and
confusion still be together in any way we can. Fulfilling the requirement of all the
regulations, but here in prayer, sharing together. You see there on the Cross a new family is
created. Or a growing family is strengthened. There in the depth of pain and fear the one
we worship this morning creates out of that a loving and caring unit. The basis of the
Christian communities that grew across the world. When things are tough God is with us,
pushing us to find ways of easing the pain in other. Even when pain is consuming God’s
creation. Today in Mother Church on this Mothering Sunday, from the loft of my office, to the
homes and communities of Scotland, we offer that same love, care and fellowship. We may
not be able to physically touch, we may not be able to exchange the sacrament, but here
in this community of faith we are all about to share in the story and power of God’s
saving love. Making Christ present amongst us all and sharing with each other the love
we feel in the company of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen. And so we say together the Creed.
We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is,
seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten
of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for
our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate
of the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again
in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe
in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the
Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe
in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness
of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
and so we pray for the world around us. We pray for those who are struggling with the
new way of being. We pray for those who are frightened and those who are isolated. We
remember the many people who are working hard to enable a way forward. A vaccine. A way
forward to enable us to be fed, to enable life to go on as normally as possible. We
pray for doctors and nurses, we pray for the emergency services. We pray for all of those
who are giving of their time to make sure that in this world of ours people can still
learn, people can still be healed, and people can still share in the experience of simply
being alive in this place. We pray for any we know who are sick. We pray for ourselves,
we pray for our fellowship and we pray for our Church. As we give thanks for the possibility
of sharing these times together we remember that great company of heaven – the heavenly
host who share this with us. And we remember with thanksgiving those who have died. Rest
eternal grant them Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. So in a moment of quiet we
hold our own cares and concerns. We hold them towards the arms of our loving God. Merciful
Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour, and the majesty;
for everything in heaven and on earth is yours. All things come from you, and of your own
we give you. The Lord be with you. Lift up your hearts. Let us give thanks to the Lord
our God. Worship and praise belong to you, maker of light and darkness. Your wisdom draws
beauty from chaos, brings a harvest out of sorrow and leads the exiles home. In Christ
your Son enemies are reconciled, debts forgiven and strangers made welcome Your Spirit frees
us to live as sons and daughters in our Father’s house. We who by Christ’s power follow the
way of the Cross, sharing the joy of his obedience, now offer you our praise, with angels and
archangels and the whole company of heaven singing the hymn of your unending glory: Holy,
Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna
in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for Christ in whom the world is reconciled.
Lifted on the Cross, his suffering and forgiveness spanned the gulf our sins had made. Through
that dark struggle death was swallowed up in victory, that life and light might reign.
Before he was given up to suffering and death, recalling the night of Israel’s release, the
night in which the sons of Egypt died, your Chosen One, himself the First-Born, freely
offered his life. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke
the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.”
After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink
this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and
for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.” We now obey your Son’s
command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension;
and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you these gifts
and with them ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father,
and send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and this wine, that, overshadowed
by his life-giving power, they may be the Body and Blood of your Son, and we may be
kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom. Help us,
who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory;
may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into
our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and prophets, and of all
our brothers and sisters living and departed. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom,
and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all
ages, world without end. Amen. The living bread is broken for the life of the world.
Lord, unite us in this sign. As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray: Our Father in heaven,
hallowed he 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. Do not bring us to the time of trial but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the
power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen. Lamb of God, you take away the
sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace. Behold
the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World. Happy are those who are called
to his supper. Lord I am not worthy to receive, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is gracious. And his mercy endures for ever. Almighty God,
you hate nothing that you have made, and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: create in
us a clean and contrite heart; that, in lamenting our sinfulness, we may receive from you, the
God of all mercy, forgiveness and perfect peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who
lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
Amen Deep peace of the running wave to. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace
of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the Son
of Peace to you. And the blessing of God almighty, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit be
upon and remain with you always. Amen. Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the
name of Christ. Amen.

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