This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

Sunday 26th April 2020 

If you wish to join in with the hymns, just click on the link, then return to this page afterwards. (You may have to click on "Skip add" to avoid the adverts!)

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Holy God, you call us together to be your holy people, and so we join together in spirit and in truth to give you praise for the joy of life and all your creation; for our redemption in Christ; for the empowerment of your Spirit. Amen

Hymn: At the foot of the cross

Confession

God of love and mercy, we come before you knowing that we are in need of forgiveness. We have sinned against you: in our speaking and in our silence; in our thinking and in our thoughtlessness; in our actions and in our inactions.

We have sinned against you in not loving you with our whole heart and soul and strength; in not loving our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Grant us, o Lord, your forgiveness, restore us in the image of your Son, and lead us along the way to your kingdom, to the glory of your name. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon

O God, your heart is full of mercy. May we hear and trust your words to each of us: “Your sins are forgiven”. May we forgive each other and forgive ourselves. Thanks be to God. Amen

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

New Testament Reading:

Acts of the Apostles 2:36-41

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them: “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord calls to Himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying: “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptised, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Hymn: Libera nos Domine - Taize'

Reflection

The people who listened to Peter were “cut to the heart”. Clearly moved within by the Holy Spirit, they were brought to repentance. Forgiveness of sins goes hand in hand with repentance. The gift of Christ is for the whole world, God wishes to forgive all sinners, but God also respects our human freedom because He created us in His image and likeness. Therefore, forgiveness needs to meet with our admission and repentance of our guilt. When someone does something wrong but does not acknowledge and renounce the wrong, reconciliation remains incomplete even if the victim of wrong is willing to forgive. This is the first point to take home with us today. When Peter says “…this Jesus whom you crucified” we must not think of those bad people back then who put Jesus on the cross. Instead, since we know that Jesus died for our sins once and for all, we must hear Peter saying “you” to us. He is pointing the finger to all sinners, past, present and to come. We are all responsible for His crucifixion. This is why there is need for repentance. But it is also very important to have faith in this merciful and loving God. A God “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”. It is God who takes the initiative in offering salvation. There was no need for God to save humankind. So why does He want to? Because He loves us. Being baptised in the name of Jesus Christ means that we embrace the faith of Israel in the one true God, who created all things, who spoke through the prophets and who sent His Word made flesh, our Lord Jesus, to die for our sins. Our faith is personal but also collective. We believe that God who speaks to us personally, is also the God who spoke to all those who came before us in the Church. It is not enough to have a faith that is subjective and personal, it needs to be objective and tied to the beliefs of the Church, which in our tradition we call, catholic and apostolic church. To simplify this point, we can say that my personal faith is enriched by the faith of all other Christians because no one can know God entirely. Together we grow in the knowledge of God. Only if we work together, the Church will grow as it did in the passage of today.

We talked about repentance and we talked about faith. These points that we looked at above are necessary to welcome God fully into our lives. Saint Paul says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, but we need to allow God to dwell in us completely.

No one would go and start building a house on someone else’s property. Would you do that? If you tried to do that, the owner of the land would be entitled to pull down what you have built. So, for God to dwell in us we need to let Him have full ownership of our “land” which is our free will. This is why it is important to start as soon as possible to practice our faith, to surrender to God, to trust in His judgement more than in ours. That is the hardest thing to do for a human being: to trust a God who calls us to go against our corrupted human nature. This is why Jesus came. He goes ahead of us in life, in death and finally in resurrection. So now we have a good reason to trust: God gave Himself to us and for us. Amen

Hymn: And can it be       

Prayers of Intercession

Liberating God, in these times of limitations and fear, we bring our prayers to you for those whose lives are limited in more ways than one.

We pray for those who are limited by their own attitudes or beliefs; by the pain of their circumstances; by the action of others.

We pray for those worn down by illness or exhausted by caring for others, longing to feel the freshness and energy of a bright new day.

We pray for all people in the world confined in their own homes in these times of pandemic, longing to experience the possibility of travelling on an open road. In the forced confinement of these days, may they find the open road that leads to the knowledge of you, Lord God. 

We pray for those trapped in poverty, their energies sapped by the struggle against greed and injustice, longing to know the abundance of a world where the resources are freely shared. May these times teach us all, new ways to live in this world and share all that we have. 

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

 

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 19th April 2020 

If you wish to join in with the hymns, just click on the link, then return to this page afterwards. (You may have to click on "Skip add" to avoid the adverts!)

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Collect

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness so that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord , who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen

Confession

God of justice and forgiveness, we are aware of our sinful desires and our tendency to put ourselves before you. We confess that we are weak and ungrateful for what we have and that in our own lives we do not always do what is right or turn away from what is wrong. We ask for your forgiveness, we claim your love and mercy and we ask for courage to make a new beginning. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

(silence)

Jesus said: “Your sins are forgiven”, he also said “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”.

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

Hymn: Here is love great as the ocean 

 

New Testament Reading:

Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-32

But Peter standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and listen to what I say.

You that are Israelites listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders and signs that God did through Him among you and you yourselves know; this man handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised Him up, having freed Him from death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 

For David said concerning Him ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore, my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my flesh will live in hope. For You will not abandon my soul to hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence’. 

Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David, spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying:

‘He was not abandoned to hades, nor did His flesh experience corruption’

This Jesus, God raised up, and of that, all of us are witnesses.

 

Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Reflection

I cannot stress enough how important it is for each one of us to listen to Saint Peter and what he is saying in this passage. Peter’s argument is addressed to his people because he is aware that they will know the Bible of their time, the Old Testament, therefore, Peter’s words would make sense to them. His key point here is that Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified and killed, has been raised from the dead by God.

But he also says that the Israelites should not be surprised by this unique event because the Scriptures already warned them that the Messiah was going to die and be raised from the dead. Therefore, the conclusion is that Jesus is the expected Messiah.

Peter proves his argument by mentioning Psalm 16 and Psalm 110, both of them written by king David who is recognised as a prophet by the Jewish people. In our reading we only have the mentioning of Psalm 16 but if you proceed further you will find Peter’s argument on Psalm 110. Psalm 16 is very clear that the Messiah will die but not experience corruption of the flesh.

So, Peter is appealing to all the people to believe in Jesus because Peter and the other disciples are witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

The Holy Spirit did not come just for the disciples present at Pentecost, He came for all disciples of Christ throughout history so that by His power, we too can meet the risen Lord Jesus in our lives. 

But to meet Him, it is not necessary to be like Thomas and touch His pierced hands. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”.

His mother Mary, for example, believed what the angel of the Lord told her even before she gave birth to Jesus. She conceived the Word of God in her heart before she conceived Him in her body. If we practice our faith to believe like Mary did, we will also see and hear the risen Lord Jesus in every moment of our lives. And that is a true reason for joy. And we will also go out courageously like Peter and the other disciples to deliver the Word of God to the rest of the world. Amen

       

Prayers of Intercession

Lord God, you are in our midst, and through your resurrection you renew us in your love. Pour your grace upon us during this time of prayer.

Sow in the hearts of Christians the spirit of joy, that we may proclaim the risen Christ.

Bless those who alert us to the needs of others and all your creation. Give us hearts that are enlarged with hope and love for all your creatures.

Be with those who have no faith and those whose faith in You and in humanity has been diminished. Instil in your children the light of faith so that many may see that light and come with open hearts. Daughter of Jerusalem, sing and shout for joy, for the Lord has risen. Alleluia

 

Hymn: Amazing Grace  

 

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

Friday 10th April 2020 – Good Friday

Opening: 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Call to Worship

Brothers and Sisters, in these hard times that we are living, let us focus on the cross today, remembering that God is suffering with us in Christ Jesus, who suffered and died for our sins. Let us walk to the cross together in prayer, and in hope for the future both in this earthly life and in the eternal life with God.

Collect

Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin, and the depth of your love. In humble hope, may we place at His feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Old Testament Reading:

Zechariah 12:10 and 13:1

12:10 (Thus says the Lord): And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child and weeps bitterly over Him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

13:1 On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

New Testament Reading:

Hebrews 4:14-16 

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Prayer of Intercession

God of all life, you call us to live in community and teach us to care for one another, by the example of Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who gave Himself for us.

We pray for those whose position and authority affect the lives of others. Inspire them with a vision of the community as it might be, where love of neighbour and concern for one another drive out discontent, strife, anxiety and fear. Help us all to work together with one heart and will, with sympathy and understanding, to serve the common good, to minister to people in trouble and despair, and to multiply true happiness among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Passion Reading

Matthew 27:32-54 

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’

38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42 ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.”’ 44 The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land[d] until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’ 

This is the Passion of the Lord

Reflection

One thing that I have learnt from my Christian faith is that a life lived in truth, justice and love is not a romantic ideal but a stark reality. In the broken and guilty world that we live in, I have realised that God, who is Truth and Love in person, desires to suffer for us and with us. We are so important to God that He Himself became one of us in order to suffer with us in a very real way, as we find in the Passion narrative. This means that in all human suffering we are united by the One who experiences and carries the cross of human sin for us, and the cross of our suffering with us. This is because sin causes suffering. Therefore, He walks with us all the way, being with us all the time and offering us the consolation of His love and lighting a candle of hope in our hearts. 

Prayers of Intercession

In these dark times where there is so much fear and suffering of so many across the world, let us pray for healing:

God of love, your Son brought healing to the sick and hope to the despairing. We pray for all who suffer pain, or who bear the burden of illness, or who have to undergo an operation. Give them the comfort and strength of your presence, and surround them with your healing love and power. May they know the fellowship of Christ who bore pain and suffering for us on the cross, and at the last won victory over death.

Bless those who share with Christ a healing ministry, researchers, doctors, surgeons, nurses and pharmacists. Use their sympathy and skill for the relief of suffering, the conquest of disease, and the restoration of health; and crown all their efforts with good success; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

Sunday 12th April 2020 – Easter Sunday

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord is truly risen. Alleluia. 

To Him be glory and power to all the ages of eternity. Alleluia.

Collect

O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the resurrection of the Lord, may through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Old Testament Reading:

Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. And He will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations; He will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of His people, He will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day: Behold this is our God; we have waited for Him so that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation. 

Reflection

This prophecy on the resurrection of the Lord was written around 740 years before Jesus was even born. Isaiah saw that God Himself would come and would stand on a mountain where He would destroy the power of death. Death is the veil that covers all humanity. Death entered the world because of human pride and now God gets rid of it by doing something awesome. We read that God will “swallow up” death. This means that God Himself would come to experience death so that He can make death powerless, meaningless to the human soul. But how can God experience death? God cannot die! This means that, in order to destroy the power of death, God must become one of us. A human being like us. “And the Word became flesh” we read in John’s Gospel. Through the pride of a human being, that was Adam, death entered into the world. Now, through the meekness and humility of Jesus, God the Son, salvation is offered to those who trust in Him. Grace is given to those whose hearts and eyes are open. Amen.

New Testament Reading:

Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He has been raised, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples. He has been raised from the dead, and indeed He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him. This is my message for you”. So, they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them and said “Greetings!” And they came to Him, took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. Then Jesus said to them “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me”

Reflection

The empty tomb and the seeing and touching of the risen Messiah establish the historical foundation of the Christian faith. The resurrection is the “centre of gravity” of the history of the world. God entered in the history of humankind from Christmas to the cross; from the cross to the resurrection and to the ascension and Pentecost. God is with us and will remain with us for ever. The separation from God caused by our original sin has been destroyed and now we have direct access to Him. Sin no longer stands in the way when one truly repents and turns to God. Jesus is alive.

This passage of Matthew proclaims the resurrection as a historical fact. Jesus appeared in the flesh, alive, on the first day of the week. The brilliant thing is that many tried to dismiss this historical fact but no one is able to disprove the resurrection. In legal and investigative terms, all the evidence points to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Also, Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians writes that: “Jesus appeared to Peter and then to the other apostles, then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters, most of whom are still alive…”. Paul is saying, if you don’t believe me, go and ask all those people who saw Him too. We all have seen the same person, Jesus Christ. The One who was crucified and was dead but now is alive and lives for ever more. 

All this means that Jesus suffered for us and that the power of death which holds people prisoners has been overpowered. This is the joyful message of the gospel. And should there be any doubt about this truth, the women at the tomb become the first eye-witnesses of the risen Lord. The angel has a specific message for the women, and the women become the apostles of the apostles since they are the very first people to preach the gospel, to bring the good news of the resurrection.

The disciples are to go to Galilee where they will be eye-witnesses of this miracle and will meet the Lord Jesus again. The women in the first century Israel were not considered a reliable source of information, they were not even allowed to testify in court! The disciples had to take a huge act of faith to believe and go to Galilee.

Where do you stand today? How far is Galilee for you? For your soul? Are you prepared to go all the way to Galilee to see the risen Lord? If not, is it because you don’t believe the proclaimers of the gospel or because you want Jesus to come to you in the comfort of your life? Well, Jesus has already come all the way from heaven so that He will set you free if only you trust Him with your life. Don’t you think that you could get up and walk to Him, and with Him? What more can God give? The power of death is destroyed; eternal life is a reality. We live in faith, because we have reason to believe; hope that is based on a promise that removes doubt; and love that takes over the soul and lights a flame of joy in our hearts. We are so blessed. Even if the whole world is taken away from us, no one can take us away from the joy of a relationship with God. In that love, let us rejoice and believe in the future and pray for the future.        

Prayers of Intercession

Loving God, through your resurrection you have given us an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled. We come to you in joy to give thanks for the new life you have promised us. We praise you on this great day of joy, for you have brought us a new and living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Bless our community as we celebrate your resurrection.

Risen and glorified Lord. Your new life has brought us out of the darkness of fear and sin. Be with those who have lost hope in the promise of your resurrection life. Bless those whose hope in the resurrection is blighted by the fear of death. May the reality of the empty tomb shatter the bonds of apprehension. 

Holy Spirit. Be with all prisoners and captives of sin. Let your light shine in their hearts.

Gracious God open our eyes to your love so that we may always know you as our loving and forgiving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God glorified for ever. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini