Our worship this morning is online only. It is the final Eastertide service of our Kingston Ecumenical Worship Partnership and highlights the wonderful hymns and music of the Resurrection, interspersed with scripture readings and prayers. We thank Michael Capon, Director of Music at St. James Anglican Church, and a whole host of choristers and musicians for producing this opportunity for us. The service will be available from 8 a.m. Sunday morning on Youtube at https://youtu.be/-N0XSCdKjGw
As per the most recent provincial ‘stay at home’ mandate, the Church Office will be closed for the month. Telephone messages will be retrieved once a morning Tuesday to Thursday. We thank you for your understanding, and extend with you our prayers for all struggling during this season, and the many who are at work in health care and other essential services.
An order of service is found below, followed by a reflection and prayer posted recently by the World Council of Churches …
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast’ was written in 1732 by the poet Alexander Pope. It captures the profound instinct that dark and difficult times will pass. To hope is to anticipate, even expect that better days will come. More recently, others have shared their wisdom on this theme. Take, for example, what Hellen Keller has said, ‘Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.’ Zig Ziglar said, ‘If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.’ Nelson Mandela’s words are also timely, ‘May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.’ Hope is a bridge that helps us to journey from the difficulties and depravities of the present to a future that looks not only different but better.
Consequently, when hope is lessened or even destroyed, our spirits are crushed. Little wonder that hope is one of the central tenets of the Christian faith! For followers of Jesus Christ, “hope” is more than being optimistic or having a positive outlook on life. It is that and more, for our hope is anchored in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Our faith, therefore, leads us to affirm that what we hold to as hope enables us to see beyond the current calamities, even beyond the ‘sting’ of death and to maintain still that we are a ‘hope-filled’ Christian people.
In these times, Christian hope, though, also embraces other signs of hope which helps us keep hope alive during this pandemic. The flames of hope are ignited when we see scientists throughout the world, working together to create vaccines. Our hope in humanity is affirmed as we witness nations sharing knowledge and information to mitigate the pandemic, agreeing to quarantine and isolation to protect each other. Though there have been innumerable challenges and difficulties that have emerged since the start of the pandemic, there have also been many signs of hope that remind us that things will get better.
During this week of prayer, in all the varied expressions of lament, concern, intercession and gratitude, there has been a thread of hope, a confidence that God is with us. Our God, who suffers with his people, will continue to bring hope and healing. Paul’s prayer is our prayer that God, the source of hope, will fill us with joy, peace, and hope because we trust him. A hope that is rooted in God, not in outward circumstances. Hope that is expressed in what we do and say. God’s people serving him, bringing hope where there is poverty and suffering. This is our active participation in God’s mission, the Missio Dei.
God of hope,
our hearts overflow with gratitude for your abiding presence during these exceedingly difficult and troubled times.
May the flames of hope remain aglow among individuals, families,
communities and nations during the pandemic.
May our trust in you be affirmed, especially as we continue to navigate each day
the challenges that have confronted us.
Let all that we are wait quietly before you, O God, knowing that our hope is in you.
By your Spirit, may we be grounded in the hope that is proclaimed in your word:
you are our rock and salvation, our fortress where we will not be shaken.
We pray in the name of One who, by his resurrection,
has given us the hope of life eternal, Jesus the Christ, Amen.