The Great Fifty Days of Eastertide form a single festival period in which the tone of joy created at the Easter Vigil is sustained through the following seven weeks and the Church celebrates the gloriously risen Christ. The Easter candle stands prominently in church for all of this season. The Alleluia appears frequently in the liturgy and white/gold as the liturgical colour for vestments and decorations emphasise the joy and brightness of the season.
Theme: Stay Connected
Gathering and Opening Prayers
A call to worship and a gathering prayer
Come apart from your busyness.
Leave your stresses at the door.
Come and reconnect with God.
Remain in him and grow.
Grow closer, grow deeper.
Grow and be fruitful.
Come and glorify God!
We gather here, O Lord, for you, the vine, to nourish us.
May we, the branches, draw our strength from you,
and grow in harmony, unity and love.
May we find nourishment through our rootedness
in the life, teachings and love of Christ.
Receive the fruits of our worship and be glorified.
The Collect for Easter5:
your wounds declare your love for the world
and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve
to the glory of God the Father.
Gathering around the Word
Jesus says that he is ‘the true vine’. His Father is the vine-grower who removes fruitless branches and prunes those that are fruitful so that they might produce even more. The disciples are the branches; they are to remain part of the vine and expected to grow and bear good fruit.
How do we ‘remain’ in Jesus? How do we stay always connected to Jesus? The metaphor of a growing vine suggests something that is active – a way of living, rather than a passive ‘resting’. What does this look like in practice?
- In what situations do you feel most connected to God?
- What can help you to remain in the right place to grow?
A Meditation on ‘I am the Vine’
I am your origin, your nutrients, your mainstay.
Root yourself in me.
Let yourself be fed.
Let yourself grow…closer and deeper.
And in the growing, allow the pruning.
Allow me to prune, to trim, to cut away your broken branches,
your fruitless parts,
branches that are going to seed.
And watch and wait.
Wait for the new shoots.
Wait for the new fruits to bud slowly and open gently.
Turn to my warmth, and let your fruits open in my glory.
An Easter Affirmation of Faith:
We believe in God the Father,
God almighty, by whose plan
earth and heaven sprang to being,
all created things began.
We believe in Christ the Saviour,
Son of God in human frame,
virgin-born, the child of Mary
upon whom the Spirit came.
Christ, who on the cross forsaken,
like a lamb to slaughter led,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
he descended to the dead.
We believe in Jesus risen,
heaven’s king to rule and reign,
to the Father’s side ascended
till as judge he comes again.
We believe in God the Spirit;
in one Church, below, above:
saints of God in one communion,
one in holiness and love.
So by faith, our sins forgiven,
Christ our Saviour, Lord and friend,
we shall rise with him in glory
to the life that knows no end.
from Common Worship
Prayers of Intercession
Prayers of Intercession: led this week by Marianne Heldt
Response: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
The Our Father
We join with others of the St Catherines’ family across the globe
in our preferred form or language.
The Sending Out
A sending out prayer
As we leave this place / time,
may we abide with God,
grafted and rooted and pruned.
Lord, help us to stay connected to one another and to you,
bearing fruit wherever your love takes us.
Organist: Stephen Brown