Holy Communion for Sunday, 10 May 2020 (Easter 5; VE Commemoration)

Postlude: Crown Imperial

[Text of Service starts here:]


Welcome in the name of Christ.
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.

Good morning and welcome to our Holy Communion Service on this Fifth Sunday of Easter.
We begin with the Prayer of the Week.

Prayer of the Week

Let us pray

Gracious God, even as we find ourselves in the upheaval caused by the devastating virus,
we pledge to serve you and all humanity
and to strive to bring peace, justice and the relief of want and suffering,
through the Grace of your Son and our Lord.

Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and all the days of lives. 


Gathering Prayer

Jesus said: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
Welcome to the house of God.
We have come from all the corners of the earth.
Welcome to the hospitality of God.
We come as we are; we bring our life, our stories, our journey.
Welcome, brothers and sisters.
We are the rainbow people of God.
Welcome, chosen people.
May God our companion bind us in his love.


Hymn: For the healing of the nations

For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord,
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.

Lead us forward into freedom,
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase.

All that kills abundant living,
let it from the earth be banned:
pride of status, race or schooling,
dogmas that obscure your plan.
In our common quest for justice
may we hallow life’s brief span.

You, Creator-God, have written
your great name on human kind;
for our growing in your likeness
bring the life of Christ to mind;
that by our response and service
earth its destiny may find.

Fred Kaan (1965)

The Confession

Forgive us for the things we have done and have not done.
Forgive us for the things we have said and have not said.
Forgive us for the life we have lived and not lived.
Beloved God, help us to reflect the image
of the one we profess to follow
in thought, word and deed,
and in discovering our true self
draw other into that light.


Kyrie eléison

Kyrie eléison
Lord, have mercy.
Christe eléison
Christ, have mercy.

The Word of the Lord

Micah 4: 1–5

Read by Nerys Steeds

The mountain of the Lord

1 In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
 as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
 and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say,

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
 to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
 so that we may walk in his paths.’
The law will go out from Zion,
 the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
 and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
 and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
 nor will they train for war any more.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
 and under their own fig-tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
 for the Lord Almighty has spoken.
5 All the nations may walk
 in the name of their gods,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord
 our God for ever and ever.


This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn: Put peace into each other’s hands

Put peace into each other’s hands
and like a treasure hold it;
protect it like a candle flame,
with tenderness enfold it.

Put peace into each other’s hands,
like bread we break for sharing;
look people warmly in the eye:
our life is meant for caring.

As at communion, shape your hands
into a waiting cradle;
the gift of Christ receive, revere,
united.round the table.

Put Christ into each other’s hands,
he is love’s deepest measure;
in love make peace, give peace a chance:
and share it like a treasure.

Fred Kaan (1989)

Revelation 22: 1–5

Eden restored

1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.


This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


By Revd Canon John Robertson,
Director of Ecumenical Mission,
Milton Keynes Mission Partnership

Lord God, in whom is our healing and our hope, grant us courage and faithfulness that we may follow the way of the cross marked out by Jesus and so join the joyous triumph of his Resurrection.


Today seems very odd.

Great things were planned: a celebration of 75 years of peace in Europe, of the beginning of the end of a global conflict that sucked a whole generation into its violence and evil, of the courage and sacrifice of many, those who lost their lives and those who bore the scars, of those, who, with a vision of hope for a different future toiled through the hard work of forgiveness and reconciliation to create a new and lasting peace. That planned-for celebration feels thwarted by events. In the face of the very different threat posed by COVID-19, with its uncertainty and fear, its immediate legacy of pain, death and grief, this feels an odd moment to celebrate. And yet here we are. Sometimes celebration is not easy.

Celebration would not have been easy for the first recipients of that extraordinary book we know as Revelation. In many ways, ‘locked down’ by the Roman Empire, life for the fledgling churches of Asia Minor was a serious challenge. With the ever-present threat of persecution by Rome, the temptation to conform to their surrounding culture and stay under the radar would have been very real. When John writes to them, he doesn’t sugar-coat his message, exposing the sorry attempts to conform: the individual letters to the churches which fill chapters 2 and 3 do not hold back in their criticism, identifying a range of unacceptable practices from eating food sacrificed to idols to consorting with a Jezebel figure and some shady characters called Nicolaitans. The net result from John’s perspective, is a lukewarm church. John’s criticisms are all very well, but for those living under the shadow of the Roman Empire, life is not that simple: Rome dominates all horizons, being out of step risks suspicion, poverty, death. Rome is the reality with which everyone has to do. The psychological effect of Roman power on day-to-day life cannot be underestimated: it becomes difficult to imagine a different world. The churches have become trapped, unable to see beyond the obvious reality of Roman power.

It is that situation which John addresses for the rest of his book. And so he writes to open the eyes of the churches, to enable them to see things differently. He offers a vision, a door standing open in heaven (4: 1), by which his readers may perceive a bigger picture. Through the door lies a picture of God seated on a throne, Lord of all that is and surrounded by praise:

‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.’

Over against the apparent day to day reality of Roman power, John places the absolute reality of God, before whom all other pretensions to power pale into insignificance. Lift your eyes, says John, and see that there is something much greater than Rome, snap out of your limited vision, see Rome for what it is, live from a different perspective altogether. The emperor may claim to be a god, but such a claim is utterly empty in the light of the absolute reality of God.

Not only so, but through a series of fantastical visions, John exposes Rome as the puppet of evil, a tyrannous regime manifesting all that is opposed to God. The Roman empire is not something to accept easily, not something to which to conform, but is to be resisted as the evil which it is. And be in no doubt, says John, the victory of God over evil is assured, this new Babylon of Rome will fall, evil will be vanquished, there will be a new Jerusalem, the river of the water of life will flow from the throne of God (22: 1). So, in the face of the oppression of Rome, John gives the beleaguered churches hope, he gives them a vision to live towards, he encourages faithfulness and courage, he gives them a God to believe in.

The Revelation of John is a tract against tyranny. It was understood as such by the Germans within the churches who resisted Nazism. Victory in Europe should never be understood as a victory over a nation or a people, but as a victory over tyranny. But what is the nature of that victory? How is victory to endure and open into peace? How is it to avoid the easy descent into a tyranny of the new victors? Here again, Revelation points the way.

At the heart of that final vision of the throne of God in chapter 22 is the figure of the Lamb. ‘The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city’, says John. John first introduces us to the Lamb at the beginning of his vision in chapter 5, where, rather than an image of power, John sees a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne. John points us towards Jesus, and particularly towards Jesus on the cross, entering the suffering of the world, bearing the consequences of human evil and violence, absorbing them into God, drawing their power, neutralising them. It is this Jesus, now risen and ascended, who stands at the centre of the throne of God. It is this Jesus who has triumphed over evil on the cross, whose victory is assured. It is only by way of the cross that any victory is meaningful, for the cross breaks the cycle of violence which sets people against one another, the cross opens out a path of forgiveness and reconciliation, the cross makes peace, real peace, possible. On either side of the throne of God and the Lamb in John’s vision grows a tree of life, the leaves of which, John says, are for the healing of the nations (22: 2). The victory of the cross is one which issues in lasting peace. It is only, then, as we allow the cross to shape our lives that we can continue to celebrate a victory of peace.

That last remark is important. For a VE Day celebration looks not only to the past and its heroes, but to the future and the continuing battle against all forms of tyranny in which we are all enlisted. We are called to live those cross-shaped lives which work for peace, resisting evil, offering reconciliation and hope. Whilst we celebrate 75 years of peace, we cannot be complacent about our present or our future, but continue to root ourselves faithfully in the cross of the risen Jesus and in his victory over evil that we may live in hope for a peaceful future. And if we find ourselves now in the strange new world shaped by COVID-19, we do well to recognise the challenge to peace that it may well represent as nations jockey for resources, economies falter, businesses fail, unemployment and poverty rise, xenophobia grows, uncertainty and fear set in, for these are the very soil from which tyranny and violence may grow once more. We will need to be vigilant. We will need to dig deep into our faith.

It is not easy to celebrate today. Yet it is important that we do so. Not perhaps with bunting and balloons, but with the deeper joy which comes from the knowledge of peace once achieved and with the courageous hope that peace is always possible through the cross of the risen Jesus.


Anthem: Behold, I make all things new

I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
and I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.

I heard a great voice from the throne:
‘Behold the dwelling of God with his people.’
He will dwell with them
and they shall be his people.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes
and death shall be no more.
Neither shall there be crying
and pain any more.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
and I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.
Behold, I make all things new.

An Affirmation of Faith

We believe in the Creator:
the maker of all things

We believe in the Son:
the redeemer of our broken world

We believe in the Spirit:
The sacred wind that binds all things together in the family of God.

Creator Father, beloved Son and living Spirit.



By Jill Le Sueur

We pray for the world and its needs.
We pray for the Church and her life.
We pray for ourselves,
and all those known to us.

Jesus says, ‘Do not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.’

In the intercessions today, the versicle is, ‘Lord, lead us in the way of peace’ to which we all say together, ‘Guide us in the path of life.

Lord, lead us in the way of peace.
Guide us in the path of life.

Father, once more we bring before you the needs of your troubled world, for you alone are the big picture of the past, present and future. We pray for all those who are in positions of authority throughout the world, for those who are called upon to make difficult decisions that will affect the whole future of humankind and the future of planet earth. May all humankind be mindful of their part in shaping the future and show this by putting aside self-interest and instead consider the needs of others.

Lord, lead us in the way of peace.
Guide us in the path of life.

Father, we praise you for bringing us together this day and thank you for all the folk who contribute to building up our community at Christ the Cornerstone. May your worldwide Church be sustained through the the work of your Holy Spirit and be a source of hope as humankind faces an uncertain future.

Lord, lead us in the way of peace.
Guide us in the path of life.

Father, we bring to you the needs of our family and friends, and those we carry on our hearts. You know how best to help them, and we lay their hopes and fears before you. We give thanks for the people who work for the common good through the work they do, often putting their lives in danger, and also thanks for the many acts of kindness shown to us who are in lockdown. We bring before you the countless many who are in desperate need throughout the world and are dependent on the generosity of others. Guide each one of us, how we should respond. Father, help us with our fears today, when we will learn more about our government’s plans for coming out of lockdown.

Lord, lead us in the way of peace.
Guide us in the path of life.

Lord, as you have called us to walk in your way, continue to help us to be the people you desire us to be, for it is only through the spirit of Jesus within us and yet mysteriously around us, that we are safe in your love.

Into your hands we commit ourselves and all our loved ones, whatever the future holds.

Lord, lead us in the way of peace.
Guide us in the path of life.


The Peace

Jesus says,

‘Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid.’

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

The Offering

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9: 6–7

Thank you

To everyone who is continuing to pay us regularly through the Parish Giving Scheme.
To everyone who is continuing to pay us regularly by bankers’ order.
To people in the envelope scheme who are putting their money aside every week ready to bring in when we re-open.
To members of the envelope scheme who have already sent cheques and on-line donations.

Thank you

Holy Communion

The Thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become our spiritual drink.

Blessed be God for ever.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Eucharistic Prayer

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.
When we turned away
you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross
and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,
at supper with his friends
he took bread, and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,
he gave you thanks, and said:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;
do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,
send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine
may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world
we offer you this sacrifice of praise
and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be 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.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Take this bread:

Share this wine.

In these Christ comes to us with love from God.
The gifts of God for the people of God.


Hymn: All my hope in God is founded

All my hope in God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
God unknown,
he alone
calls my heart to be his own.

God’s great goodness aye endureth
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendour, light, and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
from his store
new-born worlds rise and adore.

Daily doth th’Almighty giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.

Still from man to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.

Robert Bridges (1844–1930)

Blessing and Closing

Thank you for joining us this morning.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn his face towards you
and give you peace.

And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father,
the Son
and the Holy Spirit
be among you
and remain with you
today and always.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.


Postlude: Crown Imperial