Holy Communion for Sunday, 24 May 2020 (Easter 7)

[The video recordings of all the music for this service can be viewed at: http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-videos-for-sunday-24-may-2020/.]

Prelude: Harpsichord Prelude in C major (J.S. Bach)

Played by Adrian Boynton

Holy Communion Service

[The video recording contains the whole service, the complete text of which is below the Postlude.]

Postlude: Scarlatti’s harpsichord sonata in A major

Played by Adrian Boynton

Introit for Ascensiontide: Eternal Monarch, King most high


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

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

Let us pray.

Prayer of the Week

Merciful God, we gather in humility to worship you.
Caring God, we bring to you our concerns.
Glorious God, we exalt your holy name.
Unite us; make us one in you,
that your love may strengthen and empower us
in this time of testing and anxiety.


Hymn: We sing the praise of Jesus, of our ascending Lord

We sing the praise of Jesus,
of our ascending Lord;
the triumph of our Saviour,
of Christ the Son of God.
The forty days are over,
earth sees his face no more;
our Christ the King of glory
we worship and adore.

Rejoicing in Christ’s promise
we wait in prayer and praise,
the Spirit sent from heaven
to set the earth ablaze;
we pray with expectation,
we praise with one accord,
we wait for living fire,
the power of the Lord.

Therefore with saints and angels
and all the hosts above
we lift our hearts and voices
to bless the God of love;
to sing of our Redeemer
who intercedes and prays,
that God the Holy Spirit
may guide us all our days.

With songs of alleluia
let earth and heaven ring;
and praises to the Father
let all creation sing.
All honour be to Jesus,
God’s own eternal Son;
and to the Holy Spirit
let endless praise be done!

Norman Wallwork (2012)

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.


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
Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison

Christe eléison
Christe eléison
Christe eléison

Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison

The Word of the Lord

Psalm 46

Read by Janet Trimnell

1 God is our refuge and strength,
  an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
  and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam
  and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
  the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
  God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
  he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
  the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
  to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
  he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
  I will be exalted among the nations,
  I will be exalted in the earth.’

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our fortress.


This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Luke 21: 5–11

Read by Robin Kyd

The destruction of the temple and signs of the end times

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 ‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.’

7 ‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?’

8 He replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am he,” and, “The time is near.” Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.’

10 Then he said to them: ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.


This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our light.


By Revd George Mwaura

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis: Psalm 46 and Luke 21:5–11

Let us pray together:

God of time and space, may your guiding spirit speak to us your reassuring words in these anxious times for our hearts are desperate for your consolation.


Now having been quarantined at home against our wishes has given us ample opportunity to study nature at our leisure. This is evidenced by the many posts from so many of you, especially Katherine Wheldon on the WhatsApp platform. (Thank you, Katherine.) We have watched with fascination and delight as the environment around us came to life. From a death-like slumber early this year, to shoots of green and now, leafy shrubs and trees spewing pollen and a riot of beauty  as the plants flower in a manner only English gardens can display! See, we have mature trees in our back garden, and I have watched keenly the birds work as they gather material for their nests oblivious of the human struggles and anxieties all around them. Watching the natural rhythm of God’s world, you would not suspect that the world is thrashing and screaming as it struggles to come to grips with the most devastating pandemic for almost a hundred years.

As I prepare this sermon over 5 million people worldwide have been infected with Covid-19 and there has been over 400,000 deaths. Economies, including those of leading global powers like China and America have been severely impacted and the relationship between those in power and those governed will never be the same again. The capitalist supply chain has been exposed as fraud as we noted its inadequacy and failure to keep up with the supply of PPEs and ventilators. Everywhere you listen these days people are asking the same question: When is the lockdown going to end? When can we go back to the normal life we knew? But the question I want to ask you this morning is this? What was so normal in the days before Covid-19? And perhaps a secondary question: do we genuinely want to go back to that normal? Let us explore that for a minute, shall we? The normal in the days before the pandemic was a world where the rich got richer everyday by exploiting the poor and those on the margins. The normal we knew was a world ruled by technology giants like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and mega supermarket chains driving the corner shop and small traders to extinction. The normal we knew were millions dying in third-world countries from malaria, AIDS, Ebola and other preventable and curable diseases and epidemics.

The normal we knew were horrible pictures of hungry, malnourished, and sick children on our television screens in Africa and Middle East. The normal we knew, were refugees crowding the borders of Turkey and Greece as they tried to enter Western Europe to find a better a life. The normal we knew were a million Rohingya Muslim refugees starving in a squalid camp in Bangladesh after being kicked out from their own country by their own government. The normal we knew was the earth groaning from toxic emissions, humans and birds choking from polluted air, marine life dying from eating plastics, and beautiful coral reefs dying from a rise in sea temperatures. The normal we knew was spending countless hours on traffic jams on our roads and thus reducing productivity. The normal we knew were divided churches, where people were more interested with power than discipleship. So, I ask again, is that the normal we want to go back to? Allow me to say: no way, nyet, apana, asha, Lord forbid ! And so, we must learn something from this pandemic; for if the truth be told, this is not the last pandemic we are going to see, and we certainly do not want to go back to that normal!

Granted, diseases and death are not new and have indelibly marked our experience since creation. In the beginning, there were no diseases, harmful germs, or pandemics. According to the book of Genesis, everything God created was exceptionally good. But things took a turn for the worse when sin came into the equation of our existence and through sin, along came death to us and creation became  subject to futility. We read in our gospel lesson that nearing the end of his time on earth, Jesus referred to a period of  increased pandemics together with other upheavals as a prelude to his second coming. And in the current corona atmosphere, some theological cowboys and some believers wonder if this is the time Christ spoke of. Now while natural catastrophes have always been a part of our narrative, I do not believe the time referred to by Jesus is now. But don’t take my word for it; just read Revelation 6 and you will see that many of the conditions cited by John have not been fulfilled.

The prophecies contained in the scriptures are emphatic that certain events must happen before that point is reached and so while the current global Corona pandemic sounds like one of the warnings Jesus was referring to, leading to a time of fear, trials and tribulations, this is most likely a warning shot. It is highly likely there is time before His return. That however should not give us a sense false hope; oh, no, no, no; it simply allows us a window of opportunity to prepare! No doubt, the virus will burn itself out or by God’s grace scientists will create a vaccine and we will come out of the spell the pandemic has had on our  collective ways of lives. There will come a day and not so far in the distant future when we can resume work, go to church and fellowship together, take the children and grandchildren to school and other activities, and yes, even visit our favourite pub. There will come a day when we will get back to that new normal; but let us be crystal clear: this will not be an end to pandemics or suffering in our world.

So, what should our response be? What can we learn from this experience? In the gospel of Mark, Jesus freely gives us some advice on what we should be doing in these dark moments as we take stock of our close encounter with Covid-19. He said: Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time will come. Now, you and I or indeed anyone else out there, with an exception of the Revd Jim Jones, James Manson and other nutters, no one knows when Christ will return. But the command from Jesus is to watch and pray! But pray for what, one might ask? Here, Christ is referring to the prophet Ezekiel, who was told by God that he was like a watchman who stood on the walls of the city and warned the people of an approaching danger. He was to warn the people to get ready for an imminent siege and attack by the enemy as this could result in starvation and diseases to those under siege.

They were to take precautions and prepare in order to survive the calamity which would befall them. Jesus uses the same words to warn us to be attentive to the prevailing conditions of our times and to understand where we are in our relationship with God in his plans for our world. As we recover and take stock of the aftermaths of the Covid-19, we too need to desperately understand the signs of the time. If we read them correctly, they might prompt us to lead a more compassionate and considerate life: a life which is in tune with God’s mission for this world; a life that will make it possible to straighten the crooked roads of our society; a life that will reduce the inequality between the rich and the poor, to reduce the economic gap between the West and the global south. To lead responsible lives like good custodians of God’s creation and not like the hired hand who does not care if a sheep or two are eaten by the wolves. To lead a life that makes it possible for us to see the biotic creatures which God lovingly put on this earth to share with us protected, and not exploited for our short-time gratification. Above everything else, we will and must be provoked to fall and remain on our knees in prayers, searching God’s heart like King David so that we can re-establish that spiritual connection which we have lost:-a connection of love with our creator and his creation. Globally, millions stare at a future without security in employment or health. This by itself is enough to cause panic and thereby open the doors to fear, worry and selfishness. But as we re-learn how to trust God in this crisis, he will provide us the building blocks we urgently need to manage our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Kairos moment for the Church and the world at large. The creator is throwing humanity a lifeline and Christ is firing a warning shot: Wake up, watch, and wait! Friends, let us seek God while we still can.


Responsorial Psalm:
God goes up with shouts of joy (Psalm 47)

God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

All peoples, clap your hands,
cry to God with shouts of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear,
great king over all the earth.

God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
Sing praise for God, sing praise,
sing praise to our king, sing praise.

God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

God is king of all the earth,
sing praise with all your skill.
God is king over the nations;
God reigns on his holy throne.

God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.

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 Penny Keens

Almighty God, may our prayers ascend to you
just as our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, was taken up to heaven.
As we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus
let it inspire in us feelings of joy and hope
rather than fear and separation
as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit

Lord Jesus Christ,
you travelled through towns and villages ‘curing every disease and illness’.
At your command, the sick were made well.
Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus,
that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus.
May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear,
which prevents nations from working together
and neighbours from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride,
which can make us claim invulnerability
to a disease that knows no borders.

Lord Jesus Christ, healer of all,
stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus.
May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died.
As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair.
May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals
who seek to heal and help those affected
nd who put themselves at risk in the process.
May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations.
Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern
for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve.
Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions
that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks.
May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad,
surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few,
Lord Jesus Christ,
stay with us as we endure and mourn,
persist and prepare.
In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Lord Jesus Christ, heal us.


Hymn: Open the eyes of my heart, Lord

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You, I want to see You.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You, I want to see You.

To see you high and lifted up,
shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love,
as we sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy.’

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You, I want to see You.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You, I want to see You.

To see you high and lifted up,
shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love,
as we sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy.’

Holy, holy, holy,
holy, holy, holy,
holy, holy, holy,
I want to see You.

Paul Baloch (1996); © Integrity’s Hosanna! Music, administered by Sovereign Music UK

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: Christ is the King! O friends rejoice

Christ is the King! O friends rejoice;
brothers and sisters with one voice
tell all the world he is your choice.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

O magnify the Lord, and raise
anthems of joy and holy praise
for Christ’s brave saints of ancient days.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ through all ages is the same:
place the same hope in his great name,
with the same faith his words proclaim.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Let love’s unconquerable might
your scattered companies unite
in service to the Lord of light.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

So shall God’s will on earth be done,
new lamps be lit, new tasks begun,
and the whole church at last be one.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

G.K.A. Bell(1883–1958)

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: Scarlatti’s harpsichord sonata in A major

Played by Adrian Boynton

[The video recordings of all the music for this service can be viewed at: http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-videos-for-sunday-24-may-2020/.]