Worship for Sunday 3rd May

Good evening everyone,

Here is your YouTube link for tomorrow morning’s 10am service, which is based on “The Good Shepherd”


This is our first attempt at video editing, so for the first time you will be able to see both John and I in the service from our respective homes. Please excuse the “clunkiness” – this is a very steep learning curve!

I hope you will enjoy the pictures at the beginning of the video of the Good Shepherd window at St Andrews, and all Penny Denny’s lovely lambs and sheep at her farm – thank you Penny, for bring the subject to life for us with these wonderful images of new life and hope.

I am including below both John’s script for his talk, and the order of service (complete with sheep photos!) for you to print out and follow along with the service.

order of service for Easter 3 2020 Good shepherd sunday

John Moss, sermon for 4th of Easter 2020

With love to you all,


Worship for Sunday 26th April

Dear friends,

I am attaching the text for this week’s worship and the reflection to read along side it.

order of service for Easter 2 2020

Easter 2 Reflection The Road to Emmaus 2020

I am afraid we have had technical issues regarding the recording this week, but we will plan to do as much as possible via zoom and YouTube for those who will find that helpful over the coming weeks. Apologies for this – we will just have to imagine one another singing in our homes this time!

Here is a link for something called “Bible Chat Mat” which children and grandchildren may be interested in colouring during or after worship. As you can see it is not just an ordinary colouring activity! It includes all kinds of visual prompts and questions to help young people to reflect meaningfully on the story. This week’s Bible Chat Mat is based on the Easter story.


Warmest wishes and every blessing,


Worship for Sunday, 19th April 2020 – introduction

St Raphael’s Congregation

Easter Pilgrimage 2020


This service is an Easter pilgrimage of the imagination around church – any church, but most likely your local church building, as together in words and music and action, we celebrate the new life in Christ that flows from his resurrection.

The service focuses around four ‘stations’: the Paschal Candle, the Easter garden, the Font, and the Altar, and has a reading and a hymn for each.  As we are not able to visit church in person, some people might find it useful to focus on visual symbols representing each of these: a candle, some flowers, some water, some bread and wine, or a white linen cloth, for example.  These could be real or images on your computer or in a book.

In the order of service there are links to hymns on the YouTube website – clearly, these only work if you are on your computer and connected to the internet!  I apologise in advance if any advertisements come first – though you can normally skip them after a couple of seconds.  If have a paper version of the order of service, feel free to sing loud and unaccompanied! – and if not, do treat the hymn as poems – which, of course, they are.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2006.

Copyright on video and music clips referenced is covered by YouTube.

CCL Licence 526387

Worship for Easter Sunday – 12th April

Dear St Raphael’s friends,

A very happy Easter to you!

I hope you are planning to be in good voice as there will be lots of singing in this week’s service. The link to the YouTube video (taken in our garden!) is below…….you might want to join in the service in your own gardens too? As usual we will aim to worship at 10am altogether where we can, using the video and order of service: order of service for Easter Sunday 2020

Here is the reflection, for those of you who can’t easily access YouTube: Easter reflection 2020



With Easter blessings to you all and love and prayers to you and all those you love,


Holy Week Reading and prayer: Wednesday

John 12:27-36

Jesus Speaks about His Death

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah[b] remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

“Now my soul is troubled”. 

Rarely in the last century has Holy Week coincided with such a time of trouble and concern around the world. And so we read these words spoken by Jesus in a new light. Our souls are troubled, as his was. Like him we are subject to fear and anxiety. 

In Jesus, God was made incarnate – we often forget what that really means. We are tempted to think that Christ could not really suffer the same doubts, the same distress, the same pain, that we do. We might even imagine that his divinity gives him a “get out clause” when it comes to true human suffering and yet every event of Holy Week demonstrates to us that that isn’t the case.

If the Christian faith counts for anything, it is because of the promise that God is with us – not just looking down on us from afar with a kind of beneficent but ultimately powerless gaze – but actually with us – in the anxiety and the stress and the boredom and the sickness and the grief. He is closer than our breath. He has walked this path before, and he walks it with us now. You may be self isolating but you are not alone – he is with you – he was always with you – he will never leave you.

And he promises not just to be with us in the darkness, but in the light too. Each kindly deed done at this time, each human contact by email or phone, each surprising glimpse of joy gleaned from the beauty of creation or something amusing on television or some unexpected gift or conversation – these are images of resurrection to come – the promise of the light at the end of the tunnel – the certain hope that life and love will triumph.

It seems like a good time to be reminded of those wonderful words written by Minnie Louise Haskins, and famously quoted by King George VI in 1939:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East. 

Lord Jesus,

You stepped into the darkness for our sake, so that you might understand what it is like to be human, with all its troubles and its joys.

Thank you for walking with us through our troubles, for being the guiding hand that we can rely on, when so many certainties seem to have deserted us.

Thank you that beyond the cross, Easter light is on its way,

bringing hope, and healing, and another day.



Holy Week Reading and prayer: Tuesday

Luke 21:1-6

The Widow’s Offering

21 Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

This short reading, which is placed just before Jesus shares the Last Supper with his friends, gives us two important things to think about, as we look towards the events of Easter. One is about the importance of generosity, and the other is about the temporary nature of some of the things we hold to be sacred.

The story of the widow’s mite is one which is a challenge to us all. I have to say, that I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those in our own community who have given to the Foodbank in recent days. It is a tribute to the strength of community here that so many have given when it is not an easy time to get everything we need even for ourselves. But although this short passage is a challenge to generosity, it is also an image of God’s generosity to us. In Jesus, God holds nothing of himself back, sacrificing everything to reconcile us to himself.

God’s generosity is bigger than we can imagine – bigger even than our Church buildings and our Church structures. Jesus is telling his disciples that losing their temple may feel like a catastrophe, but it will not change the unending love and presence of God. This year we are reminded of that in a very powerful way. Our worship is very different, but it is worship nevertheless. God is not confined to our buildings – his generous love is present in each of our hearts – and it is in our hearts that the truest worship takes place.

Let us pray…

Lord our God,

We thank you that in tiny acts of generosity your Kingdom is grown.

We thank you that your Spirit is not confined to a building

but is abroad in all of creation and especially within our hearts.

Bless us and whatever our present circumstances,

help us to worship you in spirit and in truth this Holy Week.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,



Holy Week Reading and prayer: Monday

A Reading for the Monday of Holy Week

John 12:1-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Mary Anoints Jesus

12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them[a] with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it[c] so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The Plot to Kill Lazarus

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

I think we see Jesus at his most human at this house in Bethany. Here he is amongst friends, reminding us that in times of trouble, there is nothing more valuable than friendship. 

And even here, even at this time of turmoil and danger, Jesus is teaching us about the openness of his Kingdom. Because not for the first time, he allows Mary to sit at his feet – a position which would have been seen as incredibly inappropriate at the time. The tradition of his people was that Rabbis would choose only particularly intelligent and worthy disciples to sit at their feet and listen to their teachings…well Jesus had already broken that rule in choosing fishermen as his followers – but a woman? That would have been particularly shocking. 

He defends Mary too for wasting all that expensive perfume on him. Judas must have thought that Jesus was bound to agree with him that it ought to have been spent on the poor, but Jesus recognised an act of love and gratitude when he saw one, and he would not condemn her. 

Martha is busy making things straight and providing for everyone again, but this time we hear no complaints from her. Perhaps she is grateful to have him while she can, wants to serve while she may. 

And we can only imagine how Lazarus might have felt at that surreal meal. We picture in our mind’s eye the two men reclining at dinner: one of them brought back from the dead, the other talking about his imminent death. Perhaps Lazarus was aware that his life too was in danger from those who were plotting against Jesus. 

Certainly, I am sure that for Jesus to have a safe space with those who were some of his dearest friends, an oasis in the midst of the troubles that surrounded him, must have meant a great deal.

So today, we give thanks for friends – for all who are caring for us and walking with us in this difficult time.

We ask God to help us to be good friends to others, despite the present limitations.

We ask him to help us to reach out in friendship to those beyond out normal circle of friends – to check on our neighbour who we don’t know very well, to help to feed the hungry, to do our bit to ease the burdens of others.

And we ask Him to remind us that he is our ever present friend, and that he will walk with us all the days of our life.

​We pray….

Lord Jesus Christ,

Often Holy Week passes us by – we are so busy with our own concerns.

But this year many of us have time and space to sit at your feet like Mary.

Help us to learn about you and Mary did.

Help us to serve you as Martha did.

Help us to celebrate the life you give us as Lazarus did.

And give us the courage to walk into the unknown, with you as our constant friend and teacher.