Keeping In Touch – Holy Saviour online

Sunday 26 April 2020
Hymn: Glorious things of Thee are spoken – Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard (AMNS) 172

Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever, Amen.

First reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Second reading 1 Peter 1: 17-23
Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35
Please use your Bible to follow the readings

[Please click here to play a video file]

Hymn: Rejoice! The Lord is King – AMNS 139

[Please click here to play a video file]

Hymn: We have a gospel to proclaim – AMNS 431

Living God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in all his redeeming work; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever, Amen.

Anthem: Alleluyas of St. James (Let all mortal flesh) trad French, arr Greening

Wednesday 22 April 2020
[Morning Prayer today is conducted by Martin. Please click here to play a video file]

Low Sunday 19 April 2020
Hymn: Love’s redeeming work is done – Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard (AMNS) 83

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever, Amen

First reading: Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Second reading 1 Peter 1: 3-9
Gospel: JOHN 20: 19-31
Please use your Bible to follow the readings

The human need to touch
Whenever I visit an art exhibition which has greatly moved or impressed me, more often than not I will want to take home the catalogue of the exhibition to help me remember what it was that I enjoyed.

In a similar way, when many of us go on holiday, we feel the need to take photos, buy cards, and souvenirs. We want to have some tangible memento to take home to show our friends, and which will help to keep alive the memory of that experience.

The place that I witnessed this most visibly was on a visit to the Holy Land 17 years ago. People really want to touch and kiss things. They buy lots of souvenirs. And they collect lots of little things to take back home with them from the various holy places they visit- a leaf, a wild flower, a pebble, a bottle of water, a little soil. They want to have something tangible to take away to show their friends, and as a visible reminder to themselves of their trip. And here we are talking about people whose faith is sound and sure.

All this expresses the universal need for the visible, the concrete, the tangible. Hence, we can sympathise with Thomas when he declared that he would not believe the Lord was risen unless he actually touched him. He was merely echoing the human cry for certainty. Nevertheless, where faith is concerned we have to go beyond this. Because here on earth there is no such thing as absolutely certainty about spiritual things. If there was, faith would not be needed.

Why did Thomas insist that he had to touch Jesus? Wasn’t seeing him enough? He had to touch him in order to be healed. Don’t forget that he had seen others healed by touching him. Some of these were healed by touching just the hem of his robe, so strong was their faith. But Thomas faith was so weak that he had to touch Jesus himself.

In reality, Thomas was the wounded one. His mind was darkened by doubt. His heart was broken with grief. Even though these wounds were invisible, they were very real and very painful. But Jesus was able to see them. It was he who touched Thomas’ wounds, and so made him whole and well again.

I think the most poignant thing that was said to me in the last few days was in a telephone conversation, when the other person remarked that that they were acutely aware of not having had the opportunity to touch another individual in the last three weeks. The human heart is healed only by the presence of another human being who understands human pain. Jesus’ wounds help us to recognise our own wounds, and to find healing for them. His wounds were caused by his love. They were proof of his love. They were the mortal wounds the Good Shepherd suffered for the sake of his sheep.

The story of Doubting Thomas brings home to us just how frail is the human container in which the gift of faith is carried. And it also shows us that Christian faith is essentially faith in a person who loves us – and has the wounds to prove it. That person is Jesus. At the heart of biblical faith is not only the faith we have in God, but the faith God has in us.

Hymn: The strife is o’er – AMNS 78

Let us pray in these difficult times with the peace of the risen Christ and the faith of the Apostles in our hearts.

God of love and hope you made the world and care for all creation. We thank you in these anxious times for the beauty of the world around us, for the sound of birdsong and for the warm sunshine.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the church worldwide and for our bishops and clergy as they seek to find new ways to lead worship and offer spiritual guidance.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our local community, friends and neighbours and give thanks for those who provide essential services including shop workers, refuse collectors, postal and transport workers. We remember the volunteers helping the vulnerable and isolated and all who are working long hours to ensure vital needs are met.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit that through their work many will be restored to health.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain, anxious or lonely, especially those known to us. May you comfort and heal them and restore them to health and strength.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

As we remember those who mourn, we give thanks for all who have died in the faith of Christ and now rejoice in your kingdom.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lord God our Father, through our Saviour Jesus Christ you have assured your children of eternal life and in baptism have made us one with him: deliver us from the death of sin and raise us to new life in your love, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Hymn: Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer – AMNS 214

With this last hymn, we remember, with love and gratitude, Philip Noy, who, sadly, passed away on Thursday. Phil was a passionate devotee of music, both choral and organ, in Holy Saviour, and he would frequently come up to the organ after the service warmly to express his appreciation. He was justly proud of the fact that one of his forebears, William Williams (1717-91) was the author of the Welsh text of the hymn Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer, and it always meant a huge amount to him when we sang it – he always seemed close to tears when he approached the organ on those occasions. We shall all miss him very much.

Easter Monday 13 April 2020
[Today’s thought will be the last daily one. Check here for our next posting on Sunday (19 April); in the meantime, the ministry team will decide on the future arrangements for keeping in touch with you whilst the church building is closed]

Christ is Risen. Alleluia!
On this Easter Monday, some of us will still be chomping our way through Easter Eggs and Sunday’s left-overs. Most certainly we will be faced with the same shocking news which has preoccupied us for several weeks now. Yet here and there is a sprinkling of good news or cheer which makes the heart flutter. A new creation of hope in love keeps graciously drying our tears and fears and just allowing us to laugh, smile and stretch our hands out to others in trouble. Do not be afraid, love is around us, in us and in others.

What shall we do this week? In a sense the time for posting on Facebook and the Web has changed to one where we must go to our own Galilees:

  • We must go to where we first felt called to this wondrous God of love in Jesus and anchor ourselves to the fact that was not imagined but truly felt.
  • We must also reflect on the Gospel stories and believe to the point that our faith can move mountains of the heart from cold self to warm giving. Read Mark’s Gospel, and if it seems puzzling read it again. It’s very short and it makes you think because it is not sugar coated.
  • Think too of the Road to Emmaus and that wonderful walk of two with the risen Jesus whom they thought was dead and did not recognise alive – but Jesus was awakening them.
  • Lastly, go to your Galilee and realise you are being asked to tell the good news of Jesus Christ not in your narrow circle but to a wider world. In that we are all being asked to be sure in our faith of the Risen Lord so that our hearts speak unto hearts, our smile makes others smile and our hands reach out to give charity to other hands.

So this week, go to Galilee and be made strong in faith of the Risen Lord. Post on Facebook if you wish, but better still just grow in Jesus and his love. And give thanks to God – great things He has done!

Christ is Risen. Alleluia!


Easter Day Sunday 12 April 2020
Today, you can follow a liturgy for Easter Day with a video homily by Father Ian, video narrations by members of the Holy Saviour family and recorded Easter music; please click here.

We have also prepared a special Children’s Praise for Easter Day, with links to a lively Easter story and to four of our favourite songs; please click here.

Holy Saturday 11 April 2020
[Holy Saturday or Easter Eve is traditionally observed at Holy Saviour Church as a quieter day with no services, so there is no “Thought For The Day” today. Tomorrow we shall provide an Easter Day service, and a special Easter Day Children’s Praise]

Good Friday 10 April 2020
Today, you can follow a liturgy “Lift High the Cross” with audio narrations by members of the Holy Saviour family and recorded passion music; please click here.

Maundy Thursday 9 April 2020
[As we come together via social media in these unusual circumstances, here is a Collect, Reading, Gospel and Prayers of Intercession with a Homily and Hymn by Mike for this Maundy Thursday]

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

The Readings:
1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
Gospel: John 13: 1-17, 31b-35
Please use your Bible to follow the readings

Prayers of Intercession
In the power of the Spirit let us pray to the Father through Christ the saviour of the world.

Father, on this, the night he was betrayed, your Son Jesus Christ washed his disciples’ feet.
We commit ourselves to follow his example of love and service.
Lord, hear us
and humble us.

On this night, he prayed for his disciples to be one.
We pray for the unity of your Church.
Lord, hear us
and unite us.

On this night, he prayed for those who were to believe through his disciples’ message.
We pray for the mission of your Church.
Lord, hear us
and renew our zeal

On this night, he commanded his disciples to love, but suffered rejection himself.
We pray for the rejected and unloved.
Lord, hear us
and fill us with your love

On this night, he reminded his disciples that if the world hated them it hated him first.
We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith.
Lord, hear us
and give us your peace

On this night, he accepted the cup of death and looked forward to the new wine of the kingdom.
We remember those who have died in the peace of Christ.
Lord, hear us
And welcome all your children into paradise.

Can we be washers of feet?
In one of the episodes of Father Ted, Mrs Doyle the housekeeper ends up with her good friend in the village tearoom. “Who will pay the bill?” is at first a polite stand-off. Forward a few frames and Mrs Doyle and her friend are boxing each other to the ground as the bill-settling turns nasty.

Yes, it’s a comedy show, but for real the worst thing you and I can do is to quarrel and bicker and then harm one another out of pride or jealousy. Deliberate or blind rage, if we hurt another bodily and substantially, we can be sure of prison. It’s a prison of the mind and a real prison with iron bars. It is sinking sand.

The sad thing is that even if we do not do someone physical hurt, we can mentally scar them by doing them down in ever such subtle ways. We sort of lord it over someone psychologically. Bullying can be one form.

And while Jesus is celebrating the last supper and preparing for that act of stupefying sacrifice he will do because of his love of his Father God and God’s love for us, the disciples in some Gospel accounts start bickering, trying to lord it over each other. And Jesus then in the midst of the bragging stoops down and washes his disciple’s feet.

Every Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will go to a prison in Rome and do the very same thing as Jesus. He will wash and kiss the feet of evil doers and kiss too their brows.

True love, how lowly your ways are, how world-stopping your ways are, how contrite is the sinner’s mind at what harm and persecution it might have done and yet still be loved, cleansed and forgiven fully?

Tomorrow is Jesus’s crucifixion. Tomorrow the exact same message rings out – God in his amazing mercy embraces a world with a cleansing love, a stooping humble love which stuns an underserving world which is lost in its own agenda of self and power struggle.

Can we stoop and be washers of feet, kissers of brows? That is all that God prays of us. Can we see beyond our narrow kingdom of control, self and power which devours us and instead share our souls with all God’s created in concert and harmony? In Jesus on the cross we see the true essence of God which is true love. If God embraces us in love can we not embrace Him and fellow brother and sister likewise? See the cross and there reflecting at us is the bad in us, but so too the good in us which can grow to become the washer of feet and the kisser of brows.

Hymn: God Is Love And Where True Love Is, God Is Always There (Ubi Caritas)

The Gospel of the Watch:
Matthew 26: 30-75
Please follow this reading in your Bible

Wednesday 8 April 2020
A Reflection for Holy Week – Those who put Christ to death
I wonder how many of us are using this time of ‘enforced rest’ to catch up on our reading. I for one have started re-reading William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It’s a fascinating account of what must surely be one of the darkest episodes in recent history, written by one who witnessed a great deal of it as an American journalist based in Berlin at the time. Given that it is 1,245 pages long, I really hope that we’re not still in lockdown by the time I get to the end of it!

When in 1945 this brutal empire was finally brought to its knees an international military tribunal was set up at Nuremberg to try the leading members of the Nazi regime, who were charged with crimes against humanity. These were the men who made the whole of Europe shiver with fright. Yet they weren’t devils incarnate. They were just human beings making evil choices. One observer, on being asked what the accused looked like, replied, ‘They looked so ordinary, like men who had sat up all night in a third class railway carriage.’

The people who put Christ to death were not a uniquely evil bunch of people, acting from the vilest possible motives. They were ordinary people. They belonged to the same human family as we do. In each we glimpse something of ourselves, of our failings, and the need of grace. This may be a troubling kinship but we cannot reject it.

Let’s take a moment to look briefly at the main characters in the Passion Story and the motives out of which they acted.

The Pharisees: These were austere, religious men, who devoted all their energy to doing good and the study of God’s Law. But they were convinced of their own rightness, and history shows that such people are capable of the most appalling evil. For example: Paul before his conversion; the Crusades; the Spanish Inquisition; the torture of innocent civilians by totalitarian governments around the world; the atrocities committed by ISIS and other fanatical extremist groups…

Caiaphas: He was perhaps thinking mainly about religious orthodoxy and how easily people get led astray by false messiahs. The church condemned heretics to burn at the stake, thinking it was doing a service to God.

Pilate: He was thinking about his high office and the preservation of law and order at a time of great unrest. He knew that Jesus was innocent, but he feared the trouble that would ensue if he did not give the religious leaders what they wanted. No doubt he was also thinking about his own job. Most people know what is right but they don’t always have the courage to do it.

Judas: Most likely he was a disillusioned man. But even he came to recognise and condemn the evil he had done. He could not live with the killing of an innocent man. Plenty of people today seem to have no such problem. Think of executioners, terrorists, death squads. At times we all betray our ideals, if not our friends.

Peter: Here we have a man who was simply weak and cowardly: Any one of us would probably have denied Jesus in the same circumstances. Peter at least shed tears over his denials. How many of us shed tears over our denials?

The soldiers: They were simply carrying out orders. The Nazi leaders made the same excuse. At the Nuremberg trials they tried to convince their accusers that they really were men of good character whose only crime was loyalty. We too are rather good at blaming others for our sins. We refuse to accept responsibility for our cowardly acts and evasions.

The crowd: It was a highly emotional occasion. They simply got carried away. They didn’t really know what was happening. Do we not often take refuge in the crowd? ‘Everybody is doing it,’ we protest.

Dark evil sleeps in us all.

Holy Week provides us with an opportunity to look at this. Jesus will help us to confront the evil that is in ourselves and overcome it. But that’s only the negative bit. There is a positive side. He will help us to become instruments of truth and justice and peace and love in this world.

Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Stations of the Cross: Prayer and Reflection

Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death (silence)
Lord, may we be never be prejudiced and may we always judge fairly.

Station 2: Jesus accepts the cross (silence)
Lord, help us to carry our burdens with a cheerful heart.

Station 3: Jesus falls the first time (silence)
Lord, when we fall into sin, may be seek forgiveness from you

Station 4: Jesus meets his mother (silence)
Lord, we pray for all Mothers and those who act as Mothers to other people.

Station 5: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross (silence)
Lord, may we support those who are too weak to help themselves.

Station 6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (silence)
Lord, bless those who, for your sake, give succour to those in desperate need.

Station 7: Jesus falls the second time (silence)
Lord, when our faith is weak, give us the courage to return to your loving arms.

Station 8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (silence)
Lord, help us to see the dangers of this current age and be ready meet you, when you return in glory.

Station 9: Jesus falls a third time (silence)
Lord, when we near the time of trial, hold us in your tender care.

Station 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments (silence)
Lord, strip us of all hypocrisy and vainglory.

Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross (silence)
Lord, nail our sins to the cross, so that we might meet you, made clean by your sacrifice.

Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross (silence)
Lord, thank you for dying for me.

Station 13: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in his mother’s arms (silence)
Lord, be with all those who this night are weighed down with grief and suffering.

Station 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb (silence)
Lord, may your sepulchre be a place of rest for us too.


Tuesday 7 April 2020
Some thoughts on Luke 22:39–46

Jesus and his disciples walked to the Garden of Gethsemane where they could find a place of peace for prayer and quiet reflection in their busy lives. Jesus tells his disciples to “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

Sadly the whole world is faced with a time of trial right now. We face unprecedented restrictions and change as we confront an unseen, but potentially deadly enemy. Every aspect of life is affected from shopping to socialising, from working to travelling, from seeing family to attending school. Those of us with gardens can easily go out for fresh air, but a walk in the neighbourhood can be fraught as we seek to maintain a safe distance from fellow-walkers. And we should spare a thought for those who are confined to their home with instructions to isolate from other household members for twelve weeks as well as those whose source of income is under threat or lost completely.

Our new circumstances are perhaps something of a novelty at present as we attempt to catch up on all those jobs we planned to do one day when we had time. Hopefully some of the jobs will get done and we won’t look back when the crisis is over and think that we wasted the opportunity. But with children home from school and parents trying to work in the same space it won’t be easy.

However anxious and concerned we are about our situation, there are many in the world at risk living in cramped conditions with poor sanitation and health facilities. People for whom obtaining adequate food and water is a daily problem at the best of times and regular hand-washing and maintaining a safe distance from others will be impossible.

Of course the trial that Jesus faced was very different and although he was prepared for what lay ahead, he too was anxious, praying: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Obedient to the end, Jesus is not only anxious for himself, but also for the disciples as he urges them to pray as well. He knows that they will face hardship and persecution after his death on the cross.

In these challenging times we can perhaps make a point of finding our own quiet space where we can turn to prayer as a source of comfort, strength and hope for the future. God’s love knows no bounds as we pray for ourselves, our loved ones, our local community and the wider world.

A Prayer
You sometimes put us, Lord, before trials which seem beyond our strength. Give us confidence in your power and love to guide us through these trials and to share your Passion with you. Amen.

Hymn: Father, Hear The Prayer We Offer


Monday 6 April 2020
Joseph’s Tears

He’s my son, only a boy.
His birth was such a joy
a wonderful sight to see.
Sometimes he played by me.

He learnt to use a spokeshave.
Yet his future was a grave.
For his life to give.
I just wish that he could live.

Of his clothes they stripped him.
Whipping his back was grim
What had he done wrong?
I prayed that he’ll be strong.

To his death he went in shame.
Our lives would never be the same.
I couldn’t see him die
to watch him hanging high.

I stand and see his mother cry.
My heart is ripped in two
as Jesus is left to die.
This He has done for you.

My tears are shed for him
Believe me it is true.
My prayers are just for him.
His Blessing is for you.


Hymn: Just As I Am

Palm Sunday 5 April 2020
[Today we have something a little different – a homily; suggested music for Palm Sunday; and a specially recorded reading of the Passion]

Music list:
Introit: AMNS 328 All glory, laud, and honour

Antiphon: Morgan: A Palm Sunday Antiphon

Gradual: AMNS 58 The royal banners forward go

During Passion Reading: AMNS 67 When I survey the wondrous cross

Offertory: AMNS 63 My song is love unknown

Anthem: Palestrina: Salvator Mundi (NCAB p. 404) (Collect for the visitation of the sick)

Communion Hymn: AMNS 260 And now, O Father, mindful of the love

Post Communion: AMNS 250 Thou didst leave thy throne

Postlude: J. S. Bach: Valet will ich dir geben (Book 19, p. 2)

The Passion of our Lord:
according to St Matthew

Homily for Palm Sunday and Holy Week: The Long Silence
Imagine if you will, it is the end of time. Billions and billions of people are assembled on a great plain before the throne of God, waiting to be judged. Some are fearful but others, many many others, are angry.

A woman says, ‘How can God judge us? What does he know about suffering? We endured terror, beatings, torture, death.’ Then she pulls up her sleeve to show a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp on her arm.

Then a black man lowers his collar to show an ugly rope burn around his neck. ‘What about this?’ he asks. ‘Lynched for no crime but being black. We have suffocated in slave ships, been wrenched from loved ones, toiled till only death gave us release.’

Next a woman appears whose face is raw with grief, ‘I lost my daughter to Coronavirus. She was young and beautiful. She was a mother to two children herself. She was full of life and love and now her death has torn our family apart’….and her voice trails off to be taken up by others.

All the people have a complaint against God for the evil and suffering he had permitted during their lives on earth. How lucky God is to live in heaven where all is sweetness and light, where there is no weeping, no fear, no hunger, no hatred. What does God know about human suffering?

So they decide that God should be sentenced to live on earth – as a human. But because he is God, they would set certain safeguards to be sure he could not use his divine powers to save himself.

Let him be born a Jew. Let the legitimacy of his birth be doubted so that none will know who is really his father. Give him a work so difficult that even his family will think he is out of his mind when he tries to do it.

Let him be betrayed by his dearest friends. Let him be indicted on false charges, tried before a prejudiced jury, convicted before a cowardly judge.

At last, let him see what it means to be terribly alone, completely abandoned by every living thing. Let him be tortured and mocked. Then let him die. Let him die so that there can be no doubt he died. Let there be a great host of witnesses to verify it.

As each portion of the sentence is announced, loud murmurs of approval go up from the great throng of people assembled. When they have finished pronouncing sentence, a long long silence ensues. No one utters a word. No one moves. For suddenly all know. God has already served his sentence.

Our God came to live among us. Put God on trial if you like. Shake your fist at him, spit in his face, scourge him and finally crucify him. What does it matter? It’s already been done to him.

It is a great comfort to us to know that Jesus, the innocent and sinless One, has gone down the road of suffering before, and gone down it to the end. On the cross he gathered up all human pain and made it his own.

Though the road of suffering is narrow and difficult, it is not the same since Christ travelled it. A bright light illuminates it. And even though it leads to Calvary, it doesn’t end there.

It ends at Easter.


Sat 4 April 2020
Today’s Gospel Reading is John 11:45-57
“Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him” (v 57)

HUNTED is a popular reality TV show where a hunted person tries to outfox a group of hunters for as long as possible. In Saturday’s Gospel all Jerusalem is asked to be informer so that Jesus might be caught, tried and put to death.

The stories from John’s Gospel this week have all been about who is in charge of this whole hunted process, the hunted or the hunter. God as Jesus may seem to be the hunted, but it is most certainly the case that God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is in control and taking us the hunters to a place called Golgotha. The Holy Trinity of God is taking us all to the sacrificial feast of amazing grace and love, the crucifixion. “Come”, says that divine bond of trinitarian love, “we so much want you to be at that feast with us despite the fact you have blood on your hands. Come, see what unconditional divine love and obedience is all about. Come, make our enduring feast table of love complete. Come be with us and as us and be changed for ever”.

At this time of great unsettling, fearfulness and distancing we are being called to come together, to be all participants in a love unknown which is not about what any single one of us want to do but about our humanity which is bound by an enduring relational love where we sit huddled together in a solidarity and a harmony which is from God. As we ready ourselves for Holy Week let us bind ourselves to the trinitarian love’s greatest display of the Cross and just find, even though we are currently distanced by fear and feeling rather helpless, a new strength that comes from being together with each other and with God who is together as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Hymn: St Patrick’s Breastplate – I Bind Unto Myself Today

(Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week. Father Ian and the ministry team will like last Sunday provide worship and this will be posted on this page)


Fri 3 April 2020
Today’s Gospel Reading is John 10:31-39
“The Father is in me and I am in the Father” (v38).

Several times in the Gospel readings for the last week, the crowds close in on Jesus to try to kill him for his claims of divinity. But like a spirit wind he just evades capture. Very soon God will set His salvation plan of the Passion into play. There will be just the same crowds closing in but this time Jesus will be raised up on the cross as a cure for our sin, to show that there is so much more to our lives than pettiness, hurt-making and exploitation.

Jesus as God can choose his time and place, he has supreme divine majesty and authority to do so. We think we can choose our time and place but usually we are poor judges of when and where that should be. And in what we do, we hold far too much certainty we are right and others are wrong. Often, we are offended when we do not get due praise, are criticised or confronted.

Remember Jesus said “Blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me”(Matthew 11:6). This simple statement is the great leveller of relationship, the making of the common good, for if we can be true to those words, we are listening out for others rather than trying to big it over them. You see, deep down we are all brothers and sisters, children of a God who knows nothing else but love. So, we should always strive to love one another with a pure heart, a God heart and our lives will take a course determined by the God in Jesus who gave his all for us, so that we may sense his risen life in ourselves.

Our world is a fragile veneer with so, so many beauties but is also passing and so easily chipped by so many ills. The God who comes to us as Jesus is a like a granite rock, made in love, solid in faithfulness and which endures for ever.

Anthem: Blessed Be The God And Father (S.S Wesley)


Thur 2 April 2020
Today’s Gospel Reading is John 8:51-59

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So, they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple (vs 58-59).

Divine or human?

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus has clearly and emphatically uttered those words no human can –” I am”. To the Jewish people this was blasphemy, outright blasphemy, for only God utters – “I am”. Yes, Jesus is God and let there be no confusion. God’s hour, Jesus’s hour will not be determined by the stoning mob but by the great “I am”.

Before our God in Jesus let us, as a recent priest writes, “knee-mail” our Lord in prayer with due reverence and obedience just as the heavenly host do constantly. Let us in prayer listen that a sound of God may come to our ears, that angels and saints behold face to face.

And on this day may divine majesty cast a spirit beam on us and strengthen us in weakness and increase us in kindness both for God’s glory and in these testing times for the common good.

Hymn: How Shall I Sing That Majesty?


Wed 1 April 2020
Today’s Gospel Reading is John 8:31-42

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me” (v42)

One of those old hymns we do not sing too much these days is What a friend we have in Jesus. Some say the hymn is a bit light, sentimental and for children. We should look again at this hymn because when we understand the story of the writer the hymn is most powerful.

So, what is the story behind the hymn? It was written by an Irishman by the name of Joseph Scriven. The words in poetic form were written to his mother as Scriven came to terms with losing two fiancées; one to a tragic accident in Ireland and the other to pneumonia after he had emigrated to Ontario, Canada. Madly in love with both ladies, he never again found another woman to be his soul mate in life. But he found a friend in Jesus and became renowned both as a preacher and a person who sought out the poor and needy, always offering his heart in free labour, food and other gifts.

Over and over again when we are in a bind, a dark place or struggling the hymn says “Take it to the Lord in prayer”. You, me and countless others, at this very moment are worried about falling sick, our jobs, our homes and our futures but we are also conscious that people are dying, some are fighting to breathe, doctors and nurses are putting their lives at great risk and so many are going the extra mile to do a kindness. Joseph Scriven experienced all the pains we know today but discovered that by taking those sufferings to the Lord in prayer, by knowing that God was his Father, Jesus was then his friend in love. It is only a short step with that faith to giving all your heart in kindness to those who are in need, suffer or are dying.

Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus (


Tues 31 March 2020
Today’s Gospel reading is John 8:21-30

Our thought for the day is a poem written by Martin and appearing here under Posts.

Our praise today is something magnificent and luscious:
Bless The Lord, O My Soul (S. Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil / Vespers, op. 37, 2)


Mon 30 March 2020
Today’s Gospel reading is John 8:1-11.

The blame game, the pointing of the finger, the superior view is unfortunately too common a human trait. Thankfully, in the current crisis the best in us, the looking out for others in difficulty, is shining through.

Today’s Gospel reading has an adulterous woman being the centre of a dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees, who would see her stoned to death for flouting Jewish law. Will Jesus rightly condemn the woman? If not, will his answer give the Pharisees the ammunition to arrest and try him?

Jesus doodles in the sand with his fingers, which would have infuriated the Pharisees. He then straightens up and says “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. And then what does Jesus do? He doodles again in the sand with his fingers. As the Pharisees wander off defeated and put on the spot about their own equal sinfulness, you sense their frustration and patience must have been wearing thin with Jesus.

Jesus is left alone with the woman who has been saved from stoning and asks her if anyone had condemned her, as though he had been somewhere else the whole time. “No one, Sir”, she says and then Jesus tells her he will not condemn her and for her to go on her way and sin no more.
Jesus knew the woman had sinned against the law. She knew it. Jesus knew the Pharisees were no better than the woman. The Pharisees knew it. Jesus says when we are confronted by our messed-up ways and know it then we should go away, think, and sin no more. In this command from Jesus, he is however also saying the remedy to our sin is our choice to make or actually more appropriately our struggle to take. We must fight the good fight within us, between erring and wanting to be in control and choosing to follow God’s way which is in Jesus.

Who knows how the next few months will pan out? When the pandemic is defeated will we just follow our old ways and sin, or will we choose to be responsible citizens living for the common good rather than seeking to stone others for their wrong-doing when often we are no better than those that sin against us?

A Prayer
Lord, we know we err and say we will do better next time and yet we err again. In your Son Jesus we know there is no condemnation to dread in our sin, but a choice either to make a pure heart within us and shine that heart as a channel of peace in this world or to remain lost to the hopeless estate of our sin. Lord in your mercy, help us renew a right spirit within us. Amen

Hymn: Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace (


Passion Sunday 29 March 2020
The Collect for today
Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever, Amen.

The Readings: Ezekiel 37.1-14; Romans 8.6-1

The Gospel: John 11.1-45

Homily: We are not alone
One thing that surely must be evident to all of us from the extraordinary experiences of the last two weeks is the obvious reality that we are all so interdependent. Whether or not we view ourselves as ‘introverts’ or people who best gain our strength and our energy from being in the company of others, the fact remains that we all need others. Maybe then it might be reassuring to remember, especially in these most desperately uncertain times, that Jesus too needed friends. In the village of Bethany Jesus had three very special friends – the sisters, Martha and Mary, and their brother, Lazarus. Their house remained open to him when many other houses were being closed against him.

When Lazarus got sick, it was only natural that the first one the two sisters should turn to for help was Jesus. They sent an urgent message to him, couched in language calculated to appeal to his heart. It said simply, ‘Lord, the man you love is ill’. Their hope was that he could drop everything and come and cure him.

But surprisingly for us, Jesus did not drop everything and rush to the bedside of his dying friend. Instead he stayed on where he was for two whole days. We simply don’t know why. We can say for sure that his delay in coming must have been heartbreaking for the sisters. Right in front of their eyes their brother’s life was ebbing away, just as many in these terrifying times are preparing themselves for the sudden loss of those whom they love so dearly. And the one that Martha and Mary believed could do something about it wasn’t even there.

Well, as of course we know, Lazarus died. The gospel shows the desolation that his death caused to Martha and Mary. Of the two, Mary seems to have been the worse affected. She wouldn’t even leave the house. While they had sympathetic people around them, the one they most wanted to be with them was not there. Jesus, their friend and the friend of Lazarus, was absent. And when he finally came, they suggested that he could have prevented this death ‘Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.’

The desolation experienced by Martha and Mary is one that many in different parts of the world are going through as we speak, as the coronavirus pandemic brings utter misery to thousands. And when something bad happens to us or to a loved one, we can’t help thinking that if God really cared about us, if he really loved us, then he wouldn’t have allowed this thing to happen. Why, why on earth would a loving, caring and compassionate God who sees us all as his own children tolerate the needless death of so many many people, often long before their time? We may well feel abandoned by God. We might think that he has left us alone.

So what can we do? Well one thing we could try to do is to imitate Martha. The story presents her as a model of faith. In her hour of grief, she ran to Jesus and poured out her sorrow to him. And when he challenged her to believe, she made a wonderful profession of faith: ‘I believe that you are the Christ, The Son of God, the one who has come into the world.’

What we have to do then is turn to God. We have to go on praying, to go on believing in God. Neither a good life, nor a close relationship with God, will necessarily save a person from a tragic death. In the face of our pain all we can do is commend ourselves to God. And abandon ourselves to his care.

When we suffer it seems as if God is absent. But when we pray we come to realise that God is not absent, but is present in our suffering, God is with us as our hope in adversity, and our strength in weakness.

The story shows Jesus as a faithful friend. It shows that even in death we are not beyond the reach of his help. He didn’t leave Martha and Mary to grieve alone. He came to them at the height of their grief, shared their sorrow, and gave them hope.

I believe that he does not leave us alone either. I think he stands by all those brave but inevitably anxious men and women of the NHS who at this moment in London and elsewhere are putting their own lives on the line to save others. I think he is there in those heartbroken communities in Northern Italy and Spain and other places that have lost sometimes a tenth of their entire population. He surrounds them and us with the love and support of others. And he challenges us to have faith in himself: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will never die (eternally).’ Unfortunately, as I’ve said many times before, to believe really doesn’t mean that we know all the answers.

Whatever we might be thinking as we watch the truly frightening things that are happening around us at the moment, I hope that we can try to stand firm in the knowledge that Jesus understands the anguish caused by death. He experienced it himself. He overcame death, not by avoiding it, but by undergoing it and overcoming it. He has then become a pathfinder and a beacon of hope for us all. Amen

A Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we also do for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reigns, now and for ever Amen.

Music suggestions for Passion Sunday:
Anthem: Purcell: Hear my prayer, O Lord (

Offertory Hymn: Lift High The Cross (

Churches together in England (CTE) National call to prayer
At this time of change and uncertainty let us pray to God who alone makes us dwell in safety:

For all in the world who are affected by corona virus, through illness, isolation or anxiety that they may find relief and recovery.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding this and every nation at this time and shaping national policies that they make wise decisions.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers that through their skill and insights many will be restored to health.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us.

For food suppliers, shop workers and all who are maintaining essential services that they may work safely.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us.

For the vulnerable and the fearful, for the gravely ill and the dying, especially those known to us that they may know your comfort and peace.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves and all for whom we pray to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sat 28 March 2020
Today’s Gospel reading is John 7:40-52.

In the last two weeks all our lives have been transformed by the emerging COVID19 crisis. While the sun has shone with rare brilliance we have been stunned into isolation. The next few weeks will test us sorely.

It takes time to adjust, to let things sink in, to sense how we might respond. But on the front line there is no luxury, just a very scary critical care situation trying to save the small percentage of us that will fall dangerously ill.

We can feel helpless in these situations but already there are volunteers who want to help the vulnerable and the frightened. And then there are our prayers which we may say quietly or aloud which seek God’s mercy and grace for all who suffer and care and for all loved ones whom we quite naturally worry about.

So, take a moment in your day to pray and yes, light a candle if it helps. Dedicate time to God. He so much is the hand on our shoulder when we struggle or face agonising dilemma – just as he was as Father to Son at the Passion. Trust in God and by the Spirit all will be well.

Today’s praise is The Lord’s Prayer as sung by Andrea Bocelli and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Tomorrow Father Ian, Martin and Jean will post on the Holy Saviour website via the weekly newsletter and a copy should also reach the Holy Saviour Facebook page. Trevor hopefully will provide us with some Sunday praise music.

Go well, stay safe and if any of you just want to talk do not be afraid to approach the ministry team whose telephone numbers are on the rear of the weekly newsletter.



Fri 27 March 2020
Today’s Gospel Reading is from John 7:1-2,10, 25-30. Please take a moment if you can to read the passage. To me it says so much about God being in charge and his will being done in his own good time. It defines the hymn chosen for today – Now Thank We All Our God.

Why am I posting daily to you all? I cannot tell what drives me, perhaps a feeling of nervousness at our new circumstance, perhaps it is me just praying, perhaps it is just wanting to in effect say “Dear Fellow Christian” with emphasis on every word. In the 21st century, the word we sometimes cheapen is “Dear”, but it is in reality a precious, expensive word which speaks not of the writer’s own interest but the writer’s concern and listening out for the recipient. It is a heart speaking to a heart and speaks volumes of the common good Christians strive to keep as children of God.

So today I wanted to share the prayer that Mother Theresa said every day at her waking. It was not her words but those of John Henry Newman in his spiritual poem Radiating Christ. At the poem’s end the heart speaks to heart and may this be our prayer for the new reality we now face.

Radiating Christ
Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine: it will be You shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You in the way You love best: by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words, but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

HYMN: Now Thank We All Our God