David – intro video (2:26)
slide: Rev David Parry
Hello, s’ mae, how are you doing? Welcome to our Sunday worship.
I can’t believe it’s already more than 2 months since here in the UK we’ve been in the restrictions of lock-down. I decided it was time to try and tidy my hair – suffice to say I won’t be turning the back of my head to camera any time soon!
Whatever is going on for you, you’re really welcome. In the midst of suffering and struggle, trivial restrictions and huge changes in our lives we gather here to worship.
It’s the first Sunday after Ascension Day and our theme today is on that glory, the glory of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus. When I first knew I was moving to Wales, I started using the wonderful bilingual Daily Prayer produced by the Church in Wales. I didn’t realise how deep the roots of worship were in this tradition, here in North Wales. And I came across this wonderful canticle that we’re going to use together. Gogoneddus Arglwydd, Glorious Lord. It actually comes from the 13th Century.
Welcome Glorious Lord!
May church and chancel praise you;
may chancel and church praise you;
may hill and valley praise you;
may woods and orchards praise you.
Welcome Glorious Lord!
Abraham, first of the faithful, praised you;
may life eternal praise you;
may birds and insects praise you;
may green grass and stubble praise you;
Aaron and Moses praised you.
Welcome Glorious Lord!
May male and female praise you;
may planets and stars praise you;
may fish in flowing waters praise you;
may all good things created praise you.
We praise you, Lord of glory.
Welcome Glorious Lord!
Now Jenny Young, one of the local wardens at St Mary’s Caerhun in the Conwy Valley, reads our Bible reading.
Reading video (1:18)
slide: 1 Peter 5: 6-11
A reading from 1 Peter, chapter 5, verses 6 to 11.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Eryl video 1 (1.07)
slide: Rev Eryl Parry
I wonder whether this morning we could cast our minds back to last Christmas. It does feel like a long time ago, doesn’t it? My mind goes back to a packed St Benedict’s Gyffin for Celtic Prayer and Praise and a packed Christmas Eve Midnight Communion where everyone was scrambling for a seat. There was no social distancing then! Did we know what that phrase meant or what it would mean for us today? Well, the Christmas before had been a really bittersweet one here because it had been the first anniversary of my dear Dad dying. But in all of that suffering, I had all my family around me and we stepped out for a great Conwy tradition on Christmas Eve. I’m sure many of you will have this as your tradition too.
fireworks clip (0.12)
Eryl video 2 (5:30)
So why are we thinking about Christmas? That Bible passage we’ve just read is a letter from St Peter to the churches in Asia Minor – people who knew all about suffering and he tells his readers not to be anxious, to cast their cares upon the Christ who Peter himself had seen suffer, but now he says “I share in his glory”.
I don’t think we can truly understand the nature of God until we go back to Christmas. God breaking into his world in a new way through Christ, the baby. Emmanuel. God with us. And it is that Christ who then goes to the cross for us, for all the darkness of the world. And then, on Easter Sunday of course we celebrate his rising, his conquering of death. But today, we’re saying that’s not the end of the story because then, it’s the same Christ that has conquered death, that then joins his Father in heaven again. That radiant Christ that beckons us to join him in his glory – now that, I think, is a cause for celebration! It’s a cause for fireworks and I’m sitting here in the chair that my Dad loved to see the fireworks on Christmas Eve. It was a grandstand view! We’re somehow ‘taken up’ with the ‘glory’ in a dark sky, if you like. But unlike fireworks that just fizzle because they’re man-made, here we’re celebrating the everlasting God and the everlasting life. The everlasting glory that we can enter into with him.
window slide at 2:06
This resurrection window in St Mary’s Conwy shows the women at the empty tomb and the angel announcing that Jesus is alive. Sometimes the white stained glass with the sunlight shining through, is difficult to see – it’s just so bright. The angel points to where Jesus will ascend. We too will have a home with him there.
For Peter tells his readers: ‘after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power for ever and ever.’
Eryl at 2:54
Our world is suffering under the rod of a disease that at the moment has no vaccine. But we are living in the hope of restoration, because no matter how much we can feel the darkness of our current situation, there is the radiance of his glory.
And when we pray, when we worship, we are doing that in the presence of a God who came here, shared our suffering and then has gone to prepare a place for us in glory.
Let us pray together now as Peter instructed in that reading ‘cast all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you’ and then I will read a beautiful prayer by David Adam, which asks for us to be caught up in God’s glory today.
O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
we pray that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
we may be comforted and strengthened.
In your mercy, lighten our darkness and rain down your blessings upon all who grieve, all who are struggling this day with illness, depression and the exhaustion of worry.
We stand with all our community as we pray:
Let this day be a day of glory to me.
The glory of Bethlehem, your coming to earth.
The glory of Cana, your sharing in mirth.
The glory of Galilee, your bringing of calm.
The glory of Bethesda, your saving from harm.
The glory of Calvary, your sacrificial love.
The glory of Easter, your rising above.
The glory of Ascension, your presence to see.
Let this be a day of glory to me.
close up window shot
Lord, lift us up from the earth that we may see your glory.
audio file with song behind powerpoint (2.52)
3 end slides:
soloist: Fu Lian Doble
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