A large, Perpendicular Gothic church,
serving the Parish of Thirsk in the Diocese of York

The Benefice of Thirsk
Rector: Revd. Canon Richard Rowling
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St Mary's Church Thirsk: Food for Thought

Christ is Risen. An Easter message from Revd. Canon Richard Rowling :

All of us are prone to reminisce and sometimes guilty of doing so with what is sometimes called ’rose tinted spectacles.’ As we look back on the past it is very tempting to think that things were better then than they are now. How often do we hear people say “It wasn’t like that in my day.” and “That wouldn’t have happened when I was a lad,” and so on. If we were honest we would have to admit that when we are being nostalgic we tend to remember only the good bits and conveniently forget about the rest.

In St. Luke’s account of the resurrection in the Gospels, we hear the angel say to the women who are looking for the body of Jesus and who are perplexed by the empty tomb;
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”

There are no doubt many ways of reading these words but one thing that they do seem to warn against is looking back and dwelling in the past. Things move on Christ has risen – or as the Church proclaims “Christ is risen” and this resurrection means new life to all who believe and trust in him. New life – that was the promise to those early followers of Jesus and it is the promise to us too.

When we celebrate Easter and reflect on the death of Jesus on Good Friday we are not just commemorating major and significant events that happened nearly 2000 years ago. The death and resurrection of Jesus has an eternal significance. For us and all Christians the meaning of these events is ever new and the hope that they offer is there for all people at all times and in all places.

On that first Easter morning promises and hopes were fulfilled. So as we prepare to celebrate Easter let us be thankful for this but let us too seek refreshment and renewal in our faith.

Intercessions :

In our prayers for the church today throughout the world we pray for wisdom, integrity and grace. We remember particularly our Archbishops Justin and Sentamu, all the clergy, lay Readers and the people in our own parish - especially the member of the Ark Club who is to be confirmed today at St. Oswald’s Church Sowerby. We ask that he may grow in strength and faith. And we ask your blessing on the baby being baptised today.

In the church’s cycle of prayer we pray for the churches of Saint Lawrence, Kirby Sigston, All Saints Northallerton and St. James Romanby we ask your blessing on their new vicar Rev. Fiona Mayer-Jones and all their retired clergy, lay Readers and people.

In the wider world we pray for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and Archbishop Malecdan.

In the light of the decisions made at the General Synod, we pray for the church in the world of today, that it may be responsive to the needs of all, that it may conserve what is good in the past and reach out to the future that it may have a growing unity.

As we pray for all the nations of the world, we pray also for all peacemakers and all who seek to bring relief to those who suffer. At this time we remember especially the strife in the Gaza Strip and the conflicts in Syria and the Ukraine and hope for a peaceful and just outcome. .

Lord give to the nations wisdom to understand the things that belong to their peace and the will to reject the things that make for war. And we pray that realising our common humanity, we may live together, bearing one another’s burdens, ministering to one another’s needs and obeying your laws in righteousness, as children of one God and father.

Have mercy we beseech you on all those in need today in body, mind and spirit, for all with disabilities of any kind, for those who endure chronic illness, the housebound and their carers.We remember especially the little girl aged 10 who had brain surgery on Thursday.

Look mercifully Father on all those who have departed this life and for all who have been near and dear to us. We continue to pray for those who grieve the death of loved ones. Give them back that peace which passes all understanding.

Finally a prayer for ourselves
Father give to us and all your people
in times of anxiety, serenity
In times of hardship, courage
In times of uncertainty patience
and at all times a trust in your wisdom and love.

Intercessions by members of the congregation :

Almighty God, as we greet you this day, help us to grow closer to you through this time of worship. We thank you for all you have done for us, for fellowship and for the gift of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us remember those who have little to celebrate or rejoice over,the poor, the sick and the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, the weak, the vulnerable and the oppressed, the lonely and the unloved, the unwanted, the sorrowful, and the depressed and the despairing. We pray also for those for whom life brings intolerable demands-those facing famine, fleeing as refugees, suffering persecution, enduring war, struggling against injustice, terrified of the future, haunted by the past. Lord in your love put a new song in their hearts we beseech you.

We pray for peace, for an end to people's inhumanity to one another, remembering especially at this time the people of Syria and of Egypt, our troops in Afghanistan and those trying once again to set up peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. We ask that the leaders of this and every nation may honour one another, seek what is just and right and foster respect for the valuable resources of our world.

We pray for our families and friends. We Give Thanks To God for mothers and fathers, grandparents and all those who take a responsible attitude to caring for children and young people. May we as Christians be recognized for our sense of responsibility and caring for others.

With the fellowship of the Virgin Mary and all the saints we commend ourselves and all Christian people to God's unfailing love.

Heavenly Father, help us to pray as Jesus taught us, trusting in your everlasting love.

Let us pray for our troubled world, that there may be an end to aggression and violence. We pray for Israel and Gaza, that the ceasefire may hold; for an end to the conflict in Syria and the hostilities in Afghanistan and Africa. We ask for your blessing on all who are trying to bring order and stability to these areas. We ask for healing for all the victims of violence -the wounded and bereaved, the traumatised and the homeless.

Compassionate God, bless all who need your help today. Reach out to the suffering of the world, stay the hand of the violent, dry the tears of the sorrowful and hear the cries of those who long for justice.

We pray for the church in the world. In the light of the recent vote in Synod we ask for an end to the disunity and for growth in love and understanding among all Christians. Give support and encouragement to all who are disheartened and help us to hear your voice in whatever way you speak to us. Help us to trust you. May your kingdom come and your will be done in your church.

We pray for the church in our diocese of York, for Archbishop Sentamu, all clergy and congregations. We ask your blessing on all our clergy, the retired clergy and all the lay workers who give so much of their time and energy in the furtherance of the kingdom.

We ask your blessing on all who are victims of natural disaster, famine and illness, and on those who are trying to help them. In our country we remember especially those who are suffering from the recent storms and those in the rescue services.

We pray for any who are having difficulty because of the economic crisis, especially at this time of the increasing pressure of materialism. We ask your guidance for those in authority and power that they may be an increase of compassion and justice.

We ask your blessing on all who are sick in mind, body or spirit and on all who are called to share in your work of healing. We commend to your loving arms those whom we know who have recently died and pray for your comfort for those who mourn them.

Heavenly Father we pray for all who need our prayers at this time. We pray for any who are worried or anxious or afraid, that we all may know your sustaining love and peace in our hearts.