Diocesan Remembrance Service – 19 November 2015

Prelude  Agnus Dei/Adagio (Samuel Barber)

Opening Prayer     Psalm 130
All say:          Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleading.
If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness
For this we revere you.

Song Quietly Peacefully (Dvorak/True)
All sing:        Quietly, peacefully may they rest in you,
Quietly peacefully bring them home to you.

The Sculptor, Elizabeth Keenan Ryan in March is one of the many people remembered in prayer here this evening. Her spirit is very much among us as her eight sculptured panels inspired by the Paschal Mystery are on the back wall of this Chapel. We will use the themes of these panels – the Washing of the Feet, the Agony in the Garden, Denial by Peter, Jesus Remember Me, Death of Christ, The Resurrection, Doubting Thomas and Emmaus – to link our service tonight which is rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Washing of the Feet

 Song Servant Song (Richard Gillard)
All sing:        Will you let me be your servant,
let me be as Christ to you,
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
we are travellers on the road,
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you,
in the night-time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

We know from the Gospel of John that Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus and that He is with all who shed a tear tonight. Just as Jesus consoled Martha and Mary he offers us a shoulder to cry on. Jesus invited us by washing the feet of his disciples to be of service to others. That’s what we are about as we serve with love all those who are grieving tonight.

I will weep when you are weeping,
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
‘til we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
we shall find such harmony.
Born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

The Agony In The Garden
Elizabeth Ryan’s own reflection on death links us with the Agony in the Garden during which Jesus struggled with the thoughts of his own suffering and death.

Reflection   Elizabeth Ryan
I cannot look my dying in the eye
Despite strong disciplines and sure philosophy
I cannot accept that I may cease to be
A presence decalcified, a being without identity.

I will, I must forever be just me
The thrust of mind, the drive, the will to be
must come to know the centre, in the eye of our containment
There in rest and being, forever be.

Denial of Peter

Prayer for Mercy
Peter denied Jesus three times. We sometimes lack courage in the face of death. For our failure to trust, to believe and to hope we say sorry.

Song  Kyrie (Seán Ó Riada)
All sing :       A Thiarna déan trócaire,
A Chríost déan trócaire,
A Thiarna déan trócaire.

Song Lacrimosa – Requiem (W.A. Mozart)

Jesus Remember Me

Song Jesus Remember Me (Taizé)
All sing:  Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom (2)

Litany of Remembrance

Let us remember those who have lived and loved, those who have left us a blessed heritage.

Let us remember the light filled ones who enkindled our spirits with their influence and the spark of their beliefs. We remember them.

Let us remember the risk takers, who faced their fears and took action, who sought justice even though they had to pay a price for it. We remember them.

Let us remember the vulnerable ones who allowed us to care for them, allowed us to be with them in their time of need. We…

Let us remember the faith-filled ones who led us by word and example into a deeper relationship with God. We …

Let us remember the brave ones, who walked through their struggles with hope, who taught us how to trust. We …

Let us remember the great lovers of life, whose humour and enthusiasm lifted our spirits and brought us joy. We …

Let us remember the nurturers, who gave us birth physically or spiritually, who gave us support by their caring presence. We …

 Song  Think Of Me (Webber/Stillgoe/Hart)

 Litany of Remembrance 2 We remember them

In the rising of the sun and its going down,   In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,    in the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring.    In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,    In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn. In the beginning of the year and when it ends,    When we are weary and in need of strength,

When we are lost and sick of heart,    When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share, So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are part of us.     

Response:     We remember them.

Death of Jesus

As Jesus was dying his mother Mary stood by his cross. She could not change anything but her presence made a difference. Let us entrust all those who have stood at the cross of their loved one’s illnesses and death to Mary who understands.

Instrumental    Ave Maria (Franz Schubert) – Harp and Clarinet –

Reading  John 19:25
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son’. Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother’.

Song  Be Still My Soul (Jean Sibelius)

Reflection Death (Pierre Bienvenu Noalles)
The great and sad mistake of some, even good people, is to believe that those who die have left us. They do not leave us. They remain with us. Where are they? Are they in the shade? Oh, no! It is we who are in the shade. They are close beside us, though veiled from our mortal sight, more present than ever. We do not see them because a cloud obscures them from our sight, but they see us. Their eyes reflecting God’s glory and brightness, are fixed on our tear-filled eyes. What a wonderful consolation! Our dead are invisible, but they are not absent. I have often wondered how best to comfort those who mourn. Here is the answer: It is our faith in this real and uninterrupted presence of our loved ones who have died. It is the clear, penetrating conviction that in death our loved ones are not distant or even absent, but alive and close beside us. They are happy and transfigured and, in this glorious transformation, they have lost nothing of their tenderness of heart or their concern for us. On the contrary, their love for us has grown a hundredfold.

Instrumental  Irish Traditional


Reading Luke 24:1-8
On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there. As they stood there not knowing what to think two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women lowered their eyes. But the two men said to them ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day.’ And they remembered his words.

Song  You Raise Me Up (Brendan Graham)

Doubting Thomas
The Gospel of John tells us that Thomas the Twin was not present when Jesus appeared to the disciples. In disbelief Thomas said: ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made and unless I can put my hand into his side I refuse to believe’. Caught up in our own grief we too can have our doubts about life after death and the mystery of the resurrection.

Song Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled (David Haas)
All sing:        Do not let your hearts be troubled
Have faith in God, and faith in me.
I will go forth to prepare a place for you
and I’ll come back to take you with me
that where I am you may also be.

Reading   1 Thessalonians 4:13-15
We want you to be quite certain about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him.

 Song  Someone Is Watching Over Me (Shanks/Dioguardi)

The meeting between Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is the final panel for our reflection this evening. On this journey Jesus met the darkness and the despair of the two as they told their story about His death of and the reports of His appearances. It was when Jesus opened up the scriptures for them that their hearts burned with the fire of understanding. Similarly the story of the Footprints in the Sand is a reminder to us of God’s presence especially in times of difficulty and sadness on our journey.

Song   Footprints (Cowell/Page/ Kruger/Magnusson)

Reflection   Keep your fork – the best is yet to come
A woman, who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live, contacted her priest so that she might get her things in order. Duly, he came to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the funeral, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in the woman also requested to be buried with her favourite bible.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

‘There is one more thing’ she said excitedly. ‘What’s that?’ the priest replied. ‘this is very important’ she said, ‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand’.

The priest stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. ‘That surprises you doesn’t it?’ the woman asked.

‘Well to be honest, I am puzzled by the request’, said the priest.

The woman explained, ‘in all my years of attending church socials and gala dinners, I always remembered that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘keep your fork’. It was my favourite part because I knew that something better was coming, like a velvety chocolate cake or homemade apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So I just want people to see me there in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘what’s with the fork?’ than I want you to tell them: ‘keep your fork, the best is yet to come’.

The priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of Heaven than he did. She knew something better was coming.

Concluding Prayer
Let us pray,
All say:   God of mercy, Look kindly on all those we remember here this evening. Give them the fullness of your peace and joy. We give thanks for the gift of their lives, whether long or short, now caught up in your eternal love. We make our prayer in the name of Jesus who is our risen Lord now and forever. Amen.

Blessing  May you see God’s light on the path ahead when the road you walk is dark. May you always hear, even in your hour of sorrow, the gentle singing of the lark. When times are hard may hardness never turn your heart to stone. May you always remember when the shadows fall— you do not walk alone.

Song May The Road Rise (Lori True)
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
May you keep safe in the gentle loving arms of God.