Cruden Parish Church
Online evening service
Sunday 19 April 2020

The human spirit


In the meeting of our lives,
be the focus of all that we are.
In the singing of the hymns,
the prayers that we shall make,
the reading of your Word
and the preaching of the same.
Speak to us, encourage and forgive us.
In the meeting of our lives, Lord,
be the focus of all that we are.

Let us pray

Risen Lord,
bringer of peace,
you lead us into the calm of worship.
Risen Lord,
conqueror of sin and death,
you draw us to you
by your awareness of our needs.
Risen Lord,
giver of the Holy Spirit,
you meet us where we are
And raise us up to you.

On the evening
of the first day of Easter,
Defeater of Death,
you walked through
the closed doors
of our human doubts and fears;
you held us tight
until the warmth of your grace
softened our hardened hearts;
you handed us the gift of peace
to calm our fear.

Today from behind our own closed doors
We recognise how those very same closed doors
Are symbolic of our hearts and lives.
We confess that too often
We have tried to close our hearts
To your love and grace
Isolating ourselves from your compassion.
Forgive us we pray…
We confess that too often
We have sought to shut out the pain
And suffering of others
Sharing our compassion only with
Those whom we deem worthy.
Forgive us we pray…..
Grant us your peace

And if this season has anything to teach us
May it be learning to value
The way you create openings for us
To love You and love one another
This we pray in Jesus name.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil
For the kingdom the power and the glory re yours, now and forever.



Matthew 28: 1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Hebrews 11: 24-40

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.


We are living in extraordinary times and I wonder what will future generations make of this period. Will they look back with incredulity at all the selfish panic buying? Will they reflect on how unprepared we were? And what changes will this pandemic bring? Will we now value the work of carers in nursing and residential homes? Will we now recognise the need for social and support serves to be properly funded? In a phone call yesterday, one of our members made an insightful comment. They hoped it would mark the end of selfishness and materialism. And will these extraordinary circumstances hasten the decline of the church or mark the rebirth of the church? Who knows!

For me personally, I think this period will be remembered for something positive – the quality of the human spirit. Of how despite fear and danger and death, the pain, grief and sadness of losing friends and loved ones, people carried on. In so doing they are inspiring hope in others. Whether it is caring, medical or retail staff putting their own health at risk for the sake of others or a 99-year-old veteran with a Zimmer rising in excess of fourteen million pounds, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things.

There is a phrase that comes to mind here from the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘the world was not worthy of them.’ Here the author of the passage - who is unknown - recalls the ancient heroes of the Jewish Faith – also known as the patriarchs, and concludes the world was not worthy of them. Of course these words put into a modern context would apply to people of faith and people with no faith.

Let me leave you with a final thought. If ordinary people are capable of doing such extraordinary things, just imagine what can happen when the human spirit is infused by the Holy Spirit - when ordinary men, women and children encounter the presence of God and feel his hand on their lives? Imagine what can be accomplished and achieved when the Spirit of God brings forth inward renewal accompanied by selfless love and undying hope?

One American Christian writer offers this conclusion.

' Far from getting us down, COVID-19 seems to be bringing out our best creativity, our innovative edge. This is the human spirit at its best and greatest. In fact, if anything, the challenges of loss and grief can unite us, can energize us to fight back with the best within us, can encourage us to reach out to others in unprecedented ways, can bring out in us that deeply embedded sense of what it means to be human and one global people.
This is what it means to be an "apostle." And I imagine this same feeling of new energy, creativity, empowerment, and challenge must have also flowed through the veins of Jesus' disciples in their encounters with the risen Lord and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.’

Rev Sean Swindells,
Cruden Parish Church


Lord Jesus Christ, in this world
where hopes are so often dashed
and dreams so often broken,
And we are constantly being reminded
of the fragility of life
we remember today the faith in the future
you brought to so many,
both through your coming
and through your resurrection from the dead.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

We remember how Mary and Joseph looked forward
to the day of your birth,
how shepherds and magi caught their breath in wonder
as they knelt before you,
how the hearts of Anna and Simeon
leapt in anticipation,
and how your disciples and the crowds
that flocked to hear you gave thanks,
convinced that you were the Messiah,
the one God had promised,
the long-awaited deliverer
come to set them free.
We pray today for all who long
To be delivered from disease
Or released from lockdown
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

We remember how that vision of the future
was shattered by events to follow
– your pain, humiliation, suffering and death –
hope ebbing away as your body was broken on a cross
– an end to their dreams,
an end to everything.
We pray for all who are ill or suffering today
For whatever reason
And all caregivers who risk their lives
For the sake of others.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

We remember how the news spread
that the tomb was empty,
the stone rolled away, your body gone,
and how despite it all,
your followers could scarcely bring themselves to hope –
afraid to take the risk of faith
in case they should face the heartache
of losing you once more.
We pray for all who are afraid today
And who have forgotten that perfect love
Drives out fear
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

But we remember finally how you appeared,
in all your risen glory –
in the garden,
in the upstairs room,
on the Emmaus road,
by the Sea of Galilee –
and the dream was born again,
the smouldering embers of faith rekindled.
Help us to place our faith once more in you
Knowing that you hold us fast
In your love.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.

Lord Jesus Christ,
a world is waiting, hurting, longing,
searching for hope,
crying out for meaning,
grieving under the weight of loss, or death, or anxiety
desperate for some reason to believe in the future.
Come again in your living power, and bring new life to all.
Lord Jesus, where faith has died and dreams have faded,
may hope flower again.
In your name we pray.


May the grace of God uphold you,
the peace of God surround you,
the love of God flow from you
and the strength of God protect
and bring you safely through this day.

"In Christ Alone" sung by Kristyn Getty & Alison Krauss


Sunday @ 7.00 in the Manse!
This Sunday evening we are having an online open evening at the Manse from 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm - come & join us for chat, friendship and fellowship!
No special software or apps required! If you would like to join us, please email Sean at and I’ll send you the link. Everyone welcome.