Materials for Worship at Home on the 6th Sunday of Easter

Nerys writes: As you prepare to worship today, on the first Sunday of Christian Aid Week, I invite you to look closely at this photo of Rose Katanu Johathan, a 67 year-old widow from Kitui county in eastern Kenya.
She and her family are caught in a cycle of climate chaos. From severe drought to flooding, extreme weather robs her of what she needs to survive. Without a reliable source of water, she is often hungry and thirsty and struggles to provide for the six grandchildren who are in her care.

(Photo: Rose Katanu Jonathan by Adam Finch, Christian Aid)

Our readings today remind us of the way Christ calls us to relate to Rose and people like her. In John 15.9-17, read here by June , Jesus, after washing his disciples’ feet, commands them to love one another just as he has loved them. In this way, they will no longer be God’s servants, but beloved friends, sent to ‘bear fruit that will last’, reaching out in self-giving love to the world around them. In our epistle, 1 John 5.1-6, read here by Martin, the writer goes a step further, using the idea of the family to emphasise that the love of God and the love of others are inseparable. If we love our parent God, he suggests, then we should also love God’s other children as brothers and sisters. And, if we think of every single human being as a member of our own family, then obeying Christ’s command to selflessly love them is not a burden. William Barclay in his commentary on this passage tells a memorable story of a boy walking to school carrying on his back a smaller boy who is unable to walk. A stranger asks him, ‘Do you carry him to school every day?’ ‘Yes’, answers the boy. ‘That’s a heavy burden you carry’, remarks the man. ‘He’s not a burden’, responds the boy, ‘he’s my brother’.

Luke Connaughton’s song ‘Love is his word, love is his way’ gently sums up the messages of both readings. You may wish to listen to David playing the tune Cresswell as you follow the words or sing along.

Richer than gold is the love of my Lord:
better than splendour and wealth.

Love is his word, love is his way,
feasting with all, fasting alone,
living and dying, rising again,
love, only love, is his way.

Love is his way, love is his mark,
sharing his last Passover feast,
Christ at the table, host to the Twelve,
love, only love, is his mark.

Love is his mark, love is his sign,
bread for our strength, wine for our joy,
‘This is my body, this is my blood’,
love, only love is his sign.

Love is his sign, love is his news,
‘Do this’, he said , ‘lest you forget
all my deep sorrow, all my dear blood’,
love, only love, is his news.

Love is his news, love is his name,
we are his own, chosen and called,
family, brethren, cousins and kin.
Love, only love is his name.

Love is his name, love is his law.
Hear his command, all who are his,
‘Love one another, I have loved you’.
Love, only love, is his law.

Love is his law, love is his word:
love of the Lord, Father, and Word,
love of the Spirit, God ever one,
love, only love, is his word.

Our sister, Rose, is struggling to survive. The climate crisis has made the weather in her part of Kenya unpredictable. It doesn’t rain for months at a time. Rivers run dry, crops wither and die, cows, sheep and goats become weak and unable to produce milk. During these times of drought, Rose sets off every morning on a long and dangerous journey to look for water for her family. She walks under the hot sun on an empty stomach. Rose is doing all she can to give her grandchildren a happy childhood like the one she enjoyed but the unpredictable weather caused by climate change is driving her to the brink. The rain when it comes is often so heavy and relentless that it causes flooding, destroying any crops that have survived. Rose believes that God gives her strength and helps her persevere but she knows that life can’t continue like this for much longer.

In Kitui county in eastern Kenya, 8 out of 10 people grow crops for food and to earn a living. Without a reliable source of water, whole villages are facing starvation. Christian Aid, through their local partners, are helping these communities to build earth dams which capture rainwater. With a dam full of water nearby, Rose would be free from her exhausting daily journeys. She could grow vegetables for her family to eat and to sell at the market. A dam would help her withstand long droughts and relentless rainstorms. It would help her protect herself from coronavirus. It would make it possible for her to see her grandchildren grow up and live life in all its fullness.

In her message for Christian Aid Week, Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, the head of Christian Aid Scotland, speaks about the way the Covid crisis has made us realise how connected we are. It has also shown us what is possible when we put each other first. But when a crisis is not on our doorstep, we often don’t respond. We, in this country, are coming through the Covid crisis, but there is no end in sight for Rose and the two billion people across the world facing persistent threats to their livelihoods because of the climate crisis. Christian Aid is working with local partners in 29 countries to bring practical immediate solutions like the building of earth dams in Kenya. They are also seeking to introduce long term solutions like drought-resistant crops and renewable energy. And they are campaigning for climate justice, calling for changes in global policies and finance, and preparing to make sure that the voices of people like Rose are heard at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow later this year.

Sally says, ‘Too often we forget how much we belong to one another. The need is huge, but so is hope, especially if we stand together.’

This Christian Aid Week, we are invited to give, act and pray for a better world.

As we pray now for our own families and those known to us who are in need, let us also pray for Rose and all our brothers and sisters whose lives are affected by climate chaos.

We can make Sheila Erena Murray’s hymn our prayer of commitment, following the words or singing along as David plays the tune.

Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently,
nourish the life of the world in our care:
gift of great wonder, ours to surrender,
trust for the children tomorrow will bear.

We who endanger, who create hunger,
agents of death for all creatures that live,
we who would foster clouds of disaster,
God of our planet, forestall and forgive!

Let there be greening, birth from the burning,
water that blesses and air that is sweet,
health in God’s garden, hope in God’s children,
regeneration that peace will complete.

God of all living, God of all loving,
God of the seedling, the snow, and the sun,
teach us, deflect us, Christ reconnect us,
using us gently, and making us one.
(Sheila Erena Murray)

You may wish to finish your time of prayer with this Christian Aid Week prayer by Rachel Addis.

God our Mother and Father,
we praise you for the blessings you shower upon us.
Bless the lives of all our sisters and brothers
and their precious children.
In life’s saddest moments,
may we feel your love most, O Jesus.
Continue to dwell in our hearts, Lord.
May your love keep us strong. Amen.

For more information about Christian Aid’s work with local partners in 29 countries affected by Climate Crisis, not only providing immediate, practical solutions but also seeking to introduce long term solutions campaigning for climate justice, please visit
For the Christian Aid Week message of Revd. Sally Foster-Fulton, click on this link: Sally’s message for Christian Aid Week 2021 – YouTube
This year there will be no doorstep collection of Christian Aid envelopes in Dunblane. Instead, donations can be dropped off at church next Sunday or at the Rectory, Meldrum’s, Charisma or Smallprint on the High Street during the week. If this is not possible, please contact John Hamilton (824552) who will collect your envelope. You could also make a donation electronically by visiting the Dunblane Christian Aid JustGiving Page. (Details of how to find it is on page 20 of the St Mary’s Magazine.) Please don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation if you can! Thank you.