Easter Sunday, 12th April

Easter Sunday

Resurrection Day!

Greeting

The Lord be with you,

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

 

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,

the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To you be glory now and for ever.

In your great mercy you have given us a new birth into a living hope

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

By your blessing,

may we be strengthened in faith,

know the power of his presence,

and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory.

Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blessed be God for ever.

 

Prayers of Penitence

Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

Silence is kept.

Like Mary at the empty tomb, we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

 

Like the disciples behind locked doors, we are afraid to be seen as your followers.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

 

Like Thomas in the upper room, we are slow to believe.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

 

Receiving God’s Forgiveness

May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Collect for Easter Sunday

Almighty Father,

who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples

with the sight of the risen Lord:

give us such knowledge of his presence with us,

that we may be strengthened and sustained

by his risen life and serve you continually in truth and holiness;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

 

Reading: John 20:11-18

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”

Thought for the Week

This is an unusual time. Today we celebrate Christ’s victory over death. And yet, as in times of great famine, war, and pandemics, our world today is dominated by death and the fear of death. News outlets provide us with daily updates on how many deaths have occurred due to COVID-19, and day after day, we come face to face with the fear and loss that so many are experiencing.

In light of this, some may question whether it is appropriate to sing and celebrate Christ’s conquering of death, on a day when thousands will die. What does it mean for them? What does it mean for their families?

And yet, far from being insensitive, seeing the world through the lens of Christ’s resurrection is the most apt and poignant way to respond to the grief and disruption we face.

Two years ago, my uncle died on Easter Saturday. He was diagnosed on the Tuesday, we lived through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in the shock of his deteriorating condition. If there was a job to do, Phil always got on and did it, and he made no mistake when that came to his own death. On silent Saturday, sat in his favourite chair and in his favourite shirt, he fell silent, as did the room, and we quietly saw him go to be with Jesus. The following day, attending church and sharing bread and wine with friends and family, remembering Christ’s death for us, and celebrating Christ’s resurrection, it was difficult to sing ‘Oh death where is your sting.’ Not because I struggled to believe it. Not because I felt no pain. But because the weight of those words was so palpable. I believe the whole congregation, which Phil was an elder of, had a deep experience of the love, life and gentle care of Christ that morning. Our friend had gone away. But because of Jesus, we had hope. The hope of Christ’s resurrection began to heal our wounds, even then, because we knew that death was not the end, death does not have the final word.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed right now. But this Easter day reminds us about the world we live in. We do not follow Christianity because we think it’s the best option among other religious choices. We do not follow Christ because we think he gives some wise teaching of how to live in a world that accidently evolves, creating its own history of its own accord. No. The world belongs to God, who created it, loves it into being, and is Lord of its past, present and future. We live in a world that God so loves that he gave his own Son, so that all who believe – all who trust in his loving kindness and mercy – may not perish, but live; live in fellowship with him now and forever.

On the first Easter morning, Mary thought she heard the gardener. And she was right. Creation was being made new. God the Gardener was tending it, nurturing it back to life. The weeds and pests were dealt with, the time of spring had come. And, despite all we may face, despite our sorrows or fears, this is our world. Salvation has come. There is hope. We can journey on in faith, in love, in the joy of the Lord. For Christ is risen, he is risen indeed! Alleluia!

An Easter Poem

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves

And now he blesses hers who stood and wept

And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s

Last touching place, but watched as low light crept

Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs

A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.

She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,

Or recognise the Gardener standing there.

She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,

Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light

That brightens as she chokes out her reply

‘They took my love away, my day is night’

And then she hears her name, she hears Love say

The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.

By Malcolm Guite

 

Risen Lord Jesus,

as Mary Magdalene met you in the garden

on the morning of your resurrection,

so may we meet you today and every day:

speak to us as you spoke to her;

reveal yourself as the living Lord;

renew our hope and kindle our joy;

and send us to share the good news with others.

Amen.

 

Prayers and Intercessions

Lord Jesus, we rejoice this day,

and remember your words to the disciples,

‘peace be with you.’

We for your peace, in our lives

and the lives of others around the world,

that we might rise above its fears and anxieties,

and all that causes strife or conflict.

Risen Christ,

Give us hope

 

Loving God,

We remember all who walk today in darkness or fear,

We pray for all who have lost hope,

For all who are approaching death,

For those caring for the sick,

For the service people keeping the nation going,

Give them patience, strength, and grace.

Risen Christ,

Give us hope

 

Lord, you appeared to Mary in the garden,

to the disciples behind closed doors,

to friends walking on the road,

this day, be known in our midst,

be in our homes and our hearts,

may we journey on

in the light of your presence

Risen Christ,

Give us hope

Have a time of open prayer. And, as you pray, you might like to reflect on this image…

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,

as our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

 

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.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.

 

God the Father,

by whose love Christ was raised from the dead,

open to us who believe the gates of everlasting life.

Amen.

God the Son,

who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory,

give us joy as we share the Easter faith.

Amen.

God the Holy Spirit,

who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord,

empower us and fill us with Christ’s peace.

Amen.

 

Let us bless the risen Lord,

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!