EASTER SUNDAY John 20: the resurrection

Updated: Apr 20

We are still family even while we are apart, so while we are unable to gather because of the ongoing health crisis, I will be sharing material on the blog each Sunday morning, and posting notes to those unable to access the internet. During this Holy Week, I will also be sharing special services for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Of course you are free to use this material at any time, but my hope is that as many of us as possible will be reading these words during the times that we would otherwise have met - 7:30pm on Maundy Thursday, 10am on Good Friday, and 10:30am every Sunday - gathering in time if not in space.


We would ordinarily share communion on Easter Sunday, so I have included a brief liturgy which I adapted some years ago from that found in the Didache, an early church manual. The closing prayer about the church being scattered and gathered seemed particularly appropriate at this time. The church has often had to get creative in times of great difficulty, and so while an unbroken loaf and non-alcoholic wine may be hard to come by, I believe it is perfectly acceptable that we use whatever we have, and it may help to set it aside before you start the service. If you are able to use this liturgy with others in your household, or share with another over the phone or online, you may wish to alternate reading the words in ordinary type and speak together the words in bold type.



Call to worship

Begin by holding in your mind all those you would have been worshipping with this evening, and others that you love and are currently distanced from, and say this prayer: Lord, thank you that though apart we are held together in love and prayer; draw especially close to us in this time and comfort us. Amen.



Song: See what a morning

See what a morning, gloriously bright With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem; Folded the grave-clothes Tomb filled with light, As the angels announce Christ is risen! See God’s salvation plan, wrought in love, Borne in pain, paid in sacrifice, Fulfilled in Christ, the Man, for He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!


See Mary weeping: ‘Where is He laid? As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb; Hears a voice speaking, calling her name: It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again! The voice that spans the years, Speaking life, stirring hope, Bringing peace to us, Will sound till He appears, For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!


One with the Father, Ancient of Days, Through the Spirit Who clothes faith with certainty, Honour and blessing, glory and praise To the King crowned With power and authority! And we are raised with Him, Death is dead, love has won Christ has conquered; And we shall reign with Him, For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!


Stuart Townend, Keith Getty © 2003 Thankyou Music



Prayer

This feels like a time to invest deeply in prayer, so I offer again the suggested patterns for prayer we have using in our dispersed worship. I also offer a prayer specifically for Easter Sunday. However you pray, I suggest that you end by praying the Lord’s Prayer.

PRAYING IN CONCENTRIC CIRCLES This is a way of praying in ever widening circles. Start by praying for yourself, so that you might lay down any distractions. Then pray for your loved ones, then your community, then our country, then finally the world.


IN-OUT-UP-DOWN Focus inwards to pray for yourself, then look outwards to pray for those in the communities around you, then up to think of heaven and pray for the church, then down to think of the earth and pray for all its people.


PRAYING WITH YOUR HANDS Open your hands to offer God all that pains and troubles you, then close your hands to take hold of the peace that God wants to give you. Or use your fingers to guide you through different forms of prayer - the little finger for confession, the ring finger for petition (asking help for yourself), the middle finger for intercession (asking help for others), the index finger for thanksgiving, and the thumb for praise.


IMAGINATIVE PRAYER WALKING Current advice is that we can go out for exercise once a day, which may be an opportunity to pray for our communities as we walk/run/cycle through them. But we can also engage in imaginative prayer walking, taking a ‘walk’ through our neighbourhoods in our minds, and praying for the homes and schools and businesses and so on that we ‘see’.


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory

forever and ever.

Amen.



Song: Christ the Lord is risen today

'Christ, the Lord, is risen today!' Hallelujah!

All creation join to say: Hallelujah!

Raise your joys and triumphs high; Hallelujah!

Sing, you heavens, and earth reply: Hallelujah!

Love's redeeming work is done! Hallelujah!

Fought the fight, the battle won: Hallelujah!

Death in vain forbids him rise Hallelujah!

Christ has opened paradise: Hallelujah!


Soar we now where Christ has led, Hallelujah!

Following our exalted Head; Hallelujah!

Made like him, like him we rise; Hallelujah!

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies: Hallelujah!


Charles Wesley © Public Domain



Reading: John 20:1-18, read by John Hughes



Reflection



Communion

And so we are invited now to eat and to drink, in remembrance of Christ, who lived and died and lived again. If you are able to use this liturgy with others in your household, or share with another over the phone or online, you may wish to alternate reading the words in ordinary type and speak together the words in bold type.

Almighty God who created all things, you gave us food and drink for our enjoyment, that we might ever praise you, but you also gave us spiritual food and drink, that we may have abundant and eternal life through your son. Before all things, we give you thanks that you are both powerful and loving. Yours is the glory and the power for ever and ever.

[lifting the cup] Father, we thank you for the salvation and blessing which you made known to us through your son Jesus, who shed his blood to write a new covenant for the forgiveness of sins. Yours is the glory for ever and ever.

[breaking the bread] Father, we thank you for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through your son Jesus, who came in flesh and gave that flesh to show us your great love. Yours is the glory for ever and ever.

[after the bread and wine have been consumed] Lord, we thank you for your holy name, which you have made to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and eternal life, which you have made known to us through your son Jesus. May the bread and cup be a sign and a reminder of these things. Yours is the glory for ever and ever.


Remember your world. Deliver it from all evil and perfect it in your love, that it may be sanctified into your kingdom which you have prepared for it. Yours is the glory for ever and ever.


And as the broken bread was scattered upon the mountains to feed the people and then gathered again to reveal your abundance, so may your church which is now scattered for the protection of all be gathered together again in safety and in celebration. Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.



Song: Thine be the glory

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son;

endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.

Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,

kept the folded grave clothes where Thy body lay.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son;

endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.


Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;

lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom.

Let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;

for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son;

endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.


No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;

life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife.

Make us more than conqu’rors, thro’ thy deathless love:

bring us safe thro’ Jordan to thy home above.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son;

endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.


Edmond Budry © Public Domain



Blessing

Close your time of worship by again holding in your mind those you love and would be worshipping alongside, and use the words of the grace: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with us all evermore. Amen.

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