Easter Sunday - Order of Service for Online Streaming

Welcome

 

You have turned our mourning into dancing!

You have taken away our funeral clothes

and re-clothed us in joy,

so that our whole being—body, mind and soul—

might sing praise to you and not be silent.

 

O Lord, our God, we will give thanks to you forever!

 

This is Holy Week and Holy week is a journey. From the triumphal entrance on Palm Sunday to the last supper on Maundy Thursday.  We then have the ultimate sacrifice on Good Friday before we celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Let us start our worship by remembering the darkest day, the day of pain that started the road to resurrection that we celebrate today.


 

HYMN  Above all powers

 

Briefing

  • Beryl Pollard died on Wednesday - thoughts with Joanne and Hilary

 

  • Everyone in good spirit

  • Worship more contemporary than normal

  • Last month we broke all records for website, 28006 times

 

Prayers of Intercession

Almighty and Eternal God

Whose goodness and grace overflowed when you raised Jesus from the dead,

Let your goodness and grace continue to flow upon your people.

 

We pray for the family and friends of Beryl Pollard, as Beryl now stands.with Christ, in Glory

 

We think back to the Easter story,

and we pray for those, like the women of old,

whose lives have been stopped

because they couldn’t roll away a stone

that was blocking their path to new life and hope.

 

Roll away the stone

of despair and hopelessness

that the light of Jesus Christ may shine

into the darkness

to bring joy and warmth again.

 

Roll away the stone

For those still stuck at Good Friday

those whose strength is failing through ill-health

whose spirits are flagging through depression,

whose determination is being sapped through the lockdown.

 

Lord God roll away the stone

that they might better see the path stretching out before them

a path unused except for your footprints

etched out in the morning dew.

 

In the light and the glory of the resurrection

We pray for our world

For areas of violence and hostility

For lands devastated by coronavirus

For peoples who look in vain for the rains to come to guarantee a harvest

For all those who today would struggle to find joy in the resurrection story.

 

Bless the Queen and all the members of the government 

that they may lead our country with all righteousness and justice.

 

Bless our Churches in Ilkley; its ministers and office bearers that they may offer wise and sensitive leadership. Encourage our membership that they may be true to their calling to follow the Risen Christ. Bless all our missional partners at home and abroad that we may journey with them on this adventure of faith as we discover where you are asking us to follow.

 

On this Easter Day hear now our own prayers in silence as we remember before you those nearest and dearest to our own hearts confident that you care and that you hear the earnest prayer of every heart….

 

Pause

 

We offer these prayers to you Lord God on the anniversary of the greatest miracle - proving you are the one and only. Amen

 

We are witnesses to the greatest miracle.  Let us all sing with joy now as we sing “Christ the Lord is risen today.”

 

HYMN  Christ the Lord is risen today

 

Reading

  • Matthew 28:1-10

 

Sermon

How appropriate that on this great festival of Easter, the Bible reading assigned by the church should be so powerful as it is today. 

 

Today's text captures that holy moment when biblical witness and the realities of our ordinary lives intersect. Your life, your everyday life, and our Bible reading from Matthew about the resurrection are meshing together.

 

Mary did not really understand what was happening when she saw the empty tomb.  It took an actual appearance by Jesus to Mary, to really set things straight. Mary was not alone in her confusion.  It was only when the disciples had word of the Risen Lord or saw him themselves did they believe and were ready to take up his ministry of the new life he had given them.

 

Why was there so much initial confusion and lack of understanding among Jesus' followers until they actually met the Risen Lord? The failure of the disciples to get things right has something to do with our own failure to take the joyful message of Easter to heart and to live that way every day of our lives.

 

Easter Sunday. What a glorious day it is! The Easter Sunrise at the Cow and Calf would have been beautiful.  Of course, with coronavirus, we weren’t there to witness it. For many of us, this may be the first year in many that our family are not with us. The church would have been busy. 

 

But this is Easter!  Everybody still feels happy, or even if we miss a loved one, at least we have some peace of mind. God seems so real today. The resurrection of our Lord seems so real. We could hardly doubt it.

 

Where will these feelings be next week? Where will they be tomorrow? I can tell you where these feelings and our Easter spirit will be next week. They will be gone! The joy and the peace we feel on this glorious Easter will not be as much in evidence as it is today. The church will be as empty as it is today. Our lockdowned hearts will be nearly empty.  I hope that I am wrong.

 

Those of us who will be watching our streamed worship next Sunday will probably not feel as good about worship as we do today. We probably will not feel today's joy and peace with quite the same intensity. 

 

In fact, in the midst of this worldwide pandemic, perhaps there will be times when the events of life or what we read may lead some to doubt God and his goodness - to make us wonder about the truth of the story about our Lord's resurrection.

 

Consequently, we share with Mary in her initial confusion, lack of understanding, and the subsequent apathy of the disciples. If we only plan our lives around the big church services, we are already walking down the disciples' path. 

 

The doubts, uncertainty, or lethargy that we and the disciples sometimes feel has something to do with the character of the resurrection accounts and the fact that too often we only have half the story about Jesus' resurrection.

 

In the account of the first Easter by Matthew, Mary actually meets the Risen Christ after Peter and the disciples have gone to their homes.

 

Side-by-side with this story of the resurrection appearance, and similar in the other Gospels, you have another tradition of stories about the resurrection. These stories say nothing about actually seeing the Risen Lord Jesus. They merely report the fact that his tomb was empty. 

 

We call this second set of stories the empty tomb tradition. Our gospel lesson for today from Matthew also employs this empty tomb tradition.

 

Why I am telling you about the two traditions of resurrection stories is to explain to you more clearly why Jesus' followers originally reacted to the empty tomb with misunderstanding, confusion, sadness, or apathy. 

 

We need to note a recurring pattern in the stories about the empty tomb. In all of the gospels, wherever the empty tomb tradition is employed, disbelief, confusion or apathy make themselves evident among the followers of Jesus. 

 

We think of Thomas and the doubts that he had when he only heard the stories of Jesus' resurrection. He needed to see the Risen Lord himself before he could really be excited in his faith.

 

When the story of the empty tomb is proclaimed, the usual reaction is disbelief, confusion or apathy. It is only when Jesus' followers experience the Risen Lord, only in the appearance tradition stories, is the certainty of belief in the resurrection assured. That is the way the Bible reads.

 

Do you see the point? That is why Mary did not at first react to the empty tomb with aa full understanding. She had not yet actually experienced the Risen Lord!

 

This is our problem with the gospel of Jesus Christ today. Too many of us only meet the Risen Lord once or twice per year. All we know is the story of the empty tomb.

 

Where is he? Where can we meet the Risen Lord? Well, He is here every Sunday. Anytime two or three gather in his name, he has promised to be present. He was at the Maundy Thursday streaming service.  You can meet him here in church every Sunday. If you pray at home or on the road, read your Bible with a few others, you will probably meet him, too, on these occasions. 

 

In fact, when we celebrate the Lord's supper in a few minutes, I guarantee that you will meet the Risen Lord. He comes to us as we receive the bread and wine. He has promised it! That is why we are all so joyful, all so confident in our faith today. It is because we are all in the presence of the Risen Christ. He is here with us right now!

 

Consequently, if doubts about Jesus' resurrection, if doubts about God, come your way, or if you are not excited about your Christian faith today or tomorrow, then chances are that you are a bit like Mary and the disciples on that first Easter. Chances are, you have only been hearing the stories about the resurrection. You have not actually been in the presence of the Risen Lord enough. 

 

When you live in the presence of Jesus, every week, when you do not just attend or listen to scripture, but hang on every word; when you commune regularly, pray at home daily, read your Bible, involve yourself in the study of the Bible, get active in church events - when you live with Jesus every day, then your doubts, confusion and apathy cannot help but begin to take care of themselves. 

 

Then you will realise that you possess all the evidence you will ever need to convince you of the truth of the resurrection! Then you will be sure that God exists. You will see him everywhere. Then your faith will truly matter to you!

 

He is risen! Believe it! He is present among us; just come, and open your eyes. Christ is risen! All that is destructive and painful in your life is dead. In every facet of your life you have been given a fresh start with Christ.            Christ is risen indeed!

 

HYMN  The Old Rugged Cross

 

Communion

Let us come out of the darkness and join together in the light of God’s love. You are invited to this table of life as we join with each other, albeit in our own homes, and seek communion with God. All who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour are welcomed to the feast.  Why - because "Jesus never told us to get our lives right and then God would love us, but rather to know that God loves us and allow that love to change our lives."

 

Lord, You created the world by speaking life into being. You placed within us and within each plant and animal of your creation amazing abilities to form and nurture new life, so that your creation might be renewed, reborn, season by season, child by child.

You covenanted with your people and gave them Law that showed the way of Life–a path of peace, justice, mercy, reverence, and love.

You provided wise men and women as judges for your people to show them the path to Life.

You called forth prophets who dared to speak the truth of Life to worldly powers that promoted death.

You sent Jesus, your Son, to walk in the way of Life—that we might follow. He suffered and died because of his refusal to participate in the violence of the world. He rose again in victory because the powers of death cannot overcome the Divine power of Life.

And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name O Lord.

LET US PRAY

Lord as I come to partake of the bread and the wine, I come in meekness of heart and humility of spirit, knowing that I cannot approach You in my own righteousness, but because of Your great goodness and gracious mercy, in sending Your only begotten Son, to die on the cross in my place.. and to pay the price for my sin.

Thank You that You are a tender-hearted God and that Your nature is always to show mercy to those who are justly deserving of Your wrath and punishment.

As I prepare to partake of the symbols of bread and wine, I shall eat and drink in remembrance of Him.. Who died for me and rose again, knowing that He has become to me.. both my meat and my drink. Help me to live in newness of life and to walk worthy before You all the days of my life – this I ask in Jesus name,  AMEN

 

We want to thank you, God, for the incredible gift of Jesus, the Word made flesh.

You are holy, O God of Life, and holy is Jesus Christ, your Son, the resurrected One.

You sent your only son, in whom your fullness dwells,               to be for us the way, the truth, and the life.

Revealing your love, radiating your life, Jesus taught those who listened to him,                                                                     healed those who believed in him, received all who sought him.

He enacted peace in the midst of violence, love in the face of hate,

He offered Divine Life to all people suffering under worldly forces of death.

We want to thank you, God, for the incredible gift of Jesus, the Word made flesh. 

Through his resurrection Life you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made us a new people.  We thank you Lord, Amen.

It is as the renewed, redeemed, enlivened people of God that we gather this morning and remember together that  “on the night before he died, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup, saying: “This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.”

Longing to experience and share the fullness of Life that you offer, we take these gifts that you have given us, this bread and this cup, and celebrate with joy the eternal Life offered to us through Jesus Christ.

Accept our praise and thanksgiving, accept our lives as holy offerings to you, that in losing our life we might find true Life, and proclaim the Resurrected Christ who offers life to all.

Great is the mystery of faith:

Dying you destroyed our death,

rising you restored our life.

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us. By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ and with all who seek to follow in his life-giving way, that we may further your reign of peace and justice in every place.

In the eating of this bread, we remember Christ’s body, and in the sharing of this cup, we see Christ’s blood,     we invite your life to fill us; we invite your Spirit to lead us ever more faithfully to be the body of Christ in the world.

All glory and honour are yours, eternal God, now and forever. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. AMEN.

Please come, the meal is ready.        

Take and eat your bread, for this is the body of Christ, broken for you.

We now come to the cup, containing the blood of the new covenant.  Let us hold the cups and drink together.

Christ is Risen  ALLELUJAH

 

HYMN  O praise the name of the Lord our God

 

Prayer

Lord God,

You loved this world so much that you gave your one and only Son, that we might be called your children too. Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday, everyday. Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice. Let us have eyes that look upon your grace and rejoice in our salvation. Help us to walk in that mighty grace and tell your good news to the world, and hear us now as we say together the words of the Lord’s Prayer.  OUR FATHER

 

HYMN  How great thou art

 

Blessing

Don’t look for Jesus in the past.

He is not there. He is risen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, Amen.

 


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