Home Service for Sunday 4 April 2021
Good morning. Today is Easter Sunday.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed.
The first Easter day started early in the morning with the women’s visit to the tomb to embalm the body of Jesus.
Hymn: 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! Let’s read John’s account of the events on that first Easter Day.
Reading: John 20: 1-10
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. She went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. The two of them were running, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and saw the linen cloths, but he did not go in. Behind him came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the cloth which had been around Jesus’ head.
It was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. They still did not understand the scripture which said that he must rise from death.) Then the disciples went back home.
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. 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
Hymn: Jesus Christ is risen today.
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!
But the pain which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!
Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!
How do we know that this is true? Paul tells us that many people saw Jesus after He had risen from the
dead and went on to do great things and often suffered persecution in His strength.
Reading: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-9 The Resurrection of Christ
I passed on to you what I received, which is of the greatest importance: that Christ died for our sins, as written in the
Scriptures; that he was buried and that he was raised to life three days later, as written in the Scriptures; that he appeared to Peter and then to all twelve apostles. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of his followers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have died. Then he appeared to James, and afterward to all the apostles. Last of all he appeared also to me—even though I am like someone whose birth was abnormal. For
I am the least of all the apostles—I do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted God’s church.
Hymn: He lives, He lives Christ Jesus lives today.
I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He’s always near
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives),
Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart
In all the world around me I see His loving care
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair
I know that He is leading, through all the stormy blast
The day of His appearing will come at last
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find
None other is so loving, so good and kind
There were many who saw the resurrected Jesus alive in His new body. It was a body that could pass through closed doors yet still bore the scars of crucifixion. You could almost say a great cloud of witnesses. Sound familiar?
Hebrews 12 v 1-3 talks about us being surrounded by this, people who have died and gone to be with Jesus in heaven. We could imagine them cheering us on as we run our race today.
Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Let us remember those who are struggling with Ill health, loneliness, and sadness at the loss of loved ones. May they know God’s strength and comfort. We pray for our leaders that they will make wise choices about the end of lockdown and that everyone will be careful about how they use the new freedoms to mix and travel so that the virus doesn’t
Thomas, who had doubted the other disciples’ account of Jesus meeting them in the upper room, asked to put his finger in the nail prints in His hands to convince himself that it was truly Jesus who had appeared in the upper room.
Reading: John 20: 19-29
It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. Jesus said to them
again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas
was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting and believe!” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”
Hymn: Low in the grave He lay.
Low in the grave He lay Jesus my Saviour!
Waiting the coming day Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a victor from the dark domain
And He lives forever with His saints to reign
He arose! (He arose) He arose! (He arose) Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Vainly they watch His bed Jesus, my Saviour!
Vainly they seal the dead Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose…
Death cannot keep his prey Jesus, my Saviour!
He tore the bars away Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose…
Many of the witnesses in the Hebrews reading were killed for their faith in Jesus but they would have sung the chorus to the next hymn if it had been written then. Do we count ourselves as happy or blessed because we have believed in the risen Lord Jesus for our salvation? Jesus told Thomas “How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”
Hymn : God sent His Son
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living, just because He lives.
How sweet to hold a new-born baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day
because He lives.
Because He lives…
And then one day, I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns.
Because He lives…