Sunday 19 April 2020
To be used in conjunction with Read Mark, Learn – 6 RML 190420
In some Christians’ calendars the celebration of Easter is not a one-day event, but a season of 50 days. It begins with ‘The Octave’, which is the 8 days beginning on Easter Sunday and ending today. Then follows 42 more days of rejoicing that conclude with Pentecost. Whatever calendar we use, we have reason to celebrate Easter Day every day because…
Words of acclamation
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Praise to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He has given us new life and hope. He has raised Jesus from the dead. Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Jesus, our Lord, we praise you that nothing could keep you dead in the tomb. You are stronger than death and the powers of evil. Help us to remember that there is nothing to be afraid of, because you are alive and with us. Amen.
We celebrate Jesus’ victory over death with one of Graham Kendrick’s songs
In the tomb so cold they laid Him, death its victim claimed.
Powers of hell, they could not hold Him, back to life He came.
Christ is risen! Death has been conquered.
Christ is risen! He shall reign for ever.
Hell had spent its fury on Him, left Him crucified.
Yet, by blood, He boldly conquered, sin and death defied.
Christ is risen…
Now the fear of death is broken; love has won the crown.
Prisoners of the darkness listen; walls are tumbling down.
Christ is risen…
Raised from death to heaven ascending, Love’s exalted King.
Let His song of joy, unending through the nations ring!
Christ is risen…
Prayer of thanks
Thank you, Lord, for loving us even when we turn away from you. Thank you for your unchanging grace. Thank you that in our wanderings, you are the Way, in our confusion, you are the Truth, in our weakness, you are the Life. Thank you, Jesus, for…
… receive my thanks, Lord. Amen
The Gospel writers recorded several occasions when the risen Jesus met with His disciples. Some needed convincing that He really had risen.
Reading: John 20:19-29 (Good News Translation)
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!” Jesus invites us all, not just Thomas, to ‘stop your doubting and believe’. He has paid a price no other could pay so we may be safe in Him for time and eternity.
Give Praise with another song written by Graham Kendrick
The price is paid.
Come let us enter in to all that Jesus died to make our own.
For every sin, more than enough He gave,
And bought our freedom from each guilty stain.
The price is paid, Alleluia.
Amazing grace so strong and sure.
And so with all my heart, my life in every part,
I live to thank You for the price You paid
The price is paid.
See Satan flee away, for Jesus crucified destroys his power.
No more to pay; let accusation cease.
In Christ there is no condemnation now
The price is paid,
And by that scourging cruel He took our sicknesses as if His own.
And by His wounds, His body broken there,
His healing touch may now by faith be known.
The price is paid.
‘Worthy the Lamb’ we cry.
Eternity shall never cease His praise.
The church of Christ shall rule upon the earth.
In Jesus’ name we have authority
Some years after witnessing the resurrection, Peter, wrote letters to groups of
Christians to encourage them. In the first of the letters in our Bibles, he writes
of the ‘living hope’ we have because Jesus defeated death.
Reading 1 Peter 1:3-9 (Good News Translation)
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God’s power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time. Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honour on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed. You love him, although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in him.
Let us now be still and share with God the concerns we have for one another.
Almighty God, Abba Father, Be gracious to all who at his time need to know peace in times of trouble, healing in times of illness, comfort in times of sorrow, provision in times of need, and hope in all that is yet to be. Amen.
Speaking aloud or in silence, we bring our petitions to God.
Father we bring to you now ….
…Father, in Your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.
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.
‘Christ is risen’
Lesslie Newbigin was a minister, missionary, theologian and prolific writer. In one of his books he recorded an incident that took place in the years following the Russian revolution (early 1920’s) when Nikolai Bukharin was one of the well-known figures in Russia. He was prominent in promoting the ideals of the Revolution, including atheism. Newbigin’s account tells us… ‘Bukharin was sent to Kiev to address an anti-God rally.
For an hour he brought to bear all the artillery of argument, abuse and ridicule upon the Christian faith, till it seemed as if the whole ancient structure of belief was in ruins. At the end there was a silence. Questions were invited. A man rose and asked leave to speak, a priest of the Orthodox Church. He stood beside Bukharin, faced the people and
gave them the ancient liturgical Easter greeting, ‘Christos Voskresje – Christ is Risen’
Instantly the whole vast assembly rose to its feet and the reply came back like a crash of breakers against a cliff, ‘Vojestene Voskresje – He is risen indeed.’ There was no reply; there could not be. When all argument is ended, there remains a fact, the total fact of
Jesus Christ, who requires no authority to commend Him, but who places everyone in the position where an answer has to be given one way or another to the question that He
asks.’ Jesus’ rising has been celebrated in many songs down the ages.
To conclude, the following text and tune was written in 1874 by Baptist minister Robert S. Lowry.
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 the victor from the dark domain,
and he lives for ever with his saints to reign:
He arose! He arose!
Alleluia! Christ arose!
Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus, my Saviour;
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus, my Lord:
Up from the grave…
Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus, my Saviour;
He tore the bars away, Jesus, my Lord:
Up from the grave…
May the power of the cross, the joy of the resurrection, and the presence of our risen Lord Jesus, be with us now and always. Amen.